Jinja  City – The Source of River Nile

Jinja is Uganda’s adventure city located in the eastern part of Uganda with its major history and adventures. The city is usually referred to as the source of the Nile. It is where the source of the Nile River (the longest in the world) is located. Jinja City was originally a fishing village. The name jinja originates from the Luganda word “ku jinja” meaning “stone”. During the reign of the Ntembe Masanso who was a chief of the Busoga region by that time was usually based on the rock at the banks of the river Nile and travelers during that would want to stop in jinja would say ’’teka ku jinja ‘’and that’s where the name originated from.

History of the Jinja City

Jinja became so popular and dominant during the colonial days when the colonialists were planning to construct a dam. This dam is the present Owen Falls Dam (Nalubale Dam). This made the city so popular since it was the beginning of the industrialization in this area due to the availability of hydroelectricity. Jinja is also the first district in the eastern region with the major tribe of the Busoga with their kingdom situated within the area. This area is also dominated by the Indians who were the first Arabs to open up shops and business centers in the area.

The people living in this city are majorly agriculturalists who grow major crops for commercial purposes these crops include sugar cane, beans, tea, cassava, and many others. Also, some of them are fishermen on the shores of Lake Victoria. On the other hand, the city is an industrial town in Uganda.

What to see in Jinja City – Attractions 

Source of the Nile

Lake Victoria is the source of the Nile and this point is located in Jinja. This point was discovered by John Speke during the colonial time who had followed the river from Egypt up to Uganda. He reached the lake and noted where the Nile River would start from. While in Jinja, this can be discovered by a boat cruise on the source which a traveler takes on his Uganda safari.

Jinja City
The source of R. Nile

Itanda falls

The falls are located 27 kilometers outside the city of Jinja. They gained popularity when the Bujagali Falls were destroyed for the construction of the dam. Travelers who usually visit the falls enjoy the white-water rafting. They also enjoy the birding experience through the site of different bird species like the weaver birds.

Kyabazinga royal palace

The Kyabazinga royal palace or the Igenge Palace is located on Igenge hill and is the official royal palace of the Busoga kingdom. The kingdom is led by the king with the title Kyabazinga William Wilberforce the Nadiope the IV who started living in the palace in 2020. The kingdom had spent six years without a king.  During the ancient time, the Busoga chiefs were always appointed by the Buganda kingdom kabaka.

 Jinja market

The Jinja market is a great meeting point for traders and vendors who buy and sell their fresh products. The market was started in 1936 during the colonial time as a meeting point for the farmers and manufacturers. The market is so vibrant with over 7000 vendors who sell vibrant items like colorful clothing hanging in their sections and also fresh fruits in the market.

Railway museum

This is one of the fine historical attractions representing the history of the Uganda railway. The railway line connects Mombasa to Jinja. When the railway line arrived, it became a harboring point where travelers and cargo transporters would board. The railway connected different points within the country and it was important for the economic development of the country.

Mabira forest

This is one of the largest forests rainforests found the out of the city where it is home to over 200 bird species and 5 bird species. This makes it a great destination for tourists on their birding safari to Uganda. The other activities done in the forest the ziplining, nature walks, and many others. though the forest is facing challenges of encroachment the place for doing these activities is still available.

What to do in Jinja City – Activities 

Boat cruise

The boat cruise is usually done on the Nile River and this is a key essential activity in the jinja city. This will involve sailing on the Nile River. While sailing on the Nile River, you will enjoy the scenery views of the shores of the river even you will enjoy the birding experience on the Nile River.  This will offer the opportunity for the birders to enjoy the birding safari while cruising on the Nile River.  Also, the cruise on the Nile River will offer the opportunity for one to see the vegetation cover both on the shores and on the river.

White water rafting

This is a top-list activity that every traveler on a Uganda safari will always love to do while in Jinja. white rafting is majorly on the Itanda Falls. This adventurous activity is done in groups on the longest river. This activity covers a distance of 30 kilometers. And before doing this activity, you are given the safety equipment. At the end of this activity you will have refreshments like beer, fruits, and many others.

Jinja City
White water rafting in Jinja

Bungee jumping   

This is an adrenaline-testing experience that puts your body to an elevation of about 44 meters high. Here, you are plunged with a rope at a high elevation. This activity is done with maximum safety for the travelers while on their Uganda safari. While doing the activity a traveler on a Uganda safari will pound himself in the Nile waters. This is one of the activities that travelers on their Uganda safari will prefer adventuring in.

Quad biking

This is one of the activities that do not require a driving license. Operating the Quad bikes is always free training on how to operate this bike. Then you will proceed with the activity. You will tailor up your map on where you would wish to ride from where you will go through the muddy roads. During this activity, you will have the possible chance to slide into the muddy potholes. Here, you get stuck and you are usually pushed to get out. This is one of the most thrilling adventure activities in Jinja City.

Accommodation facilities in Jinja

The accommodation facilities in Jinja are readily available within the city centers and outside the city centers. They offer also comfort for travelers on their Uganda safari.

The accommodation facilities in Jinja City range from the riverside lodes.  These are near the Nile River and usually offer high-end services with the best views of the Nile River. Some of these facilities include; A Living waters Resort, River bank lodge, Wild Waters Lemala, and many others.

Safari cottages are available within the city. These are eco-friendly and affordable for travelers on their Uganda safari. They include; Kingfisher Safari Hotel, Rainforest Mabira Lodge, and many others.

Campsites are also available for travelers on a tight budget on their Uganda safari. These facilities include; Nile River camp, Tafari Nyege Nyege camp, Kali Hill Jinja, source of the Nile Reptile Camp, and many others.

How to get to Jinja?

Jinja is located in the eastern part of Uganda and can be accessed by the three modes of transport. These include; by road, air, and water. By road, travelers on their Uganda safari will have about 3 hours of travel to Jinja according to the level of the traffic condition on the road. While by air transport, travelers will choose to get direct domestic flights from Entebbe Airport or Kajansi Airstrip to Jinja Airstrip. You will access the city in about 20 minutes. n the other hand, by water, travelers will book a ferry from Entebbe on Lake Victoria will transport them to the point in Jinja.

What is the best time to visit Jinja city?

Jinja City can be visited throughout the year but the best time is in the dry season in June, July, and August, September, December, January, and February. During this period one can take part in numerous safari activities since there is less or no chance of rain. However, during the wet season, one can negotiate for lower prices since there is less traffic.

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