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Mbalemarker

Eastern Uganda

Opinions over Mbale are not unanimous. Most travellers will just go through it on their way to northeastern Uganda or Sipi Falls, but a few will choose to spend a day or two in the city, using it as a base to explore the region. Of the ones who stay for more than a couple of hours, some will praise its beautiful setting in the foothills of Mount Elgon, while others will deplore its lack of interesting things to do. Some will enjoy strolling along its lively streets, while others will call them dirty, noisy and chaotic. Where some will appreciate interesting architecture from the colonial era, others will just see crumbling buildings. Whatever their opinions are, all will agree that Mbale is not a must-see, but if a stopover is necessary, it is certainly not the worst place to be in.
 
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Nyero Rock Paintingsmarker

A few km west of Kumi, Eastern Uganda

In the flat region of Eastern Uganda, some oddities happen, like very circumscribed areas where giant boulders and other rocks seem to have landed there, as if they had fallen from the sky. In one of such areas, Nyero, even odder oddities can be seen. It appears an ancient civilisation (it is still unclear who and when) had taken refuge in this area and left a mark on some of the rocks. Three main sites can be visited easily (but there are more), very poetically named Nyero 1, 2, and 3. If you know anything about primitive art, you will be able to rave about the painters' skill and ingenuity, but even if you're just the average uncultured traveller, you will no doubt appreciate the great geometrical forms of the paintings and the beauty of the surrounding landscape. And next time you see a 1000 Ugandan shillings bill, you'll be able to boast: I have seen the original.
 
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Sipi Fallsmarker

Sipi village, Eastern Uganda

The eastern part of Uganda is rather flat. But close to the border with Kenya, Mount Elgon massif rises like a wall, on which flanks is located the village of Sipi. The area offers stunning views of Mount Elgon, of the seemingly endless surrounding plains, some sharp cliffs, many terraced hills, and of course the chief attraction: the waterfalls. The three main falls (around 95, 70 and 80 m drops) can all be taken in from the southernmost point in Sipi, but each one should be viewed up close for they all offer something unique, be it a gorgeous backdrop, a background cave or lush vegetation. A visit to all of them can be done in a two to four hour walk involving some downhill sliding in muddy trails (if in rainy conditions), caves, coffee plantations, friendly people and incredible landscape in every direction. A must-see in Uganda.
 
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Top of the World viewpointmarker

Next to Lake Nyamirima, crater lakes area

'Top of the World' might be a tad pretentious, but even if the walk to the highest hill in the crater lakes area south of Fort Portal doesn't leave you breathless, the view might. On good days, it is possible to see up to five of the many crater lakes that dot this region. The area is blessed with many tiny lakes formed by exploding volcanoes leaving holes in the hills and thus surprisingly steep edges to the lakes. Most of the hills surrounding the lakes have seen human activity and are heavily terraced, but others like Lake Nkuruba are still forested. Aside from this walk, other activities can be done in the area, like visiting a vanilla processing factory, fishing, bird and monkey watching, as well as walking to beautiful Mahoma Falls. Beware that the 'Top of the World' viewpoint is located on private property and that there's a (reasonable) fee to get to the top of the hill.
 
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Ziwa Rhino Sanctuarymarker

Nakitoma

Rhinos have been extinct in Uganda since 1982. In an effort to reintroduce the animal, a 70 km² piece of land was commissioned in the early 2000s and started receiving white rhinos a few years later. By 2006, six adults had been relocated to the sanctuary, some of them coming from as far as USA's Disneyland. The new tenants have proliferated quite well for they had doubled their numbers by 2012 (one of the offspring, of an American mother and a Kenyan father, has been cleverly named 'Obama'). The plan to release some in national parks still has a long way to go, however, for the population has to reach a much higher number. In the meantime, the rhinos are treated like rock stars since they are followed everywhere they go by two armed guards, day and night, to deter poachers. Going to see rhinos at Ziwa is not a true safari experience because even if you take your own vehicle with a guide and walk in the wilderness for a while, you are guaranteed a rhino sighting, and you will likely be able to get very close. But it's a cool experience and your only chance at seeing rhinos in Uganda.
 

Flag of Uganda

Name: Republic of Uganda
Population: 34,500,000
Capital: Kampala
Currency: Ugandan shilling
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