Jubba River

Jubba River

Map of the Jubba/Shebelle drainage basin
Country Somalia, Ethiopia
Main source Confluence of Dawa River and Ganale Dorya River
4°10′38″N 42°04′51″E / 4.1771°N 42.0809°E / 4.1771; 42.0809 (Primary source of Jubba River)
River mouth Indian Ocean
0°14′58″S 42°37′51″E / 0.2495°S 42.6307°E / -0.2495; 42.6307 (Mouth of Jubba River)Coordinates: 0°14′58″S 42°37′51″E / 0.2495°S 42.6307°E / -0.2495; 42.6307 (Mouth of Jubba River)

The Jubba River (Somali: Wabiga Jubba, Italian: Giuba) is a river in southern Somalia. It begins at the border with Ethiopia, where the Dawa and Ganale Dorya rivers meet, and flows directly south to the Indian Ocean, where it empties at the Goobweyn juncture.


The Jubba river near Jamaame.

The earliest European to record his visit to the Jubba area is the Jesuit Jerónimo Lobo, who, in 1624, attempted to follow the course of the Jubba into Ethiopia only to learn that he would need to pass through the lands of nine different peoples who "were continuously at war with one another and each one was scarcely secure in its own land than thus could not provide security for anyone who took a step outside of it", and returned to Portuguese India to find another way there.[1]

Over two centuries passed until Baron Karl Klaus von der Decken ascended the lower reaches of the river on the small steamship Welf in 1863. He wrecked the steamship in the rapids above Baardheere, where the party was attacked by local Somalis, ending in the deaths of the Baron and three others in his party. The first European to explore widely and completely the course of the river was the Italian explorer Vittorio Bottego attended by Commander F.G. Dundas British Navy. Bottego and his equipe sailed 400 miles of the river in 1891. During his exploration Vittorio Bottego changed the name of the main affluent of Jubba -the Ganale river- in Ganale Doria after the famous Italian naturalist Giacomo Doria. [2][3]


Bridge over the Jubba river in Baardheere.

The Jubba basin region is primarily savanna, and is, ecologically speaking, the richest part of the country due to its fertile farmland. Native wild life include giraffes, cheetahs, lions, leopards, hyenas, buffalos, hippopotamus, crocodiles, oryx, gazelles, camels, ostriches, jackals and wild donkeys.

The Jubba River gives its name to the Somali administrative regions of Middle Juba and Lower Juba, as well as to the larger historical region of Jubaland. Major cities which the Jubba River passes by include Buale, Doollow, Luuq, Buurdhuubo, Beledhawo, Baardheere, Saakow, Kamasuma, and Goobweyn near Kismaayo.

See also


  1. Jerónimo Lobo, The Itinerário of Jerónimo Lobo, translated by Donald M. Lockhart (London: Hakluyt Society, 1984), pp. 65ff
  2. 1892; Il Giuba esplorato, 1895
  3. F.G. Dundas, "Expedition up the Jub River through Somali-Land, East Africa", Geographical Journal, 1 (March 1893), pp. 209-222
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