Being on one of the greatest rivers in the world is quite a feeling, to me though. To fishermen, it’s just a normal office. One that you paddle through as you source your daily catch, a healthy batch of mbuta (Nile Perch) to deliver to different plates in different homes across different regions. I never really thought of it that way, until I found myself in a boat heading down to see the source of this great employer, one who flows all the way to Egypt and drains into the Mediterranean, because nature said so. See, the Nile like every other thing in life, has an origin. The most interesting thing about this origin of the Nile is that it’s alleged to have undergone thorough commissioned discovery. Two men namely John Hanning Speke and one Captain Richard Burton are at the forefront of this discovery. I’ll save you that part of history by summarizing it. The former is alleged to have been the one who named and discovered Lake Victoria and subsequently, the source of the Nile.
Centuries later, I’ve found myself on a noncommissioned mission to see and perhaps even name (I wish) the famous source of the Nile which is in Jinja, Uganda. A beautiful place by the way as I’ll have the daunting task to convince you through the images that follow in this post. It’s also listed as one of the top things to do in Uganda here. At the end of this, I hope I can convince you to go see this wonder. If not, please read this line again until you actually get convinced 🙂
A short trip to Jinja will take you about 2 hours from Kampala with very scenic views along the way, decorated with a little bit of traffic (depending on the mood of the drivers on the road) and a “once in a full moon” sighting of M7’s motorcade, which snakes its way across the country every so often (as I was told).
At the gate, there’s an entrance fee that changes depending on whether you’re a local or a foreigner. However, you can save a few coins if you happily greet the gatekeepers with a very loud and jovial “Oli otya?” to which they gladly respond “bulungi” and forget to ask for your ID as you’re busy worrying about the next Luganda phrase you know or have heard. To the lady who let me through I hope you don’t read this post, or else I owe you about 300Ksh. The boat trip to the source will however not be that easy to grab a bargain as their Luganda is quite deep and seeing as you’ll be on the ride with them for quite a while, save yourself the trouble and part with 20,000UGX, around 570 Ksh. It’s worth it.
By the river, there’s a couple of colorful restaurants and shops where you can grab yourself a souvenir or two of your choice.
As the boat navigates the river, there’s a slow pass by a small forested area clumped up with lots of trees that are home to some beautiful birds and monitor lizards. It’s also quite serene as you approach the area.
You’ll also spot these abandoned structures that are home for some of the fishermen to dock their boats and have a good rest sometimes, when the catch is quite good.
And a couple of fishermen at work
As you get to the Source, the guide will be educating you on the history of how the Nile came about, the famous men who discovered it and how to tell the Nile from Lake Victoria.
This is where the land on the river begins. From the stones, you can tell it’s man-made but it still baffles me how they were able to come up with this on one of the world’s greatest rivers. Unsurprisingly, there’s a souvenir shop on the Nile where you can buy some locally made accessories.
The rock structure pictured below is important in telling where Lake Victoria ends and where the Nile starts. The ripples on the foreground are of the Nile and that’s where its origin begins. Lake Victoria extends on from here into the Kenyan side in Kisumu.
This is part of the land at the source of the Nile. It’s mainly grass and a couple of trees.
A different view of the Nile from higher ground.
The river flows below a bridge that has a railway line at the top. I’m not so sure what the name of the bridge is.
I had to include this last one to summarize two things, this post, and my love for my own life. The photo is taken from Adrift. A gorgeous view overlooking the Nile and one of the places I’d recommend if you don’t value your life as much as I do mine…. I don’t get it, you survive so many things every day, like sitting in traffic all day, your internet provider delivering more frustration than the current cost of living, nightmares etc and yet you still take a direct and very easy path to death… you willingly throw yourself into a river with God knows what that would welcome you with open arms (and mouth) at the snap of that rope… No way. Call me whatever you want but I’m not throwing myself off a ledge in the name of adrenaline. Not even for food. Okay, maybe for food…..
I hope this post convinces you to go see the famous source of the Nile. If not, please refer to the first paragraph again. 🙂