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Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park – need some headspace? Go climb Wagagai!

Hiking through the Giant Lobelia, climbing Mount Elgon, Uganda

Hiking through the Giant Lobelia, climbing Mount Elgon, Uganda. PHOTO Nicola Swann

Mount Elgon National Park straddles Uganda’s eastern border with Kenya.

On our five-day hike to the summit of Wagagai, we only encountered two other groups of hikers. Climbing Mount Elgon’s Wagagai Peak felt like a real wilderness experience to us.
Often hot during the day, it could be very cold at night, especially after the rains. We trekked in May and we camped (well, everyone camps!)
porters Mount Elgon cave

Kevin – one of our UWA guides – made tea for the porters as we took shelter in a cave on day one of climbing Mount Elgon

Our (obligatory) Uganda Wildlife Authority Ranger guides were fantastic. The porters said very few words to their bazungu clients. God they were tough: they carried our packs all day long, some of them walked barefoot, and huddled around the campfire, sleeping together in a big heap every night.

At 4,321 metres, Mount Elgon is the fourth highest mountain in East Africa. It is the eighth highest peak in Africa. It is the second largest volcanic base in the world. Elgon offers great hiking and trekking, huge caves to explore and a diversity of funky montane flora.
boys collecting firewood on Mount Elgon

Local boys collecting firewood on Mount Elgon. They raced up and down the hillside as we walked – and slid – tentaively downwards. PHOTO Nicola Swann

Climbing Mount Elgon is one of my favourite Uganda travel experiences. The sore knee and blisters are long forgotten, and I’m ready to scale the summit again.

You’re unlikely to see much wildlife while you’re climbing Mt. Elgon, but there is abundant birdlife. In 2013, the Uganda Wildlife Authority team won the annual Big Birding Day event by notching up a record sighting of 400 species in one 24 hour period.
Hiking Mount Elgon is worth it for the scenery alone. We passed through seven different types of vegetation, many I’d never seen before.
Bagisu children Mount Elgon

The largest tribe around Mount Elgon are the Bagisu

Generally, people overnight at Sipi Falls before climbing Mount Elgon. Indeed, the magnificent 100 metre high Sipi Falls are an adventure in themselves. There are three waterfalls in all. Here you can go mountain biking, hiking, abseiling, rock-climbing and fly fishing.

Need some headspace? Go climb Wagagai!