Flanked today by the city of Jinja, the waterfall described by Speke now lies submerged beneath the Owen Falls Dam, Uganda’s main source of hydro-electric power. Still, a visit to the source of the Nile remains a moving and wondrous experience, no less so to those who have seen the same river as it flows past the ancient Egyptian temples of Luxor some 6,000 km downstream.
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 offers some superb white water rafting and game fishing. Its crowning glory, however, is Murchison Falls, where the world’s longest river funnels through a narrow fissure in the Rift Escarpment to erupt out of the other side in a crashing 43 metres plume of white water. The river below the falls is no less spectacular in its own way, with its profuse birdlife, thousands of hippos, and outsized, gape-mouthed crocodiles.