Sipi Falls – Sunday, August 18th, 2013
On our one day of rest after a long week of hard work, we rewarded ourselves with a trip to Sipi Falls. We left around 10am with Silas driving, Brian in the front, and Eric, Shalni, and Gabriella in the back. The stretch of road just south of Soroti was very rough. After way too much bouncing, we made it to smooth roads between Kumi and Mbale. Once we got to Mbale, the road to Sipi was actually very smooth and fast.
We arrived at the Sipi tour office about 1:30. We hired our guide who squished into the car with us, while his assistant rode in the back of the truck with our bamboo walking sticks. We drove to the first set of falls, parking in a small community before beginning our short hike. As we got out of the car it started to rain, and we soon found the trails quite slippery. Shalni and Gabriella found the trails particularly slippery in their TOMS shoes, and any semblance of cleanliness was soon lost for the whole team. The amazing mountain jungle scenery helped was worth it, and when we made it to the first set of falls I think everybody was quite impressed. The water cascaded down and crashed into the rocks in front of where we had hiked to, jettisoning spray into all of our faces and cameras (fortunately Shalni’s came back to life after an initial scare).
As we began to hike back to the car, the rain ceased and the clouds parted for the bright mountain sun, making the coffee and banana farms look even more impressive amongst the cliffs and waterfalls.
The second set of waterfalls may have been even more impressive than the first. Indeed the hike was shorter, and perhaps a little less muddy, thanks to the shining sun. The falls were particularly cool in that we hiked to a neat recess in the rocks right behind the twin falls, making for an incredible vista. Shalni even braved the raging falls and hiked with our assistant guide near the base of the falls to get some good views and to really explore what it means to be soaking wet (sadly, this did not bode well for the phone or camera in her backpack).
On our way to the third falls we stopped for a brief detour to a cave, but could not explore too far as nobody had a flashlight.
The third fall is the largest and what most people think of when you say “Sipi Falls” There are a number of authentic hotels at the top of the cliffs overlooking the falls. Though as it was getting late in the day, Silas suggested we forego the 3km hike to the base of the falls and just take some pictures from the cliff top. We took many photos and admired the falls, before loading up in the truck and heading back home. The road was especially rough, perhaps due to the hard rain during the day, and around 7:30, once it was completely dark outside, everybody was home safe.