Mt Elgon Hike 4 Days 3 Nights Sasa Sipi Trail

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Mount Elgon Hike Uganda

This is a short and rewarding 3-day hiking trek up Mount Elgon in Uganda. Hike to the summit of Mount Elgon at 4321 metres, and be rewarded with fantastic views above the plains of Eastern Uganda from Wagagai Peak, Mt Elgon’s highest peak.

Mt Elgon, the fifth-highest in East Africa, straddles Uganda and Kenya, about 140 km northeast of Lake Victoria. Mount Elgon is a relatively easy hike with good quality well-established trails and no technical climbing or steep slopes.

The trip uses the Sasa River trail that follows the Northern Route on the western flank of the mountain which is the shortest but steepest for climbing Mt Elgon from Uganda. This route is also recommended as the route sees the most beautiful parts of the mountain as you hike up the Simu valley and cross the Caldera. The hiking trip starts at Budadiri located within Mount Elgon National Park, at the foothills of Mount Elgon, and ends at Kapkwai Park gate.

On the first day, you’ll be driven 6km from Budadiri (1250 metres) to the trailhead at Bumasola (1711 metres). From here it’s a strenuous few hours up to the ‘ladders’, a set of metal staircases that bring us up and into the national park and the rainforest. You hike up to Sasa River Camp and have lunch or snacks and then continue up to stop for the night at Mude Camp.

Day two is our Summit day! Depending on prevailing weather conditions this is often an early start to get the best opportunity for a clear summit. We leave our gear and porters behind and head for the top. There is a small signpost marking the summit at the top, panoramic views of the caldera, and hills and valleys stretching into the distance on all sides.

After reaching the summit we have the option on the descent to ascend a side summit on Jackson’s peak – this is the summit Jackson’s team in 1890 thought was the highest point due to its more striking profile but is in fact just 4160 metres. It is well worth the effort! We get back to Mude Camp mid to late afternoon ready for an early dinner and an early night.

On day three, we take the trail into the Simu Valley and follow the rocky trail and pass old smugglers caves as we ascend into the Caldera and either finish at Kajere Camp or Tutum Cave Camp – Tutum cave being further by around a further 3 hours of hiking, but makes for a shorter last day.

On day four, we traverse the mountain dropping down into, crossing, and climbing back out of numerous streams and small rivers, passing waterfalls and seeing an abundance of wildflowers, fungi, and a variety of monkeys.

As we pass back into the rainforest we descend back towards civilization, and eventually to the Forest Exploration Centre at Kapkwai. The hike to Sipi Falls is a further hour from the Park gate at Kapkwai. Please note that our Mt Elgon hike 4 Days 3 Nights Sasa Sipi trail tour is available as a private hike.

Safari Itinerary in Summary

Day 1. Bumosola to Mude Camp (1770 Meters – 3500 Meters). (6 – 10 Hours)
Day 2. Mude Camp to Wagagai summit, Jacksons’ Peak (Optional), and back to Mude. (3500 Meters – 4321 Meters – 3500 Meters) 5 to 10 Hours
Day 3. Mude Camp to Kajere or Tutum Cave Camp. (6 – 12 Hours)
Day 4: Kajere/ Tutum to Kapkwai/ Sipi Falls. (4 to 8 Hours)

Safari Itinerary in Detail

Day 1. Bumosola to Mude Camp (1770 Meters – 3500 Meters). (6 – 10 Hours)

After meeting at UWA headquarters in Budadiri (1220 Meters) we take a short boda-boda ride to the trailhead at Bumosola (1770 Meters). From here it’s a strenuous few hours up to the ‘ladders’, a set of metal staircases that bring us up and into the national park and the rain forest.

These first few hours are some of the toughest of the whole trip with a steep incline, rough terrain and often hot mid-morning temperatures. After a rest and snack at the top of the ladders and a refill of our water bottles, we hike on wide dirt trails through the forest and to Sasa River Camp.

Here we take a rest for tea and coffee and either lunch or snacks depending on how we feel / our timing. This is our halfway point for the day.  As we continue up from here we move from rain forest to bamboo forest and eventually break through the forest entirely into alpine heather, shrub and giant lobelia.

We take a short rest to sign the visitor’s book as we pass the ranger’s outpost before a couple more km to our stop for the night at Mude Camp.


