One of the top activities to do while in Uganda is to go to Jinja, known as the adventure sports capital of Uganda and perhaps East Africa. It is where Lake Victoria (the biggest lake in Africa and 2nd biggest fresh water lake in the world) meets the legendary Nile. This is considered the “Source of the Nile,” where people believe the Nile begins (The White Nile of Uganda and the Blue Nile of Ethiopia go all the way up to where we more famously hear about it in Egypt).
Above you see the Source of the Nile in front of that island in the middle where Lake Victoria ends and the Nile begins…and on the right the map showing how the White Nile of Uganda meets the Blue Nile of Ethiopia in Sudan and go up all of Egypt before ending in the Mediterranean Sea.
The other main attraction beside the source of the Nile is the amazing rafting there.
I did my white water rafting with Nile River Explorers who are famous for being the best company on the water for their professionalism and safety measures.While I had done rafting in several countries, this was by far the best rafting I’ve ever done. (You can definitely choose the level of difficulty and rapids you will raft), we had some level 5 rapids (out of 6 being the most intense on the scale) and there were huge 2 meter drops and crazy waves which had us flip several times and it was a lot of fun.
And perhaps the coolest thing I did while in Jinja was to volunteer for a beautiful project I had heard about from another traveler. My friend “Happy” took in 15 orphans and is giving them food, housing and education and the kids are the most beautiful and sweet kids you’ve ever seen. I was lucky enough to spend a few days giving and receiving lots of hugs, playing, dancing, drawing, and even giving a little yoga class (which is funny since I am the most beginner). At the bottom there is more information on how to get to Jinja and how you can support the kids as either a volunteer or donating.
Sipi and it’s amazing waterfalls
And if you want even more chilled out and beautiful scenery I highly recommend you go to Sipi, a magical village in the lush green mountains where there are a few amazing waterfalls that you can do some hiking to and around that are spectacular and so peaceful with lovely people.
How to get to Jinja
Jinja is only 2-3 hours by public transport from Kampala. Public taxi vans (Matatu’s) are constantly leaving from a few different locations in Kampala and will take you all the way to Jinja for only 5.000 Ugandan Schillings (less than $2 USD)
What to do in Jinja
Seeing the Source of the Nile, White Water Rafting, Volunteering, etc.
Where to Stay in Jinja
Jinja Backpackers has dorms, a cool Nile front property with a bar and has dorms and beautiful spaces and the owners are absolutely lovely.
Please support Happy’s project if you can, more information and instructions here:
How to get to Sipi
From Jinja you can get a shared taxi van also called Matatu for 10.000 or bus to Mbale which is around 3 hours ago, and from there you can get another ride to Sipi which is another 1.5 hours and another 10.000 Ugandan Schillings and you can ask to be dropped off at the Crows Nest.
What do do in Sipi
You can do a beautiful hike to the famous 3 waterfalls that surround Sipi that are big and surrounded by beautiful nature and villages you pass. There is also abseiling (rappelling down next to the big waterfall) which costs $50 USD, and also an option to do some bouldering (type of rock climbing). There are also some coffee tours you can do in the region.
Where to stay in Sipi
I recommend The New Twailight guesthouse in Sipi (+256 705 280521) , which is next to the Crow’s Nest. It is one of the more affordable options and has a beautiful view and is conveniently located to both local food and shops. A great benefit is that you are supporting Happy, the same woman I mentioned earlier who runs an orphanage and school for some amazing kids.
My rafting was sponsored by Nile River Explorers and my stay in Jinja by Jinja Backpackers, but of course all views are my own.
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