Travel

INTERVIEW: Job Soyekwo’s Story as a Tour Guide at Sipi Falls

When you visit the land of a 1000 Waterfalls in Kapchorwa District you will probably meet Job Soyekwo, one of the tour guides that will accompany and guide you during your tour at Sipi Falls.

Soyekwo has local knowledge about Sipi Falls and other areas in the Elgon Region at his fingertips, and will help you get the most out of your trip in the area.

ChimpReports’ Pamela Amia on her recent trip to Sipi Falls caught up with this passionate tour guide, who shared his story

Tell us about yourself?

My name is Job Soyekwo.  I’m Ugandan tour guide. I run a tour business known as Mulima Mountain Adventures well known for offering activities such as; Abseiling, Rock-climbing, Hiking, Cultural tours, Mountain experience and Guided nature walks.

Why did you get into the tourism industry?

It is the love and passion of guiding tourists to a different destination in the country of Uganda, as well as preserving nature.

 

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Why did you choose Sipi Falls?

Because Sipi is a perfect tourist destination which is not highly marketed in Uganda. I chose it because I wanted to improve the destination and put in new activities like Abseiling and rock-climbing into existence.

What is so special about Sipi Falls?

Sipi Falls is a series of three (3) waterfalls that cascade from the top of mountain Elgon as the starting point of the river, and falls off at different levels from 85-meters, 65-meters high to 110-meters, which makes it the greatest hiking area as a starting point to the top of the mountain Elgon, offering some of the most iconic, ironic and eye-catching views of the surrounding.

How has business been like during the COVID-19 pandemic?

It was tough; being out of service for quite long was challenging. It was also really draining financially because I was spending a lot.

However, on the other hand, it was good because it gave us a reason to diversify and not have to depend on one sector but be multiple to different ones to be a successful person, it helped us build on what we had and create new ones in the sector, such opening up new sites for tourist.

What can be done to improve the tourism sector in Uganda?

Uganda should put more effort on local tourism to help lodge facilities to remain in place. We should have a minimal price for the Ugandan tourists, let us say a weekend; this will help boost the county’s tourism rather than over depending on International tourists that keep on fluctuating over years because of fear of other factors.

What is your most memorable experience as a tour guide at Sipi?

Abseiling a 4-year old girl was an outstanding day for me and that was in 2016. It was remarkably beautiful watching her go down without fear.

What message do you have for young people out there that would love to work as tour guides?

It is the best job ever, you will enjoy it because as a guide or tour operator, you get a chance not only to work but see and discover and the job never bores you,

What would be your message to potential visitors to Sipi Falls?

Job is also an abseiling instructor

Sipi falls is not only a waterfall but a variety; it is indeed a perfect tourist site it has got everything that you need for an adventure or relax tourist from the start to end.

Sipi is a wake-up call, a place one can use to escape the noise in Kampala and taste nature like sightseeing the beautifully made rolling hills, landscape, valleys, caves, food and lastly the people are just awesome.

Comment about accommodation and transport facilities in place and how the government can help

Sipi has got several lodges in place varying from budget, mid-range, and luxury ones in place.

These enable tourists to make a decision, and looking at the situation we’re in now, most of them are following the Standard Operating Procedures like measuring of temperatures on every checkup point, put on facemasks and sanitizing.

The government should help in training of hotel staff to help boost the quality of services offered to clients.

Sipi is known for its wonderful coffee beans. Tell us more about that.

Coffee tourism in Kapchorwa is one of the activities which is really growing to an extent of out competing the famous Sipi hike. The people who enjoy this adventure of experience are mainly International tourists but also a small percentage of local tourist do.

The discovery of coffee tourism started about a decade ago and it has largely grown in the area.

Coffee tourism involves learning one single type of coffee known as Arabica coffee, which is well done in the village, it only starts with parchment, where it allows you prepare a small piece of land known as a nursery bed where this parchment shall be planted then wait for a certain period of over 1-2 months to germinate.

After germination has taken place then you wait for 8 months, before transplanting to the main garden. Where it will take over 4-5 years before harvesting the first cherries depending on the maintenance, at this stage you will be allowed to pick the red cherries  take it home, and pulp using a pulping machine, leave it for 24 hours in a container, for the fermentation process, the major thing is to help you in terms of washing time and to float the unwanted ones.

After washing them you put them on a raised stand so that they can dry.

Coffee has three items they are not allowed to come in close contact and that is water, direct sunlight, and dusty.

When they dry, you begin to take off the shells from the beans they you are left with green beans.

We later grind using a traditional motor into powder and taste the locally made coffee.

What are the activities someone can do in Sipi?

The activities include hiking, coffee tours, sunset/sunrise walks, cultural tours, abseiling, biking, rock climbing and nature walks. The rates are charged per activity and these are daily activities and it can be done in one day depending on how much time you have here in Sipi. The rates per activity also vary according to nationality of the tourists.

 

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