High in the mist-wreathed hills of western Kenya is a towering volcanic giant, crowned by a vast caldera etched by glacial tarns, honeycombed by labyrinthine caves, fissured by valleys and cascaded by streams.
Visitors can explore the forest, see the elephant caves and also enjoy biking, hiking, and rock climbing on the eighth-highest mountain in Africa – Mount Elgon.
The mountain is an extinct shield volcano and acts as a water catchment for two rivers Nzoia and Turkwel, The Nzoia flows to Lake Victoria and Turkwel flows to lake Turkana.
Elgon’s upper slopes are cloaked in tropical montane forest, while above this lies a vast tract of Afro-Alpine moorland, and this unique vegetation extends over the caldera, a collapsed crater covering over 40 square kilometres at the top of the mountain.
Mount Elgon has gradual slopes up to the peaks on the crater rim and offers a satisfying climb that doesn’t require expert skills or equipment. The ultimate goal is not the final ascent to the 4321-metre Wagagai Peak, but the descent into the vast caldera once there.
Exploring the foothills is an alternative activity for visitors who do not wish to climb to the top, and this is an excellent hiking area. Trekkers will be well rewarded by the volcanic foothills, cliffs, caves, gorges and waterfalls along with panoramic views across the wide plains below.
The park is home to numerous animals including elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, giant forest hogs, waterbucks, hyenas, bush bucks, and monkeys. It also boasts over 240 bird species.
There are caves to visit as well as the pretty cascading Sipi Falls.
Endemic plants include giant lobelia, heather and groundsel.