Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park                                                  
Mt. Elgon is Kenya's second highest mountain. It lies 140 km North East of Lake Victoria and is bisected by the Kenya-Uganda border. It is an ancient eroded volcano with a huge caldera and, on its summit, the spectacular flat topped basalt column known as Koitobos. Another unique feature of the mountain is the lava tube caves, some over 60m wide and frequented by elephants (and other animals) digging for salts. The mountain soils are red laterite. Mt Elgon is an important water catchment for the Nzoia river which flows into Lake Victoria and for the Turkwel river which flows into Lake Turkana.

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Mount Elgon National Park                                    
"Untamed wilderness, secluded splendour"
Mt Elgon National Park was gazetted in 1968 and covers a narrow transect up the North Eastern slopes of the mountain, from lower montane forest to the caldera edge. The remaining forest and moorland is part of the Mt Elgon Forest Reserve. The Ugandan side of the mountain is protected within Uganda's Mt Elgon National Park.

-  Roads: Mt. Elgon is located 420 kms from Nairobi. Access is via tarmac road to Kitale, branch to murram road then to the Chorlim Gate..
-  Airstrips: There is one airstrip in the park..

Park Gates
-  Chorlim (main gate)
-  Kassawai
-  Kiptogot
-  Kimothon

Size and Location
-  196 km2
-  On the western border of Kenya with Uganda, in Trans-nzoia District of Rift Valley Province.

The climate is moist to moderate dry. Annual rainfall is over 1,270mm

Safari Card Required
At present the park does not operate the Safari Card system. Entry is by cash only.

-  Caves
-  Salt Mining Elephants of Kitum Cave.
-  Spectacular Waterfall.
-  Game Viewing around the Mountain.
-  Birdwatching
-  Viewing the mountain.
Elephant, leopard, giant forest hog, bushbuck, buffalo, duiker, black and white colobus, blue monkeys and golden cat, among others.

-  More than 240 bird species in the area, including the African crowned eagle, Ross’ turaco, and red-fronted  parrot.
-  340 bird species have been recorded, of which 230 are forest dependant, while 110 are forest specialist.

The vegetation varies with altitude. The mountain slopes are covered with olive Olea hochstetteri and Aningueria adolfi-friedericii wet montane forest. At higher altitudes, this changes to olive and Podocarpus gracilior forest, and then a Podocarpus and bamboo Arundinaria alpina zone. Higher still is a Hagenia abyssinica zone and then moorland with heaths Erica arborea and Philippia trimera, tussock grasses such as Agrostis gracilifolia and Festuca pilgeri, herbs such as Alchemilla, Helichrysum, Lobelia, and the giant groundsels Senecio barbatipes and Senecio elgonensis.
The botanical diversity of the park includes giant podocarpus, juniper and Elgon olive trees cedar Juniperus procera, pillarwood Cassipourea malosana, elder Sambucus adnata, pure stands of Podocarpus gracilior and many orchids.
Of the 400 species recorded for the area the following are of particular note as they only occur in high altitude broad-leaf montane forest: Ardisiandra wettsteinii, Carduus afromontanus, Echinops hoehnelii, Ranunculus keniensis (previously thought endemic to Mount Kenya), and Romulea keniensis.

-  Mountain Climbing.
-  Horse Riding.
-  Picnicking
-  Camping
-  Birdwatching

What to take with you
Drinking water, picnic items and camping equipment if you intend to stay overnight, walking boots, warm clothing, training shoes, socks, sandals and gaiters. Also useful are: binoculars, camera, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and guidebooks.

KWS Reservations
Tel:         +254-20-600800, 602345
Fax:         +254-20-607024
E-mail: or,
Postal Address: Mt. Elgon National Park, P.O.Box 753, Kitale, Kenya.