Best things to do around Jinja, Uganda

Jinja is a large town on the shores of Lake Victoria, to the East of Uganda’s bustling capital Kampala. It is a friendly place and known as the source of the Nile river. In recent years it has become a popular place for travellers to visit and there are many exciting activities on offer.


Bujagali, near Jinja, is a small unassuming settlement, but it is also Uganda’s adventure sports capital. Several operators offer whitewater rafting and kayaking activities here, on the Nile. I’m told it is one of the slower and safer parts of the river to raft on, but it still scared me too much frankly. Everyone who did it seemed to enjoy it though. We took a 4×4 quadbike tour of the local area which was great.

Explore Main Street

Jinja’s Main Street is an interesting collection of shops, businesses and cafes run by religious missions. Shade is offered along most of the street by the roofs which overhang the pavement. As you walk along eye-up some of the intricate architecture which has been poorly maintained since the Indians were expelled by Amin in 1972. There are many shopkeepers offering interesting local crafts for sale. Common African crafts like wooden carvings are available, but if you want something more unique to Uganda, take a look at the necklaces made with beads made from rolled up magazines, just try not to get them wet.

Camp above the Nile river at Bujagali

I’m probably biased because this is where I stayed, when there are lots of other accommodation options around but I really liked Explorers campsite. It is a laidback campsite in Bujagali, high above the Nile and popular with overland groups as well as independent backpackers. From the lively bar there is a fantastic view over the river beneath, especially at sunset. Besides camping spots, the site has dormitory rooms as well as individual tents available with en suite bathrooms offering a loo with a view.

Sunset over the Nile at Jinja, Uganda

Volunteer for a day

If all your time on the road doing whatever you want to each day gets too much for your conscience, there are many NGOs operating in Uganda that operate volunteer days for travellers and backpackers keen to volunteer their time to help with a project.

Friendly local school children in Jinja, Uganda

Have you been to Uganda? What did you get up to? 

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