Mt. Elgon National Park
Mt. Elgon National Park
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Heather C
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023 • Friends
Myself and a team of around 12 others hiked Mount Elgon to raise money for a Ugandan charity called SALVE International. We did it with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, and had a team of porters, who were all absolutely fantastic!!!! The guides (Alex and Karim) were so incredibly knowledgeable and considerate of our abilities and pace we needed to walk at. We did 9km the first day and approximately 20km for the following 4days. On the fourth day we reached the summit and it was then a steep walk down. It's incredible going through the different ecological zones and it's a great challenge whilst not being so intense that you need to feel like an athlete to manage it. Some of our team had a bit of altitude sickness at the top but I can't say this really affected me. Definitely recommend this to everyone.
Written 8 February 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

bashir Tour guide uganda
Kapchorwa, Uganda46 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
Mountain Elgon National Park Uganda is located in eastern Uganda 300 kilometers from kampala to kapchorwa, kapkwai forest exploration center.
The park and the mountain have many iconic wildlife like blue faced monkey, red tailed and black and white colobus monkey, different vegetation zone with a lot of endemic and endangered plant species, land forms like wagagai peak at 4321 meters above sea level which is the highest peak on the whole mountain, other peaks included mubiyi 4215 meters and Jackson/masaba peak 4165 meters above seal level, the world largest mountain caldera and a numberly of Crater lake and gorges
Rivers cannot be left out on the list and 1000 water falls
The mountain has various sizes of caves including the Tutum cave at 2667 meters above sea level which is believed to be connecting Uganda and kenya, kapkwai, mudu and kintu cave with a lot of cultural perspectives
Apart from that, the Mount Elgon national Park is a home to 290 tree species and 90% of them are medicinal and many are they endangered and endemic like prunus African and Elgon teak respectively, it's also a home to over 350 forest bird species including Rameron pigeon, Narina dragon and golden winged sunbird.
The park has got numberly of reptiles like the vonhornal chameleon and lizzards
Written 4 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

InKampala
Kampala, Uganda43 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2012 • Friends
Is Mount Stanley a bit high? A bit too far away? Do you still want a satisfying climb that doesn’t require expert skills or equipment and is closer to home? Look no further than Mount Elgon. It’s the 7th highest mountain in Africa at 4,321m and the summit is readily accessible for climbers with limited experience.

Mt. Elgon National Park can be reached quickly by car or bus. Drive to the Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA) base outside Mbale town the day before you intend to climb, or take the Elgon Flyer bus service from Colville Street in Kampala. It is best to call the Elgon Flyer bus company to book before arrival (0772004321). Car parking at the base of the mountain is secure.

Payment has to be made before you climb so you’ll want to have thought through your route before you arrive. Entry into the national park is $90/person/day for foreign visitors and tourists (60,000 UGX for East Africans) payable the first day of the ascent. Camping is 15,000 UGX per night, and around 15,000 UGX per day per porter (carrying your own equipment is not recommended). Porters carry cooking equipment and cook for you, but they don’t provide the food so remember to bring this with you! You will also need to bring your own warm clothing, hiking boots, tent, and sleeping bag.

The simplest, and fastest, way up the mountain is the Sasa trail leaving from Budadiri. Get a boda to the matatu stages in Mbale or a matatu to Budadiri for a few thousand UGX. At Budadiri, you will be dropped off at Rose’s Last Chance which is worth the visit in itself. It is a cheap stay, but the cost is not included in your park fee.

The first morning’s climb is steep and quick. This involves the “wall of death” – so named for the frayed local ropes that, in previous years, was the only way to climb it. Fortunately, the UWA installed sturdy staircases up the cliff face several years ago, so porters can almost run up the mountain and you’ll feel the name is no longer deserved.

