East Africa’s Adventure Capital, Jinja is located in south eastern Uganda, approximately 54 miles (87 km), by road, east of Kampala. The town is located on the shores of Lake Victoria, near to the source of the Nile River. It is possible to get matatus from Kampala to Jinja for around Uhs 6000 per person. Coaster Kampala to Jinja – 5,000 USh Coaster Jinja to Kampala – 4,000 USh.
The upper stretch of the Nile, a long, rollicking string of grade IV and V rapids, is one of the world’s most spectacular white-water rafting destinations, and for many people rafting here is the highlight of their visit to Uganda. Despite the intensity of some of the rapids, most people who venture here are first-time rafters; it’s the perfect opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and give something different a go.
Those who prefer to take in the river at a more leisurely pace have plenty of options. The most popular choices are sunset canoe cruises with Kayak the Nile, or a booze cruise (per person incl snacks & drinks $US45; 5-7pm) that can be arranged. One of the newest activities is a two-hour cruise on the steam-powered African Queen , which is supposedly the restored vessel that appeared in the film starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. Based at Wildwaters Lodge, trips go along the Kalagala Falls stretch of the Nile and include champagne and snacks. Another option is to arrange a boat at Ripon Landing Boat Hire , next to the defunct Jinja Sailing Club, where you’ll find several guys hanging about the leisure centre offering rides. From here, a half-hour ride to the source of the Nile and back costs USh40,000 while longer trips, which could include visiting Samuka Island for birdwatching, or a fishing village or seeing hippos and crocodiles, are also available.
All Terrain Adventures
Quad biking along the beautiful banks of the Victoria Nile is a real blast. After a little spin on the practice circuit, it’s time to explore the paths and trails criss-crossing the nearby countryside; kid-sized rides are available. There are several possible circuits, including a one-hour safari (US$45) and the 3½-hour twilight safari (US$80) that includes dinner in a village. It also offers overnight trips. All Terrain Adventures also makes contributions to local communities in the area, ensuring a warm welcome on the way.
Nile Horseback Safaris
Yet another way to explore the area is on horseback, taking you along the hills above the Nile River and through local villages. There are longer rides for experienced riders. Reservations are a good idea because it’s often booked days in advance. Riders need to wear long trousers, closed shoes and there’s a 90kg weight limit. Trips depart at 10am and 2pm daily. To get here, cross the bridge over Owen Falls dam and take a right at Kayunga Rd, from where it’s 5km; a boda-boda from Jinga will cost around Ush8000.
Kayak the Nile
An alternative to rafting is to go solo and kayak through the raging river with a variety of paddling courses, starting with a one-day introduction at US$115. Tandem trips (US$140) give you all the fun without the effort. Several locals it has trained as staff have gone on to compete on the world stage. It also offers some quieter trips in sit-on-top kayaks.
Explorers Mountain Biking
Offers a range of guided rides including through the villages between Bujagali Falls and Jinja, which finishes off with a boat ride to the source of the Nile River. There’s also more hardcore trips through Mabira Forest Reserve, and it can tailor-make other trips. Also rents mountain bikes: $15 (half day) or $25 (full day).
Bringing a high octane thrill to the Nile, Wild Nile Jet is an exhilarating 90km/h speedboat trip over the rapids with plenty of thrills, 360-degree spins, jumps and near misses.
Part of Jinja Golf Club, the club offers the only public swimming pool in Jinja, tennis and squash, and a nine-hole golf course. There is also a bar and a small restaurant with reasonably priced meals. Golfers need to pay an extra for the clubs, unless you are crazy enough to be lugging your own around Uganda!
Offers walks that help fund projects in area villages. You’ll visit farms and a health clinic, eat local food and sample village beers on the three-hour tour.
Yet another alternative to navigating the rapids, this involves being hurled around in a rubber tube. You don’t take on any grade V rapids, but you’ll still get thrown about.
Nearer to Jinja, but more in tune with Bujagali’s vibe, Uganda’s only bungee jump is a 44m plunge to the Nile River.
Big Game Mini Golf
Take an African safari themed ‘golf-drive’ around the Big Game Mini Golf Circuit.Enjoy a fun game of mini golf time out on the banks of the Nile at Bujagali in the warm heart of Uganda. Affordable fun for everyone. UGX 5,000/= pp for Ugandan citizens and for all families. School groups, picnics (facilities provided onsite), a get-outa-Kampala day. Non-Ugandans US$ 5.The ten hole course provides a variety of challenges and is designed to be playable by children and adults. Putt the ball betwen the rhino’s legs, under the snake’s fangs, past the only African tiger and make the elephant roar when you sink the ball on the last hole.
Nile River Fishing
Those wanting to land a Nile River perch can arrange it…