By Timothy Bisagati
Mbale Resort Hotel is close to all of Eastern Uganda and Mbale’s famous landmarks, including Mount Elgon, The Historic Nyero Rock Paintings, the Tororo Rock, The Jewish Community Temple(Semei Kakungulu site), Wanale Hill, Sipi&Sisiyi falls. Kapkwai Forest Exploration Center, Pian-upe Game Reserve, Kidepo Valley National Park. Trips to all the sites can be arranged at the hotel with pattern tour companies. Explore Eastern Uganda
1. Mount Elgon Nation Park
Mount Elgon’s highest peaks are formed by high points around a jagged rim enclosing one of the world’s largest calderas, at 40km long and 8km wide. The tallest peak is the 4,321m Wagagi, followed by Sudek (4,303m), Koitobos (4,222m) and Mubiyi (4,210m). Mount Elgon is home to the World’s Largest Caldera. The Caldera was formed as a result of magma being drained from the chamber. When it could no longer support the overlying volcanic cone, it collapsed into a depression-like shape.
2. Wanale Hill
Wanale Hill is an impressive mountain replete with precipices, escarpments, deep valleys, water streaked cliffs, caves and rocks. It is the most visible mountain range of Mount Elgon
3. Sipi falls
Sipi Falls is a series of three waterfalls in the district of Kapchorwa, northeast of Sironko and Mbale. The waterfalls lie on the edge of Mount Elgon National Park near the Kenyan border. The Sipi Falls area is the starting point for many hikes up Mt. Elgon. The most popular route starts in Budadiri and follows the Sasa trail to the summit and then descends down the Sipi trail back into the Sipi Falls. Hikes around the falls offer stunning views of the Karamoja plains, Lake Kyoga, and the slopes of Mt. Elgon. Being on the foothills of Mt. Elgon, Sipi offers a number of alternative activities include hiking around the local area and visiting the local waterfalls, Abseiling against the falls, coffee tours, Nature Walks e.t.c
4. Sisiyi falls
Sisiyi Falls is located in Buyagasub-region, Bulambuli district, Eastern Uganda. This magnificent falls is located a distance as you take the highway from Mbale to the districts of Sironko,Bulambuli, Kapchorwa and Moroto. The area around Sysiyi falls is good for camping, family Picnics, Team Building activities, relaxing e.t.c
5. Nyero Rock Paintings
65km north of Mbale, the Nyero Rock Paintings are the finest of several rock art sites in the region. Three panels are found within the extensive granite outcrop of Moru Ikara, 10km from Kumi Town and 55km from Mbale on the Soroti road. The most impressive is Panel Two which includes two canoes bearing human figures
6. Imbalu Circumcision Ceremony
The imbalu (male circumcision) is a legendary ceremony among the Bagisu ethnic group marks the initiation of boys into manhood. The ritual brings a festive atmosphere in the Elgon region: Music blares, the dance is engrossing, food is in plenty. The opening ceremony is usually around the Month of August of every even year.
7. Bududa Bull Fighting
The fights are organized in Namasho village, Bulucheke sub-county, Bududa District every fortnight on Saturdays.The bull fighting tradition in Bududa began in 1956. From the mid 50’s to the threshold of the 70’s, the fights were not taken seriously. The practice was more of an occasional and casual pastime for local herdsmen especially in Namasho Village. The referees normally gauge the sizes of the animals to fight depending on the size of the bull. More than 1,000 people gather to cheer up the event. About two to three pairs of bulls fight at once, with animal owners keeping a close watch and cheering on their animals.The sport is also part of the Bamasaaba’s cultural heritage that has been in existence since the 1950s. Spectators carry containers of local brew, which they take while watching the fights. Elders pray to their gods before the fight as a symbol of respect to the forefathers, who they believe initiated the sport.The bull that emerges the strongest is named after the strongest leaders in the world and its owner gets small cash prizes from the community bets. Winners receive between Shs5,000 to Shs20,000, depending on what has been availed. On good days, local politicians stake as much as Shs500,000 for the winners.
8. The Tororo Rock
The rock is situated approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) southeast of the central business district of the town. The coordinates of the rock are:00 41 06N, 34 11 01E (Latitude:0.6850; Longitude:34.1836). It is reported that Tororo Rock is visible from anywhere in Tororo District. There is saying in Tororo: “The Eiffel Tower is to Paris as the magnificent Tororo Rock is to Tororo District. The rock is a major tourist attraction. The highest altitude of Tororo Rock is 4,865 feet (1,483 m) with a gradient of about 0.75 from the east to the west. On the rock’s slopes are ancestral caves and various rock paintings. The elevation of Tororo Town is 3,888 feet (1,185 m). Therefore, Tororo Rock towers 977 feet (298 m) above downtown Tororo. Tororo town is just 45minutes drive from Mbale
9. The Jewish Community (Semei Kakungulu site)
Semei Kakungulu (1869 – 24 November 1928) was a Ugandan man who founded the Abayudaya (Luganda: Jews) community in Uganda in 1917. He studied and meditated on the Old Testament, adopted the observance of all Moses’ commandments, including circumcision, and suggested this observance for all his followers. The Abayudaya follow Jewish practices and consider themselves Jews despite the absence of Israelite ancestry. Kakungulu died on 24 November 1928 of tetanus. He was buried a short distance from the main Abayudaya synagogue in Gangama, a short distance from Mbale Town.
10. Kapkwai Forest Exploration Center
The Forest Exploration Centre at Kapkwai, 13km from Sipi town, doubles as an educational center for schools and the trailhead for climbers using the Sipi trail to the caldera. Three circuits of between 3-7km run through the surrounding regenerating forest, where visitors can visit caves, waterfalls, escarpments and viewpoints; and observe birds and primates.
11. Pian-upe & Matheniko Bokora Game Reserve
In the plains of Karamoja to the north of Mount Elgon lie Matheniko Bokora Wildlife Reserve and the expansive Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve, the second largest protected area in Uganda, with an area of 2,788km2. Wildlife found here includes rare species such as the roan antelope, lesser kudu, Bright’s gazelle and ostriches which, in Uganda, are found only here and in Kidepo Valley National Park. Wildlife is concentrated around the Loporokocho swamp.