White water Rafting: White water rafting is one of the most popular adventurous activities in Jinja. The white water rafting experience in Jinja is said to be of the highest quality in Africa because it has several grade 4 and 5 rapids. Most of the rafting is done at the Kalagala and Itanda falls. White water rafting in Jinja involves maneuvering through strong waves and rapids using tube boats (filled with air) on the mighty Nile. While rafting on the waters of the Nile, participants pass through some breath-taking scenery and landscape along the margins of the river. There are also the wildlife species like birds, monkeys, butterflies and vegetation. Every rafter is given a life jacket and other rafting equipment. There is a rescue team in case of any issue that may arise during the rafting experience. A separate group of experienced rafters are there purposely to take photos of every participant so that no moment is lost. There are two white water rafting packages offered – half day and full day. The half day rafting package costs around $125 per person and the full day package goes for about $270. The main organizers of white water rafting are Nalubale rafting, Raft Uganda and Adrift Uganda. The activity can also be booked through any reputable tour company in Uganda.
Jet Boating: This is a nerve-racking experience in which participants use a fast boat at very high speed of about 100 kilometres per hour. The boat spins and turns as it squeezes through rapids and tides. The activity will raise your adrenaline but once you get used to it, it will prove very exciting and fun. For one to engage in the jet boating experience on the Nile, one has to part with about $60. It takes between 2 to 3 hours cruising on the rough and powerful waters of the Nile.
Bungee Jumping: This is even more nerve-racking than Jet Boating and will taste your resolve to the full. A cliff tower was built along the shores of the Nile at a height of 44 meters high so that people can safely jump towards the waters with a rope tied to their feet/legs. The experience can be very frightening but travellers love it as it is one way of showing your braveness. The experience costs about $115 but one needs to be at least 13 years and above to take part. The person must also be free of any underlining illness like a heart attack, hypertension and more.
Playing Golf: Jinja has two famous golf courses. There is the Jinja Source of the Nile Golf Course and the Big Game Mini Golf Course. The Nile Golf Course was established in 1912 by the colonial administrators and is one of the top five golf courses in Uganda. It is a 9-hole course and is open to everyone who wishes to test their golfing skills. It also has other facilities like a swimming pool, a snooker table, a tennis court, a bar and a restaurant. The big game mini-golf course is much smaller course and designed for families with children. It has ten holes that are decorated with animal sculptures (lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino and leopard etc.) and takes less than an hour to complete.
Visiting the source of the Nile: It is in Jinja where the Nile starts its journey to North Africa. This was confirmed in 1858 when John Speke discovered that the source of the Nile was in Jinja. There is a landmark at the point where the waters leave Lake Victoria through a depression/gorge before spreading out and turning into what is called the River Nile. On a typical trip to visit the source of the Nile, Visitors stand on a group a rocks to spot the watermark from a distance. Others can take a boat to the actual source of the Nile but this depends on the volume of water or tides. The area around the source of the Nile is excellent for photography. After spotting the source of the Nile mark, visitors take photos next to a sign post and then visit one of the many craft shops to buy souvenir.
Visiting the monument of Mahatma Gandhi: Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most famous global leaders in living memory. He is admired for his simplicity and working tirelessly to help liberate India and help it begin the journey to modernization. His work and presence was felt as far as Africa. Before his death, Gandhi wished to have his ashes poured on the great Nile after his death was fulfilled. Apart from pouring the ashes, a statue of Gandhi was constructed close to the source of the Nile to mark his death and legacy. After visiting the source of the Nile, tourists usually stop to take photos at the monument but also to learn about his life and work.
Visiting markets, churches and old colonial/Indian buildings: The first foreign settlers in Jinja before independence were Indians and people of Asian origin. Most came to Jinja because of trade and to work for the British colonial administrators in factories and during the construction of the railway line. Later, these Indians settled and opened up shops or factories. When the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada expelled them out of Uganda in 1972, they left behind buildings and industries. Somewhere taken over by Ugandans while others remained dilapidated and monuments in the town. Apart from visiting the old buildings, Jinja also has large markets selling foodstuff and souvenir. You can also pay a visit to some of the old churches to marvel at the architectural designs.
Visit the rural village: Though Jinja is an urban city, tourists can choose to visit the rural villages to experience the kind of life lived by peasants. Most of the rural villages are covered with sugarcane and banana plantations. Some tourists choose to stay in one of the homes for a day to learn how the local people cook, take care of their domestic animals or brew alcohol. By the end of their stay with the host family, they would have learnt about the cultural norms and values of the people in the area.
Quad Biking: Quad biking in Jinja involves riding on a four-wheeled motorbike in some of the remotest parts of the town. The bikes will take you past the rural villages, forests, sugarcane plantations and along rarely seen sections of the Nile river. The Quad biking experience is very adventurous and can be taken by almost anyone irrespective of whether they have experience with the bikes or not. Lessons are given to all amateurs before going out into the countryside.
