In Kapchorwa district in eastern Uganda northeast of Sironko and Mbale is one of the most beautiful series of three waterfalls: the Sipi Falls.
The Sipi Falls area is home to the warm welcoming tribe called Bagisu, cultural practices like Imbalu, Malewa a smoked bamboo shoot and locally grown Bugisu Arabica coffee.
But did you know that Sir Andrew Benjamin Cohen the third last governor of Uganda in 1952-1957 responsible for exiling Kabaka Edward Muteesa II had a soft spot for Sipi Falls? He even built a house in Sipi that still exists. In this story we explore the Sipi Falls and it’s hidden historical treasures.
It may be a surprise to many Ugandans to learn that Governor Sir Andrew Benjamin Cohen took a liking to a hideaway from the Power centre Kampala has become in Sipi. The drive today is 6 hours, hard to imagine what effort it took then. But for Cohen the beauty of Sipi was worth all the trouble.
The fresh air, the ever green beautiful scenery as if the hills of Mt. Elgon are following you at every turn, the exciting excursion ahead it’s no surprise the colonial governor was mesmerized by what Sipi offers.
Sipi Falls is a series of three water falls in Eastern Uganda Kapchorwa district north east of Sironko and Mbale.
The waterfalls lie at the edge of Mount Elgon National Park near the Kenyan border but the biggest and most popular fall is in Wanale village, our guide Namenya tells us.
At Sipi Falls, 67 years later, a vintage house that belonged to the third last British Governor Sir Andrew Benjamin Cohen built in 1951 still stands.
Namenya says history says that it was Chief Semei Kakungulu that invited Cohen to Sipi. It was then that Cohen built a home with a view of the Sipi Falls which he used as a control centre.
Namenya says efforts are being made to trace how the governor lived here in attempt to recreate it for the tourists.
The house has old fashioned doors and locks, the floor, the fire place but most interestingly is to learn that the governor had stones built into his walls.
However that is not all Sipi has to offer.
One has a wide range of activities to engage in. From the famous locally grown Bagisu coffee tour, to the three major waterfalls, abseiling, culinary tourism mountain climbing and biking the list is endless.
Namenya says this has helped involve the community more in tourism and hence forth the numbers of tourists visiting the falls has increased .
He says the peak months are usually July, August and December.
All those who visit Sipi have only great things to say about the experience.
The immerse beauty that is embedded at Sipi Falls coupled with a lot history makes the story worth telling.
A note to you who plans to visit, do not forget to engage in the drink from Sipi Falls challenge that everyone is obsessed with, let’s tell the world about Uganda the pearl of Africa.