Activities in Jinja
Jinja has a vibrant downtown and broad leafy residential streets set next to the Nile River. Tourism has grown to compete with the manufacturing past of the town as nearby watersports draw visitors from all around. Here you can get your fix of kayaking, whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, horseback riding, and mountain biking.
Before the arrival of Europeans, Jinja was a small fishing village on the edge of the mighty Nile River which constituted the border between two distinct peoples - the Baganda to the east and the Basoga to the west. With the arrival of British colonial rule in 1906, the town began to grow as a trading centre and important river crossing.
By mid-century, the town had grown significantly with Indians, Africans, and Europeans living in somewhat segregated neighbourhoods on the west side of the river. With the arrival of hydroelectricity (from Owen Falls dam) and the railroad, Jinja was ideally situated to become the industrial capital of the country with sugar and cotton processing making up a large part of employment. During the difficult political crises of the 1970s, Jinja's trading and manufacturing economies suffered.
White-Water Rafting on the Nile
The stretch of rapids along the upper Nile near Jinja is considered one of the most spectacular places in Africa to go white-water rafting. Despite the intensity of some of the rapids (grade IV and V), most people who venture here are first-time rafters seeking an adrenaline rush as part of their tour in Uganda.
Safety standards are impeccable; with all rafting trips accompanied by a fleet of rescue kayaks and a safety boar you can retreat to if you find things a bit too adventurous for your tastes. In addition to the standard big water runs, there are also less extreme options including a family float trip.
Another way to experience the white water is by solo kayak. Full-day packages include a training course, lunch, and guided trip through the raging rapids. Those seeking a quieter and more effortless experience can choose a tandem or sit-on-top kayak trip.
Some prefer to take in the sights and sounds of the river at a more leisurely pace. Sunset and half-day cruises can be arranged with or without drinks and snacks included. A trip to the source of the Nile is another popular option.
For those seeking a big motorised thrill on the Nile, an exhilarating 90 km/h speedboat trip over the rapids is definitely the preferred activity. The 30-minute trip (US$75 for adults) includes plenty of 360-degree spins, jumps and near misses.
Quad Biking Around Jinja
Quad biking along the beautiful banks of the Nile is a thrill you won't soon forget. Trips ranging from one to 3.5 hours including visits to local villages can be organised though reputable providers who also giving lessons on their practice circuit.
We can arrange a range of guided tours including visits to the villages between Bujagali Falls and Jinja, which can finish with a boat ride to the source of the Nile River. More intense trips through Mabira Forest Reserve and tailor-made trips can also be organised.
Horseback Ride along the Nile
When you're in or near Jinja anyway you don't want to miss the chance to ride horseback for a different perspective. A two- or three-hour ride on these great healthy horses is just one of those special experiences you will not soon forget. The views over the Nile are great and the people waving to you as you pass their local villages will surely bring a smile to your face.
The horses are very well trained and maintained by their Australian owners. There are horses for riders of all experience levels.
Uganda's only bungee jump departs from a platform perched 44m over the waters of the Nile River. For those with the stomach, this will be an unforgettable experience.
Fishing on the Nile
Both the Nile River and Lake Victoria are home to one of the largest freshwater fish species in the world, the mighty Nile Perch. We can now offer you the opportunity to pursue these fish on both water bodies. You can book from Jinja either full day, morning, or afternoon trips which cater for either the first-timers or the experienced anglers. Multi-day camping trips can also be organised.
All fishing gear, camping equipment (if staying overnight), safety gear and drinking water is supplied.
If you'd like an authentic Ugandan experience, we strongly recommend that you join one of our hiking and cycling tours through the village of Namwendwa just east of Jinja. During your visit, you will learn how to cook the local food (such as the banana mash known as "matoke"), brew your own Ugandan Gin ("waragi"), and of course meet the local people and experience how they live day-to-day.
You can choose to either stay at a local homestead or camp on the farmer's land. Our trained resident guides will accompany you and introduce you to the members of the community. All proceeds from the trip (approximately $30 per person) will go towards supporting the community's milk production. This is a great opportunity to mix with local people and experience the true flavour of Uganda!