Uganda

Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon is an extinct volcano and is one of Uganda’s oldest physical features, first erupting around 20 million years ago. It was once Africa’s highest mountain, towering above Kilimanjaro’s 5895m. Millennia of erosion have reduced its height to 4321m, relegating it to fourth highest peak in East Africa (and seventh on the continent). However, its 4000 sq km surface area is still the largest base of any volcanic mountain worldwide. Although the mountain straddles the Kenya border, its loftiest peak, Wagagai, lies within Uganda and is best ascended from the Uganda side.

Mt. Elgon is an important watershed, and its slopes support a rich variety of altitudinal vegetation zones ranging from montane forest to high open moorland studded with the other-worldly giant lobelia and groundsel plants.

Spectacular scenery is the main attraction for hikers on this oft-neglected and relatively undemanding mountain, but there is also a variety of forest monkeys and small antelope, along with elephant and buffalo. A checklist topping 300 birds includes many species not recorded elsewhere in Uganda.

Other attractions include ancient cave paintings close to the trailhead at Budadiri, and spectacular caves and hot springs within the crater.