Visit Mount Elgon. Top 5 Things To See, DO & Enjoy

Visit Mount Elgon: Mount Elgon is one of East Africa’s oldest physical features. It is considered to be the Mountain with the largest volcanic base at 4,000km and stands at 4,321m above sea level.

Initially, Mount Elgon was Africa’s highest mountain at more than 5,800m but with the years and years of erosion, it has gradually been reduced to its current height. It is still putting it at the second-highest peak in Uganda and fourth-highest in East Africa.

Elgon lies on the border of Uganda and Kenya and is home to two distinct tribes the Bagisu from Uganda and the Sabiny from Kenya talking up the Western and Eastern sides of the mountain respectively.

It is largely favoured for hiking by travellers because of the larger sphere of attractions along the way, less tenuous tracks and elevation to get to the top in comparison to the higher and steeper kinds like Mount Rwenzori. With less harsh climatic conditions, it becomes easier too and much more fun.

The best time to hike Mount Elgon is the dry seasons of June to August and December to March, this gives you clear sunny tropical weather to appreciate the fauna and flora surrounding you as you go higher and higher up the mountain.

To know more about Mount Elgon as an attraction, with all the figures about the animal and plant life, take a look at our page on Mount Elgon National Park as a tourist attraction

So, what should you expect to see, do and experience in Mount Elgon? Let’s take a look

1. Hiking

Hiking Mount Elgon is probably the major thing that will inspire your trip there. Whether you love hiking or ‘don’t care for it’, hiking Elgon is a very pleasant experience that bonds you with the mountain and all the nature around you.

There are many hiking trails to choose from that provide a range of sightseeing marvels along the way. They include the following;

  • The Sasa trail which is considered the most easily accessible route gives you a chance to marvel at the vast bamboo forest, right through Jackson’s pool onto Wagagai Peak. On the first day, you can cover 1600m.
  • The Piswa trail from Pakwach is a bit of a longer route. You can take this if it is a trip from Kidepo National Park in the North. On this trail’s first day, you can cover about 700m and have a chance to explore the vast Podocarpus forests rich with a range of bird and wildlife species.
  • The Sipi trail route starts just a few kilometres from Sipi Falls and gives you a chance to pass through the Tatum Cave. As you hike higher, it gives you a view of the surrounding forest and the various waterfalls.

To reach the peak (Wagagai), all trails take from 5 to 8 days of hiking and rest. All you have to carry is your necessary gear. Porters can be availed to assist in carrying heavier bags.

2. Wildlife

Mount Elgon National Park sits at the base of the mountain (from which it derives the name) and is just a short distance from Mbale town. The park harbours a range of Wildlife such as buffalos, Elephants, Blue Monkeys, waterbucks, spotted hyenas, bush pigs, leopards, Vervets, Baboons and several others.

This is a good pit stop to make before (or maybe after) your hike up Mount Elgon. As you hike through the various parts of the mountain, you will be treated to sightings of more and more wildlife.

3. Bird Watching

Mount Elgon is said to be home to over 300 birds including some of the Afrotropical highland biome species like the Moorland Francolins, Alpine Chat and Moutached Tinkerbirds. Other bird species include the collared Apalis, Black-shouldered Kite, Tacazze, the African Goshawk, White Chinned Prinia, Cinnamon Bee Eater, and Chinspot Batis among others.

For bird-watching enthusiasts, this is great news. Even if you aren’t really into birds, you will discover species of birds that you [probably] didn’t know existed or can’t see anywhere else.

4. Mountain Biking

The Uganda Wildlife Authority opened up trails in 2012 for Mount Elgon Mountain biking.

The rocky and rugged terrains of the rising trails make for a very thrilling mountain biking experience. The altitude and vegetation changes bring you into a rare closeness with nature – all while doing your favourite activity of biking.

You will be treating yourself to breathtaking views of everything (flora and fauna) around you.

5. Camping

Camping might not be very exciting for most people. They prefer 4 sturdy walls and a logical door. Camping on top of a volcano is thrilling for everyone.

The largest volcanic caldera in the world sits on top of Mount Elgon. Camping on the Elgon caldera is extraordinary and worth bragging about. At the top, you will encounter various volcanic features such as hot springs, geysers etc.

Your camping gear can be carried by a porter for a fee such that you don’t tire out and miss out on the experience. All this is arranged in advance by our safari experts.


These are the top 5 things to enjoy in Mount Elgon. There is so much more you could engage in and have a splendid time.

Additional activities in and around Mount Elgon include;

  • Visiting coffee plantations and learning about the traditional ways of coffee
  • Visiting the various villages for folktales and stories about the people’s history
  • Visiting community projects such as schools and craft shops among others.

A visit to Mount Elgon can be arranged as a stand-alone itinerary or combined with a trip that connects to Kidepo, Pian Upe, Murchison or Jinja.

We hope you get to enjoy this wonderful mountain, and when you plan to do so we are the first people you ask to assist in creating and enjoying an exceptional life experience with you.

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