April 23, 2014

Awake to Sipi

It was Day 1 at Sipi (30/5/13) – and well, the only day!

It was a lovely morning and if you were really quiet, you could just hear the faint roar of the water falling. Quite nice to wake up to.

On the agenda today was to see at least 2 of the 3 falls that make up the Sipi falls. There are 3 levels and it would make sense to call them upper, lower and middle, but apparently that’s not what they’re called. According to our guide, they are Sipi 1, 2 and 3, where 1 can be either top or bottom, depending on whether you’re looking up or down!

Picturesque middle falls

Picturesque middle falls

Our understanding was that you can’t actually see any of the falls without a guide. Perhaps that’s a good idea, but wow, here in Aus, that’s a totally foreign concept. At best we have tracks built and marked out with information paper or boards to look at. At worst, you use local knowledge. We actually headed back down to Sip Falls Lodge and hired a guide there. It was about the closest to the middle water fall and we could just see some lovely green lawn through the gates!

The scenic grounds of Sipi River Lodge

The scenic grounds of Sipi River Lodge

The worker at the gate was also gets a big shout out. There was no power at The Crows Nest and Mike’s phone had gone flat. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem except that today was his wedding anniversary and with his wife back in Australia, a call was expected. A quick* discussion with him and the problem was solved. After our tours to the falls, Mike picked up his now charged phone and made that all important call!

Happy Anniversary Dear

Happy Anniversary Dear

Our young guide was quite good and spoke english reasonably well. That was a good thing for us and for Juliet, who still hadn’t found anybody who could speak her Lugandan dialect! Sipi River Lodge has some excellent gardens and surrounds. It really is a lovely place to sit back, relax and spend some time in and is right on the river. The walk to the middle falls is only about 10 minutes and is really easy. You can hear the roar of the water as you approach and it’s amazing that such a small river can make such a loud noise. You can walk right behind the middle fall here and you will get wet from the spray. I walked out to a couple of rocks nearby to see the falls from a different angle, but the water was like heavy rain and I ended up drenched, seeing nothing. At least I was nice and cool though. You can explore the little cave behind the falls, a cool dry place, but there’s not a lot to it.

In the spray

In the spray

From the middle falls, we headed back to the Lodge, then across the road through the police and school grounds to the path for the lower falls. It happened to be a break from school when we went through, so we got mobbed by the kids. It was a great place to stop, you could see for miles, as well as see the river winding its way through the valley. The valley is heavily farmed and workers have utilised most available space, including on the steep cliffs surrounding the falls where there are plenty of banana trees. You could also get an appreciation for how high we were and I must admit I wasn’t really looking forward to the walk back up the hill. However, there was a surprise in store that meant I avoided most of that.

Looking out over the valley

Looking out over the valley

Our guide had been talking about some “steps”. Rounding a corner the path abruptly disappeared. The explanation for the steps soon followed and going down as far as we could see was a nice ladder. It would have to have been at least 50-60m high, and struck fear into the heart of Juliet who was not so good with heights! The guide suggested going down backwards, but forwards it was for all of us. Not sure why you would go backwards for that actually. Juliet went pretty slowly, but with a bit of encouragement she made it down praise God. The last part was a short walk through the banana plants and lush undergrowth, each step bringing us closer to the roar of the falling water. The spray from the 100m fall provided a nice cooling mist from the heat. It’s a pretty awesome sight watching water fall that far on to rocks below.

Lower falls

Lower falls

The hike back up the cliff was pretty good and we went back to Sipi Lodge Resort and spent some time wandering around the gardens. The gardens are really well kept and it really is an oasis and a place to retreat. We ate a very nice lunch there and enjoyed some chocolate (no ice cream) before heading back to Mbale and the Visitors Inn. It started to rain on the way back and unfortunately we passed a few vehicles coming the other way right about where the puddles were. Our white car ended up a little less than white, but this time Mike had enough sense to keep his window up!

Not too bad...

Not too bad…

* Mike’s version of quick took at least 15 mins and involved many life stories! Juliet and I had long vanished.


1 Comment »

  1. […] What on earth had I done… I racked my brain and couldn’t think of any particular time yesterday where I’d over stretched, or fallen and had the potential to pull a muscle. I rolled out of […]

    Pingback by Walking, the Forest and Rain | Thumper... — May 15, 2014 @ 7:56 pm | Reply

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