Birding Mount Elgon National Park

Birding Mount Elgon National Park

January 2, 2022
Safari Tips

Mount Elgon National Park is not only made up of Mountain Elgon, an extinct volcano that erupted over 20 million years ago for the first time but also an excellent birding site. This being an extinct volcano, it has a caldera on the top that has a radius of about 40km. It used to be one of the highest mountains in Africa but with the rate of erosion in the area, it has been reducing and now stands at 4321m making it the fourth highest in East Africa. This mountain has a wide base of about 3840km. The national park covers an area of about 1145km.

Bird Watching in Mt Elgon national park

Elgon National Park has a bird species count of about 296 with about 40 that are almost limited to this National Park. Some of these include the Lammergeyer, Black-shouldered Kite, black collared Apalis, Jacksons Francolin, and Tacazze sunbird.

Other species you can spot during a birding safari in Mount Elgon national Park Include:

Crowned Hornbill

Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill

Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater

Yellow-billed Barbet

Gray-throated Barbet

Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird

Lanner Falcon

Red-fronted Parrot

Meyer’s Parrot

Gray Cuckooshrike

Purple-throated Cuckooshrike

African Black-headed Oriole

Black-throated Wattle-eye

Chinspot Batis

Brown-crowned Tchagra

Tropical Boubou

Doherty’s Bushshrike

Northern Fiscal

White-necked Raven

White-bellied Tit

Green-backed Camaroptera

Chestnut-throated Apalis

Gray Apalis

Chubb’s Cisticola

Hunter’s Cisticola

Mountain Yellow-Warbler

Cinnamon Bracken-Warbler

Rock Martin

Mosque Swallow

White-headed Sawwing

Black Sawwing

Slender-billed Greenbul

Eastern Mountain Greenbul

Common Bulbul

Brown Woodland-Warbler

Red-billed Oxpecker

Red-winged Starling

Sharpe’s Starling

Abyssinian Thrush

African Thrush

African Dusky Flycatcher

White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher

Cape Robin-Chat

Red-capped Robin-Chat

White-starred Robin

African Stonechat

Collared Sunbird

Northern Double-collared Sunbird

Baglafecht Weaver

Black-billed Weaver

Brown-capped Weaver

Abyssinian Crimsonwing

Kandt’s Waxbill

Red-cheeked Cordonbleu

Pin-tailed Whydah

Northern Gray-headed Sparrow

Western Yellow Wagtail

African Pied Wagtail

Brimstone Canary

Streaky Seedeater

Activities to do in Mount Elgon National Park after Birding safaris.

Game Drives

This being a mountainous area, most animals are found on the lower areas of the mountains. Unlike the other parks, here animals can barely be seen due to the forest cover. Some of the animals here include: Mountain Elephants, BushBucks, oribis, Spotted Hyenas, Waterbuks, colobus monkeys and waterbucks.

Mountain Hiking

Elgon is probably one of the less tense hikes in East Africa but will offer one of the best views you will ever get, with a mixture of human settlement, animals and Nature. It has trails that range from 4 to 6 days for a round trip. There is also an alternative that combines several trails.


This is usually done around Sipi falls. You can drop from a ridge of about 100m into a pool of water below the falls. You will go back to the top and repeat the adventure several times.

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is another activity you can engage in here. It’s also around the Sipi falls. There are about 14 unique rocks that you can climb. The highest is about 35m while the 15m.

Sport fishing

You will need to get a permit to do the spot fishing. Talk to your tour operator to organize this early for you to have the best experience. You will need carry your own equipment. You can still organize with the tour operator to book for you equipment for you on ground.

Mountain Biking

There is an exciting adventure for mountain Bikers in the eastern region, specifically Kapchorwa and the Elgon area. You will have views of the plains here and several other wildlife and waterfalls.

Cave tour

This being a mountain formed by volcanicity, there are a lot of caves formed as a result of lava cooling making different shapes of creatures including caves. These caves also act as shelters for hikers

Agro-tourism, Cultural encounters and Community trails

Mbale, one of the districts that make up Elgon National Park is known for coffee growing. You will be taken through coffee plantations on the slopes of the mountains. You will be taken through the process of picking, storage, grinding and drying of the coffee.

Access to Mount Elgon National Park for birding safari

You have an option to fly by air or travel by road. By road, you will drive from Kampala through Mbale upto Kapchorwa. It’s a 325km Journey: about 5 hours drive. By plane you will Charter a flight from Entebbe or Kajjansi to Soroti and then drive to Kapchorwa.

Lodges and Camps to stay in during birding safari in Mount Elgon National Park

The two main accommodation facilities are :

Sipi River Lodge
Casa Sipi River Lodge

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