Mbale City Tour
Mbale City Tour: is a city in the Eastern part of Uganda and the town derives its name after the largest district, Mbale which also serves as the main municipal, administrative and commercial center of Mbale district and sub-region. District headquarters are situated in Mbale Municipality industrial Division, Maluku (1km from Mbale Town Town). Mbale city is considered as one of the most ancient cities of Uganda yet a modern and progressive country hosting and acting as a financial hub for the many financial institutions in the city. The city also serves as an administrative and commercial centre of other urban centers such as Nakaloke Town Council, Nauyo-Bugema Town Council, Nabumali Town Council, Busiu Town Council and more. Additionally districts of Bududa, Manafwa, Namisindwa and Sironko were part of Mbale District before they were split off as independent districts of their own. Mbale town is approximately 245 kilometers (152mi) by road northeast of Kampala, Uganda’s capital oldest and largest city. This city also lies on the railway from Tororo to Pakwach and also lies at the western foot of the extinct Volcano Mountain Elgon, which is one of the highest peaks in East Africa and is approximately 48 kilometers (30mi) northeast of Mbale by road, (4,321 metres), 75 miles (120km) northeast of Jinja.
Mountain Elgon National Park
This is one of the less explored National Parks in Uganda situated at the border of Uganda and Kenya, in Uganda it is found in the districts of Kapchorwa and Mbale. This park is a gazetted international ecological conservation area, as a habitat to rare, unique vegetation species. The park was established in 1993 and the park’s tourism potential is yet to be fully harnessed, particularly mountain climbing expedition trails are not well developed especially on the side of Mbale district. It also harbors a variety of endangered animal species including the cheetahs and buffaloes which traverse the Mountain Elgon ranges on the sides of Uganda and Kenya. Besides the wildlife in this park, Mount Elgon is a home to the world’s Largest Caldera which was formed as a result of magma being drained from the chamber when it could no longer support the overlying volcanic cone and later it collapses into a depression-like shape. The caldera is found at the most top of the Elgon ranges which is also a key attraction of this park and only remained as a depression on top of Mountain Elgon after the volcanic activity. Furthermore, the park is also a birder’s haven where it hosts a number of bird species that are not found in other parts of Uganda.
Bufumbo and Wanala Forest Reserves
Bufumbo and Wanala Forest Reserves are located at the ridges, approximately 5 kilometers East of Mbale town. The main attractions at the reserves include the forest walks, primate watching, cave exploration, bird watching, cliff viewings, mountain climbing to mention a few and there is a campsite too at the Wanala ridge for the campers. Primates found here include the black and white colobus along with the blue tailed monkeys while the shy African Civet mammal are also a common feature around these reserves and the commonest bird species around are the turacos.
Simu and Sisi Falls
Simu and Sisi falls are both found in Sironko County in Mbale District. The falls run from the top of Mountain Elgon down to the low lands. Particularly Simu falls are bigger and are 50 metres in height and 7 metres in width. The falls are yet to be developed since they offer an adventurous experience as you walk through small trails.
Bulukyeke – Bukigai Hills
The hills are found south of the Elgon ranges and an historical campsite dating to the colonial period exists at the bottom of the hills. The hills include Infrastructures such as a permanent tile-roofed shelter and toilet facilities. These camping site also offers the beautiful sceneries of the Elgon ranges which were used as a launching point for mountain climbing expeditions, but encroachment on the mountain slopes by human settlements has made the area prone to landslides.
Cultural / Heritage Sites
Semei Kakangulu Tombs and the Mutoto Circumcision sites are the most important cultural heritage sites in Mbale District. These tombs are located approximately 5 kilometers off the Mbale-Soroti road whereas the Mutoto Circumcision Site is tucked within Mbale Municipality. The Tombs are of the former representative of the colonial government in charge of Eastern Uganda. The Mutoto site is famously known for its annual tribal circumcision ceremony launched.
Pian-Upe & Matheniko Bokora Game Reserve
In the vast plains of Karamoja to the North of Mountain Elgon lies the Matheniko Bokora Wildlife Reserve and the extensive Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve, rated the second largest protected area in Uganda, with an area of 2,788km². Wildlife in this reserve includes rare species like the lesser Kudu, Bright’s gazelle, roan Antelopes and ostriches which are only found here and in Kidepo Valley National Park. Additionally, wildlife is highly concentrated around the Loporokocho swamp.
