A trip to the east

There are so many opportunities for tourism in the east of Uganda, here we summarise some of the real highlights:

Jinja City

Jinja is a town located on the shores of Lake Victoria, the source of the Nile and a home to Owen Falls Dam.

Of course, we can’t talk about the pearl without talking about the River Nile.  Further north on the river, Itanda Falls is known for its white-water rapids. East of Jinja, on Lake Victoria, Samuka Island is home to birdlife, including little Egrets.  There are also several other falls to visit where one beholds the beauty of nature including the Busowoko falls, the new discovery of the town. Busowoko Falls is one of the least major falls on the River Nile after several others including the once-famous Bujagali Falls, the Ripon Falls as well as the Griffin Falls.

Jinja’s strategic location makes it a tourists’ haven of fun activities. Some of these activities include kayaking on the lake, boating, rafting, cruising, bungee jumping and fishing, among others. Apart from water activities, visitors may also indulge in horse riding, picnics, quad biking and bird watching.

One may also indulge in cultural tours of places such as the Kyabazinga Royal Palace and Jinja central market, where you can acquire some beautiful handmade crafts.

You may have probably come across pictures of the Jinja bridge, an outstanding feature that fits the title “all the bright places”.  This only makes it more special. The list is endless, Jinja town is a haven to great tourism places and its night life is reviving because how do you go away without tasting the Nile beer?

Mt Elgon National Park

The most dominant feature in this National Park is the majestic Mount Elgon, the result of a volcanic eruption approximately 24 million years ago.

Once considered Africa’s highest mountain, Mt Elgon’s height has since been “watered-down” by years of soil erosion. Its highest peak Wagagai now stands at 4,321m making it the 4th highest peak in East Africa and 8th in Africa.

Despite being on the border of Uganda and Kenya, the majority of the park lies in Uganda with 1,110 square kilometres of the total 1,279 square kilometres.

The mountain is commonly referred to as Masaba by the local Gisu tribe in the area who is believed to be their founding father. The Sabiny also consider this area their home.

With this significant feature, the park offers a myriad of activities including cave visits, hiking with trails that vary in difficulty, mountain biking and nature walks. The view at the top of the mountain is definitely rewarding.

Also, the park offers shelter to animals such as buffaloes, elephants and antelopes as well as over 300 bird species including the endangered lammergeier which will be a great opportunity for birders to enjoy.

Nyero Rock Paintings

Found in the eastern district of Kumi, the Nyero rock paintings offer a deep dive into the ancient culture and history of Uganda.

The site has three rock shelters that all have different figures including concentric circles, people, animals and zebra canoes. The rock paintings are recognised by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as one of the best historical sites in Uganda. These paintings are believed to date as far back as 1250.

They are believed to have been painted by a group of people who lived in the area before the Itesot people who currently reside in the area occupied it. There have been speculations that the Batwa people are the possible architects of the amazing art in the caves.

Visitors should also consider climbing to the top of the shelters to have a glimpse of beautiful views of the area as well as an opportunity to view some birds and reptiles. However, to indulge in this activity, consider visiting during the dry season as the rocks can be quite slippery during the rainy season.

For history enthusiasts and those looking to understand a key part of Uganda’s history, this is definitely a must see.

Sipi Falls

Sipi Falls is definitely one of the serene natural wonders of the world.  Sipi Falls are made up of three waterfalls and are located in Kapchorwa district, Eastern Uganda. The waterfalls, which lie on the edge of Mount Elgon National Park, are a popular attraction for quietness, calm and spectacular views from any angle.

One of the popular activities at the location are nature walks where you will come across caves, coffee plantations, views of hills and water rumbling downstream.

One may also go hiking at the falls, which may take approximately 3 hours with breath-taking views on way. The falls look like they are flowing into a cup. The hiking trip also offers views of the Karamoja plains, slopes of Mountain Elgon, and Lake Kyoga.

Other activities here include sport fishing and bird watching.