Mount Elgon

Table of Contents

Welcome to Mount Elgon National Park

Situated at the border between Kenya and Uganda, Mount Elgon is believed to have the largest surface area of any extinct volcano in the world. Scientists also believed that Mountain Elgon was once Africa’s highest mountain far taller than mountain Kilimanjaro however erosion over centuries have reduced its height highstest peak Wagagai  to 4,321m.

A family photo at the Waggagai Peak Mount Elgon Hike

Wagagai peak is the second highest in Uganda (after Rwenzori) and the eighth highest in Africa.

Mountain Elgon is no longer an active volcano and is the largest intact mountain caldera in the world.

Many travelers seeking mountain climbing experiences see Mountain Elgon as an easier mountain to climb and it is. You dont need to be a skilled mountain hiker to enjoy a mountain climbing the Elgon mountain since an average hiker or biker can enjoy this experience as well. We have excellent guides and porters to guide up and down the mountain, and to carry your heavy gear and lighten the climb.

What is there to do in Mt Elgon National Park?

You can still enjoy your time around Mount Elgon without hiking the mountain. You can visit the park and see some wildlife, or go bird watching, go on nature walks, or explore the villages, caves and interact and learn about the Bamasaba people who live in the area. You can also go mountain biking. You can visit the forest exploration center and other trails on the foothills of the mountain. The forest exploration center is found near sipi town. There is now a trail for those who want to go mountain climbing. It is still our best starting point for hiking mount Elgon. Check out mountain Rwenzori as many people love it too

Hiking Trails on Mount Elgon

Sasa Trail


Sasa Trail is the most hard Trail but also the shortcut to making it to Waggagai Peak 4321m in just a 4 day Mt Elgon Hike trip. This is is the first route that was used by explorers. Sasa Trail begins in Budadiri town at an altitude of 1,250 meters above sea level. Day-1 is involving a tough ascent to about 1,650m until  the forest until you approach Mudangi Cliffs that are accessed using a ladder provided by UWA. The next step involves walking through a bamboo forest. Day-2 is characterized by a steady walk reaching Wagagai on Day-3.

Piswa Trail

The Piswa Trail Mount Elgon Trails

 A less tiring choice to the Sasa Trail. This is longer and involves 48km in 6 days. This trail starts for Kapkwata village at an altitude of 2,180m. Piswa trail is known for for its magnificent views of the Karamoja Plains in Uganda and you can add an extra day to explore the hot springs in the mountains.

Sipi Trail

Sipi Trail is the longest Mount Elgon Trail with 56km and takes around 7 days to complete a round hike. Sipi Trail starts at Kapkwai Exploration Centre just near the beautiful Sipi Falls. Taking the Sipi Trail means you will have a chance to see the  which is famous for its ancient cave paintings.

Day Hikes: 

The Uganda Government in partnership with the Forest Exploration cetre opened 3 short trails for those who have no experience in hiking or just don’t  have enough time to explore mount Elgon’s longer trails. These trails have about 3 to 7 km and they are done in one day. They are perfect combinations for those who come in the region to see the sipi falls or on their stopover to Karamoja and Kidepo valley National Park

Wildlife in Mt Elgon National Park?

Mount Elgon National Park is famous home to various African wildlife and birdlife .

The slopes of Mount Elgon are characterised  by animals like forest elephants, African cape buffalo,  antelopes like bush backs, kobs and variety of savanna and forest birds and so far more than 300 bird species have been recorded here. Mount Elgon also harbours a number of primates like the black-and-white colobus monkey, olive baboons , vervet monkeys among others. Some of the bird species you will see in Mount Elgon include the Eastern Bronze-napped Pigeon, Turacos, Alpine Chat, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Thick-billed Honey guide among others.

What to pack on a Mount Elgon Climbing tour

Wondering what to pack or to wear for a comfortable mount Elgon  trekking? Hiking mount Elgon  is easy but sometimes what people wear during the experience can also make their trekking a nightmare.  Here is What shouldn’t miss on your packing list.

  • Garden gloves
  • Rain jacket
  • Sun glasses
  • Waterproof pants
  • Light hiking boots
  • Warm sleeping bag
Packing list Rwenzoris Mountains
Packing list for mountain hiking

How to Get To Mountain Elgon National Park

The journey from Entebbe Airport which is the main gateway to Uganda  is around 255 km.

From Entebbe you will drive through the newly open express highway road to Nalya then connect to Jinja road then Mbale town. From here take the Mbale Kapchorwa road turning in to Muyembe town. Here you will already see the mountain.

It is also possible to fly from Kajjansi airfield to Mbale for those with a bigger budget with less time to make the long journey.


Cost of mount Elgon trekking / climbing

Mountain Elgon park admission costs are 35 USD for non-resident foreigners, 25 USD for resident foreigners, and 15,000 UGX for East African passport holders per person per day. While climbing fees for the mountain are 50 USD per person per day for both foreign non-residents and foreign residents, and 50,000UGX for East African natives. Here is the cost of the packages inclusive of transfers from Kampala or Entebbe Airport

Mountain Elgon Hiking price list

How long does it take to hike Mountain Elgon?

How long does it take to hike Mountain Elgon? It takes about 6 days to hike to the highest peak of Mountain Elgon called Wagagai (4321 m) The hike involves crossing small rivers in the start, forests and beautiful lakes. Unlike Mountain hikes around Uganda,  Mount Elgon’s trails are open year long and you do not require any particular climbing equipment.

Accommodation in Mountain Elgon

Sipi River Lodge

Our favourite luxury hotel is located in the slopes of Mount Elgon. This resort offers breathtaking views of Mt. Elgon National Park. Sipi has four Waterfall Cottages for travellers looking for peaceful accommodation:

The bandas combine elegance with native construction traditions. The bandas’ round walls and realistically made thatched roofing allow them to blend in with the surroundings.

Kapkwai Lodge

This inexpensive lodging, located at the entrance to Mount Elgon Nature Reserve, was initially created as a home for students visiting the lush forest.

The lodging is functional but nice, with four cottages and four stationed tents to select from.

After a full day of exercise, you may refuel at the on-site canteen, which sells food and drinks.

Kapkwai Lodge

is situated on a cliff 1785 feet above sea level, with a panoramic view of Sipi Falls as well as the Hills.

Bandas, Single, Twin, and Triple Rooms, Group Cottages, and Basic Rooms are available at our Lodge. Each accommodation has been meticulously built with the best view of Sipi Falls and the Valley in mind, in order to provide our visitors with the maximum comfort and a unique experience during their stay at Rafiki Lodge Sipi.

The beautiful Honeymoon Suite is designed to accommodate the newlywed couple in its most comfy and romantic setting.