Jinja is the second commercial centre in Uganda. It was established in 1907. Jinja lies in the south east of Uganda, 87 km north east of the capital, Kampala. It is located on the shores of Lake Victoria, near to the source of the White Nile. The city is the chief town of Jinja District, and is considered the capital of the Kingdom of Busoga.
In the 1960s, like all the towns in Uganda, was subtly segregated, with little mixing of white, East Indian and black neighbourhoods. The white area was by the lakeside, with houses affording large gardens, near a lakeside club with golf, yachting, a rugby pitch and swimming pool. The East Indians were the commercial and business class, and greatly valued education: in 1968, the huge Jinja Secondary Schoolhad one white student and about half a dozen blacks, while the remaining 500 students were all Asian.
East Indians were expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin in 1971 and 1972.
Much of Jinja's architecture is Indian-influenced, although the detailed shop-fronts and buildings were poorly maintained after the Indians left. Local industrial concerns also collapsed after the Indians were expelled. Many of the East Indians who are now returning to Uganda are choosing to set up businesses in Jinja.
The resident population of Jinja is approximately 106,000, but it also draws in some 80,000 commuters each day.
The majority of the population are of Bantu origin. Lusoga is the main local language. Average annual household income is estimated at US$100.
The city of Jinja has been twinned withFinchley, London,England since 1963.
The headquarters of Nile Breweries can also be found in Jinja. It is here too that you can find the Source of the Nile, from which the brewery has been drawing its water for the past fifty years.
There is a post office, town hall, a hospital, a golf course, and several internet cafes. There are numerous small shops.
There is a tarmac road west from Jinja to the capital at Kampala (80 km, 90 minutes by car, two hours by bus), but the tarmac road to the border with Kenya at Tororo, 100 km to the east, is generally in poorer condition. Buses and minibus taxis provide transport between Jinja and other Ugandan towns.
Transport in Jinja is dominated by the bodaboda.
Local attractions include white-water rafting, the "Source of the Nile". Five miles/8 km north of Jinja is Bujagali Falls, which is located downriver from Owen Falls Dam. Bujagali Falls is a world-class spot for kayaking and white water rafting, and also a popular weekend picnic area for local Ugandans. However, the Falls are under threat from the construction of a proposed new 250 MW hydroelectric facility.
If you want to stay near Bujagali Falls, a good spot is the Nile Explorers Camp Site, close enough to Jinja to go in and do some shopping, but right out of town and the home of some of the best rafting and kayaking on the White Nile.
Nile Explorers Campsite Video
The 9 hole (18 tee) golf course was originally laid out in the mid 1920's; and famously had a local rule allowing a free drop of the ball if it came to rest in a hippo's hoof print. The course has tremendous views of the Nile and Lake Victoria and the second green is within a 'lob wedge' of the source of the Nile. You are highly unlikely to find a hippo though.
Some of Mahatma Gandhi's ashes were scattered into the source of the White Nile. There is a small memorial garden at the spot. There is an active Hindu temple near Jinja, which has a bronze bust of Gandhi. There is also a Buddhist temple.
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