Sipi falls tours-Uganda Hiking Safari tours
Sipi falls are a series of 3 waterfalls located right at the foot of Mount Elgon. The falls are fed by the water from the mountain and in turn feed each other. The water flowing from Mount Elgon come over the various cliffs making spectacular waterfalls. Other waterfalls can be found in this region but are less known.
The falls got their name from a local plant called “sep” which grows around the area. The plant resembles a plantain with red and green color. A tale is told of British travelers who asked a lady picking the plant what the falls were called and because of the language barrier thought they were asking about the plant. She told them sep and that’s how the falls were called Sipi.
Hiking Sipi Falls Overview
Exploring and hiking the Sipi falls is one of the major activities done on any Uganda safari tour. Depending on your accommodation, you may choose to drive to the first waterfall and then hike to the last waterfall. With local guides and a walking stick in hand, you will be guided through the trails to each of the water falls. The close encounters on this hiking safari is way different from the sights taken in from afar or by camera. You experience the full force of these falls and get sprayed by the power of the crashing water as it hits the rocks below.
Hiking the falls
Hiking sipi falls will take 3-4 hours and doesn’t require a lot of fitness. However, during the rainy season, the trails can be slippery hence the walking sticks. To get the best Hiking experience at Sipi falls, it’s advisable to start with the top waterfall. This waterfall offers spectacular scenery and can be seen from a distance. At 85meters, the height of the falls is mesmerizing. The waterfalls creates a mist that surrounds the lush green vegetation. Mild rainbows can be seen on a sunny day. On a clear day, Mount Elgon is visible on this Uganda hiking safari.
The Simba falls are the second waterfalls and stand at 75 meters tall. The ancient cave gives these falls an adventure. You will hike into the back of the falls where humans are believed to once have lived. These caves offer perfect opportunities for photos and a soothing Uganda safari experience.
The main Sipi falls is 95 meters high and that’s where abseiling is done. With secure ropes, you will abseil down to the bottom, enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Karamoja plains on your Uganda hiking safari. Professional abseiling companies will see to your safety on this activity. At the bottom of these falls, you will hike back to your lodge.
How to get to the Sipi Falls
Sipi falls is 284km from Kampala and takes up to 6 hours including a break in Jinja and Mbale for refreshment. The drive from Kampala to Jinja offers beautiful scenery like Mabira forest, sugar cane plantations and the River Nile. After Iganga town, you will turn off onto the Tirinyi highway which leads to Mbale town. In Mbale, you will take the Sironko road, and then Kapchorwa road that will lead up to Sipi.
Other activities within the Sipi Falls area
Sipi falls offers more exciting and romantic activities. Apart from hiking sipi falls, other safari activities in sipi falls include;
This is one of the most thrilling safari activities in Sipi falls. This activity is done on the main waterfall which is 95 meters high. With excellent climbing ropes, you abseil down the waterfall, enjoying the serenity and the beauty of the landscape on your way to the bottom of the falls. You can stop halfway to further take in the views of the lowlands of Karamoja
These falls are located on Mbale Moroto highway and are perfect for a picnic after you epic visit to Sipi falls. They are more suitable if your Uganda safari continues all the way to Kidepo valley national park
The slopes of Mount Elgon are well known for their Arabica coffee. The soils are fertile and the elevation is perfect for coffee growing. On this coffee tour in Sipi falls, you will interact with the local coffee farmers who will explain to you their process of coffee farming. From the seedlings, harvesting, roasting and finally to the cup. On this coffee tour, you will be able to make your own freshly brewed cup of coffee.
Climbing Mount Elgon:
Day hikes and summiting Mt Elgon are some of the other hiking safaris that can be done from Sipi falls. The area is one of the major starting points for climbing Mt Elgon. The mountain has the largest surface caldera and is shared by Uganda and Kenya. Submitting takes between 5-6 days depending on the experience and fitness of the hikers.
The Mount Elgon area has around 270 bird species. Birding safaris and tours can be arranged in the Sipi area or in Mount Elgon national park. These birds can be seen on your hiking safaris or nature walks
Later in the evenings, one of the most romantic experiences in Sipi falls is the sunset walk. This walk takes you to the King’s rock that overlooks the lower lands of the Karamoja plains. Watch the sunset with the sound and the views of the waterfalls as the back drop. Enjoy a glass of wine, coffee or soft drink on your Uganda safari tour
On your visit to Sipi falls, you can venture out to meet and interact with the local people. The area has 2 local tribes; Bagisu and Sabiny. These cultural tour exposes you to their local way of life. This includes music, food and the famous Bagisu male circumcision (Imbalu) which inducts boys into manhood.
Spice up your sipi falls tour with wildlife sightings in the nearby wildlife reserves of Pian Upe and Matheniko. These reserves offer amazing Uganda wildlife safaris and sightings of rare species like the Roan antelopes, ostriches, cheetahs, kudus and many more.
When to visit the Sipi Falls
Sipi falls welcomes visitors throughout the year. However in the dry seasons, the levels of the waters drops. It still makes an interesting hiking experience. In the rainy season, the waterfalls are beaming with lots of water from the mountain making the falls more spectacular. On the hind side, the trails are wet and slippery but that makes it more interesting, right!
Lodges and Hotels in Sipi Falls
Sipi falls has a variety of lodges that fit within every budget. They range from bandas, cottages and dormitories. Some are rustic and basic, giving you the true Uganda safari experience while others are luxurious. Below are some of the lodges in Sipi falls
Sipi river lodge
Sipi river lodge is a luxury lodge located right at the bottom of the second waterfall. The luxury lodge offers family cottages and bandas for accommodation. Sipi river lodge offers luxurious services and offers amazing views of the falls. Trails from the lodge lead straight to the waterfalls.
Lacam lodge is a well-designed lodge made of timber and grass thatched roofs. The lodge is located next to the main waterfall offering spectacular views and sounds of the roaring falls. Lacam lodge offers family cottages, bandas and basic rooms for accommodation.
Sipi Falls Resort:
Sipi falls resort is a mid-range and luxury lodge built with good views of the main waterfall. Built with local material of grass and bamboo, the lodge offers authentic Uganda safari accommodation. The resort has 2 luxury cottages and self-contained rooms.
Rafiki lodge sipi.
Perched on the slopes of the plateau, Rafiki lodge is a blend of rustic and modern styling. The furniture and furnishing of the rooms is rustic and yet offers modern style of accommodation. The lodge has family cottages, bandas and basic rooms.
The Crow’s Nest:
Crow’s nest is a budget lodge built on the slopes of Mount Elgon. With grass thatched rooms, the lodge offers budget accommodation in form of rooms and dormitories. Crow’s nest was one of the first lodges in Sipi falls. The lodge has good views of the main waterfalls