Traveled the short 80 kilometers to Jinga with a few fellow PhD students last weekend. While the town itself is nothing special, although I enjoyed walking around the extremely well developed, colonial downtown with wide boulevards, well groomed trees lining the central divider and columns galore.
But you do not go to Jinga for that. You go to be at the water. Looking over the point where Lake Victoria flows into the Nile River. Every spot along the river and lake are spectacular and foreigners have capitalized on this opportunity, building up the tourist industry to make Jinga a spot for extreme sports: bungee jumping, kayaking and white water rafting.
I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to be on the Nile and raft. It was a well organized and amazingly skilled team of seven people, three kayaks, two rafts and four guides just for the five of us. No pictures as proof but jumping in the water, paddling along the lush green forests of pine, banana trees, pineapple and spotting dozens of various varieties of birds, made me never want to leave the water. The shore was also interestingly developed as shabby huts accompanied by waving children in front were followed by fancy resorts with cemented, freshly painted huts accompanied by disinterested tourists. In its entirety, an opportunity that one can only experience here so when in Jinga, I vote raft.
I stayed about 8 kilometers outside of Jinga at River Nile Explorers, the famous destination for backpackers and cheaper travelers who nonetheless get a phenomenal view of the Nile (featured above) as well as monkeys climbing through trees and kind villagers selling bananas just outside. For only 15 dollars, you can ‘glamp’ (aka glamorous camping) in durable tents with comfortable beds over looking the Nile. The Australian owner is doing well.
While wandering around the downtown we took a trip to the market, which was shockingly different from other African markets I have been to. Specific details will have to be saved for another blog but the structure of this market was the main shock. Jinga’s market is now housed in a new three story building, each level with different specialities and loosely occupied with sellers, the market seemed rather empty to me. The structure was well developed with stairs and ramps going up and down, large open spaced for selling, and built in cement stalls. After the long walk, I enjoyed a very fancy and delicious roast beef sandwich at Jinja’s favorite ‘white person’ restaurant- The Deli, run by a Dutch family.