Things to do in Jinja Town and the Source of the Nile

The Adventure Still Persists – Where The Colonial History Meets – Jinja And The Nile – Adventure Tourism Hub Yearly

The Top Things to do in Jinja Town – The Source of the Nile – Understand – Get In Out & Around Jinja – Where to Buy, Eat, Drink, Get Wild & Hag Out in Jinja – What to Do & Get Out to in Jinja – Jinja the “Adventure Capital”Of the Pearl Uganda


Jinja is a city in Uganda. The city is located at the source of the Nile, and in Uganda more famously the source of Nile Beer. Jinja is on the East African Highway which links Mombasa to Uganda, eastern DR Congo, Rwanda and Burundi and road distances are 80 km from Kampala, 117 km from Entebbe, 578 km from Nairobi, 854 km from Arusha, 1498 km from Mombasa and 1691 km from Dar es Salaam.

This is a popular destination for backpackers for its white water rafting. Three main operators work the rapids, offering a range of options, including body surfing, kayaking lessons and a video or DVD of the experience afterwards. It is possible to arrange a day trip from us or any travel agent in Kampala. And some of the activity companies in Jinja offer free transport to and from Kampala for their customers. Be sure to use sunscreen

Jinja town stands beside the sole outflow from Lake Victoria, the location which John Speke reached in 1862 and proclaimed the source of the River Nile, thus settling a geographical conundrum dating back to the Ancient Egyptians. Today the source attracts thousands of visitors each year. Some are drawn by a sense of history and a fondness for geography and others by a knowledge that exploring the headwaters of the Nile considerably more comfortable and entertaining than it was in 1862.

Facts about the Source of the Nile Town (Jinja) “World’s – Finest Track – of – white – waters”

Jinja is known as a combination of high – Octane activities and relaxing excursions, decent hotels and restaurants, pleasant scenery and an enduring historical significance, the Jinja Nile is one of Uganda’s main tourism destinations, offering relaxation, history and Adventure. The main attraction in the quiet riverside town of Jinja is a visit to Speke’s source of the Nile. 7km to the north is the pace of life at Bujagali. Each year, thousands of tourists, backpackers and overland truckers flock to the river to raft a sequence of high-grade Rapids on what is considered one of the world’s finest tracts of white waters.

More of Restoration has been done by many of jinja’s fine colonial-era buildings as hotels and restaurants, while the River back can be enjoyed with basic equipment as the Golf Clubs. The Prospect of adventure still persists and the turbulent headwaters of this iconic river can also be experienced with Kayaks, rafts, jet boats, Quad bikes and – this may not be for everyone – with a bungee rope strapped around one’s ankles (Bungee Jump).

Landscape: – With its outlet from Lake Victoria, the Nile passes between high, cultivated banks over a series of Rapids marked by forested mid-channel islands

Climate: – The Nile Corridor enjoys good weather all year around this is everyone’s favourable state.

Culture and People: – The Nile is the base divide of two tribes, the Buganda live on the west bank before crossing the Bridge from Kampala and the Basoga on the Eastern or Jinja side. The Nile is great cultural importance to both groups and rituals are performed at shrines at Bujagali Falls and Kalagala falls.

Travel: – Jinja is 80 km East of Kampala on a tarmac road and the estimated travel time is about 2hours and 30 minutes.


Major Attractions and Activities in Jinja

Source of the Nile: – This is true start point of the Nile as discovered by John Speke an explorer, although gardens and the actual experience of going here is not that interesting, it may be worth it for the sole reason that you can go home and tell everyone that you visited the source of the longest river in the world. There is a small monument in the area dedicated to Gandhi. Some of his ashes were released here a thousand years ago.

The River Nile: – This is the true world’s longest river (the Nile) and it was discovered by an explorer John Speke that this river starts here (Jinja) so arguably there are lots of places to see it. The whitewater on the first stretch of the Nile that we visited from Jinja was incredible and unique in that respect.

Jinja market: – The Market is in the very centre of town, and consists of multiple acres of colourful, shacks, squeezed and on top of each other selling everything from chicken hearts to motor parts. Definitely it a must-see, even if you’re in Jinja for one day. The easiest and best way to see the town is either On your Jinja Town tour our Guide will help you pass through and see or to flag down the nearest boda-boda driver (motorcycle which takes passengers) and ask him for a tour, for less than an hour tour.

Mabira Forests: – It’s between Kampala and Jinja and offers a taste of tropical forest just an hour from the capital. You will make a stopover in Mabira Forest and there you will see various primates, butterflies as well as birds. Mabira Forest has an upmarket lodge and backpacker’s accommodation.

