Mount Elgon National Park Safari/Sipi Falls Tour

by | Jul 27, 2023 | 0 comments

Mount Elgon National Park Safari/Sipi Falls Tour

Several meters above the ground with an 80km caldera at the top dotted by trees and short vegetation crossed by water that forms a waterfall with spectacular views of wildlife and flora offers a memorable lifetime experience.

Mount Elgon National Park covers an area of 1145 sq. km located in eastern Uganda.

Locally the mountain is known as Mount Masaba, named after a founding ancestor, called Masaba who was believed to come from one of the caves created on the slopes of the mountain.

The mountain is 4321m high on the borders of Uganda and Kenya with Wagagai as the highest peak other outstanding peaks include the Kiongo summit at 4303m, Mubiayi summit at 4210m, and Jackson’s summit at 4165m.

The slopes of Mount Elgon form an array of altitudinal vegetation zones ranging from Montane to open moorland scattered trees with huge groundsel and lobelia.

Mount Elgon has several meandering rivers most remarkable is River Sipi which forms the charming Sipi Falls.

The unique attraction in Mount Elgon National Park is the Caldera which is 80 KM wide and the world’s largest caldera.

The park is rich in biodiversity of flora and fauna, the park is a rich destination for bird lovers with about 300 species of birds including the endangered lammergeyer and other common birds like Jackson’s francolin, weyn’s weaver, marsh widowbird, moorland francolin, hunter’s cisticola, Alpine chat among others.

Mount Elgon National Park has a medley of animal species, for example, the buffaloes, forest monkeys, elephants, antelopes, warthogs, and three-horned chameleon among others.

Attractions in Mount Elgon National Park

Waterfalls.

Mount Elgon rises in a series of massive basalt cliffs, often several kilometers in length over which the mountain’s rivers plunge as beautiful waterfalls.

One of the fascinating waterfalls well known in the park is Sipi Falls on the Kapchorwa road the waters of river Sipi fall off the cliff several kilometers with a rumbling sound and misty splashes of water all over the place.

Other waterfalls include cascades over 100m, Simba plunges 69m over the cave entrance, Ngasire gushes over 87m high ridge, Chebonet Falls, Bulango Falls, Sisiyi Falls, and Wanale Falls among others.

Caves

Mount Elgon slopes comprise of various caves left by moving lava and erosion of soft volcanic deposits that erupted years back.

There are many magnificent caves along the slopes of Mount Elgon in districts of Kapchorwa, Kitgum, Mbale, and others situated near Wanale Ridge.

These include Kapkwai Cave near the forest exploration center, Khauka Wanale Ridge, Mudecave, Siyo Cave, Tutum Cave, and Hunter Cave among others.

Mount Elgon Peaks and the Caldera.

Tourists adventuring in Mount Elgon National Park can opt to hike various peaks such as Wagagai which is the tallest of all standing at an elevation of 4321 meters, Koitobos at 4222, Sudek, and Mubiyi.

The mountain holds “The world’s largest Caldera” which was formed due to magma that was drained from the volcano’s chamber but later collapsed into a depression-like shape called a caldera filled with water.

Forest Exploration center

The forest exploration center at Kapkwa is about 13km from Sipi town and acts as an education center for schools and the trailhead for climbers using the Sipi trail to the Caldera.

The forest has stunning features such as caves, waterfalls, escarpments, and also viewpoints to spot birds and Primates. The bird species include Hartlaub’s turaco, Lemon dove, Dusky-turtle dove, African hill Babbler, and black–throated wattle-eye among others.

Jackson’s pool and Jackson’s peak

Jackson’s pool which is said to be standing at 4, 050m is a natural pool occupied by shallow waters. The pool lies in the lowland of Jackson’s Peak, a free-standing volcanic plug rising from the western flank of the mountain.

These magnificent features were named after the explorer Fredrick Jackson who was the first European to climb Mount Elgon.

The peak has traditional attachments to the locals since they use it as a spot to communicate with their ancestors who left them a long time ago.

