While waiting to be visafied by the Egyptians I have really being enjoying my time in Uganda , exploring Jinja and taking a side trip up to Sipi Falls , which border the Mt Elgon National Park very close to the Kenyan border . This area is well known for its natural beauty , mountains and of course the waterfalls that are numerous in number . Sipi Falls is only about 230 kilometres away from Jinja and an easy 4 hour ride , initially through villages , small towns , agricultural lands flowing to the beautiful mountains , that just beckon one with whispers of come hike , come walk my slippery slopes and be taken by my beauty , I will show you many wonders .
On arrival I had to find accommodation or at the very least a flat surface to pitch the tent , in this , a very steep place , I whipped out the trusty guide made a mental note of around four places on the list and off I went to go and investigate . I have come to realise the a guide book is just that a guide , the other realisation is that the guide book is often a little to generous in description and the words don’t align with what meets the eye. After looking at around 5 places I settled on the Lacam Lodge that fell in the middle of the offering , that been said still not great value but lovely views .
I unpacked , met my compulsory guide Eric , not the famous Eric the half a bee from the Pythons , just Eric the sure footed as I would later observe . Off we set to hike the middle and top waterfalls leaving the main attraction for the next morning . As we set off I enquired as to the shoes Eric had chosen to hike in , mine ready for anything including a mud slide I thought , his for walking from the desk to the coffee machine on the 13th floor . He assured me he could hike these trails in any form of footwear , years of practice he told me.
The hike starts within meters of the lodge and the paths are narrow , steep and slippery from the go get , pole and all the correct hiking gear off Eric and I set to explore. Sipi really offers spectacular hiking with scenery and greenery to get lost in .
Even by this stage I quickly came to the realisation that Eric was half mountain goat , half man , he often had to stop and wait while I caught up , trying not to view the scenery from the seated position or lying on my back . As we walked the rain came down , the mist shrouded us in mystery and the beauty became more dramatic . Eric often stopped to give his shoes a clean , he was fastidious that way , keeping those shoes pristine in very challenging conditions .
Still higher we hiked , Eric on occasion dabbing his forehead with his dapper white handkerchief , me on the other hand sweating profusely , puffing like a steam train and using waterfalls and my entire top to remove the perspiration from my head , then washing my hands in the streams to remove the blood red mud from the hands that found the floor more and more to stop a slip or slide . Damn I was enjoying this , being out in the mountains was just wonderful.
Eventually we arrived at the top fall to briefly enjoy the views and vistas , then to turn on a dime to try and get off the mountain before the sun left to rise elsewhere and leave us in darkness with the stars as our only light . On the way down we met a couple of Eric’s friends who thought it a good idea to join the hike to the bottom following which they would turn around and return to their kingdoms in the sky.
The hike down was amazing passing mountain homesteads at heights and on slopes where angels fear to tread and the lower we got the villages huddled in small communities all living off the land . On the return trip I got the low down on life in Sipi , like who owned what , life around the falls , general statistics like who stole what and how much from the various lodge owners , the dangerous drivers and the fatalities since the arrival of tar , school life , how some guides took dollar liberties with the tourists they guided , which lodges offered value , according to Ericpedia not to many and so my education continued in the rain all the way down the mountain . We arrived back just after seven , just in time for a shower and dinner. I wanted to get to bed early as Eric had convinced me to do the 4h40 am wake up , to hike up the mountain to enjoy the sunrise , so after a very disappointing dinner of tyre chicken and onion sludge , oh sorry I meant to say soup it was off to bed , to await my four forty wake up call.
It came in a blink , Eric at the door , torch in hand and American Hip hop attire for our sunrise hike . We set off under the starlight for our destination view point.
From here we made our way down to the main falls which was going to be an adventure in itself , If I thought yesterday was steep and slippery , today was to offer a boost to my hiking confidence .
The hike up involved the usual , Eric cleaning his hip hop sneakers and waiting for me to catch up , me stopping to take in the views and to remove the burn from my lungs , worth every huff and puff , Sipi’s beauty to be savoured. Back at the lodge , I had a beautiful view over the valley while I showered , then ran ravenous up to breakfast , after which I decided that I would rather spend my time on the Nile in Jinja at the Haven , where the food and service only delight . I think the Haven has spoilt all other places I might visit , by setting such a high standard of excellence . So breakfast done I packed up Victoria and we took on the road back home to the Haven.
Mbale the last big town before Jinja so off to get fuel and then through the traffic and street market to the open road . I arrived back late afternoon to a very warm welcome , just before a huge storm to enjoy a cuppa and then to settle into my Banda for the next couple of days. I will stay down here until I get word that my passport is en route , I will then head back to Kampala to get ready to leave Uganda for Kenya . I will do a little more maintenance on the scooter and pick up a few supplies , as I am going to try and miss Nairobi and just head North towards the Ethiopian border , passing through Kenya fairly quickly to enjoy more time further North .
Until we meet again.