Mt Elgon national park is found in the eastern part of Uganda at the Kenya –Uganda border. It has been a landmark for a long time and is one of Uganda’s oldest physical features and tourist attractions. It was once Africa’s highest mountains but thousands of years upon years of erosion have reduced it to being the 7th highest mountain on the continent. It still as the largest volcano surface area worldwide though. It is a popular Uganda safari destination for mountain climbing, bird watching and a few other activities. This park can be visited anytime of the year, however you need weather updates since this is a mountain.
How to get there:
It is quite easily accessible by road. It is located about 235km from the capital Kampala which is about a 3-4 hour drive. There is a tarmac road that runs from Kampala through Jinja to Mbale town. A number of murram roads lead off to the various trail routes. The trailhead at Budadiri is only 20km from Mbale and is accessible by public transport. Taxis to Budadiri are available in Mable town. Porters and guides can be found through the Mt Elgon guides and porters association.
Entry into the country is usually through Entebbe airport, found about 26km from Kampala.
There are a number of lodges and camps in and around the camp, so accommodation should not be very hard to find. Some of the popular accommodation facilities include:
Suam Guest House (UWA), Kapkwata Guesthouse (Along the Piswa trail), Forest Exploration Center Bandas, student hostel and campsite in Kapkwai, Masha Hotel in Kapchorwa, Sipi River Lodge in the Sipi falls area, Rose’s Last Chance which is Community-run Camp in Budadiri, Sasa River Camp along the Sasa trail and many more. Booking for climbing expeditions and accommodations should be made early.
The Mt. Elgon region is home to the Bagishu, the Ndorobo, and the Sabiny people of Uganda. These tribes are mostly subsistence farmers who also depend on some of the Forest produce for their livelihood. They have agreements with the park management to harvest some of the forest resources such as bamboo shoots and poles. Many of these people also work as tour guides and porters, and operate in small tourist markets.
Mt Elgon National Park is a wilderness that one cannot successfully explore without a guide. All activities including day walks, Transboundary hiking adventures, exploration of caves, gorges, sightseeing waterfalls and hot springs, birding e.t.c require one to have a guide. Otherwise it is a perfect destination to add to itineraries for Safaris in Uganda.