Above this, it is a straight, steep path through rainforest and the bamboo zone to the lunar landscape above. There is an option to stop at a campsite at about 3000m for your first night on the mountain, and then proceed to the summit base camp, Mude, the following day. However, alternatively you can trek straight up to Mude, rest the night and strike out for the summit, Wagagai, the following morning. Regardless, it is best to reach the summit in the morning, owing to cloud cover after midday. Descending you’ll have the choice to return by the Sasa Trail or head onwards across the caldera.

For those on a budget, a 3-day trip going up the Sasa Trail and down again is the best bet. This may even be doable in two days in the dry season, if you are very fit, and can cope with fast increases in altitude. This is not recommended and could result in an unpleasant trip. Paths in the wet season become slow and tedious. For more time in the caldera, the best option would be a four-to-five day trip; ascending on the Sasa Trail, traversing the highest points of the range, descending on the Sipi Trail, and finishing at the stunning Sipi Falls. This is at least a 50km walk over steeply undulating terrain, but at no point is any technical mountaineering involved.

After the descent it is easy to get a matatu from any of the trailheads back to Mbale to pick up your car, or bus back to Kampala.
Written 22 May 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Laura M
Lacey, WA11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2016 • Friends
We had a great time hiking Mt. Elgon on the Sasa Trail over 4 days. We weren't sure what to expect, so we packed our backpacks and took a bus from Kampala to Mbale (YY Coaches costs 20,000).

Once we were there, we went to the UWA Mbale office and they answered ALL of our questions! We hopped in a matatu and went to Budadiri (4,000 shillings), where they were waiting for us at Rose's Last Chance, where we planned to stay for the night for 45,000 per person, which included dinner and breakfast. It's right next to the UWA office.

Arriving at the UWA Budadiri office, we told them that we wanted to start the hike in the morning and they arranged everything for us. Here are the fees we paid there:

Park Fee - $75 a day (it used to be $90 but went down after hikers complained) - UWA guides are included in this fee
Porters - 17,000 a day each (They will carry up to 18kg each)
Cook - 20,000 a day

Only two of us hiked the mountain, but we had a whole crew with us! 2 porters, 2 guides, 1 cook, and us. We felt very comfortable with our crew and they helped us out a lot, but also gave us privacy at the campsites (as 2 single females, that was important to us).

The cook took us into the village and bought all the food we needed. (We spent about 80,000 total). We weren't sure how much food we would need, but he knew and did all the work for us. He also carried the food, pots, & pans up the mountain for us. On the mountain, we always had a hot meal with porridge, spaghetti, potatoes, or rice as our carb source. Vegetables were also included in every meal. We always enjoyed our food! We did make sure to bring our french press for coffee in the morning. We brought enough water for the first day, but then each campsite had a stream next to it where we filled our bottles. We brought purification drops to have clean water.

The first day we left early. We took a boda to the next town. You have the option of hiking to that town (they say it's a 5k walk, but it seemed longer) but we were glad that we took the boda so we could start hiking closer to the park boundary. It cost 28,000 each way for us (4 bodas for our crew).

The hike that first day was lovely. It started at 1700m elevation and our first campsite was at 2900m. It was quite a hike! Part of it was through villages, where children are eagerly awaiting so they can tell you 'jambo.' ('Melembe' is hello in their native language) Once we hit the park boundary, we didn't see ANY other people, except one other UWA worker. We reached camp #1 by lunch time.

Both of the campsites we stayed at had shelters with wooden bunks in them. Our guides encouraged us to set our tent up inside the shelter, which we did. The floors were hard, so we were grateful that we brought mats to sleep on. Although we were inside a shelter, it was still very cold at night! I wished I brought thicker socks to warm my frozen toes. Gloves are also a good idea. Feel free to ask the porters to build a fire for you in the evenings, even if it's wet outside.

Both sites had latrines inside small shelters. There were no doors, but the toilets pointed out into the wilderness, so we felt we had enough privacy.

The second day was the easiest, as we hiked up to the second campsite at 3500m. We were glad that we brought day bags with us, since our porters disappeared with our big backpacks as we hiked.

