Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sipi Falls

Welcome to Sipi Falls!
This past weekend we had our intern weekend away to Sipi Falls. So we set forth from the EMI compound around 9:30am and arrived at our destination, Sipi River Lodge around 7:30pm. The distance between Sipi Falls and Kampala is only around 300km, yet when you include sitting in a bus park in Kampala for 3 hours, a 4 1/2 hour drive to Mbale on a bus, another 30 minutes tracking down the driver we arranged to have waiting for us and another hour to the lodge, then you get to our 9 hour trek to Sipi! But it was definitely well worth it! We happened to stay at a very nice lodge, since our previously cheap (aka 5 dollar a night) hostel was sold out for the weekend! So we stayed at a wonderful place for around $30 a night (sooo expensive by Ugandan standards). This included a four course dinner and a very extensive breakfast spread as well. We were able to have a very relaxing (well, slightly relaxing) weekend. The interns (aka TJ, Danny, David, Kyle, Travis, Peter, & I since Jack & Jang Won were not able to make it) started off Saturday morning on a four hour hike to see the three famous Sipi waterfalls. So, let's just say that the hike was definitely not the most relaxing way to spend the day (especially the hike to the last waterfall, which I think we all definitely felt), but it was so great to be able to spend the day in outside in the beautiful scenery. A couple of us also were able to go on a coffee tour, which was definitely extensive and so much fun!

Below is a LOT of photos from the weekend. Also near the bottom is a step by step off how coffee is made : ) I loved it.

The main living area, where we hung out and had dinner.
This is officially the extent of Sipi River Lodge! One banda has 5 bunks in a dormitory style and the other two have queen size beds in them.
Welcome to my banda! Jill & I, being the only girls, got to have the double banda, which was wonderful! Best bed I've slept in in Africa for sure, including feather pillows & a wonderfully thick comforter!

Jill & I relaxing on our stone frame bed.

The shower! this picture doesn't do it justice, but it was definitely an awesome shower, with pebbles and large rocks in the basin! : )
Jill & I outside the bandas, with a wonderful waterfall in the background! : ) definitely fell asleep listening to that!
The waterfall was literally in the backyard of the resort!

Up close and personal with the first waterfall on our hike! (this is the one you can see from our lodge).

This was a common site seen throughout the Sipi region, the drying of coffee beans.
Just some interesting photos throughout the day...

The second waterfall of the day!
enough said...
This is as we continue on our journey to the other waterfall (if you look closely you can see the other two waterfalls in the distance)

I have to show the photo of the valley that we hike down to to get to the bottom of the last waterfall....here it is!
The descent begins...
The start down the ladder, just one way we were hiking down to the bottom of this valley : )
The entrance to the bat caves, which we weren't able to see because none of us had lights! So sad!
AND....ta da the final waterfall! This is the one where you can abseil down from, which I had plan on doing, but when I got back up to the top, all I could think about was having to walk back up that hill again! Maybe when I come again...in about 3-5 years : )
group photo!


....on to the coffee tour experience.

We started off on our coffee tour experience easily enough...just walking to the location that our guide was bringing us. And then we got there...a random home where a lady was washing dishes and we were told to wait as they weren't quite ready yet. We looked around at what appeared to be a personal home and definitely not a coffee plantation. Then we waited...

These children followed us to our destination and meanwhile we had a little photo session.
so adorable...

and we continued to wait for about 30-45 minutes. Right when we were thinking it wasn't really happening, they came and began the coffee tour, which turned out a lot more exhaustive than what we first imagined : )

It started off with picking our own coffee saplings...
...which we proceeded to plant and were told that when we come back in 3-5 years we will have our own coffee plant, which we can get our own coffee berries from...
After we finished planting our coffee plants, we went to another more mature plant and picked coffee berries.

Which we collected...
and put through a "pulper" I believe, which removes the berry (which they will use for composting) and leaves the coffee beans.
These are then washed and laid out to dry for a couple of days...
Then you pound them to remove the shell...
...sift them...
...and then you have the actual coffee bean which you then...
...proceed to roast.
AH! : ) Our own roasted beans....smells soooo good!
We then grounded some. Our guide placed the grounds directly in the coffee cups and poured hot water over it. Once you let them brew for a little bit, the grounds sink to the bottom.
And you enjoy! : )

1 comment:

  1. That's so cool you got to "make" coffee! And great photos! Hope you're doing well, we miss you!