Kisiizi Falls isn’t a big player on the foreign tourist trail in Uganda but it is a lovely spot! The drawback Kisiizi is that it is a bit tricky to get to and may be too out of the way if you are on a tight schedule. Kisiizi is a small village with a large hospital, school situated next to a beautiful waterfall. I visited Kisiizi as part of my role with another health organisation in Uganda and was very happy I went! If you visit, all proceeds of your visit are given to the Kisiizi hospital – love that!
(And if you are curious Kisiizi is pronounced Chi-see-zee)
Why Visit Kisiizi Falls Uganda?
Kisiizi is located in a very beautiful part of Uganda, the rolling green hills welcome you as you drive in the valley on the way to Kisiizi. Kisiizi has a beautiful waterfall, lots of nature and also the longest zipline in Uganda! The area is also home to Uganda’s national bird – the grey crowned crane. The official Kisiizi Falls website is here.
How to get to Kisiizi Falls
Kisiizi is in a very rural area and is only accessible by road by road therefore only by your own car or taxi. Getting to Kisiizi means about 45mins on a dirt track so prepare yourself for a bumpy ride! As you near Kisiizi, Kisiizi primary school is first on the left hand side, then the falls visiting centre is just after this also on the left hand side of the road. The visiting centre is very new that serves food and has a shop to buy locally handmade products such as bags or purses.
Where to stay at Kisiizi Falls
There is a Kisiizi Falls Guest House that have 2 lovely self contained houses with a great view. If you stay here, the entrance to the tourist site is free of charge. When I visited (April 2021) a large new hotel was being constructed so there could be more choice when you choose to visit.
The History Kisiizi Falls
Kisiizi Falls did not originate at a tourist spot. Kisiizi made it’s reputation from the Kisiizi hospital. Opened as a mission hospital, with the aim of providing high quality healthcare in rural areas, the hospital still stands as one of the best rural hospital’s in Uganda. The hospital opened its doors in an old flax factory, this building still stands as a chapel. The hospital attracts patients from a large area because of its high quality and low cost. During the 1980s, the hospital found that many of it’s staff members were leaving as their children reached school age, therefore the primary school at Kisiizi was built and is still open today.
After you have left the visiting centre, the falls are a short walk away. You will be given a very large stick to help you on the walk. I visited during the rainy season after a particularly heavy day of rain and it was a bit slippy underfoot but not a difficult walk. The walk takes about 10 minutes and is not difficult. You will be able to see the falls from the path as well as walk on the suspension bridge to get a closer view.
The Legend of Kisiizi Falls
In years gone by, Kisiizi falls had a much darker story. In years gone by, women from the surrounding villages who had given birth to children out of wedlock were thrown off the top of the falls to their death. This practice stopped in approximately the 1920s. Now, there is a lovely monument that remembers this that was created by a 2 Ugandan artists. The aim of the monument is to transform it from a place of despair to a place of healing and hope.
Hydroelectric power at Kisiizi
Kisiizi falls is actually a hydroelectric power station. Part of the waterflow is separated at the top of the falls and is used to produce power. It is enough to power all of Kisiizi hospital and village as well as the villages up to 7km away. You can visit this power station if you request for a small fee.
If you are a healthcare professional, you can arrange a tour of the hospital. Kisiizi Hospital is seen as an example of high-quality healthcare in rural Uganda. If you are interested in a long-term visit to the hospital as a healthcare professional this is possibility or course to be arranged in advance with the hospital.
Zipline at Kisiizi
Kisiizi falls is home to Uganda’s biggest zipline. I sadly didn’t have enough time to do this but it looked brilliant! If you are an adrenaline junky this is definitely the activity for you!