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Home » Blog » River Nile Uganda, Source Of The River Nile In Jinja City Uganda – Africa’sLongest River

River Nile Uganda, Source Of The River Nile In Jinja City Uganda – Africa’sLongest River

River Nile Uganda, Source Of The River Nile In Jinja City Uganda – Africa’s Longest River

River Nile Uganda, Source Of The River Nile In Jinja City UgandaA River Nile Uganda safari experience usually takes travelers on various Uganda safaris to the famous River Nile which is Africa’s longest river and the world at large. The River Nile is one of Africa’s seven natural wonders, having its source in Jinja City in the Mukono District of Uganda.

To add to its grandeur, this 6,853km long river snakes its way across half of Africa and has its source at Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake and the largest tropical lake in the world. And as it flows across Uganda’s lush green countryside, the mighty Nile River creates a series of spectacular rapids, waterfalls, and beautiful sights, and attracts a lot of wildlife.

Visitors on Uganda tours/Uganda safaris will encounter River Nile in two key places; Murchison Falls National Park and Jinja City – the source of the Nile.

In Murchison Falls National Park, a boat safari along the Nile River is the ultimate game viewing experience for an array of Uganda animals and Uganda birds. In Jinja City, the Nile River has an array of Uganda tourism activities and thrilling Uganda adventure safari activities which have transformed the city into the Adventure Capital Of East Africa.

A Brief History Of The Nile River

River Nile takes its name from the Greek word ‘Nelios’ meaning river valley.

John Hanning Speke, a British explorer, discovered the source of the River Nile. On 30 July 1858, he reached a great lake, which he named Lake Victoria in honor of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

He believed this to be the source of the Nile River. Back in England, this caused a controversy because he had not seen the outlet. On a second trip, he found the source and the outlet of the mighty river from Lake Victoria.

On 21 July 1862, Speke writes: ‘Here, at last, I stood on the brink of the Nile. Most beautiful was the scene; nothing could surpass it! It was the very perfection of the kind of effect aimed at in a highly-kept park; with a magnificent stream from 600 to 700 yards wide, dotted with islets and rock.

When coming to Ripon Falls on 28 July, Speke concludes: ‘The expedition had now performed its functions. I saw that old Father Nile without any doubt rises in the Victoria Nyanza. And, as I had foretold, that lake is the great source of the holy river. Which cradled the first expounder of our religious belief’.

Nevertheless, the Nile quest was only finally settled in 1876 almost 20 years later, when H.M. Stanley proved that Speke’s claim to have found the source was justified.

Key Attractions On River Nile In Uganda

  • Source Of The Nile
  • Itanda Falls
  • Murchison Falls
  • Nile River Animals
  • Nile River Birds
  • Fish Species In River Nile
  • Nile Lake Albert Delta
  • Fish Species In River Nile
  1. Source Of River Nile In Jinja

Source Of River NileThe source of the Nile in Jinja has long been disputed. Initially, it was thought to be Lake Victoria, however, in 1837, German explorer Dr. Burkhart Waldecker claimed that the source could be traced further back to the headwaters of the River Kagera, the longest river that feeds Lake Victoria.

Even in 2006, explorers from the UK and New Zealand posited that the true source is in Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda. Notwithstanding all the claims the Nile River does indeed leave Lake Victoria as Victoria (White) Nile at Ripon Falls in Jinja. The Speke Monument, one of Uganda’s tallest monuments stands in the exact place where Speke first beheld the ‘Mighty Nile’.

  1. Itanda Falls On Nile River In Jinja

The Itanda Falls is also among the jewels of the Nile River. This stretch of white water rapids is a world-class white-water rafting destination.

The falls were visited by Prince William of Great Britain. Itanda has three levels of rapids graded 3, 4, and 5 that offer drastic vertical drops. The rapids are broken up by calm stretches of water surrendered by out the green-forested hillsides with a variety of birds, monkeys, and baboons.

  1. Murchison Falls

The Murchison Falls is one of the most breathtaking Uganda safari attractions on the Nile River. It is the world’s strongest waterfall!

murchison-falls-national-park-ugandaThe falls are situated in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest park and a prime destination for wildlife safaris in Uganda. It is a fantastic place to witness the world’s longest river in its full and mighty glory. Here, 6 million cubic meters of water from the Victoria Nile crash through an 8-meter gap in the rocks each second, before plunging 45 meters into a deep gorge, the Devil’s Cauldron.

