The magnificent Kisiizi falls are found on Kyabamba River a short distance from Kisiizi Hospital in Rukungiri district in the south western corner of Uganda. The spectacular falls are among the natural attractions in Uganda. Rukungiri borders with Kabale, the Switzerland of Uganda. These water falls are about 27 metres high dropping water into a gorge that continues the flow of the River.
Flowing from the rocks down, the water via a valley of lush vegetation. In case you are passionate about bird watching, you are at the right place as birds hover around the place. The climatic conditions around fairly humid, offering an ideal setting for relaxation, a perfect retreat destination from the hustles of urban life.
The old natives of the area narrate that these falls are assumed to have contributed to the good behaviours of the unmarried Bakiga girls nearby and far. It is said that when a girl conceived before marriage, the father and his sons would take her to the top of Kisiizi Falls and push her to fall down the cliff to face death. The practice was done to scare other girls from engaging in fornication but instead stay virgins until marriage.
It is said by the narrators that the practice was ended by an incident when a pregnant girl was brought here by her father and brother to be pushed to death. When time came for pushing, she held to both of her killers and the trio fell together down the cliff to death. The is also a funny old unbelievable and laughable myth that at times, voices from the deceased trio may be heard calling out each other. From then, the practice was outlawed by the natives because they came to know that girls would pull their brothers or fathers the same way. This is according to the history of the place but at present, this barbaric act is no longer executed.
Death punishment as was the Bakiga way of exorcising the shame and embarrassment to the offender that she would have brought to the family and community at large. One of the elders Petero Bafaki, who come from Nyakishenyi a place where Kyabamba stream pours into Kisiizi puts the number to over 100,000 girls that lost their lives at the falls to the most regrettable method. Bafaki says such cruel punishment was good as it instilled proper morals to the remaining girls.
Activities at Kisiizi Falls
Near the falls, there is a small forest through which a visitor may walk. A tourist can take a picnic in the area and have a short forest walk while having beautiful scenes of the Kigezi valleys and valleys. Hiking for about 2 hours up to Kisiizi Falls offers very good views of the neighbourhoods.
Birding near the falls
Due to the presence of water and trees, birds enjoy living in the area. They use the area for breeding whereas others for food searching. Among the birds around the falls include the African Fire-finch, African Black Headed Oriole, African Pied Wagtail, African Paradise Fly-catcher, African Harrier Hawk, Augur Buzzard, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Black Headed Weaver, Black Kite, Bronze Mannequin, Black-winged Red Bishop, Emerald-spotted Wood-dove, Double Toothed Barbet, Grey Crowned Crane, Lesser Striped Swallow, Grey Heron, Haddad Ibis, Hammerkop, Mackinnon’s Fiscal and the Long Crested Eagle. Others are the Nubian Woodpecker, Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Crow, Purple-breasted Sun-bird, Ring Necked Dove, Ross’s Turaco, Rufus Chested Swallow, Speckled Mouse bird, Scarlet Chested Sun-bird, Willow Warbler, White Browed Robin Chat, Yellow-billed stork, Yellow-backed Weaver and the Yellow Mottled Widow birds.
Community experiences around Kisiizi Falls
While around this place, you can visit a local family and learn about their daily lives for instance, how they cultivate, cook, eat, get water, cure diseases, marry off girls and the general lifestyle at large. The locals also have historical tales plus how the have changed over time.
You may also visit Kisiizi Hospital, Kisiizi School of Nursing, Kisiizi Power Station and the punishment to appreciate development and culture in the area.
To earn revenue from sightseeing at the falls, Kisiizi Hospital set guest rooms on the bend of the falls that provide a clear view of the water falls.
This whole Kisiizi area is worth photo-taking as whatever you land your eyes on is worth shooting. The nice falls, the birds, the people, the vegetation and topography are all amazing. But do not forget to ask for permission before snapping people.
Hot to get there ?
Reaching Kisiizi from Kampala, one can either go through Rukungiri via Kebisoni or via Muhanga on the road from Mbarara to Kabale.