The name NILE that was baptized to world’s longest river popularly known as River Nile by John Hanning Speke on August 3rd, 1858, Jinja home to the source of river Nile is gifted with a number of Sights and sounds with amazing wonders, according to British premier, Winston Churchill who baptized Uganda as ‘the Pearl of Africa’.
He went ahead to prophesy that: “Jinja is destined to become a very important place in the future economy of Africa.” Once a dream came true, the Source of The Nile, found in Jinja, is one of the top wonders on the African continent. Like other travelers who would like to discover why Uganda is called the pearl of Africa. A group of clients who booked with us were Curious about what makes Jinja tick, we set off for the 82km journey, having our first stop over at the amazing Sezibwa falls that is on your way to Jinja in Mukono district a 10 minutes’ drive off the road.
According to a traditional legend says Sezibwa and his brother Mubeya were given birth by Nalongo (tittle to a mother of twins) Nakangu Tebatesa and Salongo (title to father of twins) Nsubuga Ssebwato while on her way to Buikwe district (bukunja).
After the birth, Sezibwa flowed west facing many obstacles which it overcame hence originating its name sezibwa “I can’t be blocked” while Mubeya the twin brother flowed East to Nile River.
Many people come here to worship the spirits and they believe the site has supernatural powers where miracles can happen.The falls are 7 meters high, covered with a number of trees hence creating beautiful forest scenery. You can as well do a little bit of rock climbing as you enjoy the beautiful views of the area.
There after we had to proceed with our journey to Jinja through Mabira forest, kissing Jinja’s new bridge, the tour took us off the main road to former bujjagali on our way to discover the Hidden Itanda Falls, a destination with Sights and Sounds along the historic River that couldn’t be missed by visitors to Jinja.
This is the Wild Side of the river unleashed, the power of Nature. Bujagali Falls is no more – just a few ripples – but few miles down the road – the Nile still roars at Itanda Falls.
Itanda is known to kayakers and rafters from around the world as falls to avoid but to most visitors and tourists it remains one of the Hidden Pearls in the Pearl of Africa. Most guidebooks write about Bujagali Falls, a thing of the past since the new Bujagali Dam and Power Station was built, even most tour operators still offer visits to Bujagali Falls and in the Ugandan tradition of never turning down money, the caretaker at the gate to Bujagali will take your entrance fees and you get a few ripples in the Nile.
Drive down the road a few miles and you discover Itanda Falls where the Nile’s power is unleashed as you stand while looking out on the river, see Itanda Falls and hear the rushing waters of the falls roaring past you. This amazing fall has 3 levels of rapids along it which go up to Grade 6, Itanda Falls is a most spectacular place to behold and the rafter, kayaker has to exercise some cautions traversing the rapids of Itanda Falls.
Itanda Falls – on the Nile in Jinja is not the most easily reached location beyond Jinja, even when you ask questions, you just might get a blank stare – it is about 27 kilometers from Jinja and the drive will take about 45 minutes in length. Not many overseas visitors, tourists have come to Itanda Falls, making it still an unspoiled area where you can experience authentic Africa. Unlike at the source of the Nile, the way to the falls is not paved with souvenir stands and hawkers shouting at you to buy their wares.
Itanda Falls at Jinja is still the Nile non-commercialized, the way it has been for many years. To locals, it is considered as a site of blessings, where those living near the falls come to pray at the base of trees in times of adversity such as when they need a physical miracle. Jinja without a waterfall along the Nile just would not be the same, it will take a while, but Itanda Falls will be a place along the Nile that attracts more and more visitors and another reason to enjoy Jinja on the Nile and while here you can still discover another hidden falls of Kalagala and have even a clear view of wild water lodge.
After over two hours enjoying Itanda falls we had to drive back to Jinja to discover the western side of rocky town known as Jinja town that is mainly defined by River Nile. This is the starting point for river’s winding 6,500km-path to the Mediterranean Sea.At the source of this great river is a bronze statue of Indian rights crusader Mahatma Gandhi, overlooking the shores. It is from here, that according to his wishes, his ashes were thrown into the river.
The rising and the falling landscape is like an intricate masterpiece of blending colors. For sports tourists, the Golf Course hugs the banks of Lake Victoria. According to one of the legend by the names of Magola says the origin of the name Jinja is contestable was derived from the Luganda word jinja (stone) on which the Rippon Falls rippled before the construction of Owen Falls Dam.”
But a publication, The Best of Uganda, has it that the original Jinja was centered on a hill where the government offices and residential houses are. This was to later become Busoga Square. Historically, the place was called kiyira (gurgling of water over stones). Asked how the name Nile was coined, Magola looked into my eyes said: “Naire in Lusoga means nothing? When John Hanning Speke came here and tried to communicate with the residents about the name of the river, they kept on using the word Naire. Consequently, he corrupted Naire into ‘Nile’.”
Besides Oral history, Nile River, according to recorded documentation, cradled the ancient Egypt civilization. This was reportedly evidenced in the writings of ancient Greeks and Arabs who had been in contact with the East African coast. Ptolemy, the geography scholar of repute in the second Century AD, incorporated River Nile in his prose.While on a speed boat or a canoe you will have a chance to visit the actual birth of river Nile, where it divides its self with Lake Victoria, all on your Uganda tour.