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Things to do in Mount. Elgon National Park

There are several things to do during your holiday in Mount Elgon National Park. From popular hikes to trout fishing, there is more to do during your safari. Here are the top adventure activities to do.

Hiking/climbing Mount Elgon

If you are an adventure enthusiast, climbing Mount Elgon is one thing you shouldn’t miss out on while on a Uganda safari in Mount Elgon National Park.

This volcano features among a few tallest mountains in Africa and offers incredibly life-changing hiking experiences. Hiking through this volcano takes you about four days or more depending on how fit you are to climb.

However, you can hire a porter to help you in case of heavy luggage and a guide is assigned to you. To be part of this amazing adventure, you need a tent and some food.

The hike to the highest peak wagagai offers unforgettable spectacular views of the hot dusty plains of Karamoja, wildlife viewing such as buffaloes, elephants, and warthogs among others, birding, valleys and hills dotted by trees, and also take photographs for memories.

DON'T MAKE ME DRIVE WHEN I WANT TO WALK

Bird watching

For birders, Mount Elgon National Park is one of Uganda’s birding paradises, and while on safari it should be a must for you to visit.

A birding tour in this park rewards travel endeavors with incredible sights of bird species with melody sounds like eastern bronze-napped pigeon, hartlaub’s Turaco, African hill babbler, dusky turtle dove, lemon dove, alpine chat, black-throated wattle eye, thick-billed honey guide, mountain yellow warbler, African blue flycatcher, chin spot batis, MacKinnon’s fiscal, Doherty’s and luhders bush shrikes, Chubb’s cisticola, cinnamon bee-eater, black kite, black Apalis, tacazze sunbird, grey cuckoo shrike.

This park features several trails around the foothills that take about half a day of nature walking for you to spot numerous bird species and flora. Besides, you can also embark on bird watching via the Sipi waterfalls trails.

Rock climbing

The rock-climbing experience offers you the opportunity to explore the outside parts of Mount Elgon National Park to Sipi.

About 14 climbs require different levels of rock scaling techniques and all the gear can be rented from the Sipi Falls Tourist Guides Association.

The most challenging hike is the 35-meter climb and the simplest is 15 meters all of these reward travel endeavors with dramatic views of the major waterfalls and the expansive Karamoja plains.
The climb is breathtaking but so rewarding.

Fly fishing

This is another amazing adventure and in the whole of Uganda, it is only conducted in the Sipi waterfalls and Mount Elgon. It allows you to fish for mountain trout.

This rare adventure experience is done on River Sipi and rewards equally just like it is the case with sport fishing in Murchison Falls National Park where you catch and release the Nile Perch.

Cultural encounters

Besides hiking and wildlife experiences, Mount Elgon National Park is surrounded by local communities and this region is known for its rare cultural experiences.

While on a cultural tour, you can pay a visit to Abayudaya Jews-a renowned small community that lives around Mount Elgon and the Sipi Falls.

You can also embark on a community walk to the Budadiri community to enjoy unique cultural dances and learn more about food preparation techniques and others.

This region is also known for the Imbalu circumcision cultural experience that comes once a year and every even year.

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Best time to visit Mount Elgon, National Park.

Mount Elgon national park is open to tourists throughout the year. However, some seasons provide a better experience than others.

The best time to visit the mountain is during the dry season i.e. June, August to December but mountain climbing can be done throughout the year.

How to get to Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park lies 235km east of Kampala. A tarmac road runs through Jinja to Mbale town at the western base of Mount Elgon, before climbing to Kapchorwa on the mountain’s north-western flank. Murram roads lead off the Mbale -Kapchorwa road to reach the various trailheads. The journey is about 5-6 hours.

In conclusion,

Mount Elgon national park is one of the fascinating destinations for nature lovers in Uganda with thrilling activities like rock climbing, trout fishing, and hiking that will offer an unforgettable experience to visitors in their Uganda safari. Regard! friendly gorillas safaris.

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About the Author

Tony Kizito

Tony is an enthusiastic and self-motivated tour Consultant with over 5 years in delivering professional tailor-made Trips across East Africa. I am keen to offer strong attention to detail, understand the travelers' needs and then craft unforgettable African safari experience.

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