From Kenya to the Pearl of Africa with a few spills on the way


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Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Kampala
October 11th 2011
Published: October 16th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

We spent a relaxing weekend in Kitale eating lots of delicious home cooked food including a Goan feast with potato chops and chicken xacuti. It was great being back there 17 years later, and although Kitale town seems to have expanded and the hustle and bustle increased, Uncle Effie and Aunty Celia's house was just as I remembered it and I was as astonished by the tropical fruit growing in their garden (avocados, mangos, matoke, guava, lemons etc) as I was aged 11! It was lovely to see Margaret again (their maid) and also to see how excited she was to see us.

After a couple of days of home comforts we hit the road again and headed for the Kenyan/Ugandan border. The guide book said it should be around a 3 hour journey from the beginning to our end destination, a town called Mbale, however, our experience was a little different. It took 4 hours to just get to the border on a very over-crowded matatu, sometimes with 21 passengers on board cramped into a 14 minibus seats ; personal space becomes non-existent and you get very well acquainted with your neighbour's body odour! Along the way there was plenty to entertain us including the driver stopping to get the 7 extra passengers out of the bus and onto bodabodas to pass through a police check point, and then reloading the passengers as soon as the police were out of sight.

When we finally arrived at the border we were abruptly thrown off the bus and told to jump on a bodaboda because there were too many vehicles backed up queuing to cross. After a very hot matatu ride again on the Ugandan side of the border, we finally reached Mbale at 4pm, after a total of 7 hours on the road..!

The next day we had a much more pleasant journey out to Sipi, a very picturesque town, home to the 3 tiers of Sipi falls which we were able to view from our traditional style banda (clay & bamboo).

Within a few minutes of arriving at our campsite we were met by Tom, a very charismatic local tour guide/wheeler dealer/Del Boy, who quickly signed us up for a 2 day tour including trekking right up to each of the 3 waterfalls, abseiling down the third and largest waterfall (100m), a local lunch of matoke,
Sipi FallsSipi FallsSipi Falls

Our massive local lunch
beans, spinach, chapatis and beef stew, a lesson in coffee making and a trip to the local pub.

We had an incredible 2 days and highlights were the abseiling (stepping down onto a metal bar and leaning away from the cliff was terrifying, however, when we got going the view was brilliant), having a cold shower in the waterfall, and the friendliness and welcoming nature of everyone we met. It was definitely a highlight of our trip so far.


Additional photos below
Photos: 17, Displayed: 17


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Sipi FallsSipi Falls
Sipi Falls

The view from the top of Sipi 2
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Sipi Falls

At the bottom of Sipi 3
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Sipi Falls

The view from our banda, also showing the 100m of Sipi 3 that we abseiled down!
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Sipi Falls

Stepping over the edge...
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Sipi Falls

Our banda
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Sipi Falls

Chameleon
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Sipi Falls

Behind Sipi 2
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Sipi Falls

Showering under the waterfall
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Sipi Falls

Grinding coffee beans
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Sipi Falls

The view west across Uganda at sunset


21st October 2011

Fantastic pictures
Hey guys Hope all is well and all the updates are great and gee you are brave doing all sorts but great to see that you both are having a great time and keep safe Always thinking of you both and wishing you the best on your next journey All your photos are lovely and the locals are not camera shy U.Custodio is arriving in Perth on the 22nd October, cannot wait to see him Love & hugz U.Augz and A.Antz xxx
29th October 2011

Hi Aunty Antz, Thanks for your message. Hope you guys are both well and are having a great time with Uncle Custodio. We are both well and are currently in Zanzibar. Going to the beach tomorrow for some R&R, can't wait. Looking forward to seeing you in Perth, but lots to see and do before that! Love to you all, Celina and Jonny xx

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