I had never been to Kapchorwa, Uganda before. Though I had read and studied about it. Recently together with friends under the umbrella #KoikoiUg we visited, toured and experienced numerous activities in Kapchorwa. You see Kapchorwa is a district in the Eastern Region of Uganda, with a number of physical features that welcome you from afar. As you arrive, you are immediately charmed, completely overwhelmed, absolutely disorientated and totally plunged into a different world.
Here is quick guide to Kapchorwa and its wonders;
Kapchorwa is located in the Sebie region approximately 310 kilometres (190 mi), by road, northeast of Kampala –Uganda’s capital city. Kapchorwa is also approximately 65 kilometres (40 mi), by road, northeast of Mbale, the largest city in the Eastern Region. Depending on the efficiency of the car engine this journey takes approximately 7 Hours.
The terrain of Kapchorwa is typically hilly and if you are driving, your car engine will need fuel, which is free of gunk and corrosion, say for example the V power from Shell or something in that category. It will be ready bad if your car engine blows while negotiating a hill.
When you finally arrive in Kapachorwa, stretch and breathe in because you have plugged into a whole new world. The best way to get around while in sight of many sceneries is by means of a motorbike (boda-boda) which navigates both the narrow routes and wide routes. There are few trading centres and when you find one buy whatever you might need before hitting the road again.
The official language used in Kapchorwa is English, literally you can ask for any kind of assistance or hold a conversation in English and you are assured of a response. Languages like Kiswahili and Luganda are also used, though not as commonly used as the native language –the natives speak Sebei, a Nilotic language, it will be a plus if you can speak and know a few phrases in their language when you visit. Here are some useful phrases in Sebein;
Subai – Hello sir
Takwenyo – Hello Madam
Abonde Omi? – Do you have food?
Kaitaboni – Thank you
There are four main physical features that you should be on the lookout for; River Sipi, Sipi Falls, the cliffs and the caves. These are all in one big village of Kapchorwa called Sipi, which was originally called Sep, although when the missionaries came to Kapchorwa they changed it to Sipi until now, it is called that.
River Sipi has three Waterfalls –the first Sipi Falls, located above all other waterfalls drops water through a distance of 80 Meters, the second waterfalls which is in between the first and third Sipi Falls, drops water through a distance of 60Metres and the third waterfalls drops water through a distance of 100Metres. The water is very cold approximately 11 Degrees Celsius. Oh, by the way, even in the night you can still hear the waterfalls roaring from afar and the sounds are definitely outstanding.
Cliffs in Kapchorwa can’t go unnoticed; in any direction you turn there is a cliff in sight which isn’t the case for the caves however. There are a few caves and it might actually take your time to locate one, though with a help of tour guide you can locate some which are safe in the quickest time possible.
There are a number of activities that you can engage in and they can help you have an inner revolution and resilience while in Kapchorwa.
- Abseiling/rappelling is a thrilling and an exciting activity that happens at the third Sipi Falls, You Abseil through at a distance of 10Metres away from the waterfalls and through a distance of 100 Metres to the bottom of the water fall. If you have a phobia of heights and you always wanted to break free of that phobia, well I recommend abseiling.
- Hiking from the third Sipi Falls to the second Sipi Falls then finally to the first Sipi Falls doesn’t only redefine adventure but also gives you a therapy. The route is quite hard to figure without the help of a tour guide, be sure to hike with a guide from Sipi.
- If you are into swimming or playing in the water or maybe watch other people swim, Sipi has a ‘natural swimming pool’ at the top of one of the Sipi Falls, what could be more fascinating than swimming in a river? Oh, by the way, the water levels of the ‘swimming pool’ vary according to seasons. In the rainy season, it is not recommended to swim.
- One of the main economic activities in Kapchorwa is Farming, and the biggest population of Kapchorwa engage in coffee farming. Take some time and do a coffee tour, get to understand the stage coffee undertakes, from the time of planting in the nursery bed to it’s the final consumption.
If you plan to stay for a while in Kapchorwa, there are three types of accommodation facilities for tourists. Depending on your budget plan you can choose between a Hotel, a lodge and a cottage. The prices and quality of services vary accordingly.
Food points and restaurants
In the Kapchorwa town there are different restaurants and food points, though in Sipi village where most tourists spend most of their time, the restaurants are few. However, most accommodation facilities fix the issue, they provide breakfast, lunch and dinner upon your order. So basically the lodges/cottages do act as food points in Sipi.