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Kisiizi waterfalls is both a natural and significant cultural/historical attraction in Uganda because what you will see when you visit the area is not just a waterfall but an area that used to be a death trap. This magnificent waterfalls lies within River Kyabamba, at a stone throw away from Kisiizi Hospital in Rukungiri district bordering Kabale (dubbed the Switzerland of Uganda due to its numerous Hills) in the south-western side of Uganda.

The beautiful Kisiizi waterfall is at around 40 meters high and pours its waters into a deep gorge before proceeding with the flow of the mentioned River. Tourists who visit the waterfalls are always welcomed by a spray from the falls at over 100 meters away and this welcomes you to the mysterious yet sad history of the area. Much as tourists always add this attraction during their longer gorilla trekking or wildlife safaris, you can also make a short trip to this site because it is not only that waterfall you will amazed at but also other interesting attractions such as the numerous bird species, cultural experiences and the nearby forest.

Historically, this waterfall is said to have greatly contributed to the moral value of Bakiga people because it used to be a place where pregnant unmarried girls were thrown as a way of teaching other girls how to behave well. When a girl form the area got pregnant before marriage, she would be escorted by her father and brother to the top of the falls then pushed down the cliff and eventually dies as a way of avoiding premarital sex in society. However, what anyone fails to understand is why the men responsible wouldn’t also be punished? This story reminds us of the adulterous woman in the Bible who was accused of committing adultery but no one mentioned the man with whom she was committed the formidable act with.

This act went on but stopped when one of the victims was brought to the site but had a perfect plan in that she held her father and brother and all the three of them fell down the cliff and died. This is when the practice came to an end because members of the society thought the girls would not allow dying alone but instead with their brothers and fathers. Besides being a cultural site, the area around Kisiizi waterfalls is also a birding Paradise with numerous species of birds including the Pied Crows, Yellow-backed weavers, Grey crowned cranes, African black-headed Oriole, Long-chested eagles, white-browed robin-chat, African Paradise flycatcher, Malachite Kingfisher, Black-headed weavers, Grey Herons, Ross Turaco, African firefinch, Augur Buzzard, Double-toothed weavers, Haddad Ibis, African Harrier hawk, Hammerkop, yellow-billed storks, Lesser stripped swallow, African pied wagtail, black-winged red Bishop, Purple-breasted sunbirds, Scarlet chested sunbirds, Speckled mousebirds, Mottled widowbird, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Black kites, Bronze Mannequin, the Emerald spotted wood Dove and many others. This makes bird watching one of the must-do activities around the waterfalls.

Besides that, Forest walks are conducted within the nearby Forest but also picnics can be enjoyed from the area. These walks also reward tourists with the stunning views of the Kigezi hills and valleys.

Also, tourists can enjoy cultural experiences within the villages around the waterfalls. While here, you can visit some of the homesteads to see how a typical family goes around with daily activities such as cultivating gardens and harvesting food in addition to preparation of the local cuisines and also enjoy it.

If you are interesting in taking photographs within a natural and beautiful area, then the Kisiizi waterfalls is where you must be during your visit within the region. The backdrop of the waterfalls, birds and lush forest are perfect for photography.

How to Reach the Kisiizi waterfalls

Kisiizi waterfalls are found at approximately 400 kilometers from Kampala City, only 22 kilometers South of Rukungiri Town and about 46 kilometers north of Kabale Town.

The Basigu are the people from the eastern Uganda who settled down on the western slope of Mount Elgon. Basigu are believed to have originated from the mountains. Their fore father Masaba appeared from a cave in the same Mountain (Mount Elgon). Masaba also a name for the mountains is said to still be living on the upper slope of the mountain and that he still holds several meeting which is portrayed by stones laid inform of chairs and table. The beauty of the mountain as attracted safaris visits to Uganda.

The Basigu are among the few tribes practicing circumcision which is also known as imbalu. They legend being the circumcision is that, there was a Mugisu man who had a record of seducing his neighbors wives and therefore he was taken before the committee of elders who ordered that he should be castrated as punishment and a warning for every man who goes into seducing other men’s wives. Their plan backfired when the offender recovered and went back to his old ways of seducing other men’s wives even more than before he was circumcised. After seeing this, his haters also decide that they too should be circumcised in order to compete the sexual favors.

bagisu-cultureThe circumcision is an important occasion in the Basigu society. A boy will undergo ritual of passage to man hood that includes the entire local community. The circumcision age is between 16 to 25 years and anybody in the age range can announce his intention in May or June and spend the rest of the months organizing for the ceremony in August.

During the ceremony, the boys to be circumcised will have their faces plastered bin ash and they are stripped half naked below the waist on the way to the circumcision ground where they line up in front of the crowd of family and friends both female and male where the ritual is done.

Circumcision is believed to increase the sexual drive of a man and also a passage to adulthood. A man who is not circumcised is considered young and do not give views in public. This activity is done almost yearly.