Jinja, a municipality in the district of Jinja in the eastern region, lies along the shores of Lake Victoria and right at the source of the mighty River Nile. It is and has been very much part of where this country has been - At one time the second largest metropolis to Kampala, many that have lived there and seen it through the years will probably say it's seen its glory days but wait a minute...
For me this place remains very close to my heart - like many, I lived and grew-up there for close to 20 years of my childhood and its all wonderful memories! Away from the fast life of the Capital - Kampala, Jinja has always given a relaxing heaven, a toned down mood, that gives you time to stroll around and touch base with this country.
This once industrial town of Uganda - as it was very much known in the '70s through to the '80s has probably seen the biggest share of the Ugandan version of economic down turn over the years. Its problems stem way back in 1972 when the then President of Uganda, Idi Amin expelled the Indian community out of Uganda.
A lot of the industries here at the time were run and controlled by the Indians who employed many of the residents of the town. In many ways, this had projected the growth and development of the town as steadfast ... and then of course coupled with years of neglect and massive migration that followed, most of the industries were no more. But, hullo! Before you think otherwise, you are in for a surprise.
This town is endowed with some wonderful tourist sites and possibly the most adventurous activities you would love to try on your Ugandan vacation; kayaking, bungee jumping, water rafting and more .... Oh! You will quite easily fall in love with this place if you are the kind that is not afraid of pumping up your adrenaline. All the activity is just a few miles down the Nile, you will love it!
Come and see the source of the mighty River Nile - and not just for the sake of seeing it, bless yourself as part of the very few in the world that have been to this place. The common question would be; What is the name of the first white man to see the source of the Nile? ... shhh! I will give you the answer - be there for the next pub quiz.
Planning to stay for a few nights? This town has got good accommodation that cuts across all budgets; Why not do a quick check on the hotel prices today and make a booking - This could save you a few ££$$s.
With a population of about 90,000, Jinja is on the path to re-discovering its glory days. Starting out as a small fishing village much before 1900, it continues to be a vital fishing hub that greatly contributes to the ever growing fishing industry - so if you love to do some sensible fishing, you know where to be!
Its cultural heritage is inclined to one of the prominent Ugandan kingdoms - the Busoga kingdom and the majority of the population are Basoga and speak Lusoga (local language). It's very much considered the capital of the kingdom.
It is home to Uganda's oldest hydro power plant (built in the 1950s) at the Owen falls dam. And with the recent completion of the Bujagali plant a few miles down the Nile, this area produces almost the entire electricity supply of the country.
A lot of the buildings in town are the old style Indian architecture - that takes you back in the olden days showing the influence the Indian settlers had on the town. The Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, the Swaminarayan Temple and the town hall are some of the city's landmarks. Jinja Market is probably one of the most organised markets in the country by any standard and you will get almost everything from food, clothes to anything you need for your DIY job.
Muljibhai Madhvani is a house hold name in town. An Indain-born Ugandan businessman, entrepreneur, industrialist and philanthropist built a family business empire that continues to own a lot of busineses in the region including Kakira sugar works and Nile breweries that makes some of Uganda's favourite beers - Nile Special lager and Club Pilsner among others. This family has been and continues to be part of the legacy of this town.
Its nightlife is not a rush - it simply kicks in as the night gets old and before you notice .... It's got some nice bars and night clubs; Rumours, Sombrero's and more, and the hotels are nice with good accommodation and service - quite affordable too.
With all these to offer, this city is a wonderful place that has kept its charm in many ways. It is very peaceful with nice people. A lot will be said about it but if you are looking for a place to put your feet up, then Jinja is where it happens.
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