Monday, June 27, 2011

East Africa Day 42 (Fri June 24): Sipi Falls

This morning I noticed Ugandan staff members carrying jeri cans of water up the hill from the stream towards the bandas that have running water in them. I also saw some fires going – I assume that water was being heated for the buildings. However when Meg and I tried to shower in the AM, we found the water was cold. She showered – I declined.

We had fruit, toast, coffee (locally grown) and tea for breakfast, and then Fred took us on a guided walk to the three Sipi Falls waterfalls. I learned that the top of the third waterfall is approximately 1 kilometer from the Mt. Elgon National Park border. So we were not walking on government-owned land- it was all privately owned. Hence, the need to take the guide. We walked through fields under cultivation, past people’s homes, and through some woods to get to the three waterfalls. The community members need to be reimbursed in exchange for crossing their land. Fred took care of all of that for us. Also, even though I had imagined that Sipi Falls was a well-visited place that would be overly accessible, it turned out that we were walking on muddy single track paths that weren’t that well worn – especially considering that community members traverse them as well to get water, etc. It wasn’t quite a total wilderness feel, but we also didn’t see any other tourists today. We stopped and had a picnic lunch of sandwiches, bananas and hardboiled eggs, near the base of the third waterfall. (No, I didn’t eat the eggs.)

Photo: the first waterfall

Photo: the second waterfall

Photo: the third waterfall

We got back to Lacam Lodge at about 3pm. We then walked down the road to the Crows Nest to check out the hostel’s accommodations for Meghan’s roommates who might come visit Sipi Falls, and to find out about how to get back down to Jinja. (Lacam Lodge was great, but we thought that they might try to get us to hire a private car, and we wanted to find a more affordable way of getting down the mountain.) After seeing the Crows Nest, we were very glad that we were staying at Lacam Lodge, though Simon, the employee that we met was very nice and gave us great advice about how to get back to Jinja.

We walked back to Lacam Lodge, took (hot) showers and spent the rest of the afternoon admiring the view from the main building’s deck, and reading.

Photo: view from the deck.

Photo: our banda in the lower right, and the view beyond.

Dinner – again at 6pm – was very good. By this point two other groups of younger, white tourists had shown up, so the joint was a little livelier. However I think that Meghan and I were both asleep (again) by 8pm:) You can’t really tell from the photos – fortunately – but it was very hot out, the climb was steep at times, and we got very, very sweaty. We needed the sleep!

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