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Jinja town information

Jinja is the second largest town in Uganda. It is the second busiest commercial centre in the country, after Kampala. Jinja was established in 1907.

LOCATION

Jinja lies in southeastern Uganda, approximately 87kms by road, east of Kampala. The town is located on the shores of Lake Victoria, near to the source of the Nile River. The nearby Owen Falls Dam regulates the flow of the White Nile and generates electricity. Jinja is the largest metropolitan area in Jinja District, and is considered the capital of the Kingdom of Busoga. Elevation: 1171 meters. Latitude: 00 27N. Longitude: 033 11E

POPULATION

The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) estimated the mid-year population of Jinja was 89,700 in 2011

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SOME HISTORY

Before 1906, Jinja was a fishing village that benefited from being located on long-distance trade routes. The origin of the name “Jinja” comes from the language of the two peoples (the Baganda and the Basoga) that lived on either side of the River Nile in the area. In both languages “Jinja” means “Rock”. In most of Africa, rivers like the Nile hindered migration, this explains the ethnic boundaries along the Nile as one moves north from the river’s source on the northern shores of Lake Victoria.

However the area around Jinja was one place where the river could be breached due to the large rocks near the Ripon Falls. Here, on either bank of the river, were large flat rocks where small boats could be launched to cross the river. These rock formations were also accredited with providing a natural moderator for the water flow out of Lake Victoria. For the original local inhabitants, the location was a crossing point, for trade, migration and as a fishing post.

This might explain why, despite this barrier, the two tribes have very similar languages, and the more powerful Baganda had an enormous influence on the Basoga. The area was called the ‘Place of Rocks’ or ‘The Place of Flat Rocks’. The word for stones or rocks in the language of the Baganda is ‘Ejjinja (Plural Amayinja), and in the Basoga dialect this became Edinda. The British used this reference to name the town they established – “Jinja”

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WEATHER

The average temperature for the year in Jinja is 73.0°F (22.8°C). The warmest month, on average, is January with an average temperature of 74.0°F (23.3°C). The coolest month on average is June, with an average temperature of 71.0°F (21.7°C).

The highest recorded temperature in Jinja is 98.0°F (36.7°C), which was recorded in March while the lowest recorded temperature is 54.0°F (12.2°C), which was recorded in February.

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ATTRACTIONS

  • Source of the Nile: Although the actual experience of going here is not that interesting, it may be worth it for the sole reason that you can go home and tell everyone that you visited the source of the longest river in the world. There is a small monument in the area dedicated to Ghandi. Some of his ashes were released here.
  • Swaminarayan Temple.
  • The Jinja market.
  • Nile Brewery.
  • Owen Falls Dam: Coming from Kampala, the Owen Falls Dam forms a spectacular gateway to the town: as you coast across the top, look down on the raging river below. The dam supplies Uganda with the bulk of its electricity.

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GETTING AROUND

There are three methods of public transportation: boda-boda, matatu and special hire taxis. The fastest method are the boda-bodas; motorcycles that you see all over town. You can get almost anywhere on the back of one, but make sure you agree on the fare before the ride begins.

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OUT AND ABOUT

Known as the Adventure Capital of Uganda, Jinja has a lot to offer its visitors in the way of adventure sports and activities. Bujagali is a ten-minute boda boda ride out from Jinja town. It’s a small tourist village, based on picturesque Bujagali Falls. Here visitors are able to go white water rafting, bungee jumping, jet boating, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, motorcycling, quad biking, mountain biking and horse riding. Other activities include sunset Nile boat cruises, golf, camping and birding.

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