Horseback Riding: Horse riding is always interesting but doing it in the beautiful countryside of Africa is something else. The horse riding experience in Jinja takes between 1 to 3 hours and takes you to explore the rural communities, the river Nile and the beautiful landscape surrounding it. Participants are guided by an experienced Guide who knows all the routes. Horse riding costs between $50 and $150 depending on how long the particular session is. One does not need to have any experience riding horses because there is a training session before the real thing.
Kayaking and Canoeing: This activity involves canoeing on the Nile at very slow pace. The experience costs about $125 for a whole day activity. Canoeing on the Nile exposes one to the incredible biodiversity and landscape surrounding the Nile. Those who book the activity are always given instructions, basic skills on how to row a boat and defence mechanisms in case of an incident while sailing. Life jackets are provided for everyone at no extra fee.
Cycling: Cycling offers a different experience from quad biking because it is more physical and drains more energy. However, the activity is equally adventurous depending on the route you take. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about completing within your allocated timeframe. Cyclists are provided with a mountain bike and a Guide to take them on an interesting journey of discovery beyond what the Quad bikes can provide. Using a mountain bike, one can go further into the sugar plantations, community villages, the river Nile and even up to Jinja town itself. Cycling doesn’t have a timeframe and can be hired for a whole day. If you want to have an amazing encounter with nature, you can choose to do the biking in Mabira forest. In this case, you will be driven with your bike to the starting point in Mabira forest. The activity costs between $30 to $40 and includes packed water and meals. While in Mabira forest, expect to encounter primates, birds, butterflies and the local people.
Visiting Mabira Forest: This is one of the largest remaining tropical rainforests in Uganda. Unfortunately, a large size of it has been destroyed a s result of human activities and urbanization. It is now smaller than its original size but still allows for great adventure and exciting activities for those who love nature. Mabira is located in Buikwe district – between Mukono and Jinja. The main activities carried out in Mabira forest is camping, bird watching and nature walks.
Launch Cruise along the River Nile: This boat cruise is organized starting from the area around the source of the Nile area (Lake Victoria) and also at the Bujagali lake (formed as a result of the construction of a power dam). The one starting from around the source of the Nile takes you towards the newly constructed bridge, fishing villages and the resorts along the shores of River Nile. The Bujagali lake launch cruise also offers beautiful sights of the different flora and fauna along the banks of river Nile. Tourists can also spot the popular structures that make Jinja such a lovely town to live in. As with every launch cruise, there is a lot of partying, drinking and eating which is free as long as one has paid.
Bird Watching: Uganda is one of the best destinations for bird watching in the world. The country has over 1060 species of birds spread across the country. Jinja is one of the best places for birding in Uganda. The birds can be spotted right out of your hotel, along the roads, in forests like Mabira or on the waters of Lake Victoria and river Nile. All one has to do is get a binocular and go out with a local birding Guide to look for sun birds, eagles, sparrows, common cuckoos, marabou storks and so much more. We highly recommend going to Mabira forest or take a boat along the Nile river for the best birding experience. Mabira forest is only 15 kilometres away from Jinja town and has an amazing collection of birds that can rival any other location in Uganda.
Fishing in Jinja: Jinja is one of the best places for sport fishing in Uganda. The most popular species to go out for is the large Nile perch and the tasty tilapia. One of the great things about fishing along the Nile in Jinja is that certain sections are reserved for sporting fishing hence allowing anglers to catch huge specimen. The ideal time to catch fish is in the morning and evening hours. Indiscriminate fishing is frowned upon as is using old-fashioned gear. One has to go for only mature fish. Before going out to fish, anglers will be briefed about the river and safety measures before being given correct fishing gear. Anglers who do sport fishing in Jinja always complete with happy faces. The local fishing Guides know the areas which have the highest concentration of fish.
Visiting the Ssezibwa Falls: The Sezibwa falls are found in Kayunga district – off the Jinja to Kampala highly. They are one of those places that make Uganda a true pearl of Africa. Apart from the amazing scenery and opportunities to take amazing photos, the Ssezibwa falls offer tourists a great opportunity to go for an amazing cultural experience. According to the local legend, a woman got pregnant and produced water instead of babies. The water flowed in two directions and one was river Ssezibwa. The Buganda kingdom views the river and waterfalls as sacred and many of their past kings would visit the falls for blessings/sacrifices. To this day, one of the most powerful shrines are found in the area and thousands of Ugandan’s continue to visit the shrine to seek for blessings from the local gods. Brave tourists can pay a visit to the shrine and learn about the history of the place from the witch doctors.
Tubing the Nile: This is a newly introduced activity along the Nile. It involves floating on the waters of the river Nile on air-pressured tubes. As participants float on the Nile, they have opportunities to go up to the main Jinja bridge and experience the amazing landscape. They can also watch monkeys, birds, tides and rapids from a distance. Tubing the Nile is a very cool thing to engage in and there are safety measures in place to ensure that no harm comes your way.
Hotels and Accommodation while on a Jinja tour
Jinja, as a city and one of Uganda’s most popular tourist attractions, offers a variety of lodging options. Lodges, hotels, campgrounds, guesthouses, residences, dormitories, and hostels are among them. Because the amenities range from affordable to ultra-luxury hotels, there is always something for everyone.
