Jinja is located at the northern end on Lake Victoria in South Eastern Uganda. The town is spread out with few high-rise buildings outside city center. The Town is situated on the east bank of the River, where the longest river in the World, the Nile starts its 6,670 km journey from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea. Jinja is only 80km from Kampala and it takes at least 2 hours drive by road, the slowest section is getting out of Kampala and past Mukono. From there, the going is generally much easier and you pass through areas of sugarcane and tea plantations, Mabira Forest and down from Mbiko into the Nile Valley, crossing the River over the Owens Falls and Nalubale Dams. Finally, you will find Jinja a laid-back contrast to Kampala a very friendly place with a focus on tourism and welcoming hospitality.
There are large houses with big yards in the town with quiet, tree lined streets giving ambience to the laid-back and warm welcome that visitors generally experience on arrival. Rush hour in Jinja is very different from that in Kampala. With much less traffic it is very easy to get around. At least half of all vehicles are bicycles and small motorcycles (boda-boda taxis). Generally there’s a cool breeze blowing in from Lake Victoria, clean air rather than smog to breath.
Along the Main Street there are views out over the lake. Boda – boda motorcycle taxis provide an easy way to get around the town and are found on almost every street corner. There is a slow, steady feel to life here. A recent Town Council campaign to clean up the streets and shop fronts has made Jinja even more attractive.
Tourism is providing a new impetus to Jinja’s economy. Good accommodation, a peaceful laid-back friendly atmosphere, warm weather all year round (almost on the equator but 1150 above sea level makes for a very pleasant climate), features of natural beauty including lake views and the ‘Source of the Nile, plus lots of things to do in the near vicinity such as the adventure activities at Bujagali Falls; these are all elements that are contributing to Jinja’s growing popularity as a tourist destination.
There are some very good hotels and guest houses throughout the town and nearby; many restaurants with a wide variety of cuisines. There is also backpackers’ accommodation and camping in the town and nearby. Take a walk along Main Street and the adjoining streets in the evening and you will encounter lots of restaurants and bars with indoor, garden and pavement seating