MOUNT ELGON NATIONAL PARK (The World’s Largest Mountain Caldera)
Mount Elgon is an extinct volcano and the 4th highest mountain in Eastern Africa, reaching 4321 metres The park covers an area of 1279 km² and is bisected by the border of Kenya and Uganda. The Ugandan part of the park covers 1110 km² while the Kenyan part covers 169 km².
The park is named after Mount Elgon, an extinct shield volcano on the border of Uganda and Kenya.
Mt. Elgon has the largest volcanic base in the world and it is the oldest and largest solitary, volcanic mountain in East Africa. Its vast form, 80km in diameter rises more than 3000m above the surrounding plains the highest apex is Wagagai, 4.321 m
Mount Elgon National Park is home to over 300 species of birds, including the endangered Lammergeyer. Small antelopes, forest monkeys, elephants and buffalos also live on the mountainside. The higher slopes are protected by national parks in Uganda and Kenya, creating an extensive trans-boundary conservation area which has been declared a UNESCO Man & Biosphere Reserve.
Elgon’s slopes support a rich variety of vegetation ranging from montane forest to high open moorland studded with the giant lobelia and groundsel plants. The vegetation varies with altitude.
The park has magnificent waterfalls, caves, gorges and hot springs and is excellent for hiking. No technical climbing equipment or skills are required, and all major peaks are accessible to hikers. The full trekking circuit takes 4-5 days to complete and there are also 3 “day” trails, 3-7km long. The magnificent Sipi Falls are 66km north of Mbale, en route to the Forest Exploration Centre and Kapkwata.
The most popular areas are the four explorable, vast caves where frequent night visitors such as elephants and buffaloes come to lick the natural salt found on the cave walls. Kitum cave, with overhanging crystalline walls, enters 200 m into the side of Mt. Elgon.
The dearest time to visit Mount Elgon is May and September, November and December.