Bulegeni and Butandinga Cliffs/ Ridges
These are found about 50 kilometers South-east of Mbale town, overlooking the Lwakaba border post. Both sites are important for Scenery and Cliff/Ridge viewing and birding. Some campsites exist at the sites and Uganda Wildlife Authority are reportedly developing trails from the areas of the caldera.
Sipi falls is located in Kapchorwa district, northeast of Sironko and Mbale. They are a series of three waterfalls which 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 Mountain Elgon however the most popular route begins in Budadiri and follows the Sasa trail to the summit and then descends down the Sipi trail back into the Sipi falls. A hike around the falls offers you stunning views of the Karamoja plains, Lake Kyoga and the slopes of Mountain Elgon. When on the foothills of Mountain Elgon, Sipi offers a number of alternative activities including hiking around the local area and visiting the local waterfalls, Nature walks, coffee tours, Abseiling just against the falls and many more.
Sisiyi falls are situated in Bulambuli district, Buyaga sub-region, Eastern Uganda. These magnificent falls are situated a distance as you launch the highway from Mbale to the districts of Sironko, Bulambuli, Moroto and Kapchorwa. The falls also offer different more activities such as family Picnics, camping, relaxing, Team building activities and more
It is tucked in the East of Mbale district, it is an impressive mountain replete with precipices, deep valleys, rocks, caves, water streaked cliffs and escarpments.
The Jewish Community (semei Kakungulu’s site)
Semei Kakungulu’s (1869-1928) was a Ugandan man who founded the Abayudaya (Luganda Jews community) in Uganda. 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 followed the Jewish practices and considered themselves as Jews despite the absence of Israelite ancestry. Unfortunately he died of tetanus on 24 November in 1928 and was buried a short distance from the main Abayudaya synagogue in Gangama, just a short distance from Mbale Town.
The Imbalu Circumcision Ceremony
The imbalu (male circumcision) is a public legendary ceremony among the Bamasaba or the bagishu of Uganda. This ceremony is mainly done to mark the initiation of boys into manhood, the ritual brings in a festive atmosphere in the Elgon region where Music blares, the dances are engrossing and food is always in plenty. Furthermore this ceremony takes place usually around the month of August of every even year.
Bududa Bull Fighting
These fights are organized in Namasho village, Bulucheke sub-county, Bududa District every fortnight on Saturdays. This bull fighting tradition in bududa started in 1956 since the mid-50s to the 70s however they were not taken that serious. This fighting was more of an occasional and casual past time for the local herdsmen especially those in Namasho village. The referees normally gauge the sizes of the animals to fight depending on the size of the bull and a thousands of people would gather to cheer up the event. Nearly two three pairs of bulls fight at the same time and the owner of the animals have to keep a close watch alongside cheering on their animals. This sport is also part of the Bamasaba’s cultural heritage that has been in existence for a quite long time. Spectators carry containers of local brew, which they take while watching these fights. Elders pray to their gods before the fight begins as a sign or 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. On good days, local politicians stake as much amounts for the winners.
The Tororo Rock
The rock is tucked approximately 5 kilometers (3.1mi) southeast of the central business district of the town and it is reported that Tororo Rock is visible from anywhere in Tororo district. The rock is a major tourist attraction with the highest altitude being 4,865 feet (1,483m) with a gradient of approximately 0.75 from the east to west. The rock slopes harbor ancestral caves and various rock paintings and Tororo town is just a 45minutes drive from Mbale.
Kapkwai Forest Exploration Centre
This forest exploration centre is located at Kapkwai, 13km from Sipi town, and doubles as an educational centre for schools and also acts as a trail head to all the climbers using the Sipi trail to the caldera.
Nyero Rock Paintings
These rocks are situated 65km north of Mbale and there are several finest rock art sites in this region. Three panels are found within the extensive granite outcrop of Moru Ikara, 10km from Kumi Town and 55km from the Mbale city on the Soroti road. The most impressive is panel which includes two canoes bearing human figures and more strange signs and writings.
Where to stay?
- Mbale Resort Hotel
- Elgon Hotel
- Bekasa Hotel
- Two seasons Hotel
- Dream Palace Hotel
- Kayegi Hotel
- Crown Suites Hotel
- Green Gardens Hotel
- Palm Hotels
- Wash and Wills Hotel
- Sipi Traveler’s Lodge
- Plain Springs Hotel
How to get there?
The easiest and fastest way is taking a special hire/ taxi from Entebbe to Mbale however all depends on the arrival time at the Entebbe airport.
Below are some of our short and long safari packages to different Ugandan parks and other attractive places.
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