is a substantial town located in eastern Uganda
and famed for being the source of the Victoria Nile, the point at which the great river exits Lake Victoria and commences its 6500km journey to the Mediterranean.
There is still certainly a poignancy that comes from standing on the very spot where Victorian explorer John Hanning Speke first identified the Ripon Falls as the long sought-after source back in 1862. The Ripon Falls were submerged by the construction of the Owen Dam, a major hydro-electric project dating back to 1953. The main road crosses the barrage just to the west of Jinja town centre.
Jinja was also an important stop on the historic Lunatic Express
railway line from Mombasa. This once critical artery connecting the country with the outside world is now rarely used.
Today the town itself remains pleasant enough, if increasingly busy, with some interesting markets and characterful small stores. The main reason to visit is in order to enjoy the excellent white-water rafting on the section of the Victoria Nile which lies downstream from the town.
There's around twenty lodges in this Jinja area, of which this is the stand-out option ...Wildwaters Lodge
... is the highest quality facility in the area, situated on a small island around 27km downstream from the town.
The majority of visitors tend to stay in just one lodge for 2 to 3 nights.
Jinja is most commonly combined with other popular areas of Uganda including Bwindi Forest
, Queen Elizabeth
, Kibale Forest
, Murchison Falls
and the extremely remote Kidepo Valley
Uganda trips usually hub out of Entebbe
, about 3 to 4 hours away by road from Jinja, with combinations typically extending over 10 to 14 nights.
These trips are commonly combined with Tanzania
, most notably for safari in Serengeti
, a trek on Mount Kilimanjaro
and time down on the islands of Zanzibar
It is also possible to combine Uganda with other countries across Africa, although the connections tend to be less smooth.