Located to the west of Kitale is Mount Elgon National Park, established in 1968 and
covering 169 square kilometers (65 square miles). Mt. Elgon is the second largest extinct (?)
volcano in Kenya (second only to Mount Kenya).
Called Ol Doinyo Ilgoon (Breast Mountain)
by the Maasai, Mount Elgon straddles the Kenya/Uganda border. Wagagai, the highest
peak at 4321 meters (14176 feet), and the warm springs by the Suam River are technically
in Uganda, while Lower Elgon (4310 meters or 14140 feet), Koitoboss (4038 meters
or 13248 feet) (although someone says Koitoboss is in Uganda and is the highest peak), and Endebess Bluff (2563 meters or 8408 feet) are in Kenya.
From Tim and Lara Beth's Kenya Page - Mt. Elgon
The mountain is positioned approximately 100km northeast of Lake Victoria and straddles
the border of Uganda and Kenya. The international boundary is marked by the Suam and
Lwakaka Rivers, and the beacon on Sudek Peak. Administratively, the mountain falls into
two districts (in Uganda); Kapchorwa District to the north and Mbale district to the south.
Measuring about 80km from north to south, and 50km east to west, more than half of
Mt. Elgon (including the majority of its caldera) lies in Uganda.
Uganda Tourist Board Website
Monday, August 30th, 2004
Experts from the Geology Department of the University of Nairobi and the Ministry of Water
are camping at the Kipsio cave in Mt. Elgon District which has been emitting gases and smoke
causing fear of volcanic eruption.
A seismology monitoring centre had been set up at the cave to carry out consistent survey
which may unravel the cause of the emission of gases. The experts report would be used to
make a decision on whether to evacuate the local residents
The emission of gases had stopped, but experts still warned that there might be more
danger because they do not know what is happening underground.
From The East African Standard Online
Tuesday, August 24th, 2004
Signs of a possible volcanic eruption has sent a wave of panic through the 60,000-strong
community living at the foot of Mount Elgon in western Kenya.
Kenya's second highest mountain could erupt "any time soon", according to geologists,
who carried out investigations after reports of the mountain emitting smoke and a pungent gas.
An eruption could happen suddenly, was a conclusion after a change in temperatures
inside the cave, which had risen to 170 degrees Centigrade. Two holes about a foot-long
found 300 metres from the cave entrance were emitting gases and a subtsance suspected
to be molten lava - hot greyish white sludge.
Intermittent flames were also visible as the sludge continued to flow from the holes
while an acrid stench permeated the inside of the cave.
The Government yesterday put residents of Mt Elgon District and other parts of Western
Province on high alert after emission of smoke and gases intensified in a cave on Mt Elgon.
The emission of gases started two weeks ago.
The locals were further warned against taking rain water as it may contain poisonous substances from the emissions. (More about this later)
Mt. Elgon provides a vital source of good quality water to several million people in eastern Uganda
and western Kenya, and acts as a major water catchment area for the Lakes Kyoga, Turkana, Victoria,
and eventually the Nile River.
The Government was assessing the possibility of evacuating the residents particularly those
living on a 5km sq radius from the Kipsio cave situated at Namorio location of
Kapsokwony division. Instuctions has been given to seal off the cave area.
Mostly from allAfrica.com
More news coming up during the day...
Although Mt. Elgon was well known to Arab traders passing along old slaving routes to the
East (Kenya), explorer Henry Morton Stanley was the first to write about Mt. Elgon when
he presumably saw it while circumnavigating Lake Victoria in 1875.
Joseph Thomson, a British explorer and geographer was the first European to visit Mt. Elgon
in 1883. Thomson referred to the mountain as "Masawa" or "Elgon" and generated curiosity
among other explorers.
1890, with a 400 men caravan, Fredrick Jackson of the Imperial British
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