When I want my birthdays to be phenomenal and awesome then I have to be on the African continent I discovered! Years ago I spent my 17th birthday with my South African friends and my second family in beautiful Cape Town . Last year my 23rd one I was lucky enough to spend in Uganda, spotting Waterfalls the day before and the actual day I hiked in the rainforest with all my friends. A super special and awesome experience!
6 years in between, from Cape Town to Mount Elgon National Park. Both parties were a blast! 🙂
After the three weeks of the university project work, the party week in Kampala, it was finally time for me to travel around and see some nature! The Sipi falls are famous waterfalls in Uganda, not was big as the Murchinson Falls but also really worth visiting!
The falls are all close to a small town up in the mountains called Kapchorwa you will most likely start or begin your journey in Mbale which is the bigger city closeby and also the people travelling from Kenya to Uganda end up in that city firs,t as it is the closest to the border. So did my beloved friend Lara who did a project in Kenya and now joined me for travelling around Uganda. Two other friends from my study who had their project in Rwanda also joined. And I met up with good friend of mine from Germany as she travelled with her family there:) Sooo I had all my loved ones around me, so nice!
We all stayed in the really nice hostel called the “Crow’s nest“, it’s up on a hill and you have an amazing view on one of the waterfalls. It’s really afforable and you get simple but really good food! The rooms are really simple but clean. Sanitary facilities are all outside, simple but also fine. From this accomodation you can take nice tours to explore the nature. For 6 Euros per person the guides from the crow’s nest take you to different waterfalls and even a natural swimming pool.
To one waterfall we walked all the way down, it’s definitely an advanced hike and you have to climb up and down a very suspicious and old wodden ladder. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of it as I was too concentrated not to fall and trying to ignore my Mum’s voice in my head telling me that this was anything BUT safe:D (Mum? I made it alive and in one piece :)) All the hustle is forgotten when you see, hear and feel those massive amounts of water, then you are humbled again and are reminded: nature is truly the best and most beautiful artist.
At the natural waterpool we got shown an amazing surprise! We were busy hiking further when some children came running towards us and shouting at us in excitment. They found a chameleon and presented to us proudly on a wodden stick! Wow and what a stunner, I saw my first wild one ever! We thanked the children and my friend found a soap bubble container in her backpack (her comment on it: you never know when you need that :D) so we played with them and they were very amused by it 😀
Mount Elgon National Park
When you are visiting the Sipi falls and are up to some more outdoor activities you can visit this national Park. There you can mainly do hiking, you can choose between four different trails which are differntly long and where you can experience different landmarks. We did the middle-range one, where we passed two beautiful viewpoints over the rainforest and a cave which is still used by the local community for several rites. It took us three hours, it is indeed an advanced and exhausting hike which I would recommend only to medium fit people.
Our guide was really knowldegeable and explained to us lots about the nature and he also knew lot about other African countries which was really interesting. The Mount Elgon park was up until the 80’s inhabitated by a few communities, they of course used lots of wood and did not leave the nature as it was. After Museveni took over government it was decided that this area should be reforested and it was declared to a national park- all community members needed to move and now live just outside the park but are still allowed to use the cave which is important to them! For example a certain tribe uses it as a place to undertake a “cleaning” ritual for women who gave birth to twins, as this is not perceived as a positive event. But when she and her children went to the cave and undertook the ritual they are full members of the community again. I love to get to know cultural customs of a culture, especially lots of African tribes have customs and beliefs we in Western Europe never get to know of, not even from a few tribes of the very many.
It was my first visit to a rainforest! But for sure not my last. It’s an amazing atmospehre being surroned by those giant trees and hearing all those noises! With my next visit I hope to see some animals as in this one there mainly only live birds and monkeys, which we unfortunately did not spot.
Have you been to a rainforest and if so where and how did you experience it? <3