Mountain Elgon is a 4,321m high extinct volcano which in prehistoric times stood taller than Kilimanjaro does today. Although the mountain straddles the Kenya border, its loftiest peak, Wagagai, lies within Uganda and is best ascended from Uganda side.
Mountain Elgon is an important watershed, and its slopes support a rich variety of altitudinal vegetation zones ranging from montane forest to high open moorland studded with other-worldly giant lobelia and groundsel plants. Spectacular scenery is the main attraction for hikers on this oft-neglected and relatively undemanding mountain, but there is also a variety of forest monkeys and small antelope, along with elephant and buffalo. A checklist topping 300 birds with various species. Other attractions include ancient cave paintings close to the trailhead at Budadiri, and spectacular caves and hot springs within the crater.
Together with the fauna and flora, the park has a variety of scenery; this includes cliffs, caves, waterfalls, gorges, mesas, calderas, hot springs, and the mountain peaks. 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 200m into the side of Mt. Elgon.
At the Endebees Bluff there a panoramic view of the area’ escarpments, gorges, mesas, and rivers. The highest peak of Mt. Elgon on the Kenya side, Koitoboss, measures 4155m, and is easily reached by hikers in about two hours from the road’s end.
Mount Elgon Caves
Recent studies have shown that elephants and other mammals are major contributors to the development of these unique natural phenomena. The animals frequently visit at night to ‘mine’ the natural salt by licking it from the caves. The caves are mapped and Kitum, Chepnyali and Mackingeny can be explored by visitors to the park.
Other attractions. Other attractions include ancient cave paintings near the trailhead at Budadiri, and hot springs in the former volcano’s crater which bubble at temperatures up to 48 degrees.
· Vehicle circuits leading to animal viewing areas, the caves and Koitoboss peak.
· Self-guided walking trails
· Hiking to Endebees Bluff and Koitoboss Peak
· Primate and bird watching
· Cave explorations
· Camping photography
· Day hikes. Numerous day hikes depart from the Forest Exploration Centre near Sipi falls, which the most popular being a trio of short loops taking in valleys, ridges, and caves.
· Trekking to the top. Mount Elgon is considered a good alternative to climbing Rwenzori in Uganda or Kilimanjaro in Tanzania since it offers a milder climate, lower elevation and much more reasonable prices. The full trekking circuit to the peaks takes five days to complete.
· SUAM: Suam Guest House
· KAPKWATA(PISWA TRAILHEAD): Kapkwata Guesthouse(self-catering)
· KAPKWAI: Forest Exploration Centre Bandas, student hostel and campsite
· KAPCHORWA: Masha Hotel, Noah’s Ark Hotel, Savanna Guesthouse
· SIPI FALLS AREA: Sipi falls area, The crow’s Nest camp, Sipi Falls Resort, Moses’ Campsite, Twilight Campsite, Lacam Lodge.
· BUDADIRI: Rose’s Last Chance.
· ALONG THE SASA TRAIL: Sasa River Camp
· MBALE: Mbale Resort Hotel, Mt. Elgon hotel, Kayegi hotel, Green Gardens, Wash and Wills Country Home, New Mt. Elgon View Hotel.
By road: one route leads from Kitale town, while there are two options leading from Eldoret. Both lead by murram road to Mt. Elgon Lodge and Chorlim gate. Chorlim gate is the main gate which also leads to the park headquarters.
By air. Visitors can fly to the Eldoret airport or airstrip within the park. Please contact the warden for airstrip details. Kitale airstrip, located 10km outside Kitale town on the main Kitale-Bungoma road, is 30km from the park