Hiking Sipi Falls Tour
come with us on an amazing Sipi Falls hike
The Sipi falls
are a phenomena of mother nature. Many visitors, both local and foreign, enjoy this wonderful and romantic place in Eastern Uganda.
The Sipi Falls are a series of three prominent waterfalls, with the deepest drop as deep as 100 meters. The other two waterfalls are 75 and 85 meters deep.
The second waterfall has upper cascades before the plunge with some little pools in between. Some of these pools are used for a refreshing bath.
The upper waterfall is 85 meters tall and has a vigorous flow with mist and creates some rainbows when hit by the sunlight in the right angle. The very interesting part about this waterfall is also, when the water hits the ground, the river disappears underground for some distance and comes out again from under some rocks. When hiking to that waterfall you will pass a natural bridge without noticing, if not told, that there is a river underneath.
Nearby the sipi falls however, there are several other less prominent falls which can be visited. They can be a wonderful place too, to enjoy some peaceful nature.
The waterfalls pick their water from sources on Mount Elgon.
Mount Elgon is located in the eastern part of Uganda near the Kenyan border. Sipi is located on the northwest side of Mount Elgon about 55km north of Mbale.
The Sipi waterfalls are often the starting point for many hikers looking to scale Mountain Elgon. Hiking in Sipi is a nice opportunity to warm and prepare for the more challenging hikes of Mountain Elgon and even Rwenzori Mountains in the West of Uganda.
The falls are also popular for their cold water, which some people describe as healing and refreshing.
The breathtaking waterfalls derive their name from the Sipi River, which named after the local plant growing along the river banks called the “sep”.
This plant resembles a type of wild banana with translucent green fronds with a bolt of crimson red. Parts of this plant were used for medicinal purposes like treating measles and fever.
Local legends say, that British sightseers once found a lady picking wild plants in the nearby plantation. They asked her the name of the falls. She thought they were asking the name of the plant, so she replied, “Sep.”
What to bring for the hike:
- Wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes
- Bring your bathing clothes and a towel if you’d like to swim
- Bring enough drinking water appropriate clothes to cover
- We recommend wearing a hat or cap
Price per Person
Foreigner: $ 15,- / UGX 55.000
Ugandan: $ 10,- / UGX 35.000
Hiking the Sipi Falls Upper Loop
A date with nature at the Sipi Falls loop.
If you are a lover of nature, you should visit this upper loop of Sipi Falls at the Edge of Mount Elgon.
The loop encompasses a unique splendor and the falling masses of water accentuate the Mount Elgon sub-region landscape.
The flat Terrain on top of the loop promotes great visibility of the Sipi community and on days with clear visibility, the mountains in the northern region can be seen too, such as Mount Kadam and the lakes and plains in the Karamojon region.
As you approach the loop, you will begin to savor the object of your adventure. This hike brings you up to the boundary of Mount Elgon National Park.
Many who have visited the upper loop of the Sipi Waterfalls confess they had not intended to but were so awestruck by the beauty as they traveled past it that they felt indebted to return back to this million-dollar viewing of the loop.
Explore this hidden gem in Sebei sub-region. If you would like to include this adventurous hiking trail in the Sipi hike, it is important to carry enough water with some snacks and packed lunch. This hike to the upper loop is very easy to combine with the hike of the 3 falls.
Price per Person
Foreigner: $ 20,- / UGX 70.000
Ugandan: $ 15,- / UGX 55.000
Sipi Falls is the hidden treasure of the East!
Sipi falls is just a simple natural majestic wonder of its own not because of its height or widest falls in the region or any other superlative structure.
Sipi Falls is surrounded by some of the most astonishing landscapes anywhere. The area around the falls offers some awesome multi-day trekking experiences options in Uganda and also the surrounding communities near the falls are a great jumping-off spot for more adventures.
Also, the people of Sipi are calm, friendly, helpful, and welcoming. And the Sebei people who occupy Sipi are generally hospitable people who love to ask you about your home country, and your name and immediately share similarities and differences in lifestyle and daily activities in a good way.
Sipi Falls is actually a hub of the three major different and separate levels of falls descending down in the same river and spread out over a few miles of local plantations. And of course, the most photogenic and unique thundering sound falls is the main Sipi Falls which is featured on a ten thousand Ugandan shilling note.
However, the upper and the Sandwich (middle) falls are worth it to arrive!
The reason why you should visit the Sipi Falls
The Sipi falls offers a breathtaking route that waves its path through the falls owing some commanding views with authentic encounters with the residents of Sipi.
The popular attraction in the region is the three stunning collections of waterfalls known as the Famous Sipi Falls. We request everyone to fully enjoy and even appreciate these wonderful experiences, don’t just view it from a distance, you surely need to go down to the bottom and feel the magical and yet healing experience.
Tips for hiking the Sipi Falls
Just a few things to put in mind before you kick-start your hike!
Isn’t it interesting to know that the Sipi falls you are almost seeing is a size of a football pitch drop, and these are the lower falls (Kaptokolo)?
This waterfall is really nice and it’s recommended to blend it with your wildlife safari in Uganda. Just to add on, most folks plan to tour the Sipi Falls hoping to walk the entire enchilada by again viewing the lower falls (main Sipi Falls) from the top and again hiking to the upper falls (Ngasire) and the middle falls.
It’s not wrong but I bet you have not visited the real Sipi falls. The best view comes after a little hard climb.
Visiting the lower Sipi falls is a top-notch hike you will admire and never want to leave spending with these yet another striking fall below the Sipi gorge and its surroundings.