Sir Samuel Baker, the British Explorer who first visited the falls in the 1860s reported in his book “Upon rounding the corner, a magnificent sight burst suddenly upon us. The most spectacular thing on the Nile.

Unbelievably, Murchison Falls used to be even more powerful before 1962 when massive floods created a second channel and the smaller Uhuru Falls. Famous visitors to Murchison include Winston Churchill who in 1907 walked the 86kms from Masindi, American President Theodore Roosevelt IN 1909 on an East African Safari, and American novelist Ernest Hemingway who survived a plane crash close to the falls, and Queen Elizabeth in 1959.

  1. Nile River Animals In Uganda

River Nile and its banks are home to lots of wonderful Uganda animals, too. In Murchison Falls National Park, the river attracts a wide variety of animals including Hippos and one of our planet’s largest reptiles… the Nile crocodile! It also contains a variety of fish species including the famous Nile perch, which is one of the world’s largest freshwater fish.

Here Is A List Of Key Nile River Animals In Uganda:

  • River Nile CrocodileNile Crocodiles
  • Hippos
  • Nile Monitor lizards
  • African elephants
  • African buffalos
  • Rothschild’s giraffes
  • Nile perch
  • African Tigerfish
  1. Nile River Birds in Uganda

If you are a birder on Uganda birding tours, the Nile in Murchison Falls National Park is the place to be. You will be delighted by the incredible variety of feathered wonders that the River Nile attracts.

A-List Of Some Key Nile River Birds You Can In Uganda:

  • Shoebills
  • The Shoe Bill Stock On River NIleGrey-crowned cranes
  • African fish eagles
  • Goliath herons
  • Squacco herons
  • Purple Heron
  • Kingfishers
  • Black-headed gonolek
  • Saddle bellied stork
  • African jacana
  • Egyptian goose
  • Red-throated bee-eaters
  • Swamp flycatchers
  • Pel’s Fishing Owl
  • Long-toed Lapwing
  • Red-winged Grey Warbler
  • African Darter
  • Spur-Winged Lapwing
  • Senegal Thick-Knee
  1. Nile Lake Albert Delta

The fabulous Nile-Lake Albert delta is found on the southwestern side of Murchison Falls National Park. It is the point where the placid Victoria Nile merges with Lake Albert, before continuing into Sudan and eventually to Egypt.

9 days Uganda birding safari

The delta is recognized as a Ramsar site, because of its striking variety of avian life. Birdwatchers on Uganda birding safaris should be on the lookout for Great egrets, Goliath herons, African fish eagles, African jacana, the incredible shoebill, and other special waterbirds. The delta also harbors huge Nile crocodiles, Hippos, Elephants, Waterbucks, Uganda kobs, Jackson’s hartebeest, giraffes, and much more.

It offers one of the best opportunities more than any other African safaris to see the fascinating and legendary Shoebill, as well as a range of other special waterbirds. The tall acacia stands that line the Albert Nile Game viewing track here also host herds of grazers including buffaloes are often attended by insectivorous like Cattle egrets, Red-billed oxpeckers, and Yellow-bellied oxpeckers.

    7. Fish Species In River Nile

• Nile perch
• Tigerfish
• Electric catfish
• Lungfish

Top Things To Do On River Nile Uganda

With all River Nile’s rich history, it’s also one of the most sought after places by tourists to visit in Uganda and this is because it’s a beautiful place and it will offer you a variety of activities you can do either as a group or as an individual.

As a result, the River Nile has invited an array of Uganda tourism activities and thrilling adventures which have transformed Jinja, once Uganda’s main industrial hub, into East Africa’s adventure capital. Sections along the Nile have been isolated and set up for several adventure experiences and tourism activities.

