Sezibwa falls are formed on River Sezibwa in Mukono district and their location has always given a perfect start to the tours to Jinja and beyond. The Ssezibwa waterfalls constitute a myriad of attractions on the Eastern route with those in Jinja and up to as far as the Sipi Falls region of Kapchorwa. Whereas its draw are the stunning water falls, Sezibwa is also a place with a rich history, authentic traditional culture exhibits (for Baganda mostly), many birds, primates, rocks, a religious site for Christians, a forest plus a picnic and camping ground. Even on a short visit to Uganda, it’s one fantastic place to consider for a brief tour out of the capital Kampala.
Sezibwa Falls Location
This amazing cultural site is located just within a distance of about 30 kilometers from Kampala. On your way along Kampala- Jinja highway, branch off the main road at a small town called Kayanja. Follow the murram road taking you through sugarcane plantations until you find a small junction with a path breaking off on your right. Follow the path and it won’t take so long to hear an unmistakable sound of a roaring waterfall slightly ahead.
History of the falls
In the distant Buganda history, Ssezibwa is said to be a twin river born to a human. Together with his twin brother Mubeya, Sezibwa was born by Nakangu Tebatuusa at Kawuna Village of Ngogwe sub-county in the present day Buikwe district. Their father was called Nsubuga Sebwaata. The twins (Sezibwa Wasswa and Mubeya Kato), born inform of water, started flowing in different directions. Mubeya flowed towards the mother’s village while Sezibwa river cut its own path and flowed westwards. Having managed to maneuver through a number of obstacles (which were so difficult) on its way up to Lake Kyoga, it was named Sezibwa. The name was got from a local phrase ‘Sizibirwa kkubo’ translated to mean “no one can block my way” or no obstacles can stop me from moving along. Legend also has it that through the obstacles, Sezibwa was helped by a spirit called Nalongo KKubo which came to settle at the Sezibwa falls site together with many other spirits. Until the present day, many people especially the traditionalists take Sezibwa Falls as a place with super natural powers.
Sezibwa Falls as a cultural site
Sezibwa falls will always exist as a sacred heritage site in Buganda Kingdom. Baganda people see it as an important part of Buganda history, culture and beliefs while others find it as a source of spiritual blessings. Its protection has since been a big priority to the kingdom which is also good for the country’s tourism at large. The late kings of Buganda would visit the place due to its cultural significance to the kingdom while others were attracted by simply its beauty. The late King Mwanga for example, could carry out royal appointments from this place. Mwanga and other visiting kings would plant trees which also added to the beauty of the place. Many people today throng the place to ask the spirits for power, blessings, good luck and good health. These are usually seen kneeling at the traditional cave shrines at the site. Apart from making sacrifices like slaughtering animals to appease the spirits, majority of traditionalists have long utilized the water in their rituals. Others use the place for traditional healing and the initiation of newly born twins.
Sezibwa Falls – A religious site for Anglicans
The Sezibwa falls site is a place where Christians and people of other religious denominations go to worship. A few meters above the metamorphic rocks is a place used by the Anglicans for a Shrine/church and others are seen using Sezibwa water for baptism and washing oneself before daily prayers. Any staunch religious follower should however think twice before considering Sezibwa Falls site for religious purification.
Sezibwa Falls activities
Nature walks, Rock climbing and swimming
Tourists who will desire slightly more excitement, will participate in nature walks, rock climbing, swimming and fishing. For nature walks, you will definitely have to cross right above the torrent of the water which do cascade down to an approximately seven meters drop. A long side this cultural site are a number of rocks and other geologic structures which are good for rock climbing. When you are at the base of the falls, you can do some recreational fishing so carrying a hook for a fishing gear would be recommendable. The river flows further down and cuts through a large field which is grassy. The site has got a few natural pools which are good for swimming as you are relaxing.
This cultural heritage site has also got over 200 bird species and indeed it is a much loved spot for bird watchers where you will view a number of bird species like the Great blue Turraco, Black and white casqued horn bill, Tambrin dove, Folk-tailed drongo, Woodland king fisher, Crested crane and many more.
The surrounding forest hosts a number of animals and therefore makes the site to offer a wildlife viewing opportunity to its visitors. The most notable species of animals found at this heritage site are primates like the red-tailed monkeys. These will be readily available and obliviously offer themselves for photographs when you visit this heritage site. Animal leaning visitors are however advised to consider visiting wildlife parks like Murchison Falls National Park and others.
Camping and Picnicking
For those tourists who may be interested in camping and picnicking, you can carry out this activity on the side of the river. There are well-trimmed green gardens overlooking the river and an artificial forest nearby which are not only good for picnicking and camping but also for relaxing. In case you travel as a family, having your boxes of packed food and mats, shall certainly make your day very wonderful and beautiful.
Entrance fee to Ugandans is UG Shs5,000 while foreign tourists pay UG Shs20,000. Children of all nationalities are charged UG Shs3,000. You don’t need prior bookings or payments to visit Sezibwa Falls.
The available accommodation at the site is offered inform of a camping ground as there is no established lodge or hotel. Camping space per person is at UG Shs20,000, approximately US $6. Carry your own camping gear, bathroom facilities are offered at the restaurant. From the restaurant, is where you can order for food plus some beverages like coffee, local fruit juices and others. Beers and sodas are also available. The restaurant serves mostly local dishes with Matooke and some other local food.