Exploring Uganda one waterfall at a time

BY HENRY MATOVU

When you ask Ugandans what their dream destination would be, the majority would cross not only just the Ugandan border but the oceans beyond to find it. They mention lands far away, glorifying foreign beauty over their motherland. I on the other hand would opt to visit Uganda any day.

I totally agree with Sir Winston Churchill who called our country “The Pearl of Africa”.

So, over the June public holiday break, thanks to social media, I retreated to the eastern part of Uganda.

My journey was prompted by an advert on Facebook a week earlier. I called the listed contact numbers and booked a ticket for my friend and I.

“On Heores Day”, you ask? Well, I hold no government post I am not a politician. So I did not expect my name to be on the list of medal recipients! Instead, however, I decided to be a hero of my country, in my own silent way.

My friend and I were soon joined by two other enthusiastic travellers, and we set off on 8 June aboard a YY bus.

The poorly lit roads and sparsely populated areas did not give us a chance to savour the view on our night time journey aboard the speeding bus from Kampala. By midnight we were in Mbale, and we were welcomed by the fully awake bodaboda riders who asked us about where we were heading. Clueless we were, but thankfully our travel coordinator was already at the station to lead us to our resting place for the night.

I do not know if it was excitement or anticipation that kept me fully awake late into the night, as I pictured the Sipi Falls that we had travelled all this way to experience firsthand. However, sleep took over in the wee hours and I was greeted by the scenic and famous Wanale Ridge at dawn.

I joined the rest of the team for breakfast before hitting the road for a one-and-a-half-hour drive to Kapchorwa.

We soon arrived at the bottom of Sipi Falls where we received a briefing on the hike and took a few selfies, then set off with each holding a walking stick.

Call me mad, but the roaring waters got screaming at the first “fall”. The Sipi Falls consist of three falls and the first one we encountered landed at the entrance of a cave. Above the cave cascaded water from 60 feet above the ground. The white, speedy waters hit the huge stones strongly, making a sort of organized music sound!

I realised that to stay below the cave was to rob myself of greater satisfaction of what nature has to offer. So up I climbed.

I made my way to the waterfall and behold, I stood in awe of God and worshipped Him because of what was before me. Please do not call me a doubting Thomas – for even before ever seeing the falls, I believed in God but this was beyond me. So, if I did not believe before, this would have convinced me.

The crowning moment was getting a chance to swim in the ice-cold waters. The immersion process lasted for about 20 minutes as each part of the body had to first get used to the low temperatures before another part would be surrendered! Such fun!

After my visit to that part of the country, I now wonder what the rest has to offer.

I guess I can say that I have been officially assigned by the Pearl of Africa to blow her horn so that more people can come and witness the country’s beauty.

And I am convinced that travel journalism is going to keep my life in motion for a long time.

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