This dormant volcanic mountain is located along the Uganda Kenya border in eastern Uganda about 235 kilometers from Kampala city center. With the highest point Wagagai at 4,321 meters above sea level, Mount Elgon is eighth highest on the African continent and has the largest mountain base in the world. The mountain is located in the Mount Elgon conservation area and therefore has vast tourist attractions ranging from wild game, birds, monkeys, caves, waterfalls, rock paintings and many others.
Hiking Mount Elgon needs enough and proper preparations because it’s a big mountain and therefore poses a physical challenge to most hikers; the major trails are also not very well developed compared to the mount Rwenzori trails and therefore tourists hiking are recommended to stay close to the guides so that they do not get lost.
Hiking Moun Elgon
There are there major hiking trails on Mount Elgon which include Piswa trail, Sasa trail (the most popular trail) and the recently developed Sipi trail. The Sasa trail is the most used trail which takes about five days for the trekkers to reach the Wagagai summit. Tourists heading for the great Mount Elgon expedition should carry enough food supplies, clothing’s, cooking and camping equipment that can sustain them during the days they spend up hill.
Porters are available for hire at reasonable prices and the hiking starts early in the morning. The higher layers of the mountain are cold therefore tourists are requested to put on heavy warmth clothes to avoid getting sick because of the cold.
Reaching the summit of Mount Elgon gives you a chance to view the 20 diameter caldera on the summit plus great views of the region and Mbale town.
Best time to visit:
During the dry season, from June to August and December to March, but the seasons are unpredictable and it can rain at any time.
Sipi Falls Area:
The magnificent Sipi Falls are located en-route to the Forest Exploration Centre and Kapkwata. Several day hikes pass through local villages and farming country. It is a 1,5 hour walk to the Forest Exploration Centre. Enquire for a guide. If rock climbing or abseiling is your idea of adventure then check out ‘Rob’s Rolling Rock Adventure Centre’ at Sipi Falls. Abseil all 3 Sipi falls in day, 1/2, full day or multi-day climbing courses. Tel. 0772 800705 for bookings. Ushs50,000- full day 90 meter, Ushs30,000- half day 30 meter.
Park Access and booking:
Your climb should be organized from the Mt. Elgon National Park Headquarters in Mbale, Plot 19-21, Masaba Rd., House #84. There are trailheads at Budadiri and at Kapnarkut where park fees and trekking can also be organised
Mbale is 4 hours from Kampala via Tororo.
• Kampala – Mbale via Jinja and Tirinyi Rd – 256km 3 hours.
• Mbale – Budadiri – 30km 1 hour (road can be muddy and slippery in wet conditions).
• Mbale – Sipi Falls – 66km 1 1/2 hours.
• Sipi Falls – Kapkwata – 45km 1 1/2 hours
Matutus to Sipi Trading Centre depart from the clock tower taxi park in Mbale. The fare is Ush 4000-. The road has been completely tarred up to The Sipi Falls Trading centre with work continuing up to Kapchorwa. The road is steep in places however a pleasure to drive. This route was prior to the tar was a 6 hour hell journey after any rain.
Budadiri is accessible by public transport. Matatus for Budadiri also depart from the Clock Tower taxi park in mabale. The one way fare is Ushs 2,000-. Those with their own vehicles can be sure of finding safe parking in Budadiri or at Sipi Falls at a price obviously. Use public transport to get to the trail head at Kapkwata. Porters and guides will be found c/o the sub headquarters in Budadiri or Kapnarkut.
Guides and porters in Budadiri can be organised through the Mt. Elgon Guides and Porters Association.