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Mount Elgon National Park

The boundary of Mount Elgon National Park is at 2,200m above sea level, and things just get higher from there. The free-standing Mount Elgon is the dominant feature of this landscape for miles around.

The mountain’s true peak – Wagagai (4,321m) is located outside Mount Elgon National Park, in Uganda. But Koitoboss Peak is located in the park, and it’s flat and located at 4,155m, though the highest peak in Kenya is nearby Sudek at 4,310m. Another notable feature of the park are the cliffs of Endebess Bluff at 2,563m.

The park contains wonderful forests of Elgon teak, cedar and podocarpus. These are home to colobus and de Brazza monkeys. Thick bamboo forests take over as the altitude rises, and eventually give way to the open moorland with its giant heather and everlasting flowers (which are best viewed between November and January) and then to the giant lobelia and groundsel near the summit.

The park has some fascinating caves. One in particular – Kitum cave – was featured in a David Attenborough documentary. Elephants maneuver (by night!) up the treacherous and thin path to the cave to scratch salt out of its walls with their tusks.

The park also has prolific birdlife: about 240 species including cinnamon-chested bee-eaters, Hartlaub’s turaco and red-headed parrots. Hiking trails and 4×4 viewing circuits wind their way around the park.