Located in the earthy foothills of Mt. Elgon National Park on the boundary of Uganda and Kenya, Sipi Falls is a little known jewel in East Africa. While you don’t need to have a particular reason to visit a place, most come to Sipi Falls to enjoy three things: world-class hiking, famous Arabica coffee, and ultimate tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of Kampala. We chose all three!
It’s the tranquility we noticed first. Sipi Falls is no more than a cluster of houses situated along the tarmac road that snakes up the valley. Traffic is rare and people and animals alike dominate the road, occasionally stopping for a chat or to marvel at the spectacular views. They really are breathtaking!
The cooler climate is a pleasant change to the humidity of the lowlands. The fertile soils of the extinct volcano, Mt. Elgon, have transformed Sipi Falls into the producer of some of the finest Bugishu Arabica blend in the world.
And while Sipi Falls is a gentle little hamlet where people can ‘find themselves’, it is the three glorious waterfalls that draw visitors. Three waterfalls continuously cascade down the cliffs, some plunging more than 100m into the Kyoga basin below. It is a mesmerising landscape, with the most magical time occurring when the falls are bathed in the warm afternoon glow.
The best way to appreciate the falls, coffee fields, and the imposing wall of forest that constitutes the boundary of the park, is to hire a local guide and go out exploring – and that’s exactly what we did! In a fairly strenuous six-hour hike, we covered all the waterfalls, passing through local villages whilst enjoying the clean air.
At the end of the day we returned absolutely exhausted, soon drifting away on our beds to the sound of the gentle rumblings of the magnificent Sipi Falls.