Below are the top things to do on River Nile in Uganda:

  • Boat Cruise To The Source Of River Nile
  • Boat Cruise To The Bottom Of Murchison Falls
  • Boat Cruise To The Nile Lake Albert Delta Area
  • Sunset Boat Cruise To Lake Victoria
  • White Water Rafting On River Nile
  • Nile River Kayaking
  • Jet Boating On The Nile
  • Bungee Jumping Over River Nile
  • Sport Fishing On River Nile
  • Quad Biking Along River Nile
  • Horse Riding Along The Nile
  • Birding/Bird Watching Tours Along the Nile
  • Relaxation In The Middle Of the Nile

1. Boat Cruise To The Source Of River Nile

You can take a boat ride to the spot where the Nile River starts. Bubbles can be seen at this spot indicating a flow from underground, which is then joined by water flowing from Lake Victoria. Next to the source is a tiny island that accommodates some wildlife including Monitor Lizards and waterbirds. There are some craft shops on the tiny island where you may buy some souvenirs.

2. Boat Cruise To The Bottom Of Murchison Falls

Murchison Falls Park - Nile Boat CruiseAnother perfect way to get a closer feel of the Mighty Nile River is by joining in on an afternoon 3-hour cruise upstream to the base of the Murchison Falls. This is one of the Uganda safari activities (things to do in Uganda on safari) which makes Murchison Falls National Park stand out among the major East African safari parks is the boat safari.

You see plenty of wildlife along the way; hippo by the hundreds, massive croc, elephant, buffalo, giraffe. The falls are the real highlight though. Imagine the 50 meters wide Nile River crashing through an 8-meter rock gap before plunging 45 meters into the Devil’s cauldron.

You will admire the sight of this magnificent force of water, and look out for hundreds of hippos and sunbathing crocodiles.

3. Boat Cruise To The Nile Lake Albert Delta Area

A boat safari downstream River Nile towards Lake Albert is a “must-do” for every birdwatcher of a safari in Uganda. The banks of the delta are home to hundreds of bird species, but the ultimate prize is a glimpse of the prehistoric-looking shoebill stork. Sightings of this rare bird are excellent here.

Almost all visitors on Uganda wildlife safaris to Murchison Falls NP make the boat trip to the bottom of the falls get to see huge Nile crocodiles, Hippos, bathing elephants, giraffes, and the acrobatic black-and-white colobus monkeys swinging in trees.

4. Sunset Boat Cruise To Lake Victoria

There is no better way to spend your evening on a Uganda safari holiday than on a sunset boat cruise along River Nile to Lake Victoria in Jinja. Sip on a cocktail as you enjoy the magnificent views of the Nile and the lush countryside. Watch the sun as it settles over the shores of Lake Victoria and the River Nile!

5. Water Rafting On River Nile In Jinja

White Water Rafting On Rive Nile

River Nile in Jinja offers one of the best white water rafting experiences in the world! The section of the Nile in Jinja used for rafting is Itanda Falls, which has 9 rapids, 4 of which are grade 5 rapids, and the rafting distance is over 20km.

Great views of the lush green scenery and beautiful wildlife make the experience even more worthwhile. Expert rafting guides are available to guarantee safety. First-timers can also enjoy this adrenaline-pounding experience!

6. Kayaking On River Nile – Nile River Kayaking

Aside from rafting, you can also experience the raging rapids and enjoy the magnificent beauty along River Nile in Jinja by solo kayak on a one trip to Jinja to the River Nile. Those seeking a quieter and more effortless experience can choose a tandem or sit-on-top kayak trip.

On a kayak, you enjoy the ideal weather and rapids. A kayak is a small narrow watercraft that is set in motion by a double-bladed paddle. Kayaks are driven by electric motors. For safety purposes, we advise you to follow all guidelines when carrying out this activity and any other activity on River Nile and other lakes and rivers while on your Uganda Tour or Uganda safari tours or Uganda safaris and if possible to have some swimming skills just in case the waves are strong that may cause the kayak to turn upside down.

7. Jet Boating On River Nile.

If you are seeking a big motorized thrill on the Nile, an exhilarating 90km/h speedboat trip over the rapids is definitely the preferred activity.

Jet boating is more related to kayaking though this time around the boat is moved by a jet of water that is emitted from the hind of a boat. It thereafter takes you through the rapids of a high-speed boat. Equally, this is of a kind adventure that is conducted on River Nile-Jinja and rewards travel endeavors with the most exhilarating experiences.

