Fairend Safaris

Hiking Sipi Falls

Hiking the Sipi Falls is one of the top activities to do on a Uganda safari. Sipi Falls is located in Kapchorwa district which is in the eastern part of Uganda. It takes approximately 277km from Kampala Uganda’s capital to get there. These falls are found on the foothills of Mountain Elgon, the Sipi Falls are comprised of 3 waterfalls each flowing from a different altitude. Hiking to the base of the waterfalls and viewing from the tallest waterfall at an altitude of 100 meters is one of the exciting activities done at Sipi Falls.  There are several starting points and all depends on which particular waterfall you intend to hike.

How to get to Sipi Falls

Sipi falls is located in Uganda’s eastern part and getting there is by road. It takes approximately 4- 5 hours to reach when you are driving from Kampala which is Uganda’s Capital, here you drive to Eastern Uganda on Jinja road passing via Mabira Forest and River Nile to the outskirts of Jinja town.  After Jinja you head to Tinyiri highway then go through Mbale town and head to Kapchorwa district where the falls are located.

When to Visit

The Sipi falls can be visited throughout the year however, the best time to visit is during the dry season. The trails are not slippery and within this period the weather is warm and cool making hiking easier. The dry season is experience during the months June to September and December to February. Although it can rain any time given the tropical climate of Uganda.

Other activities to do

Coffee plantation visit

Coffee is grown on the lower slopes of Mt. Elgon, specifically Arabica coffee. Visiting coffee plantation owned by the Bagishi and Sabiny who live in this area is a great experience. While visiting Sipi falls travelers learn about these plantations and coffee production. The Arabica coffee grows within altitudes 1600m and 1900m, it is a cash crop. When harvested, it is processed and roasted then sold.

Bird watching

Sipi falls is among the destinations for bird watching since it is allocated on mountain Elgon. It is home to about 275 bird species which can be identified with the help of a trained guide. Birders who love hiking should always consider visiting Sipi while on your safari in Uganda. 

Cultural encounters

Travelers may have a walk to the communities and interact with the locals who stay around the Sipi. The Sabiny and Bagishu are the tribes that live in this area, you can visit and learn about their way of life. Things like dress code, traditional dances, food and cultural practices are different for most tribes in Uganda. For example the Sabiny are known for female circumcision though it has reduced over the years. Due to being unhealthy and risky to women, the government made the practice illegal. The Bagishu are known for male circumcision for young adults which is celebrated in this region.

Abseiling

Abseiling which is also known as rappelling is an adventurous activity to do at Sipi. It is done at the main water fall and the equipment to use is provided. There are skilled guides to take you through this amazing experience. You can abseil down from the tallest waterfall which stands at 100 meters tall and experience breathtaking views of the surrounding valley. This experience can be tailored for both beginners and experienced adventurers.

Mountain Biking

The best way to move around and discover the communities and neighborhoods is by using a bike. Areas around Sipi are mountainous therefore moving around with ease requires one to have a bike in a good condition. It is so adventurous and thrilling to ride on the rocky Mountains.

Visiting Wildlife Reserves

The Matheniko game reserve and Pian Upe are found in the plains of karamoja. These game reserves are home to wildlife species like antelopes, gazelles, and roan antelope among others, and birds like ostriches. If you are an animal lover do not miss to visit these reserves to have amazing encounters with these species.

Visiting the Sipi River

Apart from visiting the 3 waterfalls you could also take a time and visit the Sipi River. It has nice vegetation including the ‘sep plant’ where the name sipi was derived. This plant is said to be a medicine to measles and fevers. Enjoy a walk along this river with its beautiful scenery.

Where to stay

There are various accommodation facilities to choose from depending on your budget, most lodging facilities look out onto the falls. The list of facilities to choose from include Sipi Ricer Lodge, Crow’s Nest, Sipi River Lodge, Noah’s ark Hotel, Lacam Lodge and Sipi Falls Resort among others. There are also camping sites where travelers can set their tents.