Away from the noise of urban life, is Mbale city; a serene land within the deepest reaches of Eastern Uganda. It is located approximately 245 kilometers by road, northeast of Kampala, covering a total area of 2,467 square kilometers. Mbale serves as the main administrative and commercial center in the entire Bugisu sub region.
For many, Mbale is often a stop-over for fuel and refreshments to other destinations but this beautiful city based at the foothills of Mount Elgon has more to offer than meets the eye. From the wildly captivating Mount Elgon to the mind-blowing Sipi falls, here are some of the top sites to behold as you explore Mbale city.
Without a doubt, Sipi falls is one of the most beautiful places to see in Mbale. The waterfalls are found in Sipi town, on the lower flanks of Mount Elgon near the Kenyan border within the boundaries of Mt Elgon National Park. They feature a series of waterfalls ranging from 65m to 100m. The name Sipi is adapted from a wild plant; sep, that is readily abundant in the area.
For many, Sipi falls is the start of hiking trails through lush green forest to Mount Elgon. Depending on your preference, several trails lead from Sipi town, through the different waterfalls all the way to the caves. A hike to the main waterfall can last about 4-5 hours depending on your speed but is totally worth it! Other activities at Sipi falls include; abseiling, birding and landscape viewing.
Mount Elgon was once the highest Mountain in Africa but due to the effects of massive soil erosion, it was reduced to merely, 4321 meters. This however, has not in any way affected its natural charm and beauty. In fact, it is still one of the mountains with the largest volcanic base in the world. Such unique disposition has allowed it great fame among tourists from all over the world.
Owing to its location along the border of Uganda and Kenya, visiting Mbale gives you the opportunity to hike Mt Elgon. This extinct shield volcano is also one of the best things to see in Mbale. The immensely green natural scenery you will encounter as you climb to the summit of this mountain is not only captivating but quite memorable as well.
Mount Elgon National Park
At 1,279 square kilometers, Mount Elgon National park is a relatively large protected game area located along the border of Uganda and Kenya. The international border between these two countries divides the park into two portions with Uganda having the larger share of 1,110 square kilometers and Kenya taking the lesser share of 169 square kilometers.
When visiting Mbale, Mount Elgon National park is the perfect destination for a wildlife excursion. Game drives through the open outskirts of the park against the foothills of Mt Elgon reveal a gutsy abundance of animals such as Elephants, Buffalo, Hyenas, Leopards and duikers. Primates here include; Black and White Colobus Monkeys, blue Monkeys and red tailed Monkeys. A variety of birdlife can be found here as well.
About 34 kilometers from Mbale city center is Sisiyi falls; a mystical waterfall in Bulambuli. It is locally known as “Mezi ge lisusi”; loosely translated as ‘smoky waterfalls’ owing to the enchanting mist surrounding Sisiyi falls. Although this waterfall is not located within Mbale city center, it is a must visit for anyone within the area.
Tourist activities around the falls including hiking and nature walks to the bottom of Sisiyi to visit the carter lake. Great caution should be exercised however when visiting the crater lake since it is surrounded by granite rocks that are often slippery. All in all, Sisiyi falls is a must see spot to relax and catch a breath of fresh air when in Mbale.
As you approach Mbale town, you can already see it; the magnificent Wanale ridge towering over this beautiful city. At 6,864 feet, this magnificent ridge can be seen from almost all corners of the city. Wanale ridge is hoisted off the flanks of Mt Elgon; covered in lush green vegetation adorned with endless streams of clear water that nourish all life here.
Hiking Wanale ridge is quite the experience as you explore Mbale city. Trails lead off from the base of the bridge and as you work your way up, you can already catch glimpses of distant surroundings. At the top, unbeatable views of the entire city and neighboring plains is the highlight of your hike. Watch out to wear comfortable hiking boots as the trails can get very slippery especially in the rainy season.
Mbale is a hidden city within the deepest reaches of eastern Uganda in the wake of the boisterous Mt. Elgon. It offers plenty of breathtaking sites for any adventurer such as; the Magnificent Sipi falls, Mount Elgon and Mount. Elgon National Park, Wanale ridge and Sisiyi falls. Join Ameera Africa Safaris on an exclusive round trip around Mbale city to uncover what this quiet town has to offer.
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