Friday, November 23, 2012

Mt. Elgon National park – Secluded splendor.

On the western boarder of Kenya and Uganda lies a magnificent land form of extinct shield volcacano whose undulations and peaks give a shear feeling of untamed wilderness and secluded splendor. Its slopes support rich variety of vegetation from mount forest to high open moorland studded with the giant lobelia and groundsel plants all dictated by change of altitude. This is Mount Elgon National park!

The park boasts one of the most unique botanical diversity ranging from low attitude podocarpus and the Elgon Olive trees to the high attitude broad-leaf montane forest whose notable Ranunculus keniensis (previously thought endemic to Mount Kenya) occurs.

At the Endebess Bluff, there are panoramic view of the areas' escarpments, gorges, mesas, and rivers. The highest peak of Mt. Elgon on the Kenya side, Koitoboss, measures 13,852 ft (4,155 m), and is easily reached by hikers in about two hours from the road's end. Activities include; hiking to Endebess Bluff and Koitoboss Peak, Primate and bird watching, Cave explorations, Camping photography to mention but a few.

For bird lovers, you will be treated with a share of over 300 birds’ species including the endangered Lammergeier, African Goshawk and Baglafecht weaver. The Maathai Longleg an endangered dragonfly was discovered here in the year 2000 and named after Nobel Prize winner Wangari Mathaai. 
Together with the fauna and flora, the park has a variety of scenery such as cliffs, caves, waterfalls, gorges, mesas, calderas, hot springs, and the mountain peaks. The most popular areas are the four explore-able, vast caves where frequent night visitors such as elephants and buffaloes come to lick the natural salt found on the cave walls. Kitum cave, with overhanging crystalline walls, enters 200m into the side of Mt. Elgon.

Recent studies have shown that elephants and other mammals are major contributors to the development of these unique caves. The animals frequently visit the caves at night to 'mine' the natural salt by licking it from the cave walls. The caves are mapped and Kitum, Chepnyali, and Mackingeny can be explored by visitors to the park

From a cultural and ancient sustainable utilization and exploration, the park is popular for the setting of parts of Richard Preston's book ‘The Hot Zone’ with Kitum being the most popular part in setting of the book. Undoubtedly, Henry Rider Haggard's well-known novel 'King Solomon's Mines' may have also been inspired by the panoramic caves of Mt Elgon.

Other attractions include ancient cave paintings near the trailhead at Budadiri, and hot springs in the former volcano's crater which bubble at temperatures of up to 48°C

 PKP. safaris in kenya desk
Natural Track Safaris.