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The park on Mount Elgon in Kenya is located on the north and eastern slopes covering an estimated 196sq km. this park extends deep into the Uganda borders making a free zone for animals to move between the two countries. It was gazetted as a Kenya game park in 1968 is managed by the Kenya Wildlife service.
Mount Elgon is one of the highest peaks in Kenya, second after Mount Kenya. This extinct volcano is located in western Kenya along the border of Uganda and Kenya. One of the scenic features on the mountain is the huge crater on Koitobos peak which is the highest peak on Elgon Kenya. The flat topped basalt peak is majorly covered in montane and bamboo forest, exotic high altitude vegetation such as the giant lobelia, Elgon olive trees and unique plant species to mention a few
Wildlife in the park
The forest reserve makes a major eco-system and habitat for game, birds and the mountain. Some of the wild animals in the park include African elephants often sighted at the salt licks and on animal paths. There are an estimated 230 elephants in Mount Elgon National Park. Other animals include blue monkeys, bush back, duiker, buffalo, white and black colobus monkey, golden cat, the giant forest hog and rare sights of the leopard as well.
More than 200 birds are recorded in the park with regular sights of the Ross Turaco, African crowned eagle, white winged sun birds, lammergeyer, Jackson’s francolin and the red fronted parrot among many others. The Mathaai long legged dragon fly is one endemic species of insect in the park only found in the high altitude zones and forest on the mountain.
Other attractions in the park include the forest covered crater, salt mining cave Kitum-popularly seen with elephants, the waterfall, hot springs, gorges, caves, sharp cliffs and many others. Hiking is one of the adventures on the park besides safari walks, nature walks, horse riding and mountain climbing among others.
Mount Elgon is actually more than 130km north of Lake Victoria and is reached from the Uganda and Kenya sides. The road to Kitale is used to access the park in Kenya via either Endebess or the dusty route 15km from Kitale town on the left turn leading to Chorlim gate. Both routes can lead to the park as long as the tourists are with a KWS tour guide. The best time to visit the park is around June to August when the weather is quite dry and a few days of rainfall.
There is no significant accommodation within the park although the KWS runs self catering accommodation options at Koitoboss guesthouse for a capacity of six people and another facility at Kapkuro Banda fro a maximum of 3 people per unit. Both facilities are located down the mountain-from the park gate.
Camping is allowed at designated public campsites at Ringai camp, Nyati camp and Chorlim gate camp. However, tourists or visitors have to carry camping gear and supplies for their period of stay. There is a private camp at Salt lick special campsite with some basic camping facilities.