The park is located near Mbale in the Eastern part of Uganda. It covers 1,145 sq km and was named after Mt Elgon (4,321m), an extinct Volcanic Mountain that lies on the border of Uganda and Kenya. In the ancient times this mountain stood taller than Kilimanjaro Mountain, which is the highest mountain in East Africa. The Mountain is shared by Uganda and Kenya but its highest peak Wagagai peak (4321m) lies in Uganda. The mountain has got three other major peaks which are Kiongo (4303m), Mubiyi (4210m) and Jackson’s summit (4165m).
Mt. Elgon is also locally known as Mt. Masaba. Masaba is the name of the founding ancestor of the Bagisu who is said to have emerged from a cave on the slopes several centuries ago. Mt. Elgon is an important watershed for various rivers including the Sipi River which forms the famous Sipi falls. The slopes support a rich variety of altitudinal vegetation zones ranging from montane forest to high open moorland studded with the other-worldly giant lobelia and groundsel plants.
Though the spectacular scenery is the main attraction, the park has a variety of fauna species found in the park. These include forest monkeys, small antelopes, elephants and buffaloes. The park also harbours over 300 bird species with many species being not recorded elsewhere in Uganda. These birds range from forest birds, as well as several endemic species adapted to East Africa’s montane moorlands. Twelve of the species listed for Elgon occur in no other Ugandan national park and these include Jackson’s francolin, Moorland Francolin, Moustached green tinker bird, Red-throated wryneck, black-collared apalis, Hunter’s Cisticola, Alpine chat, Marsh Widowbird and Weyn’s weaver.
Other attractions found in the park include ancient cave paintings close to the trailhead at Budadiri, spectacular caves and hot springs within the crater, as well as the famous Imbalu dances and ceremonies held by the local people during initiation ceremonies.