boat on the source of the nile

The Source of the Nile

There is something magical about the Nile, the longest river in the world and the source of life for many great civilizations throughout the ages.

The source of the Nile, alluded to hazily in the ancient writings of Ptolemy, stood as one of the great geographical mysteries of the Victorian Age. Closer to home, the Nile downriver from Jinja, Uganda, offers some superb white water rafting and game fishing.

The source of all this tumult is marked by a modest sign that reads “The Source of River Nile - Jinja - World's Longest River” at Ripon Falls, a series of cataracts that are partially submerged due to dams constructed downriver. A small cafe and shops, as well as boat dock with tours for hire, are located adjacent to this monument.

The Nile River flows from Jinja- central Uganda Northwards through Sudan, Egypt and Finally the Mediterranean Sea. It begins in the rivers that flow into Lake Victoria located in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya, and empties into the Mediterranean Sea more than 6,600 kilometers (4,100 miles) to the north, making it the longest river in the world.

The Nile River was critical to the development of ancient Egypt. Its three main tributaries are the White Nile, the Blue Nile, and the Atbara.

For millennia, much of Egypt's food has been cultivated in the Nile delta region. Ancient Egyptians developed irrigation methods to increase the amount of land they could use for crops and support a thriving population.

Beans, cotton, wheat, and flax were important and abundant crops that could be easily stored and traded. In Uganda, The Nile has been Helpful in generating hydroelectric power, and many tourism activities such as white water rafting and spot fishing.

How Many Niles?

Like many rivers of comparable length, the Nile has a number of major tributaries, or upper branches that feed into it. The main two, the Blue Nile and the White Nile, meet in Khartoum before continuing northwards through Sudan and into Egypt.

Scottish explorer James Bruce claimed to be the first European to see the source of the Blue Nile in 1770, reaching a marsh and the falls at Tis Abay in Ethiopia, though Spanish Jesuit Pedro Paez actually beat him by more than 150 years, arriving at Lake Tana in 1618, Ondaatje says.

Part of the Nile the flows from Lake Victoria northwards to Lake Albert delta is called Victoria Nile, while the part after Lake Albert is the Albert Nile and immediately after crossing the Uganda Boarder into southern Sudan, it becomes the White Nile. The Blue Nile is tributary of the Nile River flowing from Lake Tana in Ethiopia and meeting the White Nile at Khartoum, Sudan, to form the Nile River.

Other activities that attract visitors to the source of the nile

White-Water Rafting on the Nile

Despite the intensity of some of the rapids, most people who venture here are first-time rafters ask for an adrenaline rush as part of their tour in Uganda.

The stretch of rapids along the upper Nile near Jinja is considered one of the most spectacular places in Africa to go white-water rafting. Another option to this one is a family float trip.


The solo kayak at the Nile will be yet another opportunity to experience the white water.

Boat Cruises:

Have a sunset boat cruise to the source of the Nile. This will surely lighten up your evening as you will be able to take photos during the cruise and you will have a close sight of the river.

Horseback Ride along the Nile:

While in Jinja make sure you participate on this activity which may take 2-3 hours on healthy horses and the people waving to you as you pass their local villages will surely bring a smile to your face. The horses are very well trained and maintained by their Australian owners.

Bungee Jumping:

This will be yet another scary but very interesting activity for you. This is done over the waters of the Nile River on the plat form perched 44m. Try this out because it will be a memorable experience.

Fishing on the Nile:

This is done both in the Nile River and Lake Victoria which the largest fresh waters in Uganda with many fish species, Nile perch inclusive. Get an opportunity to fish here if only you bring your equipment for the sport fishing activity and a permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Wildlife viewing safaris in Uganda

impalas on the road

3 Day Lake Mburo and Queen Elizabeth National Parks

This tour takes to the smallest Savannah National park Lake Mburo national park with beautiful animals such as zebras and giraffes before you transfer to queen Elizabeth national park for a boat cruise and game drives through Uganda's second biggest national park where you are expected to see animals such as Uganda kobs, elephants and cats such as lions and leopards.

Explore Idea $844

Per person sharing

hippo side close up

3 Day Uganda Mid Range Tour

Covered in the safari will be all the major activities that are usually carried out to this exclusively special Uganda safari park, though an additional fourth day is important if you are interested in chimpanzee tracking.

Explore Idea $973

Per person sharing

hippos in front of a boat

7 Day Africa Honey Moon Safari

Specifically designed for honeymooners, this seven days tour has been crafted in such a way that it goes very slow and tackles the most thrilling destinations in the country to meet the test of honeymooners, all lodges have been well selected and a complimentary bear or wine will be provided to each couple on the trip.

Explore Idea $2227

Per person sharing

Uganda safaris

Other toursit destinations in Uganda

Blackback mountain gorilla in mgahinga 720

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

More famously, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park protects over 500 mountain gorillas - roughly half of the world's population, with 23 habituated groups, which can be tracked and a number of solitary individuals.

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Kibale Forest National Park

While many researchers focus on the chimpanzees and other primates found in the park, others are investigating Kibale's ecosystems, wild pigs and fish species, among other topics

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gazelle head

Kidepo National Park

Kidepo is Uganda's most isolated national park, but the few who make the long journey north through the wild frontier region of Karamoja would agree that it is also the most magnificent, for Kidepo ranks among Africa's finest wildernesses

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Close up head photo of a uganda kob

Lake Mburo National Park

The parks' precarious past has seen wildlife virtually eliminated several times: firstly in various attempts to rid the region of tsetse flies, then to make way for ranches, and finally as a result of subsistence poaching

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mount elgon peaks

Mount Elgon National Park

At 4,000km² Mt. Elgon has the largest volcanic base in the world. Located on the Uganda - Kenya border it is also the oldest and largest solitary, volcanic mountain in East Africa.

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murchison falls

Murchison Falls National Park

The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45meters over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centerpiece of the park and the final event in an 80kilometers stretch of rapids

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lone lion

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda's most popular tourist destination. The park's diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid woodland forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands,

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Rwenzori mountain

Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Rwenzori Mountains National Park protects the highest parts of the 120km-long and 65km-wide Rwenzori mountain range

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sempaya hotspring

Semliki National Park

Semuliki National Park sprawls across the floor of the Semuliki Valley on the remote, western side of the Rwenzori.

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rhino in zziwa

Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary

The Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary is playing a crucial role in the conservation efforts for the white rhinoceros, which is one of Africa's most endangered species.

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sleeping gorilla

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a protected area located in southwestern Uganda, on the border with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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sipi falls

Sipi Falls

Sipi Falls is a stunning waterfall located in eastern Uganda, near the town of Kapchorwa. It is considered one of the most beautiful natural attractions in the country and draws tourists from all over the world.

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water buck

Pian Upe Game Reserve

Pian Upe is known for its diverse wildlife, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, offering visitors a unique and unforgettable experience.

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Sempaya hot springs

Sempaya Hot Springs

The Sempaya Hot Springs consist of two main springs: the male spring, known as "Bintente," and the female spring, known as "Nyasimbi." These springs are named after ancestral spirits that are believed to reside in the area.

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