Looking to travel off the beaten trail? Why not travel to Eastern Uganda, a less visited destination in Uganda. Always referred to as an Eastern Trail, there are lots of things to see on a route through the region;
1. The River Nile
While you are in the Eastern region, it’s worth to visit Jinja, the adventure capital of Uganda and see the source of Nile River. For long explorers looked for the Source of the Nile. You will take a boat cruise to learn about the mystical river that pours its waters into the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile is the second longest river in the world and some claim that it is the longest river in the world. You will see the incredible waterway of the Nile River emerging out of the Lake Victoria you can see the start of the Nile at Jinja, which is about a two hours drive from Kampala through the Mabira Forest.
You can enjoy some boat trips around the lake and visit to the hydroelectric power plant at Bujagali Falls. The area around Jinja is also known as the adventure capital of East Africa. You can enjoy mountain biking, horse riding, and other adrenaline activities. The town itself is also worth a visit to see some examples of colonial architecture. While in Jinja, there are many different accommodation options to choose from to make your stay comfortable.
The Nile offers interesting several water sports that can be experienced while in Jinja. Go for white water rafting, bungee jumping, kayaking, jet cruises etc. Other interesting things to do in Jinja are quad biking, horseback riding among others.
2. Nyero Rock Paintings
The Nyero Rock Paintings site is a three level rock cave shelters with some of the oldest paintings in Uganda that were painted during the Iron Age. These unique rock paintings are found in the Iteso land in Kumi district of Uganda. On a guided safari in Eastern Uganda, it is so possible to have a stopover to these mighty caves that confirm the existence of the iron age people in Uganda. Once you visit the place, the paintings demonstrated a high degree of appreciation of their beautiful values although the painters miss out their identification.
There are some folk tales of old people who have little information about the original inhabitants. The paintings are generally attributed to Batwa people who are hunters and gathers from the pygmy origin and they are thought to have immigrated because of the arrival of the Luo, Nilotic and Bantu groups. Till up to date, the meaning of the three phase paintings is not known although they still look gorgeously at the site. The Batwa people who settled in the area before the Iteso People, lived in the area and drew the pictures. They left the place long ago and there is no record of them.
Currently, the Etesots live in this region but are not the original group of people believed to have drawn the pictures that make up the Nyero Rock Paintings. The paintings offer a unique motivation, decorative piece of art on natural lonely inselbergs in landscapes with beautiful scenery for visitors to enjoy. The rock art is Uganda’s precious treasure which she holds to protect from destruction.
You can climb up on top of the shelter for great views of the surrounding area and will find monkeys birds and at times even reptiles sunbathing. Take care on rainy days since the rocks can become a bit slippery. It is about 5hrs’s drive from Kampala to Kumi and about 8km from Kumi to the Nyero rocks.
3. Mount Elgon
Mountain Elgon is an extinct volcano about 250 kilometers in the Eastern region on the border between Uganda and Kenya. The National park has much to offer to visitors including attractions Elephants and Buffalos especially on the lower slopes of the mountain. Other wildlife includes; Antelopes and monkeys. At 4000 square kilometers, Mountain Elgon has the largest volcanic base in the world. There are over 300 species of birds, including the endangered Lammergeyer can also be seen in the thick forests that circle the peak. Climbing this mountain is not difficult at all but hikers can also check out the big caves, waterfalls, cliffs, caves and gorges. During the night, animals frequently come to lick up salt from the cave walls. The volcanic soils allow the Elgon region to produce the finest Uganda’s Arabica coffee.
Mount Elgon and the surrounding area has activities that most visitors will enjoy and one needs to stress that Mount Elgon is more than a mountain to be conquered but to be enjoyed by most any visitor and since not every visitor is a climber there are lots of nature trails, caves, waterfalls, various vegetation zones, birds, wildlife to be enjoyed on guided walks without the need for any equipment but a light backpack, hiking boots, a wide-brimmed hat, Jeans, long-sleeved shirts and a light rain-jacket, bottled water and a packed lunch on all day nature walk or the newly commissioned mountain bike trails.
Mountain Elgon is home to two tribes that is to say; the Bagisu and the Sabiny, with the marginalized Ndorobos forced to dwell deep within the forest of Benet. The Bagisu, also known as the BaMasaba, consider Mount Elgon to be the embodiment of their founding father Masaba and refer to the mountain by this name.
Though many visitors to Mount Elgon come to climb Mount Elgon there are however many activities in and near Mount Elgon for those who want to simply explore and discover this great region in the Pearl of Africa Uganda.
4. The Sipi Falls
The Sipi falls is the most beautiful water fall found in the Eastern part of Uganda in Kapchorwa district about km north of Mbale. The falls is a set of three water fall located at the foothills of mountain Elgon. Many times Sipi falls is associated with only one of the 3 falls which is the tallest at about 100m and is the main water fall. The other two are thought to be about 7 and 8 meters high. This water fall is one of the best attractions in the Eastern Uganda. Not only the falls but also the view of Mount Elgon from up and the distant Karamoja plains disappearing from below is quite spectacular.
The atmosphere at Sipi is very conducive and favorable given the fact that the weather is much cooler than the rest of Uganda. It is a great place to escape away from the hustle and bustle of the stressful towns to chill and relax. It is worth spending a night in this serene and peaceful place. There are a number of lodges and campsites in the area offering a range of accommodation for all budgets.
Trekking to the water fall is fierce-ful but one of the most fulfilling adventures you can do. The rain bow cutting through the falls, the breeze and the cool drops of water brushing on your skin feels like heaven. There is a network of well-maintained local train through a pleasant country side and offering great views of the scenery in each direction. The Sipi falls area is known for growing of African Coffee thus leading to the development of Agriculture the back bone of Uganda.