It takes less than 8 hours to travel to Kisiizi falls from Kampala but it took me 20 years to visit this exquisite and adventurous place in Rukungiri district, Western Uganda.
As a pupil back in 2004, my social studies teacher gave us the brief of Kisiizi falls.
By then, it did not twig my mind not until l was told am going to visit the place physically just last week.
In my mind, a fresh memory of my teacher clocked in as l was imagining how the place would look like physically and am very sure many of us Ugandans have shamelessly only learnt about it in books never bothering to actually take a study tour.
At around 11am, we, together with my colleagues from different media houses assembled at the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) head office where we set off from at exactly midday and took the smooth tarmac road to Kisiizi falls.
UTB has worked diligently both in Uganda and all over the world to promote tourism, it’s only good if we espouse to promoting domestic tourism and then the sky will be the limit for Uganda’s tourism sector.
Because of the different stopovers we made on the road, we arrived at around 10:30pm and settled in at the Kisiizi guest house where we spent the night.
At the guest house, I could hear the crashing sounds of the water falls the whole night; I must say my anxiety increased.
Friday early morning, we had breakfast and then headed to the falls that were later launched officially by the Minister of State for Wild life and antiquities Hon Godfrey Kiwanda Ssubi.
Kisiizi falls is a remarkable site that lies on Kyabamba River 27 meters high from Kisiizi Hospital in Rukungiri district.
Rukungiri borders with Kabale the Switzerland of Uganda found in the south western corner of Uganda.
The falls are mesmerizing.
On a good sunny day, you can find a rainbow that even gives it more life not forgetting how it fades into spray swirls as it is thrown upwards and then dragged back down by the pressure of the falling water.
On a calm weather day most visitors are welcomed by the mist while on a sunny day the fresh air, makes you forget all about the sunshine above your head welcoming you to Kisiizi.
The Cultural history
The greatness of Kisiizi falls goes beyond the beauty.
Traditionally, Kisiizi falls was a tragic place in the ancient Kigezi.
According to elders living in the area, the falls are believed to have contributed to the good morals of the youthful Bakiga girls in the area.
“When a young girl got pregnant out of wedlock her brother and father would escort her to the cliff of the falls and release her to meet her death,” said 76 year old Mathias Kabyemera who we talked to.
“It was done to scare off other girls from engaging in premarital sex that often led to pregnancy hence ensuring that girls stayed virgins until marriage,” Kabyemera added.
The Kisiizi cave
The Kisiizi cave is surrounded by rich savanna vegetation.
Inside, it’s a little dark with two seats for old gentlemen who entertain the visitors that come to visit the falls and tell them the ancient history of the falls.
It is believed that the cave was naturally formed and has existed for centuries.
The outstanding monument
At a mere glace of the monument you will see an exceptional work of art and a moving story all in one signifying a sign of hope.
It rings bells of how the Kisiizi falls have transformed from a place of darkness and despair to a place of light and healing today among the Bakiga people.
The monument is a three dimensional sculpture illustrating the ancient history of the falls.
It also indicates that with the coming of the church of Uganda hospital in 1958 the activity was stopped bring joy of mothers with their children.
Activities to do
Kisiizi its self is a pleasant active small town with many activities embedded in it.
The town is quiet and well spread unlike very many towns in the country.
Even from a far you can see the clear view of the hospital, school, market and the falls.
Tourists can go for bird watching, zip lining, butterfly watching, educational tours, hiking, relaxation and many other activities at a friendly price.