Source of River Nile Jinja
Uganda is one of the 11 countries in Africa that host the Nile, the longest river in Africa and the world. The Source of River Nile tops the list of attractions in Jinja and is at what used to be the Ripon falls. The Rippon falls were overpowered/got submerged by the establishment of the Owen falls dam. It is at this very spot that the river starts to pull away from Lake Victoria. Here, the water spills out of Lake Victoria to start flowing up stream and ends up in the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt. From its source on Lake Victoria in Jinja, River Nile flows for 6,600KMs (4,100Miles) through Uganda, Sudan and Egypt with its tributaries meandering through Ethiopia and few other countries. This journey up to Alexandria in Egypt takes it 3 months.
Is Lake Victoria the Source of the Nile River?
Yes, the source of River Nile is on Lake Victoria. The arrival of John Speke in Uganda in 1862 helped the world to know that the Source of River Nile is in Uganda on Lake Victoria and at a place called Jinja. In the recent times however, the internet is buzzing with disputes over the exact source of River Nile and yet it was not known to exist anywhere outside Jinja prior to. Leaving alone the fact that the feature is glaringly visible at Jinja, John Speke’s findings are further supported by the fact that Lake Victoria contributes 70% of River Nile waters. This was proved by the Norwegian divers who measured the pressure that pumps the water upstream. The 30% is perhaps from those assumed sources traced (recently) as far as Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia.
What to see at the Source of River Nile
On a day trip to Jinja, you are to explore the magical spot called the Source of River Nile. Here you are able to see the waters of the river as they separate from that of Lake Victoria without any supporting feature in between. While that of the lake remains less motional, that of the river starts to flow and very fast with its pressure/speed reducing along the way save for the obstacles like the huge rocks from which it plunges and form into strong falls at those spots.
The source of the Nile boat ride involves sailing on the waters of the Nile and Lake Victoria with our traditional canoes or those small and big motorized boats. This experience helps you to appreciate the Bird life and other aquatic wildlife around the source of the Nile plus the amazing scenery. The common bird species here are; Common cormorant, Pied kingfisher, Malachite kingfisher, Woodland kingfisher, Giant kingfisher, African Darter, Cattle egrets, Crested heron, Fish Eagles, Madagascar Heron, among others. The commonest animals are the Otters and Monitor lizards. Other reptiles like snakes can be spotted in the water or at the river banks but occasionally.
Source of River Nile Entrance fees and Prices for a boat ride
The entrance fee to international travelers is $10, Ugx5,000 to Ugandans and Ugx10,000 to other East African citizens. Entry fees are charged at the gate and do not include a boat ride to the river’s source. The boat ride fees depend on the number of people, the type of boat and its capacity. The higher the number, the lower the charges.
See table below for the boat ride and hiring fees at the source of the Nile River.
|Type of Boat
|Boat Ride Duration
|Hiring Fees per boat
|Local motorised/engine boats
|Fibre Glass speed boat
Other things to do and places to visit in Jinja
For a traveller, you cannot exhaust Jinja on a day trip unless you stay. Jinja is dubbed the ‘Adventure Capital of East Africa’ for a reason! Away from the source of the Nile River, Jinja offers a lot of outdoor activities and numerous interesting places to tour. The activities include; Bungee Jumping, White water Rafting, Kayaking, Horseback riding, Quad biking, Tubing on the Nile, sunset cruises, sport fishing, among others. You can also take a boat ride to Samuka Island. It’s a beautiful place for relaxation, swimming and bird watching.
The Nile also forms some amazing waterfalls with in Jinja which shouldn’t be missed while on your visit to this city. These are Itanda, Kalagala and Busowoko falls. Bujagali used to be another lovely spot but the falls were submerged to construct a hydro power dam. If you can’t visit all these falls, at least visit one!
Beyond the adventure sports and the beautiful waterfalls, Jinja has tried to maintain its industrial city status since the 1950s. It was Uganda’s first industrial town though most big industries collapsed. While riding upstream the river and on Lake Victoria, you can take a look at Cage fish farming, the Jinja Port, big marine vessels that transport bulky cargo to Tanzania. Crossing the underside of the 1927 Uganda Railway bridge and driving the new Jinja Nile bridge have elevated Jinja’s tourism city status. Taking a drive though Jinja city, you won’t miss sights of the old historical buildings. These have unique architectural designs and have existed since the days of the first Arab and Asian traders to Uganda.
While at the Source of the Nile and any other places in Jinja, enjoy the hospitality of the inhabitants of the place, mainly the Basoga. They are so welcoming and during the boat ride at the source of the Nile (because majority of the guides are local people), the guiding is punctuated with intervals of learning about their culture and the general life of the people in the area. The sights of trucks ferrying sugarcanes from the fields to the factories shows that the main commercial activity in the area is sugar cane farming done alongside fishing and subsistence farming.
From its source at Jinja, follow the Nile up to Murchison falls and you will bear witness to its wonders. Other falls before Murchison are Itanda, Busowoko, Kalagala and Karuma Falls. At the top of Murchison Falls, the Nile River creates a dramatic scene as it forces itself into a canyon less than 10 meters wide. That raging torrent of water are the Murchison Falls that also mark the nosiest and wildest leg of the river’s journey from the source on Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt.
For all travellers to Uganda, Jinja is one of the perfect places to unwind after the routine long Uganda Safari. Consider that relaxing boat ride at the source of River Nile and many other adventure sports. Jinja also acts as a curtain raiser for those proceeding to the tourist sites in Eastern Uganda to mention; the Sipi falls, Mount Elgon National Park, Pian Upe Game Reserve and Kidepo valley National Park. It sets the ground rolling with the nice weather and the ambiance that comes with it, an array of activities around Jinja and the Source of the Nile plus the unending simmering views.
All our tours to Jinja below can be adjusted to include the source of the Nile River