Day 2. Mude Camp to Wagagai summit, Jacksons Peak (Optional) and back to Mude.
(3500 Meters – 4321 Meters – 3500 Meters) 5 to 10 Hours

Summit day! Depending on prevailing weather conditions this is often an early start to get the best opportunity for a clear summit. We leave our gear and porters behind and head for the top. A strenuous day as we cross the 4000 Meters mark and start to feel the effects of altitude slowing us down.

Highlights on the way up are sunrise over the mountain, views of the Simu valley and Jacksons pool, everlasting flowers, alpine lichen and all the various Lobelia.

After reaching the summit we have the option on the descent to ascend a side summit on Jackson’s peak – this is the summit Jackson’s team in 1890 thought was the highest point due to its more striking profile but is in fact just 4160 Meters.

It is well worth the effort! We get back to camp mid to late afternoon ready for an early dinner and an early night.


Day 3. Mude Camp to Kajere or Tutum Cave Camp. (6 – 12 Hours)

Today is the day of beauty and wonder!! This is the most picturesque day of the trip. The first hour starts the same as day 2 before we take the left hand trail into the Simu Valley and follow the rocky trail and pass old smugglers caves as we ascend into the Caldera.

If the weather is being kind we get an incredible sunrise here, a truly stunning part of the natural world! As you climb up the far side of the caldera we pass stunning rock formations and huge vistas that warm the soul!!

Depending on the fitness of the group, the weather and how we are all feeling we can either finish today at Kajere Camp or Tutum Cave Camp – Tutum cave being further by around a further 3 hours of hiking, but makes for a shorter last day.


Day 4: Kajere/ Tutum to Kapkwai/ Sipi Falls. (4 to 8 Hours)

We traverse the mountain dropping down into, crossing and climbing back out of numerous streams and small rivers, passing waterfalls and seeing an abundance of wildflowers, fungi and a variety of monkeys.

As we pass back into the rainforest we descend back towards civilization, and eventually to the Forest Exploration Centre at Kapkwai. The hike to Sipi Falls is a further hour from the Park gate at Kapkwai but is very enjoyable and driving doesn’t save much time.

If you have arranged to spend the night in Sipi Falls then you can walk to your lodge and enjoy all the things you’ve missed for the last 4 days!

Mt Elgon Hike 4 Days 3 Nights Sasa Sipi Trail Prices

Mt Elgon Hike 4 Days 3 Nights Sasa Sipi Trail Price Includes: 

Mount Elgon National Park & Uganda Wildlife Authority fee of 300 US Dollars + ranger / guiding entrance fees + Camping fees + Porter fees + Cook & transport to the trailhead from Budadiri to Bumasola

 Dates From  Dates To Price Per Adult 
 1st January 2022  31st December 2022 1,350 US Dollars

Notes

* The itinerary below starts and finishes at Mt Elgon National Park gate in Budadiri and ends in Kapkwai
* Based on a minimum of 2 guests including all meals and drinks on the mountain. Including all taxes and surcharges
* We will provide transport on all trips to and from these points for your group from either Sipi or Mbale. Let us know your accommodation requests at booking and we can book you your pre and post-trip accommodation

Mt Elgon Hike 4 Days 3 Nights Sasa Sipi Trail Things to Bring

* Water bottle 1 to 2 litres
* Hiking poles – highly recommended!
* Gaiters – optional can be useful in the rainy season
* Entertainment – Camera, kindle, iPod etc to fill any dead time in camp
* Minimal gear. Try not to pack too much. If you need help just get in touch
* Personal medication and personal medical kit. You should carry your own basic
* Socks – bring at least 2 pairs of socks to hike in so one can dry while you wear the other
* Waterproofs, a rain jacket is essential and trousers optional but could be nice in the rainy season
* Hiking clothing – it’s warm during the day, so lightweight shorts or trousers and a t-shirt are perfect
* Daysack – around 30L is ideal to carry your jacket, fleece, lunch, snacks, water and any other essentials
* Shoes – Hiking books or hiking shoes are great – something with a good strong sole and that you have worn before are worn in to avoid blisters
* Sun protection. Hat, long-sleeved clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen are a must – we will be in the elements for long hours at altitude so this is a big consideration
* Warm weather gear. During the day a lightweight fleece or base layer for easy access in your daypack. For evenings, wool socks, warm trousers, down jacket, beanie, gloves personal medical kit with plasters, blister dressings, antiseptic ointment and any personal medication

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