Hiking Tour in Sipi Falls

Famously known for its stunning scenery, Sipi Falls is a set of three falls located at the base of Mount Elgon in Mount Elgon National Park

Sipi Falls is just another one of Uganda’s magnificent tourist attractions, and hiking tours to explore these falls offer some of the most breathtaking adventures and scenery. Famously known for its stunning scenery, Sipi Falls is a set of three falls located at the base of Mount Elgon in Mount Elgon National Park. Besides being the tallest falls in the country, the falls are complimented by majestic scenery that attracts a variety of tourists to the area. The falls are situated just about 3 kilometers from Sipi town in Kapchorwa District, approximately 4 hours from Kampala by road.

Formed by the Sipi River, the falls tide from the upper slopes of Mount Elgon, each falling from a distinct spot and continuing into Lake Kyoga. The name ‘Sipi’ is derived from a local word ‘sep’ which refers to a plant similar to a wild banana that grows on the banks of the river. According to the locals, the plant is herbal medicine for illnesses like fever. Besides exhilarating hiking tour experiences, other activities at Sipi Falls include coffee tours, cultural tours, Mount Elgon Hiking Tours, and abseiling adventures, to mention but a few.

Hiking Tour in Sipi Falls

Elevated at 1,775 meters above sea level the Sipi Falls is a set of three falls (Simba, and Ngasire) that plunge over three distinct slopes on Mount Elgon. Hiking tours to explore these beautiful falls is such a breathtaking experience. The hikes can tend to be muddy and strenuous, especially during the rainy season but once you have stopped to gaze at the falls, you will forget about your tired self. The hike is a 3-hour trail and to stay on track, it is better to follow the Sipi River. the hike starts with exploring the second-tallest fall which plunges over 85 meters with a roaring squish. The trail the fall is quite slippery and steep but it is safe and your guide will help you navigate it easily. Nonetheless, you need to take caution during your hike.

Hiking Tour in Sipi Falls
Hiking Tour in Sipi Falls

From the second-highest, follow the river through various community farmlands and plantations ring the dry season, visitors even take showers under it. Hiking this fall will take you through various lovely farmlands, plantations, and rocks to meet the lowest of the three falls; plunging over 65 meters on a cliff. This fall features a gorgeous and photogenic manmade cave that also offers a back view of the falls.


Moreover, you can also unwind under the cave after the long hike. After taking shows, and photos and enjoying the scenery at the falls, proceed through bushes to the last cliff where the last fall plunges at 100 meters: this is the tallest of the three falls and is the reason Sipi Falls is ranked as Uganda’s highest waterfall. The fall falls over a large cliff so beautiful that it looks like a wallpaper background. Here, the falls also form a natural pool which forms rainbows when hit by the sun. More so, abseiling adventures are done here.

What you Need to Know About Hiking Tours in Sipi Falls!

Hiking tours to Sipi Falls are very rewarding with personal encounters with the locals, transcending views of Mount Elgon National Park, Lake Kyoga, several farmlands and plantations, as well as a variety of primates such as monkeys and bird species. While most travelers like to hike the falls, independently of a tour guide, international travelers will need a guide to take them to the falls; moreover, given the rough terrain and muddy trails, especially during the rainy season a guide is required as some of the trails are not properly marked.

A local guide costs about $5 and will be found in the area. Besides leading through the hiking trails, the guides will keep you company with stories about the history of the falls and the area. A hiking tour in Sipi Falls takes between 3 to 4 hours depending on one’s level of physical fitness. The hike is about 7km and is characterized by steep climbs, passing through farms and villages. Since it is a mountain, the area receives a lot of rain which means the landscape is often muddy. You will need to carry comfortable hiking boots to help you walk through these trails. Walking sticks will be provided by your guide.

Although most tourists want to explore all three falls, whichever fall you choose to start with depends on which one you are interested in seeing. One trail which takes you to the tallest falls first falls a route from Budadiri through the Sasa Trail and descends to the Sipi Trail to the falls.

Other Things to Do at Sipi Falls

Abseiling and Rock Climbing  

If you are an adrenaline addict, abseiling is for you. The activity is done at the tallest waterfall (100 meters) and it involves descending the cliff on a rope that is supported by a friction gadget. The experience will reward you with stunning views of the falls and the surrounding. Nearby is Chebonet which is also perfect for rock climbing. You will need to carry the right gear including a helmet and comfortable climbing shoes to enjoy the adventure. There are well-trained guides to take you through the experience.    

Abseiling in Sipi falls
7 Days Mount Elgon Hike to the Peak

Hiking Mount Elgon

Sipi Falls offers the most adventurous trails and experiences for hikers looking to summit Mount Elgon. The extinct volcano features Uganda’s second-highest peak and Africa’s fourth-highest summit (Wagagai). It is the world’s second-biggest volcanic peak, having the greatest surface area (caldera). The mountain is shared between Uganda and Kenya however, its summit Wagagai lies on the Uganda side. Depending on one’s level of fitness, summiting Mount Elgon’s peak is a 5 to 6-day hiking tour. Moreover, the mountain offers some of the easiest and most scenic hiking tours.

Community Tours

After exploring Sipi Falls, you can take to the local communities and interact with the local tribes that live in the area. The region is inhabited by two tribes: the Bagisu and Sabiny and both of these are regarded as one of Uganda’s authentic tribes that still maintain parts of its old rituals. Among these include the famed Gishu ‘Imbalu Circumcision’ of all male youth members and the Sabiny circumcision of both male and female youth members of the community as a way of initiating them into adulthood. Tourists can also participate in the colorful festival song and dance if they visit between August and December. Learn about their traditions including their dress, food delicacies, etc.

Mount Elgon NationalPark
6 day Sipi and Murchison falls safari

Sipi Arabica Coffee Tour  

Sipi Falls is well-known for its organic arabica coffee production. The Sabiny and Bagisu tribes have been farming coffee on the slopes of Mount Elgon since 1999 and the beans only grow between 1,600 and 1,900 meters in elevation. During the coffee tour, tourists are led by local Bagisu guides and taken through the process of Arabica coffee growing and processing. Among other things, you will learn how to pick the coffee beans, peel them, grind them, roast them, and make a delicious cup of coffee. You will also learn about the various ways this coffee farming has benefited the farmers and the entire region at large. The guided coffee tour costs $6, a portion of which is given back to the community.

Best Time to go for a Hiking Tour at Sipi Falls

The best time to go for a hiking tour in Sipi Falls is during the drier months of the year when the trekking trails are dry and less slippery. More so, the dry seasons present clear skies, cool breezes, and warm temperatures which are perfect for sightseeing. Uganda experiences two climate seasons: the wet and dry seasons. The dry season comes around June through August or Early September and again in December through February. this is generally the best time to explore the rest of Uganda’s safari destinations. The wet season on the other hand comes around March to May and October through November. Nonetheless, Uganda can be visited during any season of the year.

Where to Stay in Sipi Falls?

There are many hotels and lodges situated around Sipi Falls, that offer comfortable and affordable accommodation facilities. Among these include Sipi River Lodge: an exclusive lodge set at the base of Mount Elgon. The lodge offers private cottages with private verandas to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Another great place to stay in Sipi is Sipi Falls Resort which caters to both luxury and budget travelers, boasting two luxury en-suite cottages within Mount Elgon National Park. The resort’s cottages are well-built and offer transcending views of the Karamoja landscape. The Crow’s Nest is also another great choice for those looking for something affordable and closer to the falls.

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