MOUNT ELGON NATIONAL PARK
MENP is a national park found in eastern Uganda in border of Kenya and Uganda occupying both the Ugandan side and Kenyan side. The park is named after Mount Elgon an extinct volcano on the border of Uganda and Kenya standing at a height of 4,321m being the 4th highest peak in East Africa. This park occupies an area of 1,121 square km constituting of montane forest and moorland scattered with the huge groundsel plus lobelia.
Mt. Elgon Park has a diverse number of animal and bird species with over 300 bird species 12 species only found in this park in Uganda. Mammals hosted in this park include buffalos, antelopes, elephants, waterbucks, oribis and colobus monkeys while bird species include; the Weyn’s weaver, Jackson’s francolin, Marsh Widowbird, Moorland Francolin, Alpine chat, Hunter’s Cisticola, Red-throated wryneck, Mouthstached green tinker bird and the black-collared apalis.
Other attraction sites in Mt. Elgon Park include very old caves and hot springs inside the crater.
ACTIVITIES IN MOUNT ELGON NATIONAL PARK
HIKING MOUNT ELGON
Mount Elgon is considered as a better alternative to hike compared to Mount Rwenzori because it offer milder climate, lower elevation, can be accessed throughout the year and is less congested. Three trails can lead you to Wagagai the highest peak; the Sasa trail being the shortest but toughest route traverses you through the BaMasaba community, the bamboo forest and the Jackson’s Pool to the top which takes four days. The Sipi trail is the longest trail that starts at Kapkwai Forest Exploration Centre through the northwestern mountainside and the Tutum Cave into the caldera and finally the peak, this takes four to six days. The Piswa trail which is the most gentle starts from Kapkwata on the north side of the mountain traversing through the soft wood plantation. It is rich with wildlife and spectacular views.
The best place in the park for bird watching is the Kapkwai Forest Exploration Centre since it has thick shrub. Bird species to watch out for include the Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Chinspot Batis, African Goshawk, Cinnamon Bee Eater, Hrtloub’s Turaco, Olive and Bronze-naped pigeon and Tacazze sunbird among other species.
Take a nature hike to the Walls of Death also known as the Mudange Cliffs at the boundary of national park. Blue monkeys, baboons and the black-and-white colobus monkeys are residents in this are so you’ll likely see them.
The Budadiri Community walk is also available for nature lovers, this community offer guided coffee tours and cultural dances. Discover Mt. Elgon’s famous Arabica coffee processing plants which supports local farmers.
Biking trails are present in the park for mountain bikers with trails running from Sipi trading centre to Chema Hill in Kapchorwa town. You will be able to sight various waterfalls and the Karamoja plains.
Being a guided and safe activity, rock climbing is enjoyable to adventurous people. This is done mostly outside the park at Sipi requiring scaling techniques. Toughest climbs go up to 35m while easiest are at 15m.