Jinja is often referred to as the adventure capital of East Africa. This former industrial capital of Uganda is now a common destination for tourists from across the globe that come simply to adventure. At the center stage of almost all the adventures in Jinja is the River Nile.
Declared one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Africa, River Nile is the world’s longest river stretching 6,650km, crossing 10 countries in northen Africa. It has its source marked right before the Lake Victoria – the world’s second largest fresh water lake, still in Jinja. As much as several places could claim the rightful sources of the Nile none of them fit the pedigree like the Source of the Nile in Jinja. Going by the findings of John Speke, the first European Explorer to have discovered this source, 30% of the water comes from underground at an area a few meters from Lake Victoria. There are bubbles at this spot that indicate there is water coming from the underground. The remaining 70% is contributed by other sources including Lake Victoria which is biggest contributor of them all.
The Nile which starts with calm increases its intensity as it flows over undulating rocks, squeezing through gorges and negotiating a number of rocks. It plunges into multitudes of rapids at a number of spots and punctuated by a series of astonishing waterfalls. The sight of the raging Nile waters shimmering through the lush vegetation is breathtaking.
River Nile is the biggest source of adventures in Jinja. For adrenaline junkies, Jinja can as well be called the adrenaline capital of East Africa. You can partake in one of these thrilling adventures while in Jinja.
White Water Rafting: Jinja is a world class white water rafting destination and one of the best in Africa. Experience up to grade 6 bumpy rides at Itanda Falls.
Kayaking: There is no better place for kayaking adventures than on the river Nile in Jinja. Kayak the Nile with breathtaking sights of the lush countryside.
Jet-Boating: Take a powerful but safe jet boat and cruise up the raging Nile waters, over rapids at such breathtaking speeds. Nothing compares to this adrenaline pumping adventure.
Bungee Jumping: This is the epitome of adrenaline, jumping from a high platform and plunge 44 meters into the Nile is simply awesome.
Tubing: This is thrilling a ride atop a tractor tire inner tube on the river Nile. Though not quite the adrenaline pumping adventure, it is an exciting ride given the intensity of the Nile. It is also a great way to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the Nile.
Sunset Cruises: The Nile offers relaxing sundowner cruise, enjoying the cool breeze and breathtaking sights of the green scenery. The cruise is complimented by barbeques and drinks.
Horseback riding: Ride along the Nile with great sights of the raging Nile waters and lush countryside. You get to ride through local villages and get to experience Uganda at close range. Healthy horses and great guides are available to guarantee a memorable horse back riding safari.
Bicycle tours: You get to discover Jinja town and the country side from a bicycle. Safe and mechanically well maintained bicycles are available.
Recreational fishing: Go out and catch the Nile Perch in the Nile and Lake Victoria. Expert fishing guides and equipment are available.
Nature walks: Delightful guided nature walks along the Nile and through the countryside.
Birding: Go water birding around Lake Victoria, and along the Nile. Jinja’s varied habitats attracts lots of birds.
Source of the Nile visits: Take a boat ride to the actual source of the Nile to Lake Victoria. There is also a beautiful park you can picnic and enjoy great views of the Nile, Lake Victoria and the beautiful green scenery.
Quad biking: This is one of the most popular adventures in Jinja. It is a perfect way to explore Jinja. Ride along the Nile for great views of the raging waters and surrounding green scenery. Ride into the villages for an experience of a Ugandan rural community setting, viewing the local farmlands, the local houses and local people. Great quad bikes and experts guides are available.
River surfing: And when it comes to surfing, the Ocean waves have nothing on the rapids of the Nile in Jinja.
Sezibwa Falls:The beautiful Sezibwa falls should be your first encounter if you are driving from Kampala. Take a tour of the falls, do a nature walk in the surrounding forest, there are exciting rocks to climb and you could as well visit the medicine man’s hut.
Mabira Forest: The only rainforest in the central region of Uganda, Mabira is nature’s seventh heaven and a true African tropical jungle. It is home to many plants and animal species. A nature walk into this ancient forest should not be missed, and expect to sight a number of monkeys, forest birds, lots of plants, big trees, and flowers.
Jinja Town: This former industrial capital is worth a tour to see the different architecture blend of the old colonial, Asian and African homes.
Bujagali Dam and Lake: For years due to a multitude of rapids and falls, Bujagali was the center for most water adventures in Jinja including rafting and kayaking. However a dam was constructed at the Bujagali falls submerging all the nearby falls and rapids. A beautiful lake, Bujagali, has emerged in the process.
Tea Plantations: During your drive to and from Jinja you’ll come across vast tea plantations in Lugazi district. The tea plantations sprawl across hills creating beautiful views. You could make a stopover to take pictures and buy some ready made tea at lower prices.
Samuka Islands Hideaway and Birds Sanctuary: It is located in Lake Victoria, 13km from the Source of the Nile. It is set in tranquility, peace and serenity making it a perfect spot to relax after your escapades on the Nile. You could also go the island for a bird adventure.
For those hoping to spend a night in Jinja, there are many quality lodges, hotels and restaurants. Some have great locations along the Nile and on Islands in Lake Victoria.