Jinja Tour and Safari Uganda
The Delights and Sounds of Jinja
The route to Jinja from Kampala is a temping tourist corridor. It offers all that nature has for mankind and it reminds one of the abundant choice that lies ahead. Curious to know more about legendary treasures of Jinja town as indicated on Internet and in books, cruise on Kampala Nairobi Highway to discover for ourselves what makes life on the Niles Special. On the way you will reach Namawojolo market to enjoy the aromas of chicken barbeques, roasted and yellow bananas fruits.
Before entering the greenery tunnel of Mabira forest, turn to the right to take a glimpse at the Famous Sezibwa falls. Fifteen minutes to the legendary stream and cultural custodian keeps watch of the scenic spot and recite the tales of the twins who gave birth to this stream that pauses of sparkling falls and rock caves where the mother lived. Triggered off by life here, dash to the mouth of the yet another living feature, Mabira forest. At the mouth is Najjembe highway market where travelers make their last shopping stop. You will refresh here if you want. You then bid farewell to the west land and as if to say farewell the skies closed; little light, clouds of green foliage will fall on you. The road smoothing, fast and the descending large tropical hard wood leave exhilarating memories. It is only green; there are very few things beautiful in this World, and in just an instant, all are gone from view but vivid in memory.
Next, you will be wondering in the spreading sugarcane and tea plantations of Lugazi sugar factory, which form little contours on the apex of the hills; and makes the area topography admirable to travelers. Then comes Mbiko, the sleepless highway town; booming business, lively people and like any other highway trans-border town else where, life is full. Bars and Kiosks are open all day through. Beneath, on the East of the hustle and bustling town lie Jinja- The Source of the River Nile. There is whole world of choice here and choices may spoil one. Jinja may be a shadow of it’s former self but the residents see the proverbial silver lining in the cloud, in the town’s new identity.
The town offers all that a tourist would like to enjoy; the culture of the people and the natural endowments. One wonders where to go in Jinja. After a decade of economic wane, Jinja is rising with a new identity as it stands out as Uganda ’s upcoming tourist destination.
At Njeru you become spoilt as all directions lead to tourist spots. On the right, passed Nile Breweries and southern Nyanza textiles, 10-15 minutes drive, lead to Source of the Nile gardens and King Fisher resort on the western banks of the Nile respectively.
This offers a variety about the source of the Nile and the areas scenery. The spots are suitable for canoeing and bird watching, river bank walks, and sport fishing. The railway arches of thin metals and the old bridge adjacent the source of the Nile offer additional attractions to visitors.
Turning to the left, 30 minutes drive via farmlands takes you to the basking scenic Kalagala falls. The trip is punctuated with savannah vegetation, wetlands and greenery terrain reminiscent of tropical Africa .
Then comes the falls themselves; the virgin spectacular view and splendor unbeaten any where on the Nile . Only whistles of the wild birds and the rapid falls disturb the serenity.
Source of the Nile
Coming back home; there are two source of the Nile gardens, one of the Eastern and another on the western bank. All the same, a visitor loses nothing as both sides are just 3 minutes boat ride and with a pair of binoculars, one might not need to cross. Standing at the concrete monument raised in memory of the European explorer, John Hannnington Speke who first saw the source of the Nile; and named the falls ‘Ripon’ in 1862, visitors wonder what the scenery was like before the construction of the Owen Falls dam down stream that submerged the falls in 1954.
Since Speke’s visit, Jinja became a major tourist site a thousands of tourist fly to Jinja to enjoy of its natural gift. The town is currently exploiting this potential to forge its future and craft a new identity.
In the heart of Jinja itself, hospitality reigns. Mike, who having grown up in Jinja is amazed at the transformation of the place. He points at the defunct Jinja Pier at Ripon Falls .
To him that summerises the changing fortunes of Jinja. ‘It has not always been like this,’ he reminisces. The town Clerk, David Naluwairo says the town grew out of the fortune from cotton at the turn of the 20th century. With the advent of the Owen falls power station, it was transformed into Uganda ’s industrial centre. It prospered and became a business centre alongside Kisumu, Nairobi and Mombassa in Kenyan.
However, that industrial glory came to a halt in a sudden wake with the expulsion of British Asians and the subsequent collapse of the agricultural economy. The changes brought a hard time upon the town pushing it into a ‘ghost town’.
Many factories fell silent and abandoned; redundancy on the side of the laid off workers became the order of the day as was the break down of general infrastructure. This was due to lack of expertise to maintain them or in adequacy of resources to run them.
Although Uganda returned to sanity two decades ago, Jinja did not return to its old self and until recently something is just taking off. The madhivani’s have revived the sugar estates and Nile brewery, opened the sailing club recreational centre and steel rolling mills; but the rest remain a graveyard for collapsed enterprises.
Investors for the last decade have been rushing into anew Uganda but the market had already shifted to Kampala , Jinja stands at a loss, save for BIDCO oil refinery launched recently. Jinja Ripon pier shifted to port bell in Kampala while Jinja production units remain sleeping giants.
But with the increasing comparative advantages of the town’s strategic location and natural resources, investors have slowly started to redefine the new town identity in developing tourism industry.
Multi-million Jinja hotelshave sprung up like Nile Resort Hotel, tourist companies, guesthouses, and internet facilities. All are aimed at facilitating the new investment trend. Crested crane Hotel has been transformed into a tourism training institute while universities; Namasagali and Busoga, have been erected to produce both the skilled and professional personnel pertinent in rebuilding the town’s lost glory.