Mountain Elgon National Park :  A national park named Mount Elgon is located 87 miles (140 km) northeast of Lake Victoria. The border between Kenya and Uganda cuts across the park’s 1,279 square kilometres (494 sq mi) of land. The park’s total area is 1,110 km2 (430 sq mi) in Uganda and 169 km2 (65 sq mi) in Kenya. The park’s Kenyan and Ugandan portions were both gazetted in 1968 and 1992, respectively.

The extinct shield volcano Mount Elgon, which lies on the boundary between Kenya and Uganda, inspired the park’s name. The Kenyan-Ugandan boundary divides Mount Elgon National Park in a distinctive way, down the centre. For the Turkwel River (also known as the Suam River in Uganda), which empties into Lake Turkana, and the Nzoia River, which empties into Lake Victoria, Mount Elgon is a significant water catchment area.

Mount Elgon

North of Kisumu and west of Kitale, Mountain Elgon is an extinct shield volcano that lies on the border between Kenya and Uganda. Wagagai, the mountain’s highest point, lies fully within Uganda. Mount Elgon is thought to be at least 24 million years old, making it the oldest extinct volcano in East Africa, despite the lack of concrete evidence of its early volcanic activity. The name of the mountain, Elgonyi in Maasai, is where it got its name.

The border between eastern Uganda and western Kenya is marked by the enormous, lone, volcanic mountain known as Mount Elgon. Its enormous form, which has an 80-kilometer (50-mile) diameter, towers 3,070 metres (10,070 feet) above the nearby plains. Humans can find relief from the sweltering plains below in its cooler heights, and animals and plants can find refuge at its higher elevations.

The five main summits of Mt. Elgon are as follows:

  • Wagagai, in Uganda, is 4,321 metres (14,177 feet) high.
  • Koitobos (4,222 metres (13,852 ft)), a flat-topped basalt column in Kenya
  • Sudek (4,302 metres (14,114 ft)) on the Kenya/Uganda border
  • Uganda’s Mubiyi (4,211 metres [13,816 feet])
  • Masaba in Uganda is 4,161 metres (13,652 feet) high.
  • One of the world’s largest intact calderas is that of Elgon.
  • The Endebess Bluff’s warm springs near the Suam River (2,563 metres (8,409 feet))
  • The caverns in Ngwarisha, Makingeny, Chepnyalil, and Kitum are all over 60 metres wide and extend for 200 metres (660 feet). Wild elephants frequent the cave, which has salt deposits, and they lick the salt by poking holes in the cave walls with their tusks. The Marburg virus was linked to the cave in Richard Preston’s 1994 book The Hot Zone after two visitors to the site—one in 1980 and the other in 1987—developed the illness and passed away.

The soil on the mountains is red laterite. The mountain serves as the catchment region for a number of rivers, including the Suam River, the Turkwel River, the Nzoia River, and the Lwakhakha River, all of which run into Lake Turkana and Lake Victoria, respectively. In the mountain’s slopes is the town of Kitale. Two Mount Elgon National Parks, one on either side of the international boundary, guard the area around the summit.


Around the mountain, there is a colony of African bush elephants that go far into caves to reach salt licks. Previously spread throughout the mountain, this population is now restricted to the Kenyan side, where they visit Kitum Cave.

There are several disjunct populations of mammal species that are restricted to Mount Elgon, including the Elgon shrew (Crocidura elgonius), Rudd’s mole-rat (Tachyoryctes ruddi), and Thomas’s pygmy mouse (Mus sorella). There are also several disjunct populations of rare bird species, including Sharpe’s longclaw (Macronyx sharpei), Hunter’s cisticola (Cisticola hunteri), Jackson’s spurfowl (Pternistis jacksoni), and the Elgon francolin (Scleroptila elgonensis).

On the lower slopes, elephants and buffalo can be spotted. Along with forest monkeys like the black-and-white colobus and blue monkey, the park is also home to a variety of tiny antelope, duiker, and other primates. Despite being believed to be locally extinct, reports of red-tailed monkeys have been made. There are leopards and hyenas there.

Mountain Elgon National Park


At least 144 different bird species can be seen on Mount Elgon. Due to their confined ranges, Hartlaub’s turaco, Tacazze sunbird, Jackson’s spurfowl, eastern bronze-naped pigeon, endangered lammergeier, and Tacazze sunbird are of particular interest.

In honour of Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai, an endangered dragonfly known as Maathai’s longleg was found here in 2005. According to reports, Mt. Elgon is home to half of Uganda’s butterfly species.

Kitum caves

Kenya’s Mount Elgon National Park is home to Kitum Cave. Two tourists from Europe got the Marburg virus sickness there in the 1980s. Elephants, among other creatures, “mine” the rock in one of Mount Elgon’s five so-called “elephant caves” for its sodium-rich salts.

As opposed to what some people have assumed, Kitum Cave is not a lava tube but a non-solution cave formed in pyroclastic (volcanic) rocks. Near the Kenya-Uganda border, it juts out roughly 200 metres (700 feet) into Mount Elgon’s side. Elephants, for example, have long delved far into the cave in search of salt due to the cave’s salt-rich walls. The elephants scratch and furrow the cave walls with their tusks as they break off chunks of the wall to chew and swallow. Over time, the cave has probably grown larger as a result of the elephants’ actions. Hyenas, buffalo, and bushbuck also visit Kitum Cave to eat the salt that the elephants left behind.

Contrary to popular belief, Kitum Cave is not a lava tube but rather a non-solution cave formed in pyroclastic (volcanic) rocks. Near the Kenyan-Uganda border, it penetrates Mount Elgon’s side by roughly 200 metres (700 feet). Elephants and other animals have long ventured far into the cave in quest of salt because the walls are rich in it. Elephants probably extended the cave throughout time by using their tusks to tear off portions of the cave wall that they later eat and swallow and leave scarred and furrowed. Hyenas, buffalo, and bushbuck are among the species that frequent Kitum Cave to eat the salt that the elephants left behind. In the deepest parts of the cave, fruit-eating and insect-eating bats have left behind a lot of bat guano. Additionally, there is a deep chasm where baby elephants have fallen and perished.

The park’s scenery is diverse, including cliffs, caves, waterfalls, gorges, mesas, calderas, hot springs, and mountain peaks, in addition to its fauna and vegetation. The four large, explorable caves are the most well-liked spots, and at night, elephants and buffalo frequently stop by to taste the natural salt that coats the cave walls. With crystalline overhanging walls, Kitum Cave extends 200 metres into the slope of Mount Elgon.

A panoramic view of the escarpments, gorges, mesas, and rivers in the area may be seen from the Endebess Bluff. Koitoboss, Mt. Elgon’s tallest peak on the Kenyan side, is easily accessible by hikers and takes about two hours to climb from the road’s end. Its elevation is 4,155 m (13,632 ft).

Activities comprise

  • Vehicle routes leading to places where you can see animals, caves, and Koitoboss peak.
  • Pathways for walking independently
  • Hiking to Koitoboss Peak and Endebess Bluff
  • Observing primates and birds Exploring caves
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