By Evelyn Masaba
There is always a great place in Uganda; a place where people travel to from far away just to experience what it has to offer.
There are places in Uganda that are full of magnificent natural wonders that you are bound to fall in love with at first sight. Jinja and the great Nile river can be the highlights of Uganda, but certainly they are not the only natural wonders you come across when you visit this country.
Located in eastern Uganda, Jinja is a stopover for commuters heading to the border between Uganda and Kenya or just travelling back to the other districts in the region.
Origin of Jinja
The name Jinja originates from the tribes that live around the region. The word Jinja means “rock” in both Luganda and Lusoga languages. The place is named after the rocks that surround Ripon Falls.
Jinja is largely home to one of the biggest tribes in Uganda: the Basoga. Being of the Bantu ethnic group, their language, Lusoga, is very similar to Luganda and in dialect can be mistaken for Lugisu or Lunyole, the other Bantu languages spoken in Eastern Uganda.
It is hard to believe that a century ago Jinja was just a small fishing village that was in the middle of the trade routes in Uganda. After the completion of the Owen Falls Dam, Jinja became a bustling little town with several immigrants, especially Indian and Chinese, who stayed behind opening up businesses that invited other investors, resulting into economic growth in the region.
The town was the base for British operations in Busoga, which also contributed to its rapid growth during the colonial era.
Tea estates, sugarcane farms and cotton estates slowly sprouted up in the long run all over the plains and hills of Jinja, especially near the Nile. The untapped opportunities attracted several new investors who engaged in the production of sugar and tea.
Over the years, Jinja has become one of the most visited locations in Uganda with large number of tourists coming from the rest of Africa and the world. The area around the district is bursting to the seams with touristic potential that is slowly being harnessed to grow tourism and hospitality in Jinja and eastern Uganda.
If you find yourself in Jinja, try out some of these fun activities:
Bungee jumping over the Nile
There is nothing more nerve-wracking than throwing yourself into the mercy of a rope and the strong winds of the Nalubaale, yet the moment you take the plunge your mind frees up and you feel the freedom to fly with the many birds buzzing next to you. Bungee jumping has become one of the best things to do when in Jinja, it can cost an average of Shs100,000 per person. The people who handle it are professionals who take you through every step as you plunge over the Nile.
White water rafting
Being home to one of the most popular water rafting locations in the world, Jinja is definitely the best place to be excited and thrilled at the same time on the Nile. Bujagali, known to the Basoga as Budhagali, is one of the best white water rafting locations Uganda has to offer. Right on the White Nile with refreshing rapids, you will want to do this over and over again.
After a little plunge over the Nile, there is more to do. Jump into the wildlife and explore it with a lot of speed at your side. The quad bike experience is a very enjoyable adventure especially if you have several other people doing it with you.
Just like white water rafting, you will have professional guides taking you through this world famous sport on the Nile; it is an experience you do not want to miss while in Jinja.
You need to take time away from the thrills and commune with nature. Enjoy what Mother Earth has to offer by trekking through the Mabira just right on the fringes of Jinja on your way back to Kampala to complete your experience.
Source of the Nile
Track the Nile’s journey right from where it all starts and bring your school geography to life by visiting the source of the Nile with guides explaining to you how it was formed and why it flows upwards.
Right within what used to be the largest forest in Uganda, the Mabira is home to an array of bird species that attract bird watchers from all over the world. Take some time and learn about the many beautiful species that Uganda is known for.
Jinja is very remarkable and romantic. The sceneries over the Nile right to its source at Lake Victoria will live you entranced, adding exciting memory to your honeymoon. It is also enclosed with over 50 hotel properties, including the Jinja Nile Resort, Black Lantern and the Jinja Nile Village, to accommodate you as you take your love to the next level.