Sezibwa Falls – Uganda

Sezibwa Falls

The Sezibwa Falls (or Ssezibwa Falls) are a small waterfall on the Sezibwa River, found 32km along the Kampala – Jinja highway, in Mukono District. In just 40 minutes one can drive from Kampala to Sezibwa falls and enjoy these beautiful waterfalls that are often included as a stop over during one of the Uganda short trips to eastern Uganda.

The Sezibwa waterfalls are set in an undisturbed natural and serene environment that is attractive with lots of birds and wildlife. The Sezibwa River plunges over 17 meter high rocks into a large pool which is 13 meters deep. Water birds such as the Long-tailed Cormorant and occasionally the African Finfoot are spotted in the pool at the base of the waterfalls. On one side of the falls and river is a small rainforest that is habitat to animals such as monkeys and and some forest birds, while on the other side is a beautifully mowed ground with big fig trees and fringed by thickets of bamboo trees, shrubs and bushes.

Sezibwa Falls – the Cultural Heritage Site

Sezibwa Falls is in fact a spiritual ground. Numerous shrines and elements used for traditional rituals can be seen around the waterfalls. The spiritual aspect stems from what traditionalists tell about the supernatural creation of Sezibwa River and the Falls. Legend has it that a pregnant woman gave birth to a set of twin ‘children’ in a form of two rivers, that is Ssezibwa and Bwanda flowing to different courses. While Bwanda had a smooth and obstacle-free flow, Sezibwa found many obstacles which he only managed to overcome with the help of a spirit (god) called “Nalongo Kkubo”. Sezibwa is derived from the term “Sezibwa Kkubo” which means “My way/path cannot be blocked”. Finally Nalongo Kkubo and other spirits settled at Sezibwa grounds. A shrine is in the place where Nnalongo Kkubo is believed to be, and other shrines are at places of other spirits – including, Walumbe the “god of life and death” who is sought for a long life, and there is Musoke – the “god of rains”, who is sought for a shower of blessings. Traditional believers engage in rituals at the shrines to ask for favors, ranging from: successful businesses, health, children, jobs, happy families, etc… Sacrifices of livestock such as goats and sheep are made to appease the spirits. It is common to find dead animals at the bottom of the Sezibwa Falls which have been killed at top of the falls and dropped to feed Sezibwa and appease the spirits.

With such a natural and spiritual environment, it is little wonder that Sezibwa was a favorite point of retreat for past Kings of the Buganda Kingdom who also engaged in the traditional rituals of appeasing the spirits. A number of trees at Sezibwa were planted by the Kings during their visits. A wild olive tree at Sezibwa falls was planted by Kabaka Mwanga in 1889.

Activities to do at Sezibwa Falls

Guided nature and cultural walk

An hour guided walk in the company of local site guide is quite fulfilling. Enjoy the spectacular views of the waterfalls from across a bridge, spot a number of wildlife including monkeys, birds, and butterflies, explore the shrines and learn about the different spirits/gods and their respective roles.

Birdwatching at Sezibwa falls

Sezibwa is impressively rich with birds and a worthy destination to visit on long Uganda birding tours or for a day birding excursion from Kampala. Close to 200 bird species have been recorded here. Three habitats water, forest and garden offer diverse birding at Sezibwa Falls. With an early start, 4 – 6 hours of birding at Sezibwa can produce close to 50 species. Sezibwa Flls bird list includes birds such as: African Finfoot, Shining Blue Kingfisher, Emerald Cuckoo, Great Blue Turaco, Ross’ Turaco, Striped Kingfisher, White-spotted Flufftails, Red-headed Malimbe, Green Hylia  Woodland Kingfisher, Lizard Buzzard, Olive-bellied Sunbird, Yellow Wagtail, Tambourine Dove, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Little Greenbul, Dark-capped Bulbul, White-throated Bee-eater, Grey-headed Sparrow, Grey-backed Carmaroptera, Yellow-White-eye, Bronze Mannikin, Green Crombec, White headed Sawwing, Black and White Mannikin, Velvet Mantled Drongo, Grey-headed Negrofinch, Yellow-fronted Canary, African Paradise Fly Catcher, Red-eyed Dove, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Osprey, Western Nicator, White-browed Scrub Robin, Vieillot’s Black Weaver, Black-necked Weaver, Red-chested Sunbird, Toro Olive Greenbul, Red-faced Crombec, Superb Sunbird, Hadada Ibis, Yellow Fronted Canary, Ashy Fly Catcher, Red-bellied Paradise-Flycatcher, African Grey Hornbill, Speckled Mousebird

Rock climbing

This is an activity you can combine with the guided walk. It is a light trek round to the top of the waterfalls. From the top you access lovely views of Sezibwa River crushing down the rocks before simmering through the lush bushes.


Neat camping grounds near the waterfalls are available for an overnight stay in such a serene and tranquil environment. You are treated to the sound of the waterfalls, songs of birds and sounds of wildlife around. For nature lovers that wish to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Sezibwa is a wonderful place to feel the closeness to nature. The Sezibwa Falls Resort will cater for your restaurant needs here with food and drinks available.

How to get to Sezibwa Falls

The falls are 32km from Kampala. You take the Kampala – Jinja highway and drive for close to 40 minutes and turn off the highway at Kayanja trading center and drive for about one kilometer on a dirt road to Sipi Falls.

Trips to eastern Uganda with a Sezibwa Falls tour

1 Day Jinja Tour

2 days Sipi falls hiking and Jinja tour


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