The River Nile is considered as the longest river in the whole world. The anonymity over its great length as well as source, led to a number of explorations that finally resulted in to the colonization of Uganda plus its neighboring countries. The ancient British colonialists supposed that whoever had control over the great river Nile would actually control Egypt as well as the Suez canal, which then was the chief trade route for east and west Africa.
In the year 1862, a British explorer John Hannington Speke set foot in Uganda searching for the legendary source of the great river Nile. Following the confirmation of the source of the Nile being in Jinja within Uganda, the country was declared one of the British protectorates and subjected under the repression of colonial rule for more than 65 years that followed.
The Course of the Nile
Several people may actually wonder why of all names it had to be the “Nile”! Nile is a prominent Greek word that means “valley”. The river begins from the eastern part on the African continent. It leaves Lake Victoria at the beautiful Ripon Falls located close to Jinja town within Uganda as the Victoria Nile. For roughly 500km, it flows north of the country through the marshy Lake Kyoga further to Lake Albert and as it leaves Lake Albert it is called the Albert Nile. The river flows on north of the continent through South Sudan, Sudan (where it forms the white and blue Nile) and then Egypt with remarkable crossing of the vast Sahara Dessert until it finally pours into the Mediterranean Sea. This river is estimated to be 6650 kilometers long and supplies water in ten countries on the continent among which are Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, DRC, Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt and Tanzania.
The river has two main attributes the Blue Nile and the White Nile with the latter being the longest connecting through the various central African countries.
The sight of thousands and thousands of liters of water following the course of the Nile each day and night for ever passing second is very heartrending!
Significance of the Great Nile
The river Nile has greatly contributed to the modernization of the countries through which it flows particularly Uganda plus Egypt. for instance in 1954, an electricity dam was constructed along the Nile in Jinja, and has since then generated electricity which led into the economic growth within Uganda specially Jinja town which then (between the 1960s and 70s) served as the industrial city of the country due to the numerous factories among which where textile, tobacco, sugar, copper smelter, beer, leather and paper factories where established.
The river banks are very fertile to support agriculture and additionally provide water not only for industrial use but for domestic use within the people’s homes. Various wild animals too have been able to survive along the prolific river banks such as the giant Nile crocodiles, and thousands of hippopotami.
Activities on the Nile
Various adventure and water sport activities are enjoyed on the Nile for example water rafting, boat rides, bungee jumping, sports fishing and Kayaking. These draw thousands of tourist from all parts of the world all year round. In addition the Nile has a series of falls but most prominent of all is its grand course through the Murchison falls National Park wher the large volumes of water of the Nile force their way through a small gorge of only 7 meters and drop below to more than 40 meters with a thunderous roar forming the internationally known Murchison Falls. Various animals can be enjoyed around this area among which are boat cruises, game drives, and landscape viewing. Several people travel to this part of Uganda to Marvel at the spectacular falls on a Launch cruise on the Nile that takes them to the bottom of the falls. The Owen Falls dam as well as the Bujjagali falls are another great marvel to enjoy on the Nile. These are found just adjacent to the source of the Nile in Jinja and are open to tourism activities. Enjoy white water rafting at the Bujagali Falls with a grade 5 rafting sport as well as bungee jumping.