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The Nile - The River Of Life
By Sydah Naigaga

The Nile is more than the longest river in the world. The mystery over its length and source, led to several explorations that eventually led to the colonization of Uganda, Sudan and Egypt. The British colonialists believed that whoever controlled the Nile would control Egypt and subsequently, the Suez canal, which was the main passage for east- west trades.

In 1862, John Hannington Speke arrived in Uganda looking for the source of the Nile. In 1894, after the source was confirmed in Jinja, Uganda was declared a British protectorate and put under the Yoke of colonial rule over the next 68 years,

The Nile is enthralling, with its majestic beauty and brutal power. Since 1954, when a dam along the river i Jinja, it has served as the main source of electricity for Uganda and helped the growth of Jinja as an industrial town in the 1960s and early 70s. At its peak the won had textile beer, tobacco, leather; sugar, paper and

other assorted factories as well as a copper smelter.

Most of the factories have since closed, due to a combination of factors, leaving Jinja with a bitter taste in the mouth but the River retains its bewitching charm. There may not be much to be seen at the source, but subsequent water falls are truly astounding.

The most recognizable of all, Bujagali, made world famous by white water rafting 10 kilometers down stream, is currently the site of the new power dam under construction. There is something poignant and awe-inspiring about seeing millions of liters of water racing towards the Mediterranean Sea, every second of every day, as they have done for perhaps eternity. This explains the local community's spiritual attachments to the river.

Close to Bujagali on the western banks lies Kalagala Falls located at Kangulumira about 20 m from Jinja but even more spectacular are the Murchison falls further down stream where the river is astoundingly and violently forcing itself through a narrow gorge only a few metres wide.

This rivers\ carries life along its banks. It feeds into Lake Kyoga in mid eastern Uganda and as it snakes its way to the sea, it slows its pace like a sprinter-turned marathoner, allowing people in the region to get water, fish, and fertile sols. For the people of west Nile, the river is both a source of income and food.

The Nile is also the lifeblood of millions in Sudan and Egypt which is a largely desert country that relies on irrigation, using water from the river, to support its agriculture. This river, with its power and beauty, is the true wonder and the artery in which life flows in the region.

Sydah Naigaga is an author and a travel expert in East Africa, and her other articles can be found on Uganda tours and Uganda Gorilla tours

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