This Sipi Falls hike takes you through different family local farms with the most rewarding green lush jungle landscapes, punctuated with red clay.
What you will encounter or expect along the way
On a lucky day, you will get the chance to meet some monkeys at the bottom of the falls and even spend time with them while enjoying the thundering sound of the Sipi falls.
Also, some young boys will start following you from behind and even trying to give you some help and later they say they are going back to help us with something (money) but in most cases, we do not recommend you give them money because this promotes school dropouts and if you are interested in helping them, we request you buy them scholastic supplies like books and pens which is a good idea.
Some sell the crystal stones that they get from the caves at the bottom of the falls and if you want to buy one it is okay.
We also have the chameleon boys, who go hunting for chameleons to show tourists passing by to earn some money but we request not to give them money because they are disturbing these pats a lot and starving them. If you really want to see a chameleon, please tell your guide in advance so that if he sees one in a coffee tree he will show you and you will have enough time to watch and take pictures too!. Chameleons like coffee trees and you can also see them during your coffee tour if you join.
Expect to encounter a slew of livestock, exotic birds, caves, outstanding views, and of course the 3 magnificent roaring waterfalls.
Also, ask before taking pictures of local people as some of them may not be interested, sometimes you meet a lady carrying heavy things on her head and the kid on the back plus a hoe in the hand, it might look interesting to snap but first, ask your guide to talk to her in the local language if she is okay with it.
To top it off, my favorite waterfall is the lower Sipi Falls (main waterfall) among the three superlative falls it is 100m high. I love the fact that am enclosed by too much diversity but of course, I embrace it!
Sipi Falls contributes to the factors that make Uganda the pearl of Africa because of the following reasons. The geographical landscape, friendly people, and the weather in Sipi is summer all year round and these make Sipi Falls a dramatic rise/ fall in scenery that provides breathtaking views. For example, the western part of Sipi is hilly and mountainous and offers spectacular panoramic views from the Sipi plateau overlooking the famous three Sipi waterfalls and Mount Elgon at the back.
The volcanic soils around Sipi Falls encourage the sprawling growth of tropical rainforests!
It’s also believed that the scenery is in the eyes of the beholder, but only a cold judgmental mind wouldn’t be impressed by Sipi Falls. This fall has earth-shattering beauty that photos don’t quite convey. It is also set against a stunning backdrop of thundering waterfalls with scenic views that can be enjoyed from everywhere!
Sipi falls is like gold covered with dirt, if you just take off the dust, you will be amazed by the beauty.
For those few remarks, I think you can now include Sipi falls on your bucket list for your next trip.
Do I need a guide for the Sipi Falls hike?
Yes, we recommend a local guide to come with you, because the trails leading to the waterfalls are not marked well and the many routes in the community connecting to different households and singling out the right one going to the waterfalls is a struggle.
Some tourists decide to go by themselves and they end up doing what is called door to door visit, not the planned Sipi Falls hike. Not only that you will get lost, but you will also miss the ins and outs of Sipi Falls if you don’t go with a local area guide.
And we still say you definitely need a guide because during rainy seasons, sometimes the main trails can be washed away and been accompany by a local guide, who will immediately locate another path making your hike just more relaxed.
Also keep in mind that in most of the rural areas of Uganda, the bridges and the paths can change from time to time.
We recommend you come along with your rain gear because the weather tends to be unpredictable and it can pour at any time. Don’t let the shining clouds in the morning deceive your mind.
Another advantage of taking a guide is, he can help you to take beautiful pictures.
About the middle Sipi Falls and the upper falls
Welcome to the Eden of Uganda (Sipi Falls).
The middle Sipi Falls has the country’s gorgeous topography. Hiking these waterfalls will pass you through a small jungle before you arrive at the falls soon.
The coolest part of it is the trail that leads behind the wall of the falls and the artificial cave too!
The top of the middle Sipi Falls will treat you with some Sipi Village/ rapid views as you approach the third falls, off the beaten track, passing through the natural swimming pool near the top of the rapid falls.
Have you seen this before? The third falls (Ngasire) will appear to you like the dreams of heaven plummeting over the sheer wall and disappearing underneath for a distance of about 200m before it comes out and continues its journey to the middle falls since its one river originated from Mount Elgon forming these three spectacular falls.
The upper or the third Sipi Falls is dotted with a lot of lush vegetation and fields of crops with many routes snaking their way in every direction. But no worries the guides will find out the right way!
After reaching the bottom of Sipi Falls number three, you are not yet done. If you want to enjoy the view, and the beauty of this little hikers’ paradise, then take on the journey that leads you to the upper loop trek and have the opportunity to view the entire Sipi community from the top.
This hike will give you the views of Mount Elgon disappearing in the mist and the loop down will pass you through the villages of Gamutui. Later you will arrive at the Sipi center where you started your journey.
Before reaching Sipi, for those who might want to give a taste to some of the local beer around the Sipi Falls area made of corn and yeast and also learn how it’s prepared, we shall take you to Mama Joy’s house on our way back to experience this delicious local beer for the local residents of Sipi.
The magic of Sipi Falls cannot be explained, it has to be experienced by yourself!
Ready to pack your bags and come for the Sipi Falls hike?
We thought so! And said come and see what a typical day looks like in Sipi, more pictures of Sipi Falls and the (neighborhood), we think you will call it home!!!
The hiking tour to the Sipi Waterfalls can be easily combined with some other activities. The regular hiking tour takes about 4 hours.
The abseiling or the coffee tour can nicely complement your Sipi Falls hike.
For more about the activities click the links below.