Mount Elgon National Park

The 1,145 sq. km Mount Elgon National Park (locally known as Masaba), includes the shell of an extinct volcano, although hot springs still bubble on the caldera floor, on the border with Kenya. Its highest peak, Wagagai, is 4,321 m above sea level, making it the fourth highest mountain in East Africa. The rugged slopes, with their spectacular waterfalls, caves, hot springs and mountain vegetation, make this a wonderful and exciting area to explore. Most of the national park is montane forest, with vegetation that has adapted to the contrast of tropical heat and freezing nights. Intriguing and unique plants include giant groundsel, giant lobelia and giant heather. Bamboo forests are found in the southern and western parts of the park, and there are beautiful wild flowers.

The animals found in the park include buffalo, duiker, tree hyrax and leopard. Elephants have recently returned to the area from Kenya and there are many primates. The birdlife includes Ross’ Turaco, hornbills, and the Crowned Eagle.

Activities in the Park

The wooded slopes of Mt. Elgon are an enchanting place to hike and climb. Because of its smaller scale and milder climate, Mt. Elgon is a good choice for somebody looking for a less strenuous alternative to the Rwenzori Mountains. There are two main trails, the Piswa and the Sasa trails. Itineraries can be discussed at the park headquarters. The best time to plan a tour is during the dry season (June – August or December – February), and guides, porters and park rangers are available and recommended.

Climbing Mt. Elgon

The Wagagai Hotel in Budadiri (tel: Budadiri 4 – Mbale exchange) is close to the mountain, and guides and porters can be booked here.

Further information can be obtained from:

DEP/IUCN Mt. Elgon Conservation
and Development Project,
P. O. Box 2690 Mbale.

Visitors can also book a visit in advance by radio message from the Uganda Wildlife Authority in Kampala. The best time to visit is during the dry months (June to August, or December to February). However, it is still manageable during other months.

Check out the Mount Elgon National Park website for latest updates, tips and news.

Park Regulations

Pick up any rubbish, and camp at designated camp sites only. Fire pits are not allowed in undeveloped areas. It is not permitted to cross the Kenya border.

How to Reach the Park

Mbale is four hours drive away from Kampala via Tororo, on an excellent tarmac road. The road to the park headquarters goes south-east (Masaba Road). The Sipi Falls can be reached from the road to Kamnarkut on the way to the start of Piswa Trail.


Park campsites are simple. You must bring your own food and tents. Visitors are encouraged to carry kerosene, if possible, for environmental reasons.

In Mbale there is a wide range of options for food and accommodation. This is limited in Budadiri, Sipi, Kapchorwa, and Suam.

VISITORS – Entrance Fees in US $ per 24 Hour Visit
Adult Child
Foreign Non-Resident 14.29 for a one day excursion 2.86
28.57 for 2-5 days excursion
4.10 for each extra day after
the 5 days
Foreign Resident 9.52 for a one day excursion 2.86
19.04 for 2-5 days excursion
4.10 for each extra day after
the 5 days
Citizen Resident 1.90 for a one day excursion 0.47
1.90 for 2-5 days excursion
0.85 for each extra day after
the 5 days
MOTOR VEHICLES – Entrance Fees in US $ per Visit
Ugandan Foreign
Motorcycle 1.90 7.62
Motor car or pick-up 4.76 19.50
Bus or Lorry 11.43 45.71
CAMPING FEES – in US $ per person, per night
Foreign Non-Resident 9.52
Foreign resident 4.76
Citizen Resident 1.90
RANGER GUIDE – Per half day
Foreign Resident or Non-Resident 6.67
Citizen Resident 1.90
PHOTOGRAPHIC FEES – commercial filming
Where the size of the filming party is:
1-5 persons 190.48
6-20 persons 476.19
Over 20 persons 952.38

These figures do not include Entrance Fees

For fuller details, please contact:

The Warden in Charge,
Mount Elgon National Park,
P. O. Box 135, Mbale, Uganda