Tap to book now

Understand the Risks of Hiking in Uganda Through These Mountaineering Tips

Is hiking Mount Elgon part of your Africa safari schedule on your safari Uganda? Situated in Eastern Uganda, Mount Elgon National Park is one of the best mountain biking destinations in the country. Tourists interested in hiking safaris Uganda normally choose Mount Elgon because it is easy to hike compared to the Rwenzori Mountains. Mountain Elgon situated inside Mount Elgon National Park Uganda is bisected by Kenya in the West and Uganda in the East.

The mountain is home to the world’s largest volcanic base about 50-80km with the largest intact caldera covering 40km. Unlike Uganda’s highest Rwenzori mountains, Mount Elgon is at altitude 4,321m (14,177ft) above sea level at the highest peak making it the ultimate Uganda tour destination for altitude lovers. It is believed that this mountain was once Africa’s highest mountain far exceeding Kilimanjaro’s current 5,895m but constantly reduced due to erosion to 4,321m ranking it the 4th highest peak in East Africa and 8th in Africa. The reduction offered a great base for those who love to hike lower altitudes.

Mount Elgon scenery is filled with peaks, cliffs, caves, waterfalls, mesas, gorges, calderas, hot springs and cliffs that give a great refreshment to those on Uganda tours. Wildlife in the park include; the black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkey, red-tailed monkey, elephants, buffaloes, small antelopes and duiker. The other mammals include bushbuck, civet, wildcat and the elusive leopard. There more than 144 species including the Beautiful Jackson’s Francolin, Hartlaub’s turaco, the eastern bronze -naped pigeon, Tucazze sunbird, guinea fowls, sunbirds and endangered Lammergeier. A passionate birder who loves height would not miss having a glimpse of the beautiful birds on a birding safari in Uganda with these lower peaks.

low altitude hiking is one of the most rewarding outdoor activities that you need to add to your Uganda safari adventure list right now. Hiking Mount Elgon on your safari to Uganda gives you a unique and unforgettable look at some of the most desolate places in the world. Like any extreme adventure, you won’t hesitate to pick out the perfect camera to a pick of the typical Africa tour summit sunrise. Before all this, you’ll need to prepare accordingly and remember these tips for a successful high-altitude hike.

The truth is, there’s no real way to train for high altitude other than being there yourself. So above all else, make sure you have the chance to acclimate, hydrate, and prepare for the time of your life.


Understand the risks of high-altitude hiking

We think it is wise for our clients interested in hiking safaris in Uganda to do some general research about the activities they are interested in. In this case, you can look at the differences between Acute Mountain Sickness, High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, and High-Altitude Cerebral Edema. Make sure you understand what a “sick person” at altitude looks like, and be prepared to act if you or members of your team experience these symptoms.

Acute Mountain Sickness is the mildest form of altitude sickness and unfortunately feels very similar to a hangover. You may experience a headache, nausea, or feel exhausted. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s one of the attention warnings that could predict a larger risk to High Altitude Pulmonary Edema and High-Altitude Cerebral Edema.

High Altitude Pulmonary Edema occurs when liquid seeps into your lungs and feels like you just had the wind knocked out of you. You may also cough up a bubbly foam. Once you see this symptom, it means it’s time to turn around and descend as quickly as possible.

High-Altitude Cerebral Edema causes confusion and in-coordination. If your speech is slurring and you find yourself stumbling, you are close to death and immediate descent is commanding.

Before you go hiking, you should note that fitness is key

Do some simple training hikes with a weighted pack at home. This helps you get used with carrying a load because, during your hike, it will be a little heavier. During your training, give yourself a break in the long run if you stuff your backpack with water, weights, or other heavy objects when you train at home.

Get some time and on run stairs and hills. This helps to flex your body muscles and to introduce them to hiking tasks. Switch up your workouts by adding as much elevation as you can. Stuck in a flat desert with no uphill training ground? Hit the gym and spend some time on the stair-master. No matter where you are, there’s no excuse to not having the right physical preparation.

Get as high as possible beforehand. If you have easy access to a mountain range, slowly build your body up to higher elevations, gaining 1,000 ft. Starting small is also fine. Do some aerobic exercises above 3,000 ft. this will help you adjust your body to working with less oxygen in your blood.

Fuel yourself

It may be difficult to remind yourself, but you’ll need to be prepared to eat and drink more than usual at high altitude. At this point, your muscles burn energy more quickly, and your body will need more calories and H2O to properly function. This is no environment for diets. Load your pack up with sugar and carbohydrate-loaded snacks like jerky, chocolate, hard candies, and other high-calorie treats.

Prepare your bags with all the necessary equipment

Naturally prone to sunburns? Sunshine, wind, and temperature reach their extremes up high. Bring the right gear and prepare to pack total face protection from the sun, wind-resistant and waterproof clothing, and extra hand warmers, thermal gloves, and wool socks to guard your body against the inhospitable mountain environment.

Carry with you first aid backups

It’s impossible to predict how your body will be affected by high altitude before you go. If it’s your first time ascending thousands of vertical feet, play it safe and carry along an altitude aid. One of the most popular altitude medications, be sure to also pack ibuprofen, cough drops, and over-the-counter indigestion pills in case things get less than pleasant.

Visit your doctor so you know your limits

Visit your doctor before embarking on a trek in the mountains. Make sure you don’t have any persistent illnesses or undiscovered disorders that may hinder your success up high. Most importantly, be prepared to turn around if you’re not feeling well. Take note of annoying headache or minor chest pain could be the symptom of something much worse, and you don’t want to test your body’s ability to self-preserve when you’re miles far and meters high away from safety.

Take your hike slow

Don’t rush your way out of a successful trip. Your body will naturally feel slower at high altitude, so go along with it. Nothing can truly prepare your body for the thin mountain air other than actually being there, so when you do get your chance, take your time and enjoy the adventure.

Want to visit Mount Elgon?

Want to visit Mount Elgon National Park - the world's largest intact caldera for hiking tours and mountain climbing?