Uganda Archaeology - Eastern Region

Sipi Falls

Sipi falls are situated about 55kmnorth of Mbale in the lower slopes of Mt. Elgon close to the Sipi village in Kapchorwe District (not far from Kapchorwe town) and it's about one and half an hour drive from Mbale. The cheapest way to get there is to take a Matatu taxi from Mbale to Kapchorwe and get off close to the falls. All in all these matatuarenot very frequent, so it is more convenient to hire a taxi. The water falls and the surrounding areas are very pretty and a pleasant place to spend a few days unwinding. The falls can best be viewed from the Sipi Rest House on the Mbale-Kapchorwe road. At this point the water gushes down a steep cliff, making a crashing noise about fifty metres below. The falls are viewed against the background of luxuriant vegetation canopy that envelopes the rocks on either side. The natural canopy is flanked by banana plantations. If you would like to stay at Sipi Falls for the night you can overnight at Sipi Falls Rest House or either at Elgon Maasai House in Sipi village.

The present districts of Mbale, Tororo, Iganga and Jinja are full of Semei Kakungulu forts such as OPEGE (1900) and BUDAKA (1901) to name a few. Semel Kakungulu was a Muganda General who did not only participate in the British-led expeditions against his own King Mwanga II and Kabalega and he in fact captured the latter, but he also greatly assisted the British Colonial Government to extend and establish colonial administration in Eastern Uganda.

While on this mission, Kakungulu built a house at Mpumudde Hill and he occupied it between 1900-12. It is about 4km from Jinja town on the Jinja-Kamuli road. It was in the same house that Kabalega died in 3 on his way from exile in the Seychelles.

Hannington Memorial

Near Jinja also is found theHannington Memorial the site on which Bishop Hannington was murdered on 29th October, 1885. The first grass-thatched church (Namirembe Cathedral) was completed in coincidence with the murder of BishopHanningtonin Bushoga, allegedlydone in error when the Kabaka's orders given in Luganda, were misinterpreted. The Kabaka had ordered that the Bishop be freed-mute in Luganda-but his overzealous aides understood it to mean kill.

Finally at Njeru near Jinja, lies the spot from where the explorer Speke first saw the Nile on 28th July, 1862 and referred to it as the Source of the Nile. From here it takes one hour by road to get back to Kampala.


Uganda is well endowed with cultural, historical, and natural sites, which are of great archaeological and tourist importance.

Visiting Archaeological Places

The best place to begin any exploration of this heritage is at Uganda museum, which specializes in the collection, documentation, conservation, storage and presentation through exhibitions and educational services of Uganda's cultural objects. The biggest of the three museums is the Uganda Museum, located 3 kms from the city center on Kira Road just after Mulago Hospital. Apart from the rich ethnographic displays covering a wide range of the traditional life of the peoples of Uganda, it also boasts of being the best museum in East and Central Africa with a wide variety of music collections. The other two museums are in Kabale and Soroti towns and they provide a home for limited ethnographic collections.

Uganda's cultural and natural sites and monuments can be categorised into royal tombs of the former kings of the Kingdoms of Uganda, earthworks (both historical and archaeological), forts of explorers and colonial agents, rock shelters and rock paintings, caves and memorials.

Last Updated on Monday 23rd November 2009