Fascinating Ssezibwa Falls

Fascinating Ssezibwa Falls (Why you won’t regret visiting)

Uganda is often misrepresented whenever we assume that tourism can only be done in the national parks. But there are several other destinations outside the confines of game parks that are worth your time. One of these many places includes Ssezibwa Falls.

Ssezibwa Falls is a must-have on any Ugandan itinerary. Located within a two-hour’s drive from Kampala city center and only one hour from Jinja town; Ssezibwa falls is a strategically located cultural, religious, and natural tourism destination that offers several other activities as you are about to discover:

Landscape View of Ssezibwa Falls

Fascinating Ssezibwa Falls

Religious Ground

The streams of the Ssezibwa River around Ssezibwa Falls are used by several religious sects for their religious rituals. Like the river Jordan; baptism by different sects of the Christian religion is done at these falls. These include born-again, Anglicans, and seventh day Adventists among several other Christian sects

The Indian community in Uganda often visits the falls every 31st of December to do their religious rituals related to offerings, thanksgiving, and initiation into the New Year.

The Koreans, Buddhists, and all other people that believe in meditation find Ssezibwa Falls a quiet place for meditation practices. Unlike the source of the Nile, there is nothing like music at Ssezibwa Falls; it is simply a place thrilled with natural sounds and stillness.

All religions and beliefs are welcome in this place including the cultic religions. A cultic religion is any religion whose ritual involves blood sacrifice and these are also welcome at Ssezibwa Falls as long as they are not sacrificing human beings. This tends more to Buganda cultural practices.

Cultural Ground

Ssezibwa Falls is one of the historical grounds of the Buganda kingdom pivotal in the years of 1884 to 1889 during the reign of Kabaka Mwanga II. It was at Ssezibwa Falls that the reigning “Ssekiboobo”; the Buganda chief in the province of Kyaggwe was crowned by Kabaka Mwanga II

It was during this time that Kabaka Mwanga II planted a wild olive tree a few meters from the falls. The tree is over 100 years old today and it is still standing tall attracting monkeys and birds whenever the olives ripen.

Those who believe in the Buganda religious traditions esteem Ssezibwa Falls as a place of worship and rituals. This is all rooted in the mystical oral tradition of the formation of Ssezibwa Falls.

Formation of Sezibwa Falls

It is no secret that there is water underground. However, there are varying levels of how deep the water might be from the earth’s surface. Whenever the water is too near the earth’s surface, it often finds its way above the soil surface forming a spring.

One stream may not be able to form a river but a collection of several springs can form a stream big and long enough to form a river. This is not really mystical until oral tradition surfaces with a different version of the story which is not an exception in the case of Ssezibwa Falls.

In Buganda culture and myths, a human being can produce anything! From snakes, streams to wild animals such as leopards! It is from such a background that we get another amazing story of the Ssezibwa Falls. It is believed that the Ssezibwa River was produced by a woman who belongs to the Fox clan

Nakangu Tebateesa was pregnant for 9 months like any other woman. In those days, there were no hospitals however when it came to the day of labor; she had to find a place to give birth unfortunately only water came out forming two streams. Her belly returned to normal size after this incident proving that she had given birth to these two streams.

It is not told whether the streams appeared at the moment she went into labor but what is proved is; the streams appeared after this lady had been to this particular point of the perceived source of the Ssezibwa river. Was it a coincidence or the birth took place? It is yet to be proved.

The formation of these two streams/rivers at this point proved that she had given birth to twins. It is for the same reason that the Ssezibwa River is too significant for the religious. Twins in the Buganda traditions are too authoritative; they can bless and curse and thus are treated with a lot of respect including their father and mother.

The river acquires its name from its ability to pass through rocks thus the literal translation of the name “My way cannot be blocked”. Many people come to the falls to tap into the favor of having their way never blocked. This is also the heart of all traditional religious activities in this place.


  • Hiking
  • Meditation site
  • Prayer site
  • Mountain biking
  • Bird watching
  • Nature walks
  • Religious Baptism
  • Photography
  • Traditional religious rituals
  • Butterflies (only three types of Butterflies)
  • Picnic and camping ground
  • Ssezibwa River and Falls

How to get there?

Ssezibwa falls can be accessed via a public 14-seater taxi that will drop you a few meters before St. Mary’s College Namagunga on your way to Lugazi town and a few meters after Namagunga in case you are coming from Lugazi town. The road to Ssezibwa is marked with two signposts of Ssezibwa. That is on your right in case you are heading to Lugazi town and on your left in case you are coming from Lugazi town. It is from Namagunga that you can take a boda boda ride to the falls.

Unfortunately; there are no boda bodas coming from the falls because it is still not a popular destination. In other words, it might take you up to a full hour just waiting for a Boda Boda to drop you on the main road. It is for the same reason the self drive hires are recommended for this trip. However to save time; I would strongly recommend a car hire with a driver.

Alternatively, you can request your tour operator or planner to include Ssezibwa Falls on your travel itinerary. It is a special route for Jinja town. The falls can also be visited in a half-day tour from Kampala though you might have to consider 2 to 3 hours depending on the traffic while 3 to 4 hours in case you are coming from Entebbe.