Birding Mountain Elgon | Kenya Mountain Birding | Bird Watching Kenya Mountains | Kenya Mountain Birding Tour | Birdwatching Safaris Kenya Mountains
Mount Elgon is located app. 470 kilometers from Nairobi, 140 km north-east of Lake Victoria and bisected by the Uganda Kenya border.
It is an ancient, eroded volcano with a huge caldera and, on its summit, the spectacular flat-topped basalt column known as Koitobos at 4,200 m. Another unique feature of the mountain is the ‘lava tube’ caves, some over 60 m wide. The mountain soils are red laterite, and rainfall is 1,200 mm/year on the mid-slopes. Mount Elgon is an important water catchment for the Nzoia River, which flows into Lake Victoria, and for the Turkwel River, which flows into Lake Turkana.
The vegetation is zoned by altitude, with wet montane forest dominated by Olea capensis and Aningeria adolfi-friedericii grading into Olea– Podocarpus falcatus forest, a zone of mixed Podocarpus and bamboo Arundinaria alpina, and the Hagenia abyssinica zone with giant heath Erica arborea and Erica trimera elgonensis. Afro-alpine moorlands occupy the highest parts of the mountain, with tussock grasses such as Festuca pilgeri, bogs of Carex runssoroensis, giant groundsels and giant lobelias. Open wooded grassland with Erythrina and Combretum covers part of the lower, drier north-eastern slopes.
Mount Elgon National Park was gazette and opened for tourism activities in 1968. Spot fishing on River Suam, game viewing (African Elephant, Waterbuck, African Buffalo, Leopard, Giant Forest Hog, Monkey species, e.t.c), birdwatching, primate watch, Mountain hiking, and nature walks are among the activities conducted in the park.
The park boasts over 240 bird species. Three of the eight Kenya Mountains Endemic Bird Area species, five of the thirteen species of the Sudan-Guinea biome species, 19 of the 43 Guinea-Congo Forests biome species, 47 of the 70 species of the Afrotropical biome, and a number of the Sudan-Guinea Savannah biome species that occur in Kenya have been recorded here. The park also favours one globally threatened species- Sharpe’s longclaw along with some regionally threatened and range-restricted species; Gypaetus barbatus, Stephanoaetus coronatus, Francolinus streptophorus, Sarothrura affinis, Bubo capensis, Glaucidium tephronotum, Indicator conirostris, Phyllastrephus baumanni, Kakamega poliothorax, Sheppardia polioptera, Campephaga quiscalina and Cisticola hunteri, Francolinus jacksoni respectively.