Mount Elgon is an extinct shield volcano standing on the border of Uganda and Kenya north of Kisumu. It has the largest volcanic base in the world. The mountain is visible Northeast of Lake Victoria with its highest point, named Wagagai, fully located within Uganda.

mount elgon - mbale uganda

It is also a catchment area for rivers, like the Nzoia River and the Lwakhakha River, which flow to Lake Victoria as well as the Suam River which drains into Lake Turkana.

Mount Elgon is 80 kilometres in diameter and rises 3,070 metres above the surrounding plains. It has five major peaks namely:

  • Wagagai (4,321 metres), in Uganda
  • Mubiyi (4,211 metres) in Uganda
  • Masaba (4,161 metres) in Uganda
  • Sudek (4,302 metres) on the Kenya-Uganda border
  • Koitobos (4,222 metres), a flat-topped basalt column in Kenya.

Other outstanding features around Mount Elgon include: the Endebess Bluff recorded to be 2,563 metres, the largest intact magnificent caldera in the whole world, the warm springs by the Suam River and the Ngwarisha, Makingeny, Chepnyalil, and Kitum caves. The 60-metres-wide Kitum Cave is 200 metres deep and wild elephants puncture with their task to lick its salt-laden walls.

On either side of Mount Elgon international border are two National Parks. Park visitors may look forward to seeing elephants and buffaloes, found on the lower slopes, small antelopes and duikers, forest monkeys, the black-and-white colobus and blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, leopards, hyenas and over 144 bird species including: Jackson’s francolin, the Eastern bronze-naped pigeon, Hartlaub’s turaco, the Tacazze sunbird, the endangered Lammergeyer and many others.

The Endebess Bluff offers a panoramic view of the areas’ escarpments, mesas, gorges and rivers. The highest peak of Koitoboss, found on the Kenyan side of the mountain can be hiked easily in two hours. At the trailhead at Budadiri, in addition to ancient cave paintings, the crater bubbles with water at temperatures of up to 48 °C. Eggs can be boiled here.

Other activities to savour include: Vehicle circuits leading to animal viewing areas, the caves and Koitoboss peak; Self-guided walking trails; Cave explorations; and Camping photography.

Safari packages to Mount Elgon

Related mountaineering / hiking safaris

Other tourist attractions