WildWaters Lodge: This is one of the most stunning lodges in all of Uganda. It’s situated on a little island in the Nile River. Deep into the night, guests may hear the waves and Nile rapids. The ambience and surroundings are pleasant and inviting, ideal for unwinding. Only ten deluxe cottages with balconies overlooking the Nile are available at the property. Visitors can go for walks in the surrounding mini-forest to admire the scenery or observe the forest.
2 Friends Guesthouse: This is a budget/mid-range lodging facility with single and twin rooms equipped with contemporary toilets, showers, televisions, and solid desks. The Guesthouse includes a large, well-kept swimming pool where guests may cool off after a day of fun in the sun. Guests seeking for a budget or mid-range room will enjoy 2 Friends Guesthouse. The guesthouse first opened its doors in 2002.
Explorers River Camp Jinja: This accommodation facility is built along the shores of newly formed Bujagali lake. It is considered a basic accommodation but very popular with tourists because it offers a sense of adventure through its tented camps. There evening camp fires and barbecue attracts both local and international tourists who want to mingle and have fun. Most tourists who are have come to the town for white water rafting, Bungee jumping, quad biking and other adrenaline raising activities reside here. The Camp is close to the starting points and administrative offices of companies organizing the activities. When done with the activities, guests can also take a nature walk around the camp to see monkeys and birds.
Bilkon Hotel: The Bilkon Hotel has 64 self-contained rooms, each with a double or single bed. It is classified as a mid-range lodging facility, with all rooms being self-contained. Conference rooms, a spa/massage, aerobics, a gym, and wedding gardens are all available at the hotel. Because they host a lot of local workshops, weddings, and government events, the food is fantastic. The hotel is on the road that connects Jinja with Kampala.
Gately on the Nile: Makerere University (Jinja campus) and 2 Friends Guesthouse are both located on the same road as this mid-range lodging facility. There are single and double beds in the rooms, which are arranged in the shape of a family hut. Room service, as well as Wi-Fi and laundry facilities, are available 24 hours a day. There is also a bar and a restaurant that serves both local and international cuisine.
The Haven Jinja: On the banks of the Nile River, the Haven Jinja is an eco-lodge. It provides stunning views of the Nile River and the surrounding area. It is one of Jinja’s best spots for relaxing. Tented campgrounds and bandas with a capacity of up to 60 persons are available. All types of accommodations are available at the lodge. Inferring that they have affordable, mid-range, and luxury rooms available. Guests who have scheduled activities such as bungee jumping, quad biking, cycling, and boat cruises love the Haven Jinja. The resort boasts a huge pool, a bar, and a restaurant that serves wonderful food. dishes.
Source of the Nile hotel: This is one of Jinja’s best luxury hotels. The Nile hotel stands out since it is located away from the bustle of the city center, making it an ideal place to unwind over the weekend. The lodge is situated on the Nile’s banks, providing spectacular views of the waterway. Each room has a single or double bed and is self-contained. The hotel has a conference room that can accommodate both national and international gatherings. Expect to be greeted by some of the friendliest and most professional employees you’ve ever met.
Sunset Hotel International: This 3-star hotel is suitable for those seeking a high-quality mid-range hotel with self-contained rooms. There are 68 rooms in the hotel with double and single beds. Wireless internet, a bathroom, and a toilet are available in each room. A bar, a restaurant, conference facilities, a parking lot, and a duty-free shop are among the hotel’s other features. The Sunset Hotel International is located in the heart of town.
King fisher Safaris Resort: This Resort is owned by a family from Europe. It is built close to the source of the Nile. The point where Lake Victoria and the Nile join. King fisher Safaris Resort is a standard hotel with single, double and family rooms. The resort has free Wi-Fi, a swimming pool, a conference hall and a massage room. The resort organizes airport transfers to and from Entebbe International airport.
Jinja Safari Hotel: This hotel offers luxurious accommodations with spectacular views of the Nile River. It is close to the Jinja golf course and the Nile’s source. Each room is self-contained and has a study desk as well as a private balcony. There is also complimentary Wi-Fi, room service, and a battler to assist with luggage transport to the room. Laundry services, a bar, and a restaurant serving a variety of cuisines are also available.
Jinja Nile Resort: Jinja Nile Resort is also built on the shores of river Nile. It is a four-star hotel appealing to both mid-range and luxury clients. The Resort has self-contained single and double rooms with everything that one would need for great comfort. The Resort prides itself for preparing the most delicious Nile perch in Jinja.
Bridge Way Guest House: This inexpensive Guest House is near to the Nile’s source. It offers basic yet self-contained rooms with a toilet, shower, and study desk. If there is a wedding or a large social gathering, it provides wonderful grounds for relaxation.
The Mansion Hotel: This hotel is located in an area where the majority of Jinja’s famous businesses and politicians live. It’s also where Jinja’s medium and upper-class citizens congregate. From the rooms to the bar, restaurant, and gardens, everything about the hotel is magnificent. If you want high-quality services and want to interact with the town’s cool citizens, here is the place to go.
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