Jinja, town located in southeastern Uganda where the Nile flows out of Lake Victoria, commonly known as The Source of The Nile, situated at an elevation of 3,740 feet (1,140 metres) above sea level.
Jinja was founded in 1901 as a British administrative centre and grew to become one of the larger towns in Uganda. When construction on the Owen Falls Dam (now the Nalubaale Dam), 3 miles (5 km) downstream, was completed in 1954, the hydroelectric power thus provided was instrumental in Jinja’s development as the country’s main industrial centre.
Famous as the historic source of the Nile River, Jinja is these days the adrenaline capital of East Africa. Here you can get your fix of whitewater rafting, kayaking, quad biking, mountain biking and horseback riding in a town with a gorgeous natural setting and some wonderful, crumbling colonial architecture.
John Hanning Speke the first European to lay eyes on the source of the Nile says;
Though beautiful, the scene was not exactly what I expected, for the broad surface of the lake was shut out from view by a spur of hill, and the falls, about twelve feet deep and four to five hundred feet broad, were broken by rocks; still it was a sight that attracted one to it for hours. The roar of the waters, the thousands of passenger fish leaping at the falls with all their might, the fishermen coming out in boats, and taking post on all the rocks with rod and hook, hippopotami and crocodiles lying sleepily on the water, the ferry at work above the falls, and cattle driven down to drink at the margin of the lake, made in all, with the pretty nature of the country—small grassy-topped hills, with trees in the intervening valleys and on the lower slopes—as interesting a picture as one could wish to see.
Tourism & Activities in Jinja
Source of the Nile
The Source of the Nile, the second longest river in the world, marketed as a discovery of one of the first European explorers, namely Speke, is an internationally unique attraction.
They are located along the Nile River, within a distance of about 10 kilometers from Jinja municipality. The scenery and rafting activities of Bujagali Falls currently exploited on a small scale have an enormous potential for both excursions and international tourism. The falls also offer opportunity for bird watching.
Situated on the Nile, 18 kilometers north-west of Jinja town. The falls offer opportunity for bird watching , camping and picnic outings.
Located 8 kilometers from Jinja, the falls offer a good scenery and landscape for campsites with an opportunity for bird watching. The hydroelectricity plant at Jinja Owen Falls is also an attraction, especially for the school tours and other domestic excursion groups.
Lake Victoria Beaches
The Lake’s beaches have been partially exploited for location of tourism developments, especially hotels. These beaches include the sites at Sailing Club, Tilapia Club and Masese. Besides the scenery, the lake can be exploited for water sports with potential for sport fishing and canoeing.
Islands in Lake Victoria
They include Samuka, Ndaiga, LwabitookeI and LwabitookeII. The existing potential includes boat racing, sport fishing, over-night camping, day excursions and various water sports.
They are numerous industries found in Jinja attract excursionists, especially school tours. These include textile Nytil Picfare, Nile Breweries,Kakira Sugar Works, Jinja Steel Rolling Mills, Jinja Grain Millers and Masese Fish Factory and tea processing industries.
Mabira Forest on the way to Jinja
It is the only rainforest in Central Uganda and one can stop here on the way to or from Jinja and take a guided nature walk through the forest. You can also zip-line above the tree-tops through
Ssezibwa Falls on the way to Jinja
It is combination of scenic wonders, culture, tradition and legend and can be incorporated into your time to or from Jinja
Tea and sugar estates are currently exploited as tourist attractions. Like the agro-based industries, the plantations have tourism potential as an attraction for tourists coming from countries where semi-finished or finished products of sugar and tea are exported.
Antiquities / Historical sites
A number of historical sites exist in Jinja district. These are: Bujagali ancestral site, for Soga tribe ancestral spirits, at Bujagali falls; the current Busoga King’s palace at Nakabango; Mpumudde hill, the historical meeting place of the Busoga chiefs and the
British colonial Governors. Mpumudde is also the place where King Kabalega, of the Bunyoro Kingdom
Activities to adventure in Jinja
White water rafting on the White Nile; this is an unforgettable experience of rafting on the Nile at Jinja in Uganda.
