Source of the Nile, Jinja

Travel to Jinja – Source of the Nile

Now Uganda’s second city, this bustling agricultural and industrial town on the shore of Lake Victoria offers a variety of recreational facilities for both traveller and resident alike. The town’s historic claim to fame is the start point of the Nile, from where the river begins its majestic journey and provides the major attraction. Not only may you view the source itself, but you can also engage in surfing the rapids on a spectacular whitewater rafting trip –some of the best rafting in Africa.

The Source of the Nile, alluded to hazily in the ancient writings of Ptolemy, stood as one of the great geographical mysteries of the Victorian Age. The desire to uncover this geographic Holy Grail inspired the epic journeys of exploration undertaken by Livingstone, Stanley, Burton and Speke. And it was the latter, John Hanning Speke, on a pioneering 1862-3 expedition around Lake Victoria, who first controversially suggested that a small waterfall flowing northward out of the lake might be the legendary spring – a theory whose accuracy was confirmed more than ten years later by Stanley.

Flanked today by Jinja, the waterfall described by Speke now lies submerged beneath the Owen Falls Dam, Uganda’s main source of hydro-electric power. Still, a visit to the source of the Nile remains a moving and wondrous experience, no less so to those who have seen the same river as it flows past the ancient Egyptian temples of Luxor some 6,000 km downstream. Jinja itself is a pretty and bustling city retaining a mainly Asian influence with many old traditional buildings.

Jinja and nearby Bujagali Falls are the adrenaline hotspots of Uganda – a great base for those seeking active adventures with whitewater rafting, bungee jumping and quad biking available. Village walks are also possible locally.

The place to head for a little breather, atmosphere and contemplation is the lawned picnic area on the west bank of the Nile overlooking the Source of the Nile. Take a picnic and a cold drink or two and linger for a while.

Jinja lies some 80 km from Kampala at the head of the Napolean Gulf, at the northern end of Lake Victoria. It lies on the east bank of the Victoria Nile and is easily reached by tarred road from Kampala.

  • Get your adrenaline pumping on one of Africa’s greatest whitewater rafting trips at Bujagali Falls
  • Imagine yourself as a great explorer and step back in time to discover the Source of the Nile for yourself
  • Take a ‘Nile High Bungee’ – one of the most visually impressive bungee jumps in the world!


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