It was a rainy Saturday morning at 7:00 am and a colleague of mine (Isaac) from African Adventure travelers, called me on my phone. I picked up, and he reminded me of how the ‘Siipi adventure‘ was about to set off in an hours time. Long story short, he picks me up at 10:00 am EAT from my place of residence in Kampala, Uganda. He had a driver (also an experience tourist guide) and we headed to meet the other people we were travelling with. Took us 30 minutes and we were already at Station house, Kampala at the African Pearl Safari Head office. I meet here the other group, including Ziyal, Daniel, Nicholas, Vicky and Edward the guy who has been at this company for almost 5 years.
We then set off for Mbale, about a 5 hours drive from Kampala. Our first stop-over was along Jinja road, a place called ‘Namawojolo’ popularly known for road-side chicken, gonja, muchomo and other snacks. If you ever hit the road to Eastern Uganda, this is the only place you’ll be served with hot snacks. The journey continues to the east and our itinerary included visiting the Sezibwa falls and Mabira forest.
The Sezibwa falls are a few kilometers away from Mukono town, also close to Jinja. This is one of the historical sites of the Kabaka’s of Buganda kingdom. As soon as we reached, we paid an entrance fee to access the falls. Our tour guide was a lady called ‘Jane’ who knew a lot of history about this place. A bridge is strategically located facing the falls and this is where you will have perfect photoshoots. We moved around the place, learnt about the shrines, bamboo vegetation and so much more.
Our adventure was not about to start as we hit the road again for Mabira forest. Some of the main activities in this forest include Nature walks, bird watching and Zip-lining. We branched off a few kilometers before reaching Jinja and headed towards griffin falls camp where we would be doing our forest walk. Passing through sugarcane plantations, farms and forests – we reached the camp in about 30 minutes. We were welcomed by another lady who was going to be our guide during the nature walk (forest walk). She briefed us for about 5 minutes about what to expect and how long this would take. At this time, the weather was getting tricky with a little rain now and then but it’s part of the adventure. We walked through the trails in Mabira forest for about 2 hours with lots of learning about the vegetation.
Our next destination was Mbale, so we set off from griffin falls camp heading towards Jinja town. One of my colleagues was excited about spotting the new Jinja bridge but we didn’t make a stop-over since we had over 100 km left on our trip. After about 3 hours, we reached Mbale town and went straight to our hotel. Thanks to google maps, i was able to direct our driver to the exact location.
Another colleague of mine (Ney) who stays in Mbale town joined us to welcome the team to Masaba land. He is a popular radio presenter with 103.2fm in Mbale and an alumni from campus. It was a bit late, so we set out a camp-fire at Hotel 100 till late morning and later slept in our hotel rooms. The next day was the highlight of our trip, as we were all excited to visit the Siipi falls. The Master mind of the trip (Izyal Coles – not original names) led us to Kapchorwa. Along the way, you could see the Pian Upe wildlife reserve from a distance. We then met an amazing gentleman from Siipi lodge (forgot names) who was our guide during the Siipi hike. He gave us walking sticks, then briefed us before we embarked on this adventurous hike.
On reaching the first waterfalls, we were in ‘awe’ (shock) of how the water from the falls passes through the underground rocks to later join the Siipi river. We went on hiking and climbing and this is the part where you get to realize that good hiking shoes are very important. We passed through coffee plantations, gardens, till we reached one of the caves. We later moved to the see the second waterfalls but it was quite steepy, one needs to be reasonably fit.
We later returned to the main road where we had left our Safari Car. We moved towards a community lodge, which is one of the perfect spots where you get to see the third waterfalls from a distance. Also it’s the only place where you can take amazing pictures of the Siipi falls. After about 30 minutes, we went to the nearby town where there was a small restaurant. Lunch was served, and most of us enjoyed the local meal prepared here except me. I was not ready to suprise my stomach but rather couldn’t wait to grab a ‘rolex’ on our way back.
Later on, we said bye to our informative guide, and left Kapchorwa back to Mbale town. We had a good tour around Mbale town for a few minutes before we finally set off back to Kampala, a 5 hours drive. The Siipi adventure is one of the many trips that has gotten me connecting with Uganda’s green scenery and nature. I’d love to do this again.