Kitale is not only a good base to visit Mount Elgon National Park and Saiwa Swamp National Park, but the town itself had also something to offer like the Kitale Museum.
In the spacious gardens with labelled indigenous trees you can find a gallery exhibiting an ethnographic collection. There are also displays of animals, birds, reptiles and insects of the area. Another attraction of the museum is the snakepark.
In the museum area you can see also a display of traditional homesteads of the Lubya, Nandi, Luo and Sabaot. And you can walk a nature trail, where you can watch the birdlife and the original forest, that covered once this area.
Adjacent to the Kitale Museum is theOlaf Palme Agroforestry Centre with an indigenous tree nursery, an arboretum, educational displays and agro-forestry demonstrations.
The forest of Mount Elgon National Park is very inviting to walk along the existing trails. At the parkgate you can arrange a guide.
Because of the thick forest it is not easy to see many animals. There are leopards, buffalos, waterbucks and many birds. We saw a huge group of colobus monkeys.
Except guided walks along the trails in the forest you can also climb to the top of the Mount Elgon. I did the walks in the forest, but not to the top.
From the Kitum cave we had a nice view at the forest at the slopes of the Mount Elgon. The forest is a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees, including the magnificent East African Cedar, reaching heights of over 30 M.
The branches of the treed are often covered with the lichen, known as ´Old Man´s Beard ´
Approaching the peak of Mount Elgon you will see Montane Bamboo at about 3000 M. At a slightly higher altitude you can fins the open woodland with heather trees up to 8 Ms
One of the four caves you can visit in the Mount Elgon National Park is the Kitum cave. The saline loving elephants most often visit this cave. They may arrive at any time from dusk till about midnight. They are real excavators. The amount of these special elephants has diminished a lot because of poachers from the Uganda side.
It's dark inside the rather large cave, which is 50 M wide and 160 M deep. It´s useful to bring a torch and be careful, because the salt cristals at the ceiling are very sharp. You can easily hurt your hands.
There are four caves in the Mount Elgon National Park to explore. These caves are formed in the mountains by the action of water on the ancient volcanic ash.
These caves played a vital and unique role in the lives of the forest animals. But also families and sometimes entire villages of the El Gonyi people, a Maasia tribe, lived in the caves with their cattle for centuries.
The minerals, contained in the ash of the extinct volcano, in particular soda were vital for the well-being of the cattle and other grazing animals.
The caves of Elgon are in fact a natural source of salt for the herbivores in the forest, not only for the elephants, but also for the buffalo´s, bushbucks, waterbucks and duikers.
Mount Elgon is lying at the border of Kenya and Uganda. The mountain is an imposing extinct vulcano of 4320 M. At the side of Kenia is the Koitoboss peak with warm water springs in the the crater at 3.500 M.
The biggest attraction are the elephants who visit the caves on the mountain slopes. They go deep inside for salt. Three caves can be visited. We visited the Kitum cave, but during the day-time, there were no elephants around.
There is a nice campsite with a splendid view at the mountain.
Kitale is a lifely town with a big market, a lot of shops, some restaurants, small hotels and lodges and internetcafes.
Kitale is a good place to do some shopping. Except bread and vegetables we had to buy a new matrass and to go to the pharmacy.
From Kitale you can easily visit Mount Elgon in the west or heading north to the west-side of Lake Turkana.