The third day was the most strenuous. We hiked from the campsite to Wagagai peak (4321m) and back down (19k) - and then after lunch we hiked another 5k+ back to the first campsite (we went up and down on the Sasa Trail). It was stunning on the peak, but quite cold. We were glad to take it slow, since it was harder to breath at the top. We took plenty of rests to enjoy the amazing views of both Kenya and Uganda!

The fourth day, we left early and were back to Budadiri before lunchtime. It had rained, so it was slippery, but our guides were patient with us and helped us in the slippery parts! At the end, we tipped our guides, but we weren't sure what was appropriate!

Overall, it was a wonderful trip. We hadn't found much information about hiking Elgon, so we went in hoping for the best, and we got it! We were glad that we went on our own and not through a safari company. It cost us each less than $450 to do the entire trip from Kampala.
Written 27 October 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TMR1004
Valley Forge, PA391 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2017 • Solo
Mt. Elgon is located in Mount Elgon National Park in Eastern Uganda on the border with Kenya. It’s highest peak is Wagagai, which rises 4,321 meters (14,176 ft) above sea level. The trail to its summit is stunningly beautiful. I wrote this review in the hope that it might help others enjoy this magnificent experience.

Trailhead – There are numberous trailheads to reach Wagagai, both from Uganda and Kenya. The most popular route is the Sasa Trail, which starts in Bumasola, about 40 km from Mbale and 75 km from Sipi Falls. This is the trail I hiked and this review is about this route.

Regulations – You must sign in at the park office in Budadiri. Ranger/guides are mandatory and porters, cook, etc. are encouraged. The wages that you are paying them are low, they work hard and need the work, and are a pleasure to be around. After signing in at the park office you will take a 15 minute boda boda (motor bike) ride up a dirt road to the trailhead in Bumasola.

Options – Summiting Wagagai from Bumasola still gives you options. Choosing the right option for yourself will not only increase your chances of summiting, but will also make for a much more enjoyable adventure.

Typical options include

1. 2 Day
Day 1- Hike from Bumasola to Mude Cave Camp. A total of 7.5 miles and a vertical climb of 5,800 vt. ft.

Day 2 – Hike from Mude Cave Camp to the summit and return to the trailhead at Bumasola using the same trail you ascended. A total of 18 ½ miles and a vertical elevation climb of 3,110 ft.

2. 3 Day
Day 1 – Bumasola to Mude Cave Camp. A total of 7.5 miles and 5,800 vt. ft.

Day 2 – Mude Cave Camp to the summit and return to Mude Cave Camp. A total of 11 miles and 2,910 vt. ft.

Day 3 – Mude Cave Camp to Bumasola. A total of 7.5 miles and 200 vt. ft.

3. 4 Day and longer
After summiting on day 2 like the 3 day option you can cross over to the Sipi Trail and descend by a longer route. There are various campsites on the Sipi Trail, so the descent options are many.

Information – You can call the park office in Budadiri for information and to make all arrangements or do as I did which is to use Sipi River Lodge to arrange everything for you. Sipi River Lodge arranged everything including, permit, guide, porters, food, transport, lodging before and after the hike with meals, rentals such as tent, sleeping bag and pad, etc. Of course it is more expensive, but they did a great job not only organizing the hike, but answering all my questions while I was planning it. They are top notch. Sipi River Lodge has an excellent website detailing the different itinerary options, pack list, maps, etc.

Level of difficulty – this trail is doable for anyone in reasonably good hiking condition, especially if they choose the option (2, 3, or 4 days) that is most appropriate for themselves.

Elevations
1. Bumasola trailhead 5,840 ft
2. Sasa River Camp 9,540 ft
3. Mude Cave Camp 11,483 ft
4. Wagagai Summit 14,177 ft

The elevation is a factor in this hike. Even if you do not get typical altitude illness symptoms such as headaches, nausea, lack of appetite, etc. you will definitely feel yourself breathing harder than you would expect. If the pace seems too fast for you, it probably is. Slow down. You will increase the probability of a successful summit and enjoy yourself a lot more.