8. Bungee Jumping Over River Nile

Uganda safaris

This is the epitome of adrenaline adventures in Jinja! You get to jump from a platform 44 meters high and take a plunge into the Nile. This is not for the faint-hearted but the daredevils. Safety procedures are usually followed like using safety harnesses. This activity is usually happening at any time of the day depending on your time of convenience.

The jumping platform extends over the Nile and offers great views across the river, the source, as well as the beautiful countryside. This is one of the best bungee jumping spots in the world.

9. Sport Fishing On River Nile

Sport Fishing On River NileSportfishing in Uganda along River Nile is also one of the fun things to do on the Nile. The River Nile in Jinja and Murchison Falls National Park is home to a variety of fish species such as Nile Perch, Tilapia, Catfish, and Tigerfish.

Some of the world’s famous anglers have also gone fishing in Uganda; Jeremy Wade, John Wilson, and Zeb Hogan of the National Geographic Channel.

10. Quad Biking Along River Nile

The quad bikes are a great way of exploring the beautiful banks of the Nile and the countryside along the River. Proper trails are available leading through the local communities to the Nile.

11. Horse Riding Along The Nile River

You can also explore the beauty of the Nile on a horse. You ride through the lush countryside, local communities, and to the banks of the Nile River.

12. Birding Along Rive Nile in Uganda – Bird Watching Along River Nile

uganda birding safari

Birding in Uganda along the Nile River in Jinja and Murchison Falls National Park is done with a boat cruise. Murchison Falls National Park is one of the best spots for birding safaris in Uganda. This Uganda’s oldest national park is home to over 450 bird species. Many of the birds can be spotted on the Nile delta cruise.

The cruise offers an opportunity for you to find the iconic Shoebill, along with other special species like Pel’s Fishing Owl, Long-toed Lapwing, Saddle-billed Stork, Red-throated Bee-Eater, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Goliath Heron, African Darter, African fish eagle, Red-winged Grey Warbler, Wire-tailed Swallow, etc…

13. Relaxation In The Middle Of River Nile

Just a few kilometers downstream from the Nile is found the luxurious Wildwaters Lodge, one of the most tranquil lodges you’ll ever encounter on an African safari.

It is located on roughly 6 hectares on Kalagala Island, a unique private island mid-stream within the mighty River Nile. It offers a relaxing and intimate location for visitors on a Uganda adventure vacation.

Rive Nile FAQs

  1. Which Is The Main Source Of River Nile?

River Nile begins at Lake Victoria in Uganda as White Nile and flows north until it reaches Khartoum, Sudan, where it converges with the Blue Nile. The Blue Nile begins near Lake Tana in Ethiopia. The Nile River empties into the Mediterranean Sea in northern Egypt.

  1. How Long Is The Nile River?

The Nile River is about 6650 kilometers long and is thought to be the longest river in the world. There is plenty of debate surrounding this, and some people believe the Amazon River in South America might be longer. But, according to the United States Geological Survey, the Nile is about 161km more miles than the Amazon.

  1. Which Countries Does The Nile River Flow Through?

In addition to Uganda, the Nile runs through or along the border of 10 other African countries, namely, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt. Its three main tributaries are the White Nile, the Blue Nile, and the Atbara.

  1. Can You Swim In The Nile River?

You can swim in the River Nile in Jinja but in Murchison Falls National Park to be precise, is an altogether different matter: do not under any circumstance consider dipping even a toe in the river. As well as having very strong currents, here the River Nile is a fantastic mass of man-eating crocs and hippos!

  1. What Are 5 Interesting Facts About The Nile River?

  • The Nile is the longest river on Earth
  • There’s more than one Nile: The Blue Nile and the White Nile
  • People spent centuries searching for the source of the Nile
  • River Nile takes a strange detour in the Sahara desert, the hottest desert on Earth
  • The Nile River is a haven for wildlife, too


By now we believe that you’re convinced about the beauty of the River Nile, its history, and the interesting activities that you can do on or near this magnificent river while on your Uganda tour or Uganda safari. We assure you that these breathtaking safari experiences will leave you with memories worth living for.

If you are ready to start planning your Nile river tour or any other trip to Uganda, get in touch with us to help tailor-make a trip that’s right for you.

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