An ascent of Mount Elgon represents an exciting alternative to longer and more strenuous climbs on East Africa’s higher mountains. Elgon offers comparable attractions, including Afromontane botany, with a milder climate and lower elevation. A number of routes ascend the summit of Mount Elgon.

The Sasa Trail ascends to the 4321m Wagagai peak from the small town of Budadiri (1250m a.s.l.) in the Sironko Valley. The shortest and most direct option, it is possible to reach the summit and descend to Budadiri in 3 or (more comfortably) 4 days. The Sipi Trail follows a longer but gentler route, starting 800 higher than Budadiri at UWA’s Forest Exploration Centre at Kapkwai (2050m).

A highlight of any ascent of Mount Elgon is the traverse through the distinctive vegetation zones found only on East Africa’s highest mountains. The lowest of these zones, between the park boundary and the 2500m contour is montane forest. This gives way to bamboo (2,500-3,000m) followed by groves of giant heather (3000-3500m). Above 3500m, the mountainside opens into moorland dotted with outlandish forms of giant lobelias.