Mount Elgon is the eighth-largest mountain in Africa, and is renowned for its beautiful vegetation that sprout on high altitude, and the Sipi Falls which is so magnificent and spectacular. It is located at the border of Uganda and Kenya. Mt Elgon is old mountain with jagged peaks which were formed through volcano action, and it has the widest base of any freestanding mountain globally. The creation of Rift Valley through the tectonic activity is also associated with the mountain, it was approximately 20 million years ago when the first eruption occurred and it remained active for another 10 million more years.
In its heyday, it was taller than Mount Kilimanjaro is currently. Right now, it has an immense 4,321 towards the southwest caldera rim. The landmark which is striking and notable on the Kenyan side is the Kitum Cave which a favorite salt licking spot. The elephants frequent the spot, mining the salt with their tusk. The gouge out walls extends the shaft deeper into the belly of the mountain, a wonder which is pleasing to see on a night visit.
The sides of the Mount Kenya that are protected are the upper side on both Ugandan and Kenyan side. These national parks provide the wildlife lovers and hikers much to see and enjoy, but is a little rather poorly developed for tourism. Mount Elgon is home to wide variety of species of birdlife. The park has over 300 recorded bird species, which includes the Alpine Chat, black-collared Apalis, moorland francolin, Hunter’s Cisticola, green tinkerbird, and lammergeyer or the vulture which is bearded.
The easiest part to access in Mount Elgon is a home to blue monkeys, colobus monkeys, buffalo, warthogs, and buffaloes. The vegetation is green thus a thriving environment for the browsing wild animals. As you go towards the upper part, it starts getting cold and it presents a beautiful moorland habitat which is filled with heather and clumps of huge lobelia.
For the best hiking, Saiwa Swamp National Park which is located in Mount Elgon is the best option, it has series of wooden viewing platforms. These platforms offer the greatest and rarest opportunity to enjoy the view of sitatunga antelope which is a semi-aquatic animal, De Brazza’s monkeys which have white beards, and the Ross’s turaco which is so colorful together with barbet which is double-toothed.
How to Get There
To get to Mount Elgon you can either use road or air
By road: Mount Elgon is 371 kilometers west of Nairobi. There are several routes that leads there, one is leads from Kitale town, while another two options lead from Eldoret town which are both dirt road to Chorlim Gate and Mt. Elgon Lodge. The main gate and the entrance to the park’s headquarters is Chorlim Gate.
By Air: Tourist and visitors to Mount Kenya can fly directly to Eldoret International Airport, which is 70 kms away or the airstrip which services the park. For the airstrip laisse with your travelling advisor so that the concerned warden might be informed on time. There is an airstrip 10 kms outside Kitale town, on the main road that leads to Bungoma from Kitale, the park is 30 km from this airstrip.
Activities at Mount Elgon
With over 300 recorded bird species, Mount Elgon national park is surely a haven for the avid birdwatchers. The birds found there includes the Lammergeyer, chin spot batis, Mackinnon’s fiscal, chubbs, red headed parrot among many more.
Hikers and those who want to keep fit can hike the mountain. There is a possibility of coming across a wide variety of species of plants, birds, wildlife, huge caves, insects, and waterfalls. The trails that can be used by hikers leads you through huge caves, sceneries that takes breath away, and elephant bluff. To reach the summit it wholly depends on the hiker’s abilities, fitness and pace.
Mount Elgon prides itself with a wide variety of wild animals that includes the waterbucks, hyenas, blue monkeys, huge forest pigs, antelopes, and elephants.
Nature Guided Walks
Visitors can explore the forest of the mountain on foot aided by a professional guide. In the walk small animals and birds are common sight. There are over 100 species of trees and flowers, also you get to enjoy panoramic view of the huge lands below.
The elephants can be observed in the four locations where they frequent for salt lick deposit. They can be observed as they scratch the salt from the walls of the caves with their tusks. The caves are Mikingenyi, Kitum, Chepnyalil, and Ngwarisha. The deepest cave is extending inwards to about 200 meters.