Mount Elgon rises an impressive 4,321m above the hot, dusty Karamoja plains of Uganda to provide a cool respite for humans and a refuge for flora and fauna. It is the 4th highest peak in East Africa and 8th highest on the continent.
Above 3000m the forest fades into heath and then afro-alpine moorland, which blankets the caldera, opening up for some sweeping rides completely devoid of any other human presence. This is the location of the annual Elgon Enduro, an exciting mountain biking race lauded as a definitive test for the serious mountain biker.
These varied events over two days allow you to compete against other riders on special stages which challenge you both technically and physically! This all takes place in the most fantastic atmosphere with adventure and competition aplenty.
You can have an exhilarating, professionally-guided mountain biking holiday where you spend three days riding the Mt Elgon trails with experienced mountain bike guides followed by two days of Enduro racing. Each night you return to the luxury eco-lodge Sipi River Lodge.
The owner of the lodge, Will Clark, runs his own adventure guiding company Clark Expeditions which have pioneered mountain biking holidays on Mt Elgon and have, through much experience of riding this themselves, found several routes up and down the mountain, from steep downhill dashes for the hard-core MTB fans, to gradual inclines taking in the stunning views for those who are looking for a gentler journey.
Will and his highly trained guides can also take you kayaking, rafting, hiking and mountain biking across Mount Elgon or further afield.
Hikes to the summit of Mount Elgon are highly recommended and can be tailored to your specific interests or own preference to the speed of your trek or the hours you spend trekking each day. You travel with expert guides who know the mountain intimately, and fly-camp each night in comfortable camps which are set up for you each day.
There is also the option of taking short hikes from Sipi River Lodge, enjoying the wildlife of the lower slopes along the way. These are clothed in tropical montane forest rising into extensive stands of bamboo. This part of the forest is full of life with good primate viewing including black-and-white colobus; red tailed, vervet, De Brazza’s and blue monkeys as well as some birding specials like the Great Blue Turaco and the White-starred Forest Robin.
Short bike rides are possible on the lower slopes too but camping for a couple of nights to witness the upper reaches of the mountain is highly recommended.
You can extend your stay in Uganda by meeting the local Karamajong tribe in a truly respectful cultural interaction, rafting on the White Nile and taking an intimate safari off the beaten track, staying in delightful bush camps. Of course, Uganda is famous for its primates and we encourage everyone who visits to take the opportunity of a gorilla trek to see this majestic species in the wild and learn how they are being protected.
Video and images kindly provided courtesy of Clark Expeditions