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“Part Two: Exploring Aruu Falls and Fort Patiko with Tulambule Northern Uganda”

3 min read

Day three of the Tulambule Northern Uganda tour was my favourite.  After a night out in Gulu town, we were up early to do some exploring, particularly Aruu Falls, located in Pader district and Fort Patiko, located in Patiko, before hitting the road back to Kampala.

Aruu Falls

After a quick briefing, we began a short hike towards the waterfall. We left the Aruu Falls camp area and descended towards the rocks that would lead us to the waterfall. A few minutes into our decent and we were welcomed by an impressive view, consisting of a lush green expanse of thicket below us, as we stood on the rocks, glistered with water streams. Golola Moses, being the entertainer that he is, took the liberty to do a few push-ups over the rocks and above the streams. I learnt from this trip that Golola Moses never passes up an opportunity to get a good workout in. He will exercise anywhere and everywhere.

We split up into two groups. One group took the more challenging route and the other took the simpler route. I opted for the simpler one. Well, because from just glancing at the rocks, it seemed like the wiser thing to do. We descended some more and made it to the base of the waterfall. Stopping along the way to take in the view – streams of waterfalls cascading over a stretch of large rock. Unfortunately for us, our guide explained that what we were witnessing wasn’t Aruu Falls in her true glory. Due to the dry season (and climate change), what would have been a roaring waterfall that engulfs most of the rocks, was now a group of glistering streams. Nonetheless, the view was amazing and we stopped along the way to capture it.

At the base, the view was even more breathtaking as the waterfall poured into a large pool dotted with rocks. It made the perfect swimming pool, and a couple of us (that had thought to carry swimming costumes), went all in.

Back at the campsite, we were entertained by local dancers after which we enjoyed a traditional lunch of matooke, boo, groundnut sauce, beans, goat meat and salad before heading off to Fort Patiko, our next stop.

Fort Patiko

Our next and final stop of the tour was Fort Patiko, also known as Baker’s Fort and a former gateway for slave trade (1850 -1872). This was my first time visiting, or even hearing about, Fort Patiko and as Rony (our guide) narrated the story, I couldn’t help but think about all those history lessons we spent in high school, learning about the Canadian Prairies, instead of our own history (but that’s a story for another day).

We took a tour through the grounds as Rony told us how the fort was used as a screening and torture center in the 1850s and 1860s. The kings and chiefs at the time traded human beings for jewelry, ornaments and guns from the Arabs. Fort Patiko was used as a sorting center where the strong and beautiful were taken as slaves whilst the weak and unattractive were killed. The chosen slaves were then forced to trek from Patiko, through Sudan, across the Red Sea and sold off in Egypt. In 1872, while in Uganda on a different mission of discovering the source of the River Nile, Sir Samuel Baker took over the fort from the Arabs and restored it.

Listening to inhumane stories of torture, murder and slave trade that happened right here in Uganda, was both sombering and enlightening. As I type this, I thank God that you and I were born in a time more civil. It was also quite sad to me that these stories are rarely ever told.

Somber, we set off for Kampala at about 6pm. A weekend well spent in my books, I created memories with the Tulambule team that surely, will not be forgotten.

Read Part One of the Tulambule Northern Uganda tour here.

Have you visited Aruu Falls or Fort Patiko before? What was your experience like? Do share in the comments below.

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16 COMMENTS
  • Anita Komukama

    4 months ago

    Been to Aruu three times at different seasons and one word GRAND!!!
    Fort Patiko off course has sad memories but is a beautiful art piece. Two years ago with mountain slayers, we camped out in the field and hiked a cool close to 19kms in the neighbourhood. Am sure the beauty around (flat ground that has huge rocks sprouting out) caught your eye.
    Thanks for bringing Uganda out to the world. Cheering you on Fay!
    xo
    AK

    • khukyenda

      4 months ago

      AUTHOR

      GRAND is indeed the word. Loved the artistic nature of Fort Patiko too, combined with the beauty of Aruu Falls, day three of our trip really stood out to me.
      Thanks so much for reading and for cheering me on. Rooting for you too. Keep Climbing 😉 Xx.

  • Shalom Nicolette

    4 months ago

    Golola indeed can’t miss a work out session anywhere! Love the writing. Perfectly detailed! The

    • khukyenda

      4 months ago

      AUTHOR

      Thanks babe! As for Golola….😂😂

  • Kahuma

    4 months ago

    This is a great read. Thank you for sharing your awesomeness with us

    • khukyenda

      4 months ago

      AUTHOR

      Aww, thanks Walter for reading 😊

  • Albert Ahabwe

    4 months ago

    Nice read, even better pics

    • khukyenda

      4 months ago

      AUTHOR

      Thanks Albert!

  • Mamerito

    4 months ago

    A visit to this region and the Aruu falls is on my to do list! Thank you for the wondering pictorial 🙂

    • khukyenda

      4 months ago

      AUTHOR

      Thank you! Really glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • Patsy Mugabi

    4 months ago

    I am here for all the green aesthetics

    • khukyenda

      4 months ago

      AUTHOR

      Rigght? Isn’t Uganda just SO green….and beautiful 🙂

  • Kenneth

    4 months ago

    Kept thinking Aruu was a typo… as for the article, very interesting read for one who loves to listen to our history. Will definitely put this om to do travel list… even a drive by.

    • khukyenda

      4 months ago

      AUTHOR

      Thanks Kenneth! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • Boyd Migisha

    4 months ago

    Dope write-up! I came here for your Aaru experience! I’m glad you guys visited it! I was there in Jan and we dipped in the second falls as well. And, just as you’d mentioned, the water volume will increase with the rains (which seem to be delaying). Fun Fact: the falls are a part of River Agago, IIRC, and connect with another tributary later on in their course. Cheers and I hope you keep letting us live vicariously through these, your posts 🙂

    • khukyenda

      4 months ago

      AUTHOR

      Thank you! Really glad you enjoyed reading it and thanks for shedding some more light. The rains better come soon though! Xx.

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