Mt Elgon National park is located 420 kms from Nairobi. Access is via tarmac road to Kitale, branch to murram road then to the Chorlim Gate. At At 4,321 m (14,177 ft) Mt. Elgon is Kenya’s second highest mountain, an ancient eroded volcano with a huge caldera.
The park covers an area of 1279 km² and is bisected by the border of Kenya and Uganda. The Ugandan part of the park covers 1110 km² while the Kenyan part covers 169 km².The Kenyan part of the park was gazetted in 1968, the Ugandan part in 1992.
I got the chance to visit Mt Elgon National Park while taking part in Unexpected Kenya series. Seeing as we were scouting for locations to shoot we weren’t able to explore the park as much as I would have liked to.
Once you drive into the park you will most likely be greeted by the sight of zebras and bushbuck grazing peacefully in a field. They seemed used to humans so I was able to get pretty close to take pictures.
The vegetation inside the park consist mostly of forest and the temperatures in the park are cool.
The two locations we visited inside the park were the Kitum Cave and Making’eny cave. The two caves are among the three open to the public, the third is Chepnyali. You do need a vehicle to enter the park but you can walk from the gate to both Kitum and Making’eny if accompanied by a park ranger.
If interested you can have a picnic at a site in the beginning of the Kitum Cave trail.
Of the 3 caves, Kitum is the most famous. The cave which extends some 600 feet into the mountain has walls covered in salt. Each night for hundreds (possibly thousands) of years animals have travelled into the cave in the dead of night to use it as a giant salt lick. You can watch part of a BBC documentary about the elephants here
The cave also gets a mention in Richard Preston’s book The Hot Zone. It became well known in the 1980’s when two European visitors contracted Marburg virus
I didn’t get to explore the caves since there was not much time. If you have that planned be sure to carry a powerful flashlight.
Our next stop was Making’eny cave which can be accessed via a path as you walk on the trail to/from Kitum cave or you can choose to drive to the beginning trail that leads directly to the cave from the main road. The trail to Making’eny caves is steep. We all got to the top feeling rather winded.
That’s our driver at the bottom of the falls
Once you get to the caves you can walk down to the floor of the falls. The non-existent path is treacherous so practical footwear is a must.
You should also consider carrying protective (water-proof) clothing. It tends to rain most afternoons. On the first day there it rained heavily on while we were at Makin’eny cave. We had been told that it might happen but we weren’t prepared at all. We covered our equipment as much as we could and made it down the trail as fast as we could. By as fast as we could, I mean at snail’s pace since the trail had gotten very slippery.
Apart from the zebras and bush buck I was not able to spot much else. I did spot a couple of colobus monkeys but they were too fast for me to get any pictures.
If you are interested in staying inside the park, there is accommodation inside the park and the charges are as follows.
|Residents and citizens (Kshs)||Non-residents (USD)||No of units||Capacity per unit|
|Kiotoboss guest house||6,000||180||1||6|
|EA Residents (Kshs)||EA Citizens (Kshs)||Non Residents (USD)|
This week Safari 254 links up with;
1. Reflections enroute #wkendtravelinspiration
2. Adelina’s Pack Me To in #SundayTraveler
3. Noel Morata’s Travel Photo Mondays
Please visit the sites for more wonderful photos and posts.