Jinja is a city in Uganda.
The city is located the at the source of the Nile, and in Uganda more famously the source of Nile Beer. This is a popular destination for backpackers for its white water rafting. Three main operators work the rapids, offering a range of options, including body surfing, kayaking lessons and a video or dvd of the experience afterwards. It is possible to arrange a day trip from any travel agent in Kampala. Be sure to use sunscreen!
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
Jinja is on the East African Highway which links Mombassa to Uganda, eastern DR Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. 14 passenger taxis and 30 passenger coasters are available from Kampala. Busses from Kenya and Tanzania will drop you off on their way to Kampala.
Some of the activity companies in Jinja offer free transport to and from Kampala for their customers.
Road distances: Kampala 80 km, Entebbe 117 km, Nairobi 578 km, Arusha 854 km, Mombasa 1498 km, Dar es Salaam 1691 km.
The town is quite spread out, if you intend to go shopping for gifts etc, get a taxi to 'the source' and all of the touristy shops are within walking distance. If going further afield, boda-bodas or matatus are the best way.
The Jinja market is in the very centre of town, and consists of multiple acres of colourful shacks squeezed on top of each other selling everything from chicken hearts to motor parts. Definitely a must see, even if you're in Jinja for one day. The easiest and best way to see the town is to flag down the nearest boda boda driver (motorcycle which takes passengers) and ask him for a tour. Pay no more than six thousand shillings however, for less than an hour tour.
Jinja is marketed as the adventure capital of Uganda, offering everything from horse back tours to quad biking to source of the nile kayak tours. There are a number of safe reliable operators, some of whom offer camping, dormitory, and (tented) accommodation. All companies offer half days, full days and extended trips.
You can also get a free tour of the Nile Breweries if booked in advance.
Uganda is not a terribly touristy country. Jinja is one of the only places that sells 'African souvenirs'. A day of shopping is best started by The Source Café and the surrounding streets. It is possible to buy drums, Ugandan guitars, paintings, and many other things ideal as gifts. Remember that -- apart from a few locations in Kampala -- you are unlikely to find shops like this elsewhere in Uganda.
Tourist shops also sprung up around the NRE camp in Bujagali, but they'll be a little more expensive than in Jinja.
There are several restaurants and cafés in the centre of the town. Of which probably 'Flavours, Coffeebar, Restaurant,' Gately on the Nile, The Source café and 2Friends serves are the best in town. There are numerous Indian and Chinese restaurants close by. For cheap food, local vendors are a safe enough bet for most things, but maybe stay away from the meat. Samosas and chapattis(basically an omelette wrapped in a tortilla) are done well here, are very cheap, and filling.
Waragi - a spirit, (essentially banana gin) mix with bitter lemon, tastes awesome, potent.
2 friends Hotel. Ling ling guest house. Nile river resort. Kingfishers Safari.
Bujagali is a ten minute boda boda ride out from Jinja. It's a small tourist village, based on picturesque Bujagali Falls. Witness the locals swimming down the falls with nothing but a jerry can keeping them safe, as well as the odd rafter or kayaker who's made a mistake. Soft Power Health and the Allen stone charities work from Bujagali, and it's very popular with volunteers.
As of 2013, the Falls at Bujagali do not exist anymore, it is now Lake Bujagali used to generate electricity from the water. It is still a beautiful view, where the kayaking and rafting companies base themselves for their operations further downriver and still worth a visit.