Jinja is Uganda’s second largest town about 80KM East of Kampala, Uganda’s business capital.
|The most interesting feature about this town is that it stands at the point where the mighty River Nile flows out of Lake Victoria, The source of the Nile!|
When you visit Jinja town, it is quite impressive to know that those very waters flowing past the green slopes are destined for one of longest journies on the African continent, about 6,500KM through the Sahara desert of Sudan and Egypt.
The early descriptions of morden day Jinja were more inclined to its inherent scenic qualities than to John Speke’s conviction that this place possesed the long sought-after source of the great Nile River.
|The ‘stones’- Jinja, as the Waganda call the falls, was by far the most interesting sight I had seen in Africa…
It 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 Wasoga and Waganda fishermen coming out in boats and taking post on all the rocks with rod and hook, hippopotami and crocodiles lying sleepily in 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 county -small hills, grassy-topped, with trees in the folds, and gardens on the lower slopes – as interesting a picture as one could wish to see…
I felt as if I only wanted a wife and family, garden and yacht, rifle and rod, to make me happy here for life, so charming was the place.
On your trip to Jinja from Kampala, you will head east to on the Kampala Jinja Road passing through coffee, tea and sugar plantations.
In this section of the Uganda Safaris guide we have listed for some of the areas which you should find on your Jinja tour itinerary.
You may not visit all the areas in one day, however, use this list to ensure that your Uganda tour operator has not left out an interesting site.
Some of the Must See attractions in this Uganda tour package would include:
Ensure your Uganda Tour operator gives you an English-speaking tour guide to take you around.
End you Jinja tour with a Luncheon at you favorite Jinja Hotel.
You will then to return to Kampala in the evening.
Ssezibwa Falls lies 35KM east of Kampala is reputed to have been a favourite spot of Kabakas (Buganda Kingdom Kings) Mwanga and Mutesa II, both of whom planted trees there that still flourish today.
You will be able to reach the falls by following the Jinja Road out of Kampala to Kayanja trading center, then following a clearly signposted dirt road running southward for about 2KM. Entrance will cost you not more than USD2.
You will not be charged for being shown around by one of the knowledgeable guides, but it would be appropriate for you to tip them.
|The waterfall, and the Ssezibwa River on which it lies, are also steeped in Kiganda folklore. Many hundreds of years ago, the legend goes, a woman called Nakangu, of the Ekibe (Fox) clan, gave birth not to twin children, as expected, but to a twin river, split into two distinct streams by an Island immediately below the waterfall.|
Ssezibwa is run as an ecotourism project, and though it is firstly a cultural attraction, the waterfall itself is pretty, particulary during the rains, and the fringing trees harbour an interesting selection of birds.
You will find no accommodation at at Ssezibwa falls but you can be allowed to camp for not more than USD 2.5 per person.
Mabira forest reserve extends over 300 Sq.Km part of which straddles the Kampala-Jinja Road for about 20Km. When you visit Mabira you will find a moist semi-deciduous forest with over 200 tree species.
The ripon falls, the natural landmark associated with the Source of the Nile, was submerged in the early 1950’s following the construction of Owen Falls Dam a short distance upriver. But the site remains worth visiting, and there is a park and plaque situated on both banks of the Nile River as it exists Lake Victoria.
Admission will to the facility will cost you about USD1.
You will be able to access the Eastern Bank easily from Central Jinja using a Boda Boda (Moto-cycle) or by taking a 30 minute walk.
The best time you should visit the Source of the Nile is either early in the Morning or late in the day. Coming very early or late will save you the crowding from school trips.
You will find the timber stilted Rumours Cafe and the Source of the Nile Bar within the park.
Shaded fishing boats with outboard engines await to take you for a cruise on Lake Victoria.
A boat ride of this nature could cost you about USD10.
You will be able to reach the Source of the Nile Gardens on the Western bank by canoe from the Eastern Bank of the Nile River, or by following the Kampala road across the Owen falls Dam, then taking the next left turn before Nile Breweries and following it for about 5KM.
It is from this side of the Nile River that John Speke originally viewed the Ripon falls, an event commemorated by an inscibed pillar which was erected in 1954. The care take might ask you for a small sum to take you around the gardens.
About 14 years ago, tourism activity on the Nile River North of Jinja was limited to a peaceful and rather obscure site at Bujagali falls.
Bujagali falls was a series of impressive rapids about 10Km downriver of the Source of the Nile River visited by a few travellers annually.
By 2007, the eastern bank of the Nile river between Jinja and Bujagali had developed into East Africa’s premier adventure tourism center.
This is because the 50Km stretch of the Nile river north of Jinja is now a legendary white-water rafting and Kayaking route, widely regarded to be as exhilarating as the more famous Zambenzi Gorge below Victoria Falls.
This is a lovely Uganda Golf Course overlooking the Nile and at one time famous for games being interrupted by a stray hippo.
The Jinja Sailing Club has for many years been a pleasant lakeshore garden.