Jinja lies in southeastern Uganda, approximately 54 miles (87 km), 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.
Jinja Municipality is the second largest town of Uganda. It was formerly a fishing village that benefited from being on long-distance trade routes. The town was founded in 1901 by the British as an administrative centre for the Provincial Government Headquarters for Busoga region. This was around the time when a lake steamer service operated between Jinja and Port Florence (Jinja), the port that in 1901 became the terminus of the railway from the coast.
Nearby towns and villages include Njeru (1.9 mi or 3.5 km; 2.2 mi), Buwenda (2.8 mi or 5.2 km; 3.2 mi), Kimaka (2.8 mi or 5.2 km; 3.2 mi), Mpumudde (2.6 mi or 4.8 km; 3.0 mi), Masese (2.3 mi or 4.3 km; 2.6 mi), Walukuba (2.4 mi or 4.4 km; 2.8 mi), Bugungu and Bugembe (4km
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.
HISTORY OF JINJA
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”
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.