“The world’s Largest Mountain Caldera”

It’s one of the most oldest volcanic mountains in Africa which is located in Mbale district in Uganda is the eight-highest mountain in Africa, and it rises from the broadest base of any freestanding mountain in the world. Mount Elgon whose formation was associated with the tectonic activity that created the Rift Valley several million years ago. Eligon’s tallest peaks form a jagged circle around the caldera that has a diameter of about 8km and is dotted with small crater lakes and hot springs created by Pleistocene glacial activity. Wagagai is the tallest peak set on the Uganda side of the boarder which lies on the southwest caldera rim. Other peaks are Kiongo in the south, Mubiyi in the north and Jackson’s Summit in the east.

The local Bagisu call the mountain Masaba the name of their founding ancestor who is said to have emerged from a cave on the slopes several centuries back. However, Joseph Thomson was the first European to reach the mountain’s lower slopes who approached it from the direction of Maasai land

He called the mountain an Anglicization of El Kony, the name given to both the massif and its inhabitants by the Maasai who used to visit the area on cattle raids.

Hiking is one of the major activities carried out on Mount Elgon and it is not difficult to climb Mount Elgon. Hikers need to be fit though there is no specialized equipment required to reach the peaks and the mountain is not so high that there is a serious risk of the altitude-related illnesses that regularly afflict hikers on the upper slopes of Mount Kenya. This mountain can be climbed at any time of the year however dry sessions are better than wet sessions.

There are several hiking routes that are available. The most popular route is a four-day round trip from Budadiri to Wagagai following the Sasa route in both directions. The other is the five-day hike between Budadiri taking in Wagagai and the hot springs and a six-day hike between Budadiri and Kapkwata via Wagagai and the hot springs.

The national park can be explored only on foot though most of the trailheads can be reached on public transport and accommodation exists all the three trailheads. Wagagai Hostel and Rose’s Last Chance are available. While on a trail camping is the only option.