Ssezibwa Falls: – These are a Buganda Cultural Heritage site.

Swaminarayan Temple: –

Jinja is marketed as the “Adventure Capital of Uganda”, offering everything from horseback tours to quad biking to source of the Nile kayak tours. There are a number of safe reliable operators, some of whom offer camping, dormitory, and (tented) accommodation. All companies offer half days, full days and extended trips.

Visit Coronation Park: it has displays of cultural items and nice craft shops. Not far away you will also have an opportunity to see the shrine of Mahatma Gandhi.

Boat cruise on the Nile: With a large number of restaurants offering a great variety of different dishes ranging from traditional Uganda, Indian, European, Chinese and Middle Eastern; Jinja offers good food for everyone.

White – Water Rafting (Adrift Rafting): – is a rafting company that also has the Nile High Club, where you can bungee jump over a picturesque eddy of the Nile, and even get your head wet if you so desire. Enjoy the Grade Five rapids that offer one of the best rafting experiences you will ever have in the world.  You will also glide past sections of verdant vegetation with calm waters where you will enjoy the beautiful natural scenery.

Bujagali Falls Lake: – Bujagali is a ten-minute boda-boda ride out from Jinja. It’s a small tourist village, based on picturesque Bujagali Falls. Witness the locals swimming down the falls with nothing but a jerry can keeping them safe, as well as the odd rafter or kayaker who’s made a mistake. Soft Power Health and the Allen Stone charities work from Bujagali, and it’s very popular with volunteers.

As of 2013, the Falls at Bujagali do not exist anymore because it is now Lake Bujagali used to generate electricity from the water. It is still a beautiful view, where the kayaking and rafting companies base themselves for their operations further downriver and still worth a visit.

Bujagali Falls has Backpacker accommodation and mid-range, tented camps while upriver there are superior lodges overlooking the rapids at over time and Kalagala. These amazing safaris are conducted at Bujagali; they are another exciting way of exploring the river’s banks as well as visiting the adjacent traditional villages and enjoying the breathtaking views of the pristine rolling hills.

Itanda Falls: – these lie 43km from Jinja through country paths, and are more a series of whitewater rapids than full-on waterfalls. But it offers some nice views and some white water rafting.

All Terrain Adventures (ATV Quad bike Safaris beside the River Nile), Bujagali Falls (7 km downstream from Jinja on the east bank of the Nile): – The ATV is always available from a morning at 8 am till late in the Evening at 6 pm. Self – Drive guided ATV Quad bike Safaris (off the beaten tracks into the warm heart of Uganda). This is a great way to explore the amazing terrain around the river Nile as you ride along the off the beaten tracks. These, fortunately, don’t need prior experience as they offer a practice session to all clients. With the All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) – Honda and Yamaha they welcome all age groups. Free practice training session before each safari starts. All ages, all levels, all adventure.

Kayaking & Canoeing at the Nile: – (Calm water or whitewater kayaking in Jinja), (info@duikersafaris.com): – Kayak the Nile is one of the world’s leading kayak schools, based on the river Nile and passionate about helping people enjoy being on the water. Most popular activities – Introduction to whitewater kayaking, whitewater kayaking courses, Source of the Nile tours. Enjoy Kayaking or a canoe ride in the locally made canoes on the renowned Nile.

Horseback Safaris – riding: – There are the short Horseback Safaris that go for 1 hour, 2 hours or 3 hours, starting in the morning as well as in the afternoon at 2 pm every day of the week. For safety reasons, there is a weight limit for clients of 90Kg.

You can also get a free tour of the Nile Breweries if booked in advance.

How to Get There – Bridge Cross – Nile River – Jinja Town

Early morning you will set off from Kampala and drive to Jinja town located on the eastern shores of the River Nile. Towards Jinja town, you will be stunned by the breathtaking sight of the Nile which is the longest river in the world with its source being found here in Jinja where it starts it along 6670-kilometre journey that ends in the large Mediterranean Sea and waters from the source take 90days travelling to reach the Mediterranean Sea.

You will cross river Nile at the Owens Falls Dam which whose construction was finished in 1954, and then arrive in Jinja a laid-back town as compared to the capital Kampala.

While in Jinja L’hoest’s Safaris, will offer you an opportunity to visit various places including the source of the Nile, craft shops, nice restaurants, local markets, as well as meet the local hospitable people living within this town. We offer day trips for individual travellers, families, groups as well as team building for organisations.

