Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon National Park,is an extinct volcano with the largest surface area in the world (50km by 80km) and a caldera with a diameter of about 8 km. The highest peak is Jagatai at 4.321 meters; it lies at the eastern border of Uganda with Kenya. The National Park extends over 1.145km.The local people, Bagisu used to call it mount “Masaba”, while “Elgon” is named after the Anglicization of the Maasai “El Kony”. The best time to visit Mount Elgon is May and September, November and December.
Mount Elgon National Park Species:
While ascending Mount Elgon there are four different Forest zones: the lush Montana Forest, the mixed Bamboo belt, the Heath and the spectacular Moorland Hyraces, which contains rare species like the giant Lobelia Elgonensis and clusters of Groundsels which are unique to Africa. At least 300 species of Birds are recorded, including Jackson’s Francolin, Guinea Fowls, Sunbirds and Turacos. The checklist for mammals includes at least 24 species, though not always visible (Elephants, Leopards, Buffaloes, Bush Pigs, Duikers, and Sitatunga).
Mount Elgon National Park Activities and Attractions:
The re are several Trekking Trails around Mount Elgon, all open to Tourists and the public, as this is not a difficult Mountain to climb (Sasa, Sipi and Piswa trials). The full Trekking circuit to the peaks takes 5 to 6 days to complete. The Nature Walks allow viewing Flora and Fauna, enormous Caves, Gorges and Hot Springs. One-day hikes are possible from the Forest Exploration Centre at Kapkway. Particularly fascinating is the hike from Sipi trading centre to the Sipi Falls, a series of four pretty waterfalls culminating in a 99-meter drop at an altitude of 1.775 meters, along the river Sipi, which originates from Mount Elgon.
Geography and Climate
The climate is moist to moderate dry with an annual rainfall of over 1,270mm. The dry season runs from June to August, and December to March, although it can rain at any time of the year on the mountain.
Mt. Elgon, a solitary volcano, is one of the oldest in East Africa. It was built up from lava debris blown out from a greatly enlarged volcanic vent during the Pliocene epoch and rises to a height of about 4320m above sea level. The geology of the area is dominated by basaltic parent materials and strongly weathered granites of the Basement Complex.
The area receives a bimodal pattern of rainfall, generally, with the wettest period occurring from April to October. The mean annual rainfall ranges from 1500 mm on the eastern and northern slopes, to 2000 mm in the southern and the western slopes. The mean maximum and minimum temperatures are 23° and 15 °C respectively. Mid-slopes oriented towards the east and north, at elevations between 2000 and 3000m tend to be wetter than either the lower slopes or the summit.