Jinja Travel GuideEdit This The best resource for sights, hotels, restaurants, bars, what to do and see
There’s also a lot to do in the nearby area and you don’t need a car to get about. Taxis are readily available or try a ride on one of the little motorcycle bodaboda taxis which in this lovely climate make for a memorable trip. A boat ride out to nearby Samuka Island is another special voyage, giving a different perspective of Jinja while looking back to the town from the lake. Bujagali Falls is only a few kilometres away and nearby Mabira Forest provides a cool haven if the sunshine gets to be too much. At 1100m above sea-level and almost on the equator, Jinja has a great climate with a lovely laid-back atmosphere, lots of good accommodation and a real taste of Africa at it’s finest.
Bujagali Falls - Jinja
Several kilometres downstream from ‘The Source’, the White Nile takes its first big step down along the 6,300 kilometres through to Lake Kyoga, over Karuma and Murchison Falls , into the top end of Lake Albert . Then out of Uganda , into southern Sudan and after seeping through The Sud it eventually meets up with the Blue Nile in the centre of Khartoum . About one eighth of the flow reaches Egypt and eventually joins the Mediterranean Sea . The cascade that forms this first step is called Bujagali Falls or ‘Budhagali’ in Lusoga, the language of the Busoga people who live in this area to the east of the Nile . The river is split between 7 channels and the roar of the 1.8 million litres per second average flow, fills the air. A blanket of sound to comfort all who sleep within earshot. For thousands of years this site has been visited by humans and the beauty of the place must have been a big attraction. Over many generations Budhagali has been a sacred site for the Busoga people and it is not uncommon to see witchdoctors and ordinary folk coming down to the riverbanks to make sacrifices and offerings to the spirits who live by the river and in the large mvule trees nearby. Nabamba Budhagali is a witchdoctor who has lived in the area for many years. His compound is on the approach road to the site and he is the 39 th Jaja or priest/caretaker of the spirits who live at Budhagali Falls . Nabamba can be visited for advice and information about the spiritual aspects of the site. He and many other traditional leaders want to the site to be left free of further development and they have established that the spirits will not be shifted to make way for the proposed Bujagali Dam.
This new dam is scheduled to be built in the next few years. Although it is called the Bujagali Dam it is to be located two and a half kilometres downstream from the Bujagali. The water will back up to a projected depth that will take the flat water level to halfway up the falls. This means that the section that is currently rafted will be below the new level as will 2 other major rapids (Total Gunga and Big Brother/Silverback). It doesn’t mean an end to the rafting but trips will have to start further downstream and use sections of the river that were previously only rafted on two day trips. Bujagali Falls and the nearby area has become known as East Africa ’s centre for adventure.
White water rafting is high on many people’s list of things to do here. With some lots of good rapids (including some maximum class 5 ones) and a beautiful river with high volume it’s ideal. There are some very exciting sections with space between to lay back and float along taking in the scenery and enjoying the wildlife, particularly the many species of birds to be found here. There are now four rafting companies offering 1 day trips covering 31 kilometres and two-day trips (45km) with overnight camping. Adrift Adventure Co and Nile River Explorers have been operating since 1996, Equator Rafts started in 2002 and Nalubale Rafting in 2005. For those who want to take an easier line, each company offers clients the option of taking the safety boat and they also offer family float trips so that children less then 14 years old can also enjoy time on the water from the Owens Falls Dam down to Bujagali.
There are no crocodiles or hippos in this section of the River. These upper reaches of the River Nile are becoming a ‘must do’ for international kayakers. There have been several competitions held over the last three years and Ugandan kayakers have finished prominently in the results. On any day there will be groups from all over the world here pitting their skills against the challenges that the river throws up at them.
Quad-biking is another popular activity that has been available for several years from Bujagali Falls . All Terrain Adventures offer guided ATV safaris ranging from 1 or 2 hours to several days. The safaris are unique to this part of the world making it possible for; groups, families and individuals to get off the beaten track, see special parts of the Nile and the farms, forest and villages beside the river.
Two Kilometres upstream beside the Jinja Nile Resort is the Nile High Camp which has a 44 metre bungee jump. If jumpers want an extra adrenaline rush, there is the option of being dipped into the river instead of just being dangled above. Often performing at various sites around the area is the ‘Ugandan Acrobatic’ Jeremiah Bazale. This amazing man lost the use of a leg from polio when he was very young. To the accompaniment to the Budondo Cultural Group he performs feats of strength and balance and the donations that are collected fund the group.
The Bujagali Swimmers are a small, select group of men from the local village of Kyabirwa who, for 5,000 shillings, will grasp a plastic jerry can and plunge through the falls. Not a safe occupation as about a year ago one of the Bujagali Swimmers was killed while doing this.
There are 3 campsites offering various types of accommodation, restaurants, a café and lots of small food stalls and shops by Bujagali Falls . All offer spectacular views and varying levels of service to cater for the picnickers, backpackers, overland groups and more discerning visitors. There are lively bars with lovely views and quieter havens for those wishing to take in the natural beauty of the area with just the roar of the river to listen to.
Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: Peter Knight