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Notes on the Geography of Uganda: Jinja: Photo 1

world pictures Uganda: Jinja

Here's the fabled outlet of the lake. The dam downstream has raised the lake level and flooded the low falls that were here, but we have the record of John Hannington Speke, who suffered greatly to get here in 1862 and who wrote about the scene at length: "Here at last I stood on the brink of the Nile; most beautiful was the scene, nothing could surpass it! It was the very perfection of the kind of effect aimed at in a highly kept park; with a magnificent stream from 600 to 700 yards wide, dotted with islets and rocks, the former occupied by fishermen's huts, the latter by sterns and crocodiles basking in the sun, flowing between the fine high grassy banks, with rich trees and plantains in the background, where herds of the nsunnu and hartebeest could be seen grazing, while the hippopotami were snorting in the water, and florikan [florican] and guinea-fowl rising at our feet."

Where's the great lake, one might ask. So did Speke. He wrote that, "though beautiful, the scene was not exactly what I expected; for the broad surface of the lake was shut out from view by a spur of hill, and the falls, about 12 feet deep, and 400 to 500 feet broad, were broken by rocks. Still it was a sight that attracted one to it for hours—the roar of the waters, the thousands of passenger-fish, leaping at the falls with all their might, the Wasoga and Waganda fisherman coming out in boats and taking post on all the rocks with rod and hook, hippopotami and crocodiles lying sleepily on the water, the ferry at work above the falls, and cattle driven down to drink at the margin of the lake, made, in all, with the pretty nature of the country—small hills, grassy-topped, with trees in the folds, and gardens on the lower slopes—as interesting a picture as one could wish to see" (Chapter XV of Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile, 1864). The falls, of course, were obliterated by the dam downstream.

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