Jet Boat up the Nile Rapid; Jet boat up the River Nile Rapids at incredible speeds and enjoy the wild of the River Nile without being immersed in it except a bit of spray. Kayaking on the Nile; Kayaking with a most knowledgeable guide to take you down the rapids of the River Nile with River Surfing as another option at Jinja along the River Nile. Sunset Cruise while at the White River Nile, take a Sunset Cruise with dinner and drink at Jinja – simply a most enjoyable experience
Houseboat Safari on Lake Victoria; A great way to relax and chill out in a most novel way in Uganda. Fish, relax, enjoy the scenery including fishing villages along the shore.
Horseback Riding with an overnight horseback riding safari of two days – another way to enjoy the Nile, visit Villages and hamlets along the journey and take in the culture and sights.
Quad Bike Safari along the Nile; An exhilarating experience on the all-terrain Vehicle Quad Biking along the River Nile taking in the sights and the local cultures as you ride through various villages.
Mountain Biking along the Nile; Bicycling along the Nile at Jinja is a most enjoyable experience for visitors to the Nile area; there are lot of places where you can ride a bike including along the Nile though various villages and hamlets.
Bungee Jumping into the River Nile; An unforgettable experience of diving into the Nile River below.
Visit the Source of the Nile; Take a boat ride into Lake Victoria from the Source of the Nile Park and back – the park is well kept and has many flowering trees, plants and shrubs attracting a variety of birds and butterflies.
Visit the Nile Brewer; It is located in Jinja, it’s amazing to see how the beer is made in Uganda, one of the most popular beers here
Accommodation in Jinja
Gately On Nile
Gately on Nile is a uniquely renovated grand colonial guesthouse very well situated on the shores of Lake Victoria. It provides a haven for business travelers and tourists with its unique refurbished grand home offering panoramic views.
Source of the Smile Guesthouse
This newly build Guest House that is owned and managed by Icelandic & Swedish people. It’s situated in a safe environment about 5min drive from The source of the river Nile & 5min from Jinja-town
The Haven Lodge It is a peaceful and relaxed River Lodge, rated as one of the best accommodation in Jinja region. Enjoy the tranquility and the breathtaking view over the starting point of rafting at the first waterfall of the river Nile.
Brisk Hotel Triangle
It is a luxury hotel with a fresh and retro-contemporary design with a comfort, style, and the elegance . It’s location has prime views of the Victoria Nile at what was the Rippon Falls is spectacular. The hotel is set in lush gardens and is within walking distance of Jinja town center.
Jinja Nile Resort
The resort is located at the banks of the River Nile with a beautiful view the landscape, gardens, palm trees and the breathtaking Bujagaali falls.It’ slocation offers a wider range of experience to both leisure and business travelers
In the beautiful grounds on the outskirts of Jinja town, Bilkon hotel is a hotel with a difference and is a stone’s throw away from the Source of the River Nile and a few kilometers from Bujagali falls.
Nile River Camp
Nile River Camp has 10 private safari style tents with Nile view of single, twin or double arrangement, 8 room residences
Nile Hotel offers brilliant convenience, conducive environment, at affordable rates.Visitors delight in the calm and wonderful climate
Forever Resort is set in a serene and quiet environment in Jinja city. The Resort is situated adjacent to the Nile River and overlooks Lake Victoria and source of the Nile River.
Ling Ling Guesthouse
Located close to the Source of the Nile and only 2 kilometers from Jinja town center, it provides a tranquil retreat in spacious gardens where you can sit back and relax during your stay
Quick Jinja Facts
Where exactly?: It sits along the northern shores of Lake Victoria, near the source of the White Nile.
Location: Eastern Uganda – 81 kilometres (50 mi), by road, east of Kampala, the capital and largest city of Uganda.
Desc: Jinja, the adrenaline capital of East Africa.
Areas of interest: Source of the Nile, Bujagali Falls, Kyabirwa Falls, Itanda Falls, Owen Falls Dam, Mabira Falls, Lake Victoria Islands, Lake Victoria Beaches, Antiquities / Historical sites
When to Visit: Jinja, source of the nile can be visited all year round and boat cruise along the nile can be done all year round though the best time to visit Jinja is during the dry seasons between June-August and December-March.