Southern-most Source of the Nile

Did you know that the truest source of the longest river in the world, the River Nile, is in Burundi, about 115km outside Bujumbura? And while there’s the officially known ‘true’ source in Uganda, out of Lake Victoria at Jinja, there’s also another ‘truer’ one in Rwanda?!

However, the truest-est one is in Burundi, and that’s their story and they’re sticking to it! 🙂

This is the most intriguing thing about travelling to new places, about which little is known or promoted. You find yourself having to unlearn and relearn your high school geography and history (with resistance, or indifference depending… who cares?!).

Burundi is a teeny-tiny East African country located South of the better-known land of Rwanda, West of Tanzania and East of Democratic Republic of Congo. Though landlocked, it is fortunate to have most of its border to the West separated from DRC by the magnificently beautiful Lake Tanganyika, on which the capital city, Bujumbura lies.

You’ll be blown away by warmth of the welcoming people, the good looking folks (enough eye-candy for everyone, both male and female!) in the peaceful city. If you are used to the noisy bustle of many populous cities of Africa, you may be surprised by how quiet Bujumbura is. The lifestyle is generally reserved – no loud music blaring from the street shops or public transport, no chatting or laughing at high volume, or shouting to attract clients (or to each other)! Moreover, the streets are clean and well-spaced, further enhancing the enchanting calm.

And then there’s the appealing cuisine that in many aspects is common across the region in the form of spicy rice, pap/ugali, meat galore, vegetables, legumes, etc. They are generous with the portions, and serve killer chilly on the side for those so inclined (not for the faint of heart!).

The drive to ‘discover’ the truest source of the Nile is a delight on the senses – fresh air and great views of the vast countryside showcasing steep hillsides and deep valleys covered by greenery of lush forests, as well as tea, coffee, banana and other wide-ranging food farms. The roads enroute however are not quite as pleasant, slowing down the journey due to their deteriorated potholed state (repairs have been ongoing for a while so hopefully they are improving).

As you arrive at the ‘Source Du Nil’ in Musenyi, you’ll doubt that there’s anything of interest to be found there, and may only be persuaded by the signboard (easy to miss), or the unique Pyramid-like structure built a short distance away. Now widely accepted as the Southernmost source of the Nile, the pyramid was erected by the discoverer (some European explorer) to mark its location.

The water flowing out of the underground source, guided out of a pipe onto its Nile headed path, is clear, cool and refreshingly sweet. Once you taste it, you may be convinced that perhaps there is truth in the claim that this is ‘source’ water.

Take time to explore and once done, if you had set out early enough, you might be able to squeeze in an additional excursion to gawk at the Chutes de la Karera Falls not too far away (3-4 hour drive to and fro). If pressed for time, start your journey to return before dark.

Heading back, as you near the city, be on the lookout for the spectacular view of the majestic Tanganyika – breathtaking! Depending on arrival time, consider passing by the beach to wind up your day watching the stunning sunset on the lake, while digging into a sumptuous fish-fest by the Lake.

Oh and if you may be yearning to witness their unique Culture, particularly the drama of the drummer dance – Burundians are officially, the World’s Best Drummers and highly sought after – Alas! The government restricts performances to formal functions only! So you may have to be satisfied with what is available online!

Burundi is within reach and welcoming. Tourism resources are growing, with many options for recreation and stay, including the fabulous 5-Star Kiriri Residence Hotel in Bujumbura, set high on the hill with a full view of the lake, the city beside and its environs.

If Burundi isn’t on your bucket list – add it and go! It is ranked amongst the TOP countries in the world’s ‘Most Welcoming’ because nationalities of 192 countries can get their Visa on Arrival, while passport holders of the 6 East African countries enter Visa Free.

Swahili is also widely spoken, albeit learned as a 2nd or 3rd language after Kirundi and/or French.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *