If you are not good at, or interested in, mountain climbing but enjoy a good trek up a hill then the Tororo Rock and the Wanale Rock are great locations for you. Tororo and Mbale towns are just three hours drive out of Kampala and about an hour’s drive from each other. Whichever of the two towns you wish to visit first, you will be pleasantly surprised at the difference and richness in culture in both.
Tororo and Mbale both lie in the east of the country near the border with Kenya. Heading out of Kampala on Jinja Road you first pass through the Namawojolo and Najjembe Trading Centres. Stop here to have some roadside roast chicken and plantains. There is no other roast chicken in the whole of Uganda that tastes as good as these. Next, you’ll pass through Jinja Town where can steal a glance at the source of the Nile, and the Owen Falls Dam.
After a further one and a half to two hours drive you’ll reach Tororo. Tororo is a fairly small town on the border with Mbale, Malaba and Busia towns. Most of the merchandise you will get in Tororo is bought from Kenya because of the closeness to the border.
The great Tororo Rock is a source of limestone and also a tourist attraction as, year after year, it seems like the great rock keeps growing. Hiking is possible and a guide can be provided to lead you up the rock using one of the few paths that have been created by previous adventurers. Depending on the route you chose to climb, the rates for a guide will vary from 5,000-15,000. The shorter routes will take you less than 30 minutes to get to the top while the longer routes will take you all around the rock and can take you an hour and more. It is recommended that you bring a picnic as, standing at the top, you will be able to view the entirety of the surrounding area and enjoy a bite while you take in the scenery.
In Tororo, you can stay at the Meritoria Hotel. Bookings can be made on their website: www.hotelmeritoria.com or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: +256 776585536 / +256 454 556, email email@example.com. Room rates include bed and breakfast and range from $15 – $35 USD. Rock Hotel also provides suitable accommodation and rooms go for USD $25 – $45 USD and camping sites are available for 15,000 UGX. They also have a swimming pool and ample parking. Rock Hotel can be found on Trip Advisor here: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g1315013-d1314977-Reviews-Rock_Classic_Hotel-Tororo.html
Driving out of Tororo, north towards Mbale, you’ll see the breathtaking Wanale rock. Visiting is an experience you will never forget. There are guides available to take you to the rock from Mbale town. Their services will range from 10,000-20,000 UGX depending on which part of Mbale you are coming from.
If you decide to stay in Mbale try the Elgon Villas found on Trip Advisor here: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g668276-d667363-Reviews-Mount_Elgon_Hotel-Mbale.html. You can make a booking by calling: +256 772 568830 / +256 752 622290. They can also advise you on what other places there are to enjoy in Mbale, from sightseeing at Mount Elgon National Park, to the Nyero Rock paintings, to touring the beautiful, and unforgettable, Sipi. As a plus, you can see the waterfalls out of the many rocks on Wanale from the comfort of your room. Go ahead and watch a spring flow from the rocks right outside your hotel room. The rooms are traditionally shaped as huts and if you would rather pitch your own tent, there is a camping site overlooking the waterfalls. Accommodation and sightseeing rates range from as low as $10-$50 USD in, and around, Mbale town.
Tororo and Mbale are the gateway to entering and leaving Uganda using the Busia and/or Malaba border routes into Kenya. What better way to end or begin a holiday than with a visit to either – or both – rock towns