Mount Elgon National Park and its surrounding areas (especially the Sipi Falls) are the absolute getaway and perfect destination for a short vacation away from the busy and noisy places within Kampala City. When you visit Mount Elgon National Park, you will be contented with its interesting forests especially the Bamboo Forest, blissful and exhilarating waterfalls, adorable caves, riveting animals and beautiful bird species among others. Take a safari in Eastern Uganda and visit these two remarkable sites (Mount Elgon and Sipi Falls) that offer stunning picturesque views, invigorating activities like Mountain biking, abseiling, hiking, nature walks, bird watching, visits to hot springs and Cave exploration among others.
This Park since 1992 has been the home of what 24 million years ago was the most towering mountain in Africa. This inactive mountain is presently the 4th tallest Mountain in East Africa with the highest Peak being at 4321 meters/14177 feet above sea level. This Mountain has the widest intact mountain caldera in the world and offers less strenuous climbing option that doesn’t require someone to be a skilled mountaineer but an average hiker and you will be guided by experienced tour guides and a porter to carry your backpack and support you while climbing. The following are the important activities that attract tourists to Mount Elgon and the surrounding Sipi Falls.
Mount Elgon National Park is a perfect bird watcher’s paradise because it is a home to over 300 bird species including 12 species endemic to Mount Elgon and they include the endangered Lammergeyer, Golden-winged sunbirds, Eastern Bronze-napped pigeon, Dusky-turtle dove, Grey Cuckoo-shrike, Lemon doves, Mountain yellow warblers, Black-throated wattle-eye, African Hill babbler, Alpine chat, Thick-billed Honey guide and Tacazze sunbirds among others. Several trails exist within the Park and the area around the Sipi Falls and tourists can explore these trails on foot.
Since the opening of Mountain biking trails in Mount Elgon and the Sipi falls, this activity has continuously become the most popular and must-do activity that most tourists participate in when they visit this National Park. This is the perfect option for burning some calories and nothing can be compared to it. If you wish to get a maximum satisfaction, you have to explore the trails nearby Sipi Falls and this should be done in the dry season.
Mountain climbing and hiking
Mountain climbing within Mount Elgon can be completed within 4 days and requires climbers to be physically fit because it is a medium difficulty climb. This adventure is done with an experienced guide to lead you through the trails and porters to ease your bags and support you while climbing. The highest Peak of Mount Elgon (Wagagai Peak) offers breathtaking views of the surrounding villages and verdant Arabica coffee farms. Some of the requirements/tools you need during climbing include tents, hiking boots, food stuff (especially freeze-dried food) and packed lunch on the day of climbing. The perfect time for this activity is the dry season because the hiking trails are less slippery and muddy during this season.
Tourists who visit Mount Elgon National park can participate in safe guided rock climbing on both Mount Elgon and Sipi Falls area, which are both quite strenuous yet exhilarating. If you are an adventure enthusiast, then this place is the perfect place for you to visit.
Some of the interesting cultural encounters around Mount Elgon National Park include the Budadiri community Walks that offer guided coffee tours to explore farms where the popular Arabica coffee is grown, enjoy cultural dances, and Village nature walks to see how the local community members harvest and prepare traditional meals especially the local delicacy “Malewa”-made from bamboo shoots. On a lucky day, you can be able to watch the “public circumcision rituals where boys are initiated into manhood.
Mount Elgon and Sipi falls area are the only two places in Uganda where tourists can do Trout fishing. This relaxing activity is conducted beyond Sipi falls on the Sipi River, and should be done in the company of an experienced guide. Before heading for this activity, tourists have to carry packed lunch and enough drinking water. However, Trout Fishing is based on catch and release principle which is the same way as Nile perch fishing within the Murchison Falls National Park.
Mount Elgon National park should be your next camping destination because the Park has 5 campsites situated near the trekking trails. This activity is guided by different rules that include “no camping near the Caldera” and tourists who wish to participate in Camping have to carry their own camping equipment (including tents, sleeping bags, rain gear and jackets) because the activity is still primitive and near within Mount Elgon National Park.
In conclusion, trout fishing, mountain climbing and hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking and bird watching are the key activities that draw thousands of tourists to Mount Elgon National Park. Visit this Park and you will have the best quiet time.