As for many tourists when they think of the pearl, the most renowned destinations are the savannah national parks that are located in western Uganda. The parks of Queen Elizabeth national park , lake Mburo national park or for the primate lovers Bwindi impenetrable  national park or Mgahinga national park. These national parks have home to another of wildlife species and attractions. With limit known about Mountain Elgon national park, it is hidden gem that tourists should look out for on their Uganda safari.

Mountain Elgon national park is located in eastern Uganda near Mbale town, just 229 kilometers from Kampala the capital of Uganda. The park was named after Mountain Elgon, an extinct shield volcano elevated to the height of 4321 meters.

Mountain Elgon national park covers an area of 1279km as a whole but the park is bisected   by the Uganda and Kenyan border.  The Ugandan side of mountain Elgon national park covers an area of 1110km, larger than the 169km area found at the side of Kenya.

The Mountain is shared by Uganda and Kenya at the border. The wagagai peak, the highest peak of mountain Elgon is entirely located on the side of Uganda standing with a height of 14178 meters.

History of mountain Elgon national park

In the year 1929, the side of mountain Elgon reserve was gazette by the Uganda protectorate administration that was managed by the forest department. Later in 1937 the surveying of the boundaries of the reserve was finally completed.

In 1940 the reserve was transformed into Mount Elgon crown forest. In the year 1083 part of the reserves where cut off for settlement an area of 6000ha and 1500 hectare was taken by the Benet –Ndorobo group for settlement.  The area that encroached for settled was totally degazetted from the national park in 2002.

Due to the rich biodiversity that was located in the Mountain Elgon reserve this encouraged for the converting of the game reserve into a national park in 1994.

The scenic beauty from the landscapes from mountain Elgon national park offer views that are not seen elsewhere in the world.

The slopes of mountain Elgon support the growth of a number of flora and a home to number of fauna species. The vegetation is dominated by montane forests, moorland that are home to various tree species as well.

The fauna of Mountain Elgon national park is one of the attraction that is located in Mountain Elgon  park. At the lower slopes of the mountain, mammals such as the forest elephants, small antelopes, buffaloes, hyenas, leopards.  together with other primates that include the black and white Colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys to mention but a few.

The wildlife of the national park is usually encountered during the nature walks and hikes through the trails of the park.

Mountaineering in Mount Elgon national park is one of the activities to include on a Uganda hiking safari. The slopes and accessible trials of mountain Elgon national park favor activities such as Mountain hiking and biking together with rock climbing of mountain Elgon.

The park is vast with other beautiful attractions that include;

Jackson’s peak and Jackson’s pool

The Jackson’s peak is a 4165m volcanic plug found on the western flank of mountain Elgon. This plug shadows the Jackson’s pool, a swallow water pool that is elevated to 4050m. These scenic features where named after Fredrick Jackson the first European to climb mountain Elgon in 1889. These are a major attraction to see while in Mountain Elgon Park.

The Elgon caves

These are one of the explored areas of the park, these are located around the mountain. The kitum caves, chepnyali, Cheworei and macklingery caves make park of the park, and a worth a visit while exploring the national park.  Ancient painting have been recorded in one of the caves located at the Budadiri trail, these communicate the ancient lives of the first inhabitant of the park.

The hot springs, gorges and waterfalls around Mountain Elgon national park reward beautiful scenic view while at the national park.

The Sipi falls located at the slopes of mountain Elgon are the major water falls of the park. The hike around the three series waterfalls is a worth experience, immersed in the slippery tails of the falls, visiting the local communities and a rewarding feel of the water from the three water falls is unmatched.  Abase ling along the slopes of the Sipi falls is new activity, that tourists have picked interest. Dropping 100m along the ridge of the caves, this is thrilling and at the same time fun activity.

Bird watching in the park, is another experience that visitors can carry out. Mountain Elgon National Park is home to 144 bird species that can be sighted on a nature walk through the trails of the park. The most common bird species recorded in Mountain Elgon national park are Hartlaub’s turaco, lammergeier, eastern bronze-naped pigeon, Tacazze sunbird, Black –shouldered kite, black collared Apalis, Jacksons francolin etc.

The park on the other hand offers, afro tourism. A visit to the coffee farms around the slopes of the mountain Elgon is a rewarding activity. These slopes are known for growing Arabic coffee. A farm tour that involves witnessing the processing, growing and harvest of the coffee is an experience to encounter.

Mountain Elgon National Park offers various accommodation options for tourists that opt to have an overnight stay at the national park. The accommodation facilities at the park include Lacam lodge, and  Sipi lodge