Monday, June 15, 2009

The Nile and Bujagali Falls



Today was our first and only full day in Jinja. After a restful night sleep of fearing snakes, spiders, bugs and other creatures sleeping with us we headed out and visited the source of the Nile and the Bujagali Falls. At the source of the Nile there was a monument for Mahatma Gandhi in honor of having his ashes immersed in the Nile upon his death in 1948. The source of the Nile is Lake Victoria and it flows 4000 miles to the Mediterranean Sea.

On the bus ride over to the source of the Nile we learned that Uganda has only one Hydro Damn that harnesses the power of the source for electricity. It was very shocking that they only have one Hydro Damn in Uganda, especially considering the electricity problem they have here. They have so many resources that they could be using that they’re just not. Do you think that the negative environmental factors outweigh the benefit that resources like the Nile could bring to the country?

The next place we went to was the Bujagali Falls, a beautiful waterfall along some powerful rapids. The thing I found most surprising was talking to Prof. Bishop about how only a few years ago the location was almost free of tourist and only a few body surfers braved the wild rapids, and today the place was packed and we saw at least 9 rafts full of tourist head down the wild rapids. It’s a sign that tourism is growing in Uganda which is a good source of income for the country, but is it really a good thing that one of nature’s untouched beauties has now been overrun with tourism? This reminds me of the resort we went to on Lake Bunyonyi and how beautiful and untouched it was. A lake like that in the US would be overrun with speed boats and lake homes. So I guess my question is how can/should Uganda utilize the benefit of tourism for the country while still maintaining the untouched beauty of the country?

3 comments:

  1. As it stands today at the falls, I think that the tourism is pretty eco-friendly--- It definitely could be worse. The water was clean. Garbage was not floating down the falls. We were not disrupting the nature here. I think that tourism is acceptable, as long as the environmental impact is not adverse. I know that cost-benefit analysis can be used to determine if things such as tourism are worth the environmental degradation in the future. It is clear that in order to develop, Uganda does and will depend on tourism. I think that ecotourism is the way to go.

    Also, while visiting these falls, I heard that in the next 4 years, they will no longer be existing as they do today because of the production of a hydrodam, which is critical to Uganda's problem regarding a lack of electricity. In order to develop, decisions need to be made: Should the falls remain? is a dam worth the expense of the environment?

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  3. Though the installation of more hydrodamns would be devastating to some of the ecotourism at places like the falls, I think they would be more beneficial to Uganda's population. Not having electricity has a major impact on Uganda's ability to produce at higher levels.

    From a tourist's perspective, I don't think it is realistic to keep tourists out of these natural beauties. We ourselves would know nothing of the falls if it were not for the business that was already established there. There is nothing wrong with people visiting places like Bujagali as long as what is already there is used to attract people, and companies don't try to build on and destroy the natural resources.

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