Beautiful Waterfalls Along the Nile River
Did you know there are beautiful waterfalls along the Nile River in Africa? The Nile River is the longest river in the world at 4,135 miles and along its two main tributaries the White Nile and the Blue Nile there are a number of powerful and beautiful waterfalls.
The Blue Nile originates at the south end of Lake Tana in northwestern Ethiopia. Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and about 18 miles after leaving the lake the Blue Nile tumbles some 150 lovely feet over the Blue Nile Falls also known as Tis Issat or "smoking water" in the local Amharic language. The Blue Nile Falls or Tis Issat is spread out over as much as 1,300 feet during the rainy season when the water is allowed to flow as a hydroelectric power station has been built above the falls that sometimes diverts much of the water.
Apparently the power station is closed on Sundays and holidays and that is when the Blue Nile Falls is allowed to flow at full power. Blue Nile Falls is a popular tourist destination in the area especially on Sundays and holidays. The Blue Nile River is much shorter than the White Nile but is a much heavier flowing river during the rainy season and provides the Nile River with the majority of its water when the two rivers meet at Khartoum which is the capital city of Sudan and form the main Nile River proper.
The White Nile River technically begins at Lake No in the Sudan but it can and usually is also considered the waters flowing north out of Lake Victoria which is on the East African Plateau. Shortly after leaving Lake Victoria the White Nile or Victoria Nile as it also known reaches the Nalubaale Hydroelectric Power Station in Uganda which used to be called the Owen Falls Dam.
The construction of the Owen Falls Dam here wiped out and submerged both the Owen Falls and the Ripon Falls waterfalls. But below the dam and power station the Bujagali Falls still exist at least until another hydroelectric dam the Bujagali Hydroelectric Power Station is finished.
The Bujagali Hydroelectric Power Station is slated to be open in 2012 but has been plagued by delays due to unfavorable ground conditions. So if you want to see Bujagali Falls in person you had better hurry.
Bujagali Falls are sacred to the locals and protected by the Spirit of Bujabald who is embodied in a continuing chain of humans called the Jaja Bujabald much like the Dalai Lama. Bujagali Falls is also a popular whitewater rafting spot.
As the White Nile or Victoria Nile continues through Uganda it flows into Lake Kyoga in the central part of the country and beyond the lake it enters Murchison Falls National Park and then goes over Karuma Falls.
A hydroelectric power plant is slated to be built in this area too in 2015 which would submerge Karuma Falls but 5 years is long time to plan ahead in this part of Africa.
Past Karuma Falls the river continues to flow through Murchison Falls National Park and just before it enters Lake Albert the river goes over a series of rapids and then is squeezed through a 23 foot slot in a 30 foot wide gorge and immediately plummets 140 feet over beautiful Murchison Falls.
Murchison Falls was used in a background scene in The African Queen movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn which was also filmed on Lake Albert. Ernest Hemingway was flying low over Murchison Falls for a look in 1954 when his plane got caught on an old telegraph wire and crashed into the nearby forest.
If you want to count the waters flowing into Lake Victoria as part of the Nile River system then there is one more waterfall along the Nile. Rusumo Falls lies along the Kagera River above Lake Victoria and this area saw one-quarter of a million Rwandans cross over the bridge at Rusumo Falls on April 28-29, 1994 to cross into Tanzania and escape the violence and genocide that was ravaging their country at that time.