Sipi Falls

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Sipi Falls
Sipi Falls Main Drop.jpg
Main falls at Sipi
LocationSipi, Uganda
Coordinates1°20′16″N 34°22′46″E / 1.33778°N 34.37944°E / 1.33778; 34.37944
Longest drop100m

Sipi Falls is a waterfall found at the foothills of Mountain Elgon just at the edge of Mount Elgon National Park. The falls are one of the most awe-inspiring sights in Eastern Uganda.[1]


The falls are located in a small trading center of Sipi, which lies at an altitude of 1,775 m on the mountain's northeastern foot slopes, only 55 km from Mbale along a good surfaced road. The village overlooks the 99m-high Sipi Falls, the last in a series of three waterfalls formed by the Sipi River as it cascades downhill from the upper slopes of Mount Elgon into the Kyoga Basin.[2]

Name Origin[edit]

The name sipi was derived from the word ‘sep’, a name of a wild banana-like indigenous plant that grows along the banks of the Sipi River.[3] Sep has a translucent green frond with a bolt of crimson rib that resembles a wild banana. It is a medicinal plant, being used for treating measles and fever.


A combination of three waterfalls separated by steep hillsides in Kapchorwa near the Kenya border. The highest and main waterfall drops from an altitude of 95 meters, offering a magnificent scenery. [2]


The Sipi Falls area is particularly famous for locally grown Bugisu Arabica coffee. Bugisu Arabica only grows at an altitude of between 1,600 and 1,900 meters. Coffee tours are organized by guides with knowledge of coffee farming, processing and roasting. Profits from this go towards community projects.[4]


Around Sipi Falls, visitors can partake in various activities such as; climbing Mount Elgon, hiking, bird watching, cave expeditions, cave painting excursions and camping.[1] Hikes around the falls offer stunning views of the Karamoja plains, Lake Kyoga, and the slopes of Mount Elgon. Individuals can organize trips through the Uganda Wildlife Authority or local private operators.[5][6]The falls are surrounded by caves and footways that allow hiking and visitors to see vast banana and coffee plantations around the waterways and interact with the local communities of the Bagisu and Sabiny People.[2]

Getting there[edit]

Sipi trading center lies about 45 kilometres from Mbale along the surfaced road to Kapchorwa. Self-drivers must follow the Kumi Road out of town for 5 kilometres to Namunsi, where they need to turn right on to the Moroto Road and follow it for another 28 kilometres before turning right on to the Kapchorwa Road at a junction 1 kilometre past Muyembe. Sipi lies about 12 kilometres along this road.[2]

If you choose to start off with the Piswa trail, drive as if you were going to Budadiri, but where the road forks, keep left, sticking to the tar. You pass through Sironko, and, after about six kilometres ( four miles), take a right turn, to Sipi.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Best of Uganda". Global village. world. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d Briggs, Philip (2020). Uganda: The Bradt Travel Guide. England: Bradt Travel Guides. pp. 285–286. ISBN 9781784776428.
  3. ^ "Sipi Falls Uganda". Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  4. ^ "Sipi Falls Uganda, Visitors Guide For Tours & Safaris". Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-03. Retrieved 2013-04-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-22. Retrieved 2010-08-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Spectrum Guide to Uganda. Nairobi, Kenya: Camerapix Publishers International. 1997. p. 157. ISBN 9781904722298.