Sipi Falls is a series of three waterfalls in Eastern Uganda in the district of Kapchorwa, northeast of Sironko and Mbale. The waterfalls lie on the edge of Mount Elgon National Park near the Kenyan border. The Sipi River is named after the ‘Sep’, a plant indigenous to the banks of the River. Resembling a type of wild banana, Sep is a medicinal plant, the translucent green frond with a bolt of crimson rib is used for treating measles and fever.
The Sipi Falls area is particularly famous for locally grown Bugisu Arabica coffee. Bugisu Arabica only grows at an altitude of between 1,600 and 1,900 metres. Coffee tours are organized through guides with knowledge of coffee farming, processing and roasting. Profits from this go towards community projects
The sipi falls is comprised of 3 waterfalls each flowing from a different altitude. The highest fall drops from an altitude of 100m referred to as the main fall since it is the last fall in the series, this fall is a little bigger than the other two falls, but all give Uganda a beautiful scenery. In fact most people say that sipi falls are the ‘most romantic falls’ in Uganda which is evidenced by the wonderful falls. This area is majorly where most hikes to Mt. Elgon are started from. Hiking up to these falls gives a beautiful scenic view, like Lake Kyoga, the karamoja low lands, coffee plantations and other surrounding areas.
The climate in this area is cool since it’s a hilly area and sometimes as individuals are hiking there are rains, which makes hiking a bit hard but it is also an experience of its own, generally it is a place available for chilling, loosening up and relaxing from the congestion around cities.
The nearby communities have hospitable people and majorly the Sabiny and Bagishu live around this area and do farming such as growing of Arabica coffee which is the major cash crop in this land, this coffee is grown on altitudes between 1600metres and 1900metres above sea level. While there individuals can engage in visiting these plantations, these visits can be organized by local guides in the area.
How to get there:
When to go:
Since all the waterfalls are located in different areas of Mt. Elgon, it is impossible to see them at the same time but they can be seen in one day. The paths to these falls are approximately 7km to 8km as you walk and it takes around 3 hours to visit all the falls, but it is dependent on individual fitness and pace. As you hike you will need walking sticks to give you support since you go through some steep spots and in case it rains the paths get slippery and muddy.
Abseiling & Rock climbing
Coffee plantation visit
Visit the Sipi River
Where to stay: Hotels & Lodges
There are a number of accommodation facilities in sipi region, and there are no worries of where to stay as long as you visit this area. The facilities are Luxurious/Up market, mid range/moderate and those for budget travelers are also available, they include;
Sipi River lodge
Sipi Falls resort
Noah’s Ark Hotels
Crowns Nest Rest Camp
It is a campsite for budget travelers and it overlooks the 3 amazing Sipi waterfalls and other great sceneries like Mount Elgon peaks. The local staff of this place is good and friendly. While in this campsite you can easily go for some activities such as village walks, coffee plantation tours, hiking to the sipi falls, trekking Mount Elgon and rock climbing.
Bwindi Impenetrable national park is open to visitors throughout the year, but the park is best visited during the dry seasons of the year that is from the month of June, July, August, December, January to February, these months receive little or no rainfall at all which has influenced a number of activities to take place including Gorilla trekking, birding experience, nature walks, and others, during this time, the trails are dry and the ground is less slippery enabling easy access through the trails.
Bwindi Impenetrable national park can also be visited during the wet season from the month of March, May, and September to November since the park is open and all the activities take place regardless of the rain. During the rain season, the park is green with plenty of food and fruits which attracts Many birds, and by this time, there will be a lot of Migratory birds.
Together with the fauna and flora, the park has a variety of scenery; this includes cliffs, caves, waterfalls, gorges, mesas, calderas, hot springs, and the mountain peaks. The most popular areas are the four explorable, vast caves where frequent night visitors such as elephants and buffaloes come to lick the natural salt found on the cave walls. Kitum cave, with overhanging crystalline walls, enters 200 m into the side of Mt. Elgon.
At the Endebess Bluff there a panoramic view of the areas’ escarpments, gorges, mesas, and rivers. The highest peak of Mt. Elgon on the Kenya side, Koitoboss, measures 13,852 ft (4,155 m), and is easily reached by hikers in about two hours from the road’s end. Activities include
Mount Elgon Caves:
Jackson’s Pool and Jackson’s Peak:
The peaks and the caldera:
Nkokenjeru Ridge and Wanale: