The Uganda western route takes you to the most amazing and interesting tourist highlights including the famous mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks, the amazing man’s closest cousins – the rare chimpanzees in the Kibale Forest National Park and the unmatchable wildlife safari experiences. But if you try to travel to the eastern side of the country, you will find a real gem in Mt Elgon National Park.
The national park is such a unique destination in that it has the largest base of any independent mountain and one of the biggest in the intact caldera on the planet. The mountain was once the highest mountain in Africa – far surpassing Kilimanjaro’s 5891m – many years of erosion have now left it eighth in the ranking at only 4321m, making it both more secure and easier to climb.
The park is an extremely impressive and undiscovered wilderness that has a lot of hidden treasures. Situated in the foothills are the fabulous falls of the Sipi Falls, a progression of 3 waterfalls, the highest of which plummets 100m. The mountain soil around there is rich in iron and this has led to the growth of Africa’s finest Arabica coffee. The beautifulness of the coffee plantations in the area is a firmly held secret of the local Basigu tribe who consider Mount Elgon to be the epitome of its founding father Masaba and have grown coffee here for eras.
Mount Elgon’s inclines are specked with caves, the biggest being 200m long, and is by all accounts always growing because of a population of elephants in the area who come to lick the natural salts found on the cave walls. Numbering around 100 individuals these strange elephants enter the caves as families and vanish deep into the dark labyrinths to exhume the mineral-rich rock for salt.
Together with its towering precipices, stunning gorges, and an assortment of widely varied vegetation, Mount Elgon National Park has a plenitude of attractions for the perceiving tourists however the cove elephants are a genuine wonder of the natural world and a must-see for those sufficiently fortunate to travel to the east.