Trail description – the trail is beautiful, climbing through different ecological zones. At first rural subsistence farmland, then forest, then mixed bamboos, and finally the heath zone, with its stunted shrubs and wildflowers. And following the rim of the caldera to Wagagai Peak is spectacular! The steepest sections of the trail are from the trailhead at Bumasola to Sasa River Camp. Don’t get discouraged – it gets easier once you get past this camp.

Weather – The weather on the mountain is unpredictable. Wet conditions can change everything. In places the trail becomes very slippery, especially descending. Factor this in when planning your itinerary and bring what you need for varying conditions and a change of clothes for camp.

Water – There are numerous places to get water along the trail. Purification is recommended. I chose to carry mine. 1 ½ -2 liters per day was sufficient while hiking. Your crew can boil water for you at camp.

Mude Cave Camp is beautiful. It is set amongst old, slow growth pines. The views of the valley are gorgeous. There is an A frame lodge if you would like to sleep in it, but I chose one of the beautiful campsites in the pines. There is a large firepit with benches. It can get chilly at night. An insulated jacket, warm hat, gloves, etc. will come in handy. There are also squat outhouses which were cleaner than I expected.

Time estimates – Of course this is always a difficult thing to estimate due to differences in levels of fitness, pack weight, trail conditions, how often you stop to take pictures, etc. The guidelines below are appropriate for most reasonably fit hikers carrying a pack weight of 15-20 lbs with moderate trail/weather conditions.

1. Bumasola to Sasa River Camp 3-5 hrs
2. Sasa River Camp to Mude Cave Camp 2 ½ - 4 hrs
3. Mude Cave Camp to summit 2- 3 ½ hrs
4. Summit to Mude Cave Camp 1 ½ - 2 ½ hrs
5. Mude Cave Camp to Bumasola 4-7 hrs

Conclusion – I highly recommend this experience. The trail itself was varied and beautiful, and the views stunning. My guides and porters did an excellent job and always had a smile on their face. They were a joy to climb with. And the night camping at Mude Cave Camp in the pines was magical! Climbing Mt. Elgon was the highlight of my trip to Uganda. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Written 8 December 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jon W
Cambridge, England, United Kingdom20 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2015 • Solo
I've just completed a 4 day hike to the Wagagai peak, going up via the Sasa Trail, then down the Sipi Trail, organised by Sipi River Lodge. I found it quite challenging because of the long days - the longest section being between Mude Camp and Tutum Caves which took 9 hours, was 32 km, going over 4000m, and with plenty of steep descents/ascents to cross river valleys. Mude camp is at 3500m so got very cold at night - so make sure you've got a decent sleeping bag. The guides were very pleasant, but had limited knowledge of the flora and fauna which was a bit disappointing. However, the walk was absolutely awesome - wonderful flora/fauna, gorgeous views across the caldera to Kenya and down to the plains below, and excellent paths. We only saw one other person the whole time we were in the park. I'd recommend going in the dry season, because parts of the Sipi Trail would be difficult after heavy rain, and you're also guaranteed clear views from on the tops.
Written 9 March 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

