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Mt Elgon Park Facts; An Overview.
This page provides an overview of the park. A Snapshot; information you ought to know - the Mt Elgon Park Facts.
You will find information on;
The Size, location and Management.
Climate, Weather and Vegetation.
Habitats and Nature.
The People and Culture.
Mt Elgon National Park on the Map
View Mt Elgon National Park - Uganda in a larger map
The Park is about 1,121km² in size.
Mt Elgon National Park is named after the mighty Elgon Ranges. These ranges are located in eastern Uganda, right at the border with Kenya. The Mountain transcends Uganda into Kenya.
With its base at about 4,000km² Mountain Elgon has the largest volcanic base in the world. It is the largest and presumably the oldest solitary volcanic mountain in the region. It raises about 4,321m above - which makes it the fourth highest in East Africa, with a diameter of 80km.
The Wagagai peak (4,321m) found on the Ugandan side is its highest point - which you could quite easily get to (of course with resolve and determination). The other point, Jackson Summit also in Uganda stands at 4,160m.
... And here is some fascinating geographical truth about these Volcanic ranges; the last time they erupted was about 24 million years ago. It is believed to be extinct - at least as I write this, no surprises!
Mt Elgon National Park is managed and run by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Through the views of the rolling country side, the vegetation here is a mix of a bit of everything; rainy forest with thick tall trees, thickets of bamboo, the mountain alpine heath with ragged and trashy looking tress and yellow grass with scabby bushes and wild flowers. It's called the African Alpine moor vegetation.
Climate; quite hard to describe - some have called it the moist to moderate dry. It gets quite wet. soggy and chilly in the rainy season though, with an average rainfall of about 1,200mm. The dry seasons to look out for are; June to August and December to March. It does and quite often rain any time here anyway - which is also pretty much the same in many places in Uganda.
However, hiking the Elgon ranges is done throughout the year, save for the seasons, you should have no trouble even in the rainy seasons.
The nights can be quite chilly - therefore don't forget to park enough warm cloths and that rain jacket will come in handy some time.
Amazing scenes to start with - this place will definitely live to your expectations; the 40km² collapsed crater, the gorges, the numerous jagged peaks, the volcanic calderas, waterfalls and more ...
This park offers a paradise for nature and bird enthusiasts; over 300 bird species ... and not just that, there is quite a good collection of mammals too ; bush duiker, hyenas, rock hyrax, buffalos, primates and elephants (these roam between the forest and the moorland).
The vegetation here; the African Alpine moor - as it's called gives you that spectacular view across. Not much grows among the rocks except a few small high-altitude trees and a few scabby bushes and wild flowers.
... And then the scenes of the massive caves filled with bats; You've got to get to the Tutum cave - very interesting place! A waterfalls spills over its entrance. Good place to camp and spend a night.
On your way back - really depends on which way you go; You will encounter the Sipi Falls. This lovely small place hosts an impressive trio of waterfalls that are about 100metres high. Another breathtaking view for your eyes!
Mt Elgon and its surrounding areas is home to 3 tribes; the Bagisu - also commonly known as the BaMasaba and the Sabiny are the more pronounced. The Ndorombos - a smaller and marginalised group live deep within the forest of Benet.
The Bagisu in particular have a very special attachment to the Elgon ranges. They believe the roots of their founding father - Masaba, are enshrined within the existence and perhaps the pre-existence of these ranges. Within their tradition and culture, these ranges are very significant and they refer to them as Mountain Masaba - after their founding father.
The local customs here include circumcision ceremonies; for the Bagisu, young men in their teens must go through public circumcision without flinching or making a sound as an initiation to manhood.
... And within the Sabiny culture, sadly a very conservative section of the tribe still practice female genital mutilation on young girls - a tradition that is fast being wiped out with the help of government of Uganda.
Without doubt, you will be treated to 'Malewa' (bamboo shoot), a traditional dish of the region. See its recipe here ... and more on Ugandan cuisine here ...
Main activity here is subsistence farming for household consumption . You will see systematic tree cutting in the forests- an agreement has been reached between the local communities and the forestry department for the sustainable harvest of traditional forest products, hence the felling.
Mt Elgon Park Facts - Fun facts;
Did you know that;
In the olden times, with the Wagagai peak, Mt Elgon stood taller than what Mt Kilimanjaro (5,895m - the highest in Africa) is today. It has certainly stood the taste of natural ecological disintegration and erosion relegating it to the 4th highest in East Africa and 8th in Africa..
There you have them - the Mt Elgon Park Facts!
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