Where to Sleep – Accommodation – in Jinja: – Jinja town with Accommodation, it offers upmarket guesthouses, mid-range and Budget Hotels say;

Bellevue: – in the city centre is slightly upmarket but offers after bargaining a very basic tiny room for only 5000 shilling. The other hotels in the city centre start at 10000 shilling. Another option is to take accommodation in one of the lodges outside the city centre, near the Nile.

2 friends Hotel, Ling Ling guest house, Nile river resort and Daniel Hotel Brick Hotel: – are in a cool quiet environment. They are at the lake shore with a swimming pool and good food at relatively low prices. Sunset hotel just like Brisk lies at the lake shores. King Fisher’s Safari.

Nile River Explorers, Wilson Avenue, and NRE: – they have a hostel a short walk from the centre of Jinja, which helpfully takes payment in USD as well as UGX, and has a great bar. It’s not so “authentic” but if you’re looking for something a little more upmarket and familiar it’s a good bet. Run by friendly people, who also allow camping at night.

Adrift, (Towards Bujagali), Great place: – it’s a bit out of town. Here Camping, dorms and tents available with the Excellent view from the bar only the downside.  if it rains, getting to town on that road is difficult coz it’s a little Muddy in Most cases when using 2 wheel vehicles.

WHAT – WHERE – HOW – WHEN – TO – BUY – PURCHASE – IN – JINJA

Uganda is not a terribly touristy country. Jinja is one of the only places that sells ‘African souvenirs’. A day of shopping is best started by The Source Café and the surrounding streets. It is possible to buy drums, Ugandan guitars, handbags, African sandals, African print fabric, paintings, and many other things ideal as gifts. Remember that – apart from a few locations in Kampala – you are unlikely to find shops like this elsewhere in Uganda.

Tourist shops also sprung up around the NRE camp in Bujagali, but they’ll be a little more expensive than in Jinja. Try Jinja Main Street, towards the upper end of it (Main Street).

What – Where – to – Dine – Eat – In – Jinja

There are several restaurants and cafés in the centre of the town. Of which probably ‘Flavours, Coffee Bar, Restaurant,’ Gately on the Nile, The Source Café and 2Friends serves are the best in town. There are numerous Indian and Chinese restaurants close by. For cheap food, local vendors are a safe enough bet for most things but maybe stay away from the meat. Samosas and chapattis(basically an omelette wrapped in a tortilla) are done well here, are very cheap, and filling.

Flavours provide an exclusive Coffee Bar, Restaurant and Pub on Main Street in one of Uganda’s largest cities: Jinja. Jinja is located on the shores of Lake Victoria, the place where the River Nile starts it’s 6,500km journey to the Mediterranean. Flavours give you the opportunity to have a nice cup of tea, coffee, fresh juice or any other refreshment in an inspiring environment. While relaxing and drinking you are given the opportunity to enjoy the variety of flavours from our exquisite kitchen. Besides this, we are happy to offer you business lunches in a private setting. Please feel welcome and enjoy at ‘Flavours’.

Ginger on the Nile, and Ginger on Main, two great restaurants/bars. Offer great quality food very cheaply, both places have really good atmospheres.

In a corner just opposite Jinja central police station is an Indian restaurant, it is at the corner of Rippon Road, that runs from Gabula road to Iganga Road next to Biashara Supermarket. It’s small but cosy, it serves good pizza and Ice cream.

The Source Cafe offers great coffee and pretty good food. You can use the internet (wireless is available) while you wait.

The former Sailing Club is exotic: – It is a sight to behold at night. It is a place to be for lovers with a beautiful lounge, bar and great outdoors.

2 Friends, food is good, but be prepared to wait a long time for the food to be prepared. The couple that owns the place are extremely friendly (as the name suggests), and will even let you make your own playlists from their extensive music collection.

Leoz, it’s found along the Jinja Main Street Road and it has the excellent Indian foods. With a reasonable price and good portions of dines!

Drink – in – on – at – Jinja – Nile

Nile Special Lager: It’s arguably the best beer in East Africa, it is produced here in Jinja.

Waragi – a spirit, (essentially banana gin) mix with bitter lemon, tastes awesome, potent.

How – Why – When – Where – To – Get – Out – Around

The town is quite spread out, if you intend to go shopping for gifts get a drive to ‘the source’ and all of the touristy shops that are within and some are of a walk- able distance. If going further afield, opt for Boda-bodas or Matatus as the best way.

Go an extra mile for the extra smile