Uganda has a series of waterfalls that are truly spectacular because of their beauty, turbulence and powerful rapids. They are therefore delightful sights to behold and provide great adventure for the laid back and adventurous.
Murchison Falls is famous not for it’s height which is just 40m but for it’s power. The Nile explodes violently through a narrow 6m gorge and upstream, the Victoria Nile hurtles through the rift’s hinterland down an explosive 80km of rapids that rafters consider one of the world’s scariest sections of white water, but provide a unique exhilarating experience. However, the most dramatic view of the water fall is found at top of the falls where the sight and sound of the Nile crashing through the 6m wide chasm is an unforgettable assault on the senses.
Ssezibwe Falls which lies 35km east of Kampala is beautiful and it’s raw beauty makes it worth visiting. The water fall lies on the Ssezibwe river which tumbles over colorful quartzite rocks before dividing into two. Both the falls and the river are steeped in kiganda folklore which makes it all the more interesting. It is believed many hundred years ago according to legend that a woman called Nakangu of the Achibe (fox) clan- among the baganda clans derive from animal nomenclature, gave not to twin children as naturally expected, but to a twin river. It is believed by locals that the spirits of Ssezibwe and Mobeya, Nakangu’s unborn children still inhabit the river. Given the deeply etched African belief in the supernatural and it’s significance in the birth of twins in most Ugandan societies, baganda inclusive that shrines have sprung up at the site. Twins traditionally have been regarded by many societies as visitations of the gods and are actually their physical manifestations, and in others as spiritual benevolent reward. Consequently in all societies, twins have been treated with treated reverently and with difference. Although once a cultural attraction sought for luck and favor from the resident spirits and reputed to be visited by peasants and royalty, it’s now run as an ecotourism project.
Also known as Beaton Falls, the 50m high Falls is a magnificent sight and well worth a visit. The embodying river Mpanga that feeds Lake George gives shape and beauty to the falls. It rushes through a great cleft in the rift valley’s eastern escarpment towards the lake and also rushes through a rocky chasm of exotic spray forest of cycad, a species endemic to Mpanga Gorge, to the dramatic Mpanga Falls. The gorge encloses the falls and the falls supports the lush spray forest.
Bujagali Falls is extremely beautiful and turbulent because of it’s series of large rapids which are a delight to many sightseers and rafters.
Sipi Falls is truly beautiful and is Uganda’s most beautiful water fall. Not only are the falls spectacular but so are the views of Mt Elgon above them and the wide plains of eastern and northern Uganda that disappear in the distance below. Wherever you look at Sipi Falls, you are afforded beauty. Save for enjoying the beautiful scenery, you can take walks around the falls itself or further up to the base of Mt Elgon. This together with the opportunity to climb and abseil around the falls for both the experienced and inexperienced, makes Sipi Falls well worth every effort to get there.
The 30m high waterfall lies on the Kyabambe River. It is very pretty and peaceful with surrounding forests and quiet roads which offer pleasant rambling opportunities. The tranquil atmosphere though belies Kisizi’s macabre past. It was a site of many tragic deaths of young pregnant girls in traditional lukiga society where virginity was a highly prized asset and it’s loss outside marriage harshly punished. A girl who got pregnant before marriage faced a very certain fate. She would either be cast out of society which was no doubt a fervent prayer of many for worse was meted out. The errant girl would be tied to a tree in the forest or bush and left to be devoured by animals, or else she would be pushed from a cliff to plummet down the rocky heights or be tossed bound hand and into the pool below the fall.
These are also worth visiting and include Mahoma waterfall in Fort Portal which is small but attractive with a great natural power-shower, Mungiro water falls in Semiliki National Park, Nkusi water falls which pours into Lake Albert, Karuma Falls in
Murchison Falls National Park.