Murchison Falls

Do you know where the source of the Nile is?

Well, the Nile drains its water from ten countries in northeastern Africa from an area estimated to be as big as 3,349,000 square kilometres. It is the longest river in the world meandering for 6650 km from …… to the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt.

It has multiple headstreams with the farthest being the Kagera river in Burundi, but the Nile proper originates from the biggest lake in Africa and the second largest freshwater lake in the world: Lake Victoria.

Now three countries border the lake, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. The river Nile, however, flows out of Lake Victoria in Uganda. More precisely near the city of Jinja. Here the name Nile appears for the first time: it is fittingly called Victoria Nile.

Were you right with your answer? Well done!

The Victoria Nile flows west- and northwards in Uganda and forms spectacular falls in the Murchison Falls National Park. A little downstream it mixes with the water of Lake Albert and therefore changes its name to Albert Nile once it leaves the lake. The river gets a new name again after leaving Uganda in Nimule in South Sudan where it becomes the Mountain Nile or Bahr al-Jabal in Arabic until it reaches Malakal. From Malakal/South Sudan to Khartoum/Sudan it is known as the White Nile. In Khartoum it of course meets the Blue Nile from Ethiopia to finally be The Nile.

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Idyllic scenery at Victoria Nile…
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..but you should not go swimming in the river and definitely choose the pool…
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..as crocodiles and hippos call the river their home.

How I wish I could take you on a journey from the source in Uganda to the delta in Egypt! Imagine what an amazing, mind-boggling, stirring, touching, scenic, and impressive journey this would probably be.

For now, I must admit that I haven’t even been to Jinja, yet, as I always head directly westwards when visiting the Pearl of Africa (the way Winston Churchill called Uganda in his book “My African Journey” published in 1908 after his trip to the country).

BUT, there is more than enough I can tell you about and show you from what I have seen of the Victoria Nile. Namely, the most powerful water falls in the world: the Murchison Falls. And so much more.

Just look and listen how stunning they are.

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You can do a boat trip on the Victoria Nile below the falls, which I highly recommend, and then walk to the top of the falls.

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The thundering and churning noise of the falls from where I am in this photo is remarkable. And so is the current. That is why boats can’t get any closer. It is therefore a good idea to bring your zoom lens.

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Naturally, you do not only enjoy the view of the falls, but also the Victoria Nile’s landscapes and abundant wildlife. It is such a treat for your eyes, heart, soul, and mind.
Oh, and you surely meet smiling people, too.

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Henry (left) and Audence, our boat driver and guide on the Victoria Nile
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The varieties of birds is mind-boggling, but not all are as big as this saddle-billed stork (Sattelstork in German, Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis for scientists among us ;-)). A pair of binoculars makes the experience even more enjoyable.

What about the guys I was talking about earlier, when I told you not to go swimming in the Nile or it may well be your last swim.

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No, you don’t want to mess with the Nile crocodile (Nilkrokodil, Crocodylus niloticus).
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It almost looks small from this perspective.
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Really?!?

Surely, the young ones are cuties. Don’t you think?

By the way, crocodile mums are very caring mums. Do you know that they carry their young ones to the water (they hatch some meters away from it) and have a watchful eye on them in their first months (!!)? What’s more, the hatchlings spend the nights on mum’s back to be safe and call her for help if in danger! Still, more than 50% of them often don’t make it trough the first weeks as they get eaten from predators like birds, fish, Nile monitor (Nilwaran).

The other reason you should not even think about a dip are hippos. They are considered the world’s most deadliest large land mammal according to BBC killing approximately 500 people a year in Africa. They are everywhere, highly territorial and as such will fiercely fight EVERY intruder.

While hippos live in many waterbodies of sub-saharan Africa, the German name for it must have been derived from them living in the Nile. Its name is Nilpferd, which translates into Nile horse ;-).

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These are not the typical photographs. Hippos need to be very careful as their skin is highly sensitive. They can’t stand full sunshine for a long time and so normally spend most of the day submerged in water except for having their nostrils and eyes above water. The scenes in the first two pictures above are more the way hippos can be seen. Also, they dive as soon as one appears – on a boat, of course – and this makes them even more dangerous, because now you don’t know where exactly they are. Luckily, you can trust the local guides and boat drivers.

I know, 17 seconds is not enough, but for some reasons I pushed the stop button. I still wanted to share this little insight into their behaviour.

Wildlife is so abundant here that you sometimes don’t know what to focus on…

Crocs, buffaloes, African fish eagle, and a fish! Wow.

Landscapes keep you busy as well :0).

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A floatable flower bed

Sure enough, you see the biggest land mammal on Earth along the Victoria Nile: the African elephant Loxodonta africana.

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I love this pic so much as it mirrors the wilderness you can find in Uganda in a perfect way. A wilderness we surely have to take very good care of and respect by all means.
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Elephants are some of my all time favourite creatures. They are so gentle, giant, wise, vulnerable, strong, mighty, powerful, and tender animals all at the same time.

Admiring all of this we have come quite a bit downstream of the Victoria Nile now and as there has not been a bridge so far (the Chinese build one as we speak), you end up at the ferry, which takes you from one side to the other.

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And when the sun sets, there is no better way than to enjoy it and maybe have a beer. A Nile Special, that goes without saying.

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This is the view you can get from the Albert Nile.
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Truly Ugandan beer, the Nile Special. Cheers!

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Can you imagine that this unique natural spectacle and home for such a rich diversity and abundance of animals and plants is under pressure right now as a South African company applied to the Ugandan government to build a power plant which means a dam in this region! The motto in the country and all over the world now is to #savemurchison. Please help by signing the petition.
Webale muno! Thank you from the bottom of the Nile’s heart!

Maybe you now have more questions about the Nile in general? Britannica offers you a lot of answers.

Or are you interested in reading Winston Churchill’s book? It is just a click away thanks to it being freely available: my_african_journey_by_winston_churchill

When do you travel to Uganda to see the beauty you just read about and looked at?
Get in touch with these guys I call my dear friends for inquiries: Always Sunday Safaris and Sights and Sounds of Africa Safaris.

Last but not least, please share this post through social media or the old and good way of word-of-mouth and hit that like button if you love my work. Thank you so much.

Thank you and help #savemurchisonfalls

Daniela

 

 

Read and see more about Uganda here:
Warm greetings from Kampala
Going Bananas
Crafting change in Fort Portal
Kampala-the capital city

 

 

 

11 thoughts on “Murchison Falls

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