Located 230km from Kampala, Mbale is a scenic town in Eastern Uganda with Mount Elgon as the main attraction. This substantial town was established at the start of the 20th century and has since grown to be a common spot for tourists.
One of the best things to do in Mbale is hiking around the Mount Elgon or the nearby Wanale Cliffs. Standing at 4,321 meters, Mount Elgon is an extinct volcano located on the Kenyan border to Uganda. Several hiking routes are available at the Mount Elgon with the common at Budadiri to Wagagai following the Sasa route. Another exciting place to hike around Mount Elgon is the Sipi falls region, the main tourist focus around this region. The Sipi falls are readily accessible with a number of accommodation facilities located within. 3 km east of Sipi falls is the Kapkwai forest exploration center where you can be able to see primates and over 300 bird species. The forest center has 3 circular day trails and can be accessed by foot or road. Also the eastern skyline of Mbale is filled with views from the Wanale Cliffs located 20km away from the town center but offer an amazing sight.
Uganda is naturally gifted with over 1000 bird species and a good percentage of these can be seen while in Mbale. The Kapkwai forest exploration center offers excellent opportunities for birders since it has most of the bird species found in the Elgon national park. Common species include cinnamon chested bee-eater, golden winged sunbird and Doherty’s bush strike. Most of the birds recorded here are forest birds and Afro-montane moorland endemics.
Guided nature walks in Mount Elgon region offer amazing opportunities to explore the region and get to see the other attractions like Caves and Sipi river. One of the popular nature trails takes only 20 minutes from sipi trading center to the base of the main water fall. The caves within Elgon region are interesting geological features. These include Khauka Cave, sipi mise cave and Namugabwe cave in budadiri. While on these guided nature walks in Mount Elgon national park, you’ll come across some of the commonest species. These include Blue monkey, black and white collobus monkey, De brazza’s monkey and Elephants are also seen in the Elgon forests.
If you love abseiling then visit Mbale especially around the Sipi falls region in Mount Elgon national park. Abseiling involves hikers descending down the rock face while holding onto a doubled rope coiled round the body and fixed at a point above the rocks. Abseiling in Sipi falls is a thrilling experience and visitors have to abseil down beneath the falls over 100 meters.