Mount Elgon is a prime trekking mountain in East Africa. Elgon is a huge volcano with the largest crater of the major peaks in Africa. The caldera is one of the world’s largest.
It name derives from it’s Massai name of “Ol Doinyo Ilgoon” which translates to “Breast Mountain” and was also known as & “Masaba” on the Ugandan side.
Mount Elgon is my favorite peak in Africa. It is less crowded than Kilimanjaro, just as spectacular, and since there are less people on the slopes, you have a much greater chance of spotting wildlife. There are several waterfalls on the slopes, and there are even hot springs to soak in inside the crater! Climbing the mountain is an experience not soon forgotten.
The 5 major peaks of Mt. Elgon
Wagagai (4,321 meters); Uganda.
Sudek (4,302 meters); Kenya/Uganda border
Koitobos (4,222 meters); Kenya
Mubiyi (4,211 meters); Uganda
Masaba (4,161 meters); Uganda
The route to Wagagai is the most popular on Uganda side and can take at least 3 days trekking.
However, if you want to explore this mountain fully, you should book 5 days package of hiking.
The peak can be climbed from the Uganda or Kenya sides, but as of late, the best route is from Uganda, even though it is a longer walk. I know only the Uganda side of the mountain, and thus this will be the side described.
To get to the trailhead, make your way by bus to Tororo and then Mbale. From Mbale catch a “matatu” (mini-bus) to Budadiri. This is the trailhead. There are hotels is Mbale and one in Budadiri. You must arrange everything for the climb (permits, porters, and a guide) in the national park service station in Budadiri.
We can help you organize private transport from Kampala or Entebbe airport to the Mountain and coming back after the trek, including accommodation permits, camping materials, porters, etc.
If you are coming from Kampala, you can add white water rafting on your itinerary. This is so adventurous on the Mighty River Nile in Jinja.
Mount Elgon Routes – Uganda Side
The Sasa River Route, on the Uganda side, is the route we took and may be the best route up the mountain. Attractions along the route include a good chance of seeing Colobus and Blue Monkeys, as well as other wildlife, and side trips to waterfalls, hot springs, the crater floor and other summits. Because of all the wonderful side trips available, five to six days is recommended.
The Pisawa Route is one other route commonly used from the Uganda side and from the north and from Kapwata. It is said to be longer and less steep than the Sasa River Route. Round trip distance is 49 kms and seven days is recommended.
The Sipi Route is a new route that has been constructed from Sipi Falls. This would make a fine loop with the Sasa River Route. Round trip distance is 56 kms and four to six days is recommended.
Time required to trek Mt. Elgon – Uganda
The climb can be completed in 3 long or 4 shorter days. Five days or more are recommended in order to visit the hot springs and crater, in addition to the summit.
Best time to Climb Mt. Elgon
There are two dry seasons. One is mid-December through March, and the other one is June and July. Trekking during the dry season is highly recommended.
The weather is wet very often, even in the dry season. No accurate weather forecasts are available for the area, other than it will be drier in the dry season, and wetter in the wet season.
Rafting and Gorilla Tracking in Uganda after Climbing Mt. Elgon
Most of Hikers to Wagagai summit of Mount Elgon combine this adventure experience with white water rafting on River Nile and Bwindi gorilla safari adventure! This is an adventure experience for lifetime.