Jinja On a BudgetJinja is a city located at the source of the Nile in Uganda, Africa. Many backpackers travel to Jinja, as it is known for its white water rafting. This city is the third largest economy in all of the East African Community. It has a population of about 72,000 people.
SightsJinja is the perfect place to visit if you wish to see the longest river in the world, the Nile River. There is a place called Source of the Nile with beautiful gardens and a monument dedicated to Gandhi. Many don't know this, but some of Gandhi's ashes are actually sprinkled here. Just exploring the beginning of the Nile is a beautiful sight.
There is a buzzing market in the city center, the Jinja Market, where there are several colorful shacks and booths with vendors selling everything you can dream of. This is a wonderful sight with all the colorful booths, but also a great spot to interact with the locals and their unique markets. If you wish to have someone give you a tour of the market, the easiest way is to hire your boda boda driver (a boda boda is basically a motorcycle that can hold passengers) to give you the tour. Do not pay your driver more than six thousand shillings, though. The tour should only last an hour.
NeighborhoodsJinja is in the Eastern region of Uganda. It is about eighty kilometers from the capital of Uganda, Kampala. Jinja is very nearby to Lake Victoria and is at the source of the Nile River. There is a small town about ten minutes away called Bujagali, which is known for its beautiful Bujagali Falls. This is a popular spot for tourists, as you can witness the locals swimming in the falls and even join in yourself. Another place to see majestic waterfalls is about forty kilometers away from Jinja. It is called Itanda Falls and you can witness multiple series of white water rapids.
ActivitiesMany adventures await in Jinja, as it is known to be the adventure capital of the country as a whole. From horseback riding to mountain biking to kayaking the Nile, there are tons of activities to do whilst traveling in Jinja. Kayak the Nile is the world's leading Kayak school, and they are based in Jinja on the Nile River. You can spend the day learning how to kayak and whitewater raft at the source of the Nile.
All Terrain Adventures offer an ATV safari near Bujagali Falls. Before each excursion, you are given thorough instructions on operating the ATV and can practice before actually heading off the beaten path. This activity is suitable for all ages.
If you want to try rafting, which you should consider since it is some of the best spots to do it in the world, Raft Africa is a great company to work with. Not only do they offer rafting, but also you can also do other activities with them along the Nile River. It is possible to even submerge your head at the bottom of your free fall if you so choose. After all the adventure, you may want to take a tour of the Nile Breweries to finish off your day.
Food and DiningThere are many different places to dine in Jinja. For the most part, the local vendors are the cheapest option for a meal, although be cautious if you order meat. The best things to order from a street vendor are samosas or chapattis (basically a tortilla with eggs).
Flavours is a great place for grabbing a coffee and breakfast before you start your day of adventure. It located right on Main Street. 2 Friends is a very great restaurant with delicious food. However, the line is usually long because of the unique atmosphere and friendly staff. They allow you to make your own playlist while you eat from their collection of music. For great Indian food, Leoz is a great option with inexpensive prices.
TransportationIt is easy to catch a bus to Jinja from Kenya and Tanzania. Most of these buses are heading towards Kampala but always stop in Jinja on their way. If you are feeling adventurous, you can rent mamatus in Kampala and drive yourself to Jinja. The city is just off of the East African Highway. Once in town, you'll want to get a taxi to 'the source', which is where you'll find most accommodations and shopping. In 'the source' everything is in walking distance. If you are going further outside town, flag down a boda boda or rent a matatu.
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