wildd0g
Leongatha, Australia4 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2013 • Solo
Hi there all,
As part of my acclimatization for the Ruwenzori mountains , I chose to do a traverse
of Mt. Elgon starting at Kapkwata walking the Piswa route and leaving by the Sasa route .
To organize the walk , just go to the Ugandan Wildlife Authority in Mbale and they
will do everything for you....although it isn`t a bad idea to bring some extra food because they
don`t give you a lot to eat . At the time I was there I think they charged $90 USD a day .
The Piswa route ( northern part ) is nainly farm land and hae little forrest left . There has been some attempt to revegetate some areas with the planting of pioneer plants above the first nights camp , which was all explained to me by the park rangers on the walk .
There being a minimum of two on any walk .
Walking inside the caldera was enjoyaable amongst the senecio ( groundsel ) which I was told that variety only cccurs on top of Mt. Elgon , past an ancient moraine as you start the decent on the Sasa route .
As you drop in altitude you enter heathlands , then bamboo forrest and finally tropical forrest as you approach the Mudangi cliffs ( walls of death ) with really good views over Mt. Elgon`s western escarpment . One to two hours negotiating farm land below brings you to the roadhead and the end of a wonderful four day trek .
Flora and fauna........you should have a good chance of seeing black and white colobus monkeys moving through the forrest canopy as I saw them on both sides of the mountain and there was a brief encounter with a blue monkey . Know doubt you will come across the millions of ants that cross the walking track . The were a number of birds seen , more so on the northern side due to the openess of the vegetation , the sunbirds feeding on the nectar of plants at altitude made the biggest impression . Walking through the renmant forrest as I decended on the last day was a real delight and enhanced the total experience of the trek .
It was a real pleasure crossing Mt. Elgon and I would highly recommend the mountain to anybody who likes overnight walking . On the northern side you need to bring your own tent , sleeping bag , mattress etc , on the southern side there is huts to sleep in .
Written 10 May 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sseggembe M
Kampala, Uganda27 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2014 • Friends
This is not a very high mountain and it is an easy one to climb, compared to other mountains. The mountain is blessed with tropical forests, caves, animals such as monkeys and a variety of Flora along the slopes.
Traditionally, the most popular destination on the Mt. Elgon are the Sipi Falls that drop 100m to the foothill from an altitude of 1,775m on Sipi River that flows from the upper slopes of the mountain.
The mountain can be climbed during the periods; December to April and June to August , however November to December is advised since its the season when plants are flowering. Since the mountain is not so high, the risk of contacting diseases related to altitude is not so common. It is advised to travel with jungle boots and heavy clothing since it is pretty cold and sometimes wet up the slopes of the mountain.
I had a great holiday time with far-look safaris and tours uganda.
Written 29 March 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TheLinkAgencyEA
Mbale, Uganda129 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2017 • Friends
If you want a satisfying climb/hike that doesn’t require expert skills or equipment and is closer to home. Look no further than Mount Elgon. It's the 7th highest mountain in Africa at 4,321m and the summit is readily accessible for climbers with limited experience. It's the largest extinct volcano in the world that first/last erupted more than 24 million years ago, with a surface area of 50 km by 80 km. Mount Elgon is the fourth highest mountain in East Africa, with the second-highest peak in Uganda (Wagagi Peak – 4321 metres). It contains crater covering over 40 kms at the top of the mountain, surrounded by a series of rugged peaks.

Mount Elgon National Park is 140km North East of Lake Victoria and 280km from Kampala with estimated driving time of about 6hrs. The Park can be reached quickly by car or bus.
Written 24 July 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

John-nps
Carlisle, UK4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2017 • Friends
This was a 4-day / 3-night trip. We took our own tents but had 4 porters including a cook and 2 guides / rangers. We did tip afterwards and had advise on this from Sipi lodge. The hiking is not particularly difficult, though the altitude at the top is 4321 meters, so the altitude can cause some extra breathlessness on exertion, and on the third day we covered quite a distance with some up and down. The temperature ranged from t-shirt to shirt, fleece, coat and gloves, but it tends not to go below freezing even at the top. Our guides Jacob and Karim were competent and friendly, with Jacob being a particularly good travel companion. Both knew the area extremely well. The vegetation changes with altitude, monkeys confined to the lower wooded areas. We did get some rain, but we knew the rainy season had not yet ended; it was very green and there was always part of the day that was sunny. I would highly recommend a visit to the area by any confident hiker wanting an experience out of the ordinary. You will also be contributing significantly to protecting the area for future generations as, without the work of the rangers, it would under pressure from the crowded subsistence farming areas that surround the park.
Written 8 June 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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