Hiking at Mount Elgon

Mount Elgon is a solitary extinct volcano straddling the border between Uganda and Kenya, 100 km north-east of Lake Victoria National Parks now exist on both the Ugandan and Kenyan sides of the mountain though they only merge on the north-east side of the mountain. Wagagai, the highest peak lies in Uganda and is 4321m. Despite its height, the average slope angle of Mount Elgon is less than 4 degrees (van Heist, 1994).

The Ugandan side of Mount Elgon National Park covers 1145km2 between 0o52 and 1o25N, and between 34o14 and 34o44E (Howard, 1991). Mount Elgon is the oldest of the East African volcanoes, resting on the dissected pen plain of Pre Cambrium bedrock of the Trans Nzoia Plateau (Davies, 1952). The soils on Mount Elgon are from the Andisol order (“developed in volcanic ejecta“) (FAO classification).

The climate of Mount Elgon shows an approximately bimodal pattern of rainfall, with the wettest months occurring from April to October (van Heist, 1994). The forest zone receives the maximum rainfall (Synott, 1968) and is important in the mountains role as a water catchment for several million people (van Heist, 1994).

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