Jinja is a buzzing little city in eastern Uganda that has quickly risen to become the adrenaline capital of East Africa, and the second busiest commercial center in the country after the capital of Kampala. Before its establishment in 1907, Jinja was primarily a fishing village that benefited from its unique location along long distance trade routes. Today, Jinja is best known for its location on Lake Victoria at the source of the Nile, Africa’s longest river and the symbol of life for all the countries it travels through before reaching Egypt.
The name “Jinja” comes from the language of the two tribes—the Baganda and the Basoga—that reside on either side of the River Nile. In both languages, Jinja means “rock”, referring to the city’s stunning position along the shores of Lake Victoria at the foundation of the river, an address that attracts visitors near and far for some of the best white water rafting and adventurous recreation on the continent. For a true immersion into Jinja’s wonders, opt for a half- or full-day river-rafting excursion designed to accommodate first-timers and thrill even the most seasoned rafters. Traveling to the source of the Nile also warrants spectacular kayaking and bungee jumping outings, as well as serene nature walks to absorb the beauty of Jinja and its riverine islands at a more leisurely pace. Over 130 species of bird have been spotted around the islands, including cormorants, fish eagles, and hornbills. Along the way, guests are likely to spot plenteous coffee, tea, and sugar plantations, the Owens Fall Dam, and multiple fishing villages lining the shores of Lake Victoria.
The town of Jinja itself is a bustling little place with some wonderful architecture, a large local brewery, and a private Sailing Club on the shores of Lake Victoria. Jinja is also home to a beautiful nine-hole (18 tee) golf course that was originally laid out in the mid 1920s and famously upheld a local rule allowing a free drop of the ball if it came to rest in a hippo’s hoof print. The golf course boasts tremendous views of the Nile and Lake Victoria, and the second green is within a ‘lob wedge’ of the source of the Nile.
Contact Ker & Downey to add Jinja and its many recreational amenities to your next Uganda safari adventure.