Jinja is one of the few cities in Uganda, located in the eastern region of Uganda. It majestically sits on the Northern shores of Africa’s biggest freshwater lake, Lake Victoria. It has fascinating history that every visitor would want to explore in an addition of amazing attractions that are located within and nearby. As always appreciated, Jinja is home to great cultural and historical landmarks. The dominant language spoken in the city is Lusoga, spoken by the indigenous tribe of the area known as Basoga. Other languagesin Jinja are mainly Luganda, Swahili and English.
History of Jinja.
Uganda having been a former British colony; the city was formed as a town in 1901. At the time it was mainly a British settlement area whose planning was so exquisite, and this can be seen by the standing structures within the city up to today. Many units were built for British settlers to stay in since Jinja was regarded as one of the closest neighbors of Kampala, Uganda’s capital city.
The town got its name from the rocks and stones that were located at the former Ripon Falls. In Luganda dialect, the word Jinja means “a stone.” It’s from this description that the city is named so. Some of the descriptions of this beautiful city can be found in John Speke’s notes that he took during his expeditions in Uganda. Until recently, Jinja had been a municipality but, in 2020 it was declared a city by the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.
Location of Jinja city.
This beautiful city is situated in Busoga Kingdom, which forms part of the greater Busoga sub region in Eastern Uganda. It’s about 50 miles, by road in the east of Uganda’s capital city, Kampala. It also resides on the Northern shores of Lake Victoria.
Main tourist attractions in Jinja city.
There are many attractions in this city of which not all can be well articulated in this article. However, let’s take a look at the most fascinating attractions.
River Nile is in many respects blessed with so many significances but most importantly what is known about this river, is the fact that it is the longest river in the world but as far as the town of Jinja is concerned, it originates here. Much therefore can be said about this River but it is most recommended for tourists who visit this town and experience the scenery and learn more about its culture and history.
Source of River Nile.
Source of River Nile is located in Jinja, a spot where the legendary River Nile commences its journey to the Mediterranean Sea in which it pours its huge volumes of water. There are a couple of activities that take place at this point like boat cruises, kayaking, tubing and visitors are able to have an opportunity of embracing the rich culture of indigenous Basoga people, through artifacts and traditional crafts that are made and sold here.
The scenery is beautiful, and tourists can visit the peninsular on which John Speke stood during his time in Uganda as he explored the source of River Nile.
Itanda waterfalls are one of the strongest when it comes to spilling water in Uganda. In fact, their thunderous rumble can be heard from kilometers before even getting there. From about 2km, a thick mist cover can be seen rising to the skies. It is a short drive from Jinja city center to these waterfalls, located 27km out of the town. The road to the waterfalls is well navigable and the most time travelers can take on a drive is 30 minutes or less.
Busowoko is among the many successive waterfalls located along River Nile, and it’s one of those that follow closely after Itanda falls. It provides great scenery for not only the rumbling water view, but also hundreds of birds that flock the area. Besides these attractions, there is more for tourists to encounter while in Jinja City such as cultural expeditions of Basoga culture and traditions, Cuupa Arts Gallery, NyegeNyege Festival, Source of the Nile Museum, Nile Reptile Park, Bujagali Falls, Nile Golf Course, Kimaka Airstrip, Jinja Farmers Market, Uganda Railway Museum, and many more places.
Adventure activities in Jinja.
White water rafting.
The rafting carried out in Jinja is the highest quality on the continent since River Nile provides the highest grades of rapids required for a memorable rafting experience. It’s an adventurous activity that is basically carried out along the early stages of River Nile. The rafters used tube boats to maneuver and sail through the strong waves of water rapids.
There is also a group of experienced guides that have it for a job to make sure that they take memorable photographs of the people participating in the activity so that they can relieve the memories wherever they are. The activity costs about $125 per person.
Bungee jumping here is done from cliffs that are at an imaginable height of over 44 meters above sea level. The participant’s legs are tied, and they are let to safely jump over the cliff towards the low-lying waters while being held tight and safely by a rope. It is usually a test of brevity and although that is the case, most participants enjoy the experience. It costs around $125, and the minimum age requirement is 13 years of age. Visitors with underlying heart conditions and other medical complications are often discouraged from participating for safety reasons.
While some of the people that visit jinja have come across horses in their lives and have taken part in horse riding, the experience of riding horses in Jinja is usually unique since this time round, the riding is done in the countryside of the African continent. Tourists get an experience of riding horses for about 3 hours across some of the rural terrains of Uganda. The riders also view River Nile and beautiful surrounding areas, while under the guidance and safety of experienced horse-riding guides. The horse-riding adventure costs between $50 and $100 per person.
The quad biking experience is done on four wheeled motor bikes, in the remote and some of the most rural areas in Jinja. This experience gives tourists a more challenging and rough terrain usually unseen to most of the participants. They also get to interact with the inhabitants and indigenous people in these areas. Along the way, you come across rare stages of River Nile that are usually unseen by most tourists that visit Jinja. Visitors also come across rare foods such as sugar canes, potatoes and fruits such as jackfruits and African oranges and mangoes. Quad biking caters for all forms of riders for both experienced and inexperienced riders.
It’s one of the recent activities on River Nile and it takes about 2 to 3 hours of tubing along the waters of this River. Visitors float on Victoria waters while enjoying drinks of whichever beverage they chose, while staring at the beautiful wildlife on the riverbanks, the birds, as they gaze beaming sunlight.
The water sliding is done on River Nile. The slides are giant in their form and measure up to 40 meters available for the tourist to slide on into the Nile. The participants are dressed in life jackets and glide into the water at high speeds which enable them to hit the water and bounce off before they can officially enter the water. It’s an interesting activity that any tourist should partake while they are in Jinja City.
It is essentially a slower activity compared to rafting. Therefore, this activity is recommended for tourists who are interested in a slow sail along the waters of Lake Victoria and Nile River. The participants are provided with life jackets to ensure their protection while sailing on the water at no extra charge. The starting price for participating in the activity for an entire day is $125 per person. Instructors are always available for to guide visitors throughout the adventure.
Boat cruise to the source of River Nile.
Boat cruises are some of the most interesting activities near the source of River Nile. Boat cruises accommodate all forms of visitors ranging from individuals, families, big groups, parties and those interested in luxurious cruises and many more. While on a boat cruise, tourists get to enjoy incredible scenery of Lake Victoria and R. Nile, numerous species of birds, lush flora, landing sites as well as the neighboring villages along the banks of River Nile.