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Uganda: Murchison Falls

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Murchison Falls | Uganda | Africa

[Visited: November 2005]

As soon as we got out of the car, we heard the continuous thunder of water. We hurried towards the source of the sound, and ended up at the banks of the river Nile. At first we saw water rushing down, and after a few more steps forward, we could see the entire spectacle of Murchison Falls. The speeding water, dashing and whirling, causing foam of water being hurled into the air, inevitably sped towards the lowest point, which was a narrow opening in the rocks to the left of us. While the river was perhaps fifty metres wide just before, the narrow opening managed to almost block the enormous water mass. Almost. Because the water eventually had no choice than to go downwards, and as it did so, the enormous pressure of the water just upstream caused it to violently fall down just after the opening.

Picture of Murchison Falls (Uganda): Murchison Falls: water of the Nile squeezing itself through a narrow gap

When we moved closer to that point, we could see how the water was sometimes almost blocked for a short while, after which the pressure again overcame the blockade and caused an overflow of water, taking enormous amounts of water down while doing so. Walking still further down on the side of Murchison Falls, we got soaked as we continued looking down into the narrow gorge. After the narrow opening, the cliffs do not open much, and the water causes a spectacular reverse waterfall by being hurled into the air again before it reaches the lower part of the river Nile.

Picture of Murchison Falls (Uganda): Murchison Falls seen from a boat on the river Nile

The next day, we took a river cruise up the Nile, towards Murchison Falls. We departed under a sunny sky with bright sunshine coming down on us, and enjoyed the ride from the roof of the boat. After a while the sky turned white, grey, until it assumed a distinctly black colour. And then, almost without a warning, it started to pour down, a violent rain lashing out on the roof of our boat. We hurried down, and closed the sides of the boat. Visibility was down to at most some 50 metres, and the boat had difficulty negotiating not only the strong current of the Nile, but also the wind that had started blowing against us. When we finally reached the point from which Murchison Falls were visible, the rain had abated, and we were able to move up to the roof again. While the boat was rubbing its nose against a rock in the middle of the turbulent waters of the river Nile, we saw the downpour of water further upstream. And then, after initiating our way back to the pier, the skies cleared above us.

Picture of Murchison Falls (Uganda): Murchison Falls: water being hurled up inside the narrow gorge
Picture of Murchison Falls (Uganda): Murchison Falls: water rushing towards the narrow gap at the top of the falls
Picture of Murchison Falls (Uganda): Murchison Falls: water seeking a way down just on top of the gorge
Picture of Murchison Falls (Uganda): Murchison Falls: water forming an eternal shower inside the gorge
Picture of Murchison Falls (Uganda): Murchison Falls: a lot of water in a narrow gorge causes a spectacular waterfall
Picture of Murchison Falls (Uganda): Murchison Falls: water everywhere in this spectacular waterfall
Picture of Murchison Falls (Uganda): Murchison Falls seen from a distance, from the boat
Picture of Murchison Falls (Uganda): Murchison Falls in the background, with river Nile and island
Picture of Murchison Falls (Uganda): Murchison Falls and river Nile in the foreground

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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