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Jinja, Uganda

Coordinates: 00°25′24″N 33°12′14″E / 0.42333°N 33.20389°E / 0.42333; 33.20389
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Idindha (Soga)
Jinja is located in Uganda
Location in Uganda
Coordinates: 00°25′24″N 33°12′14″E / 0.42333°N 33.20389°E / 0.42333; 33.20389
Country Uganda
RegionEastern Region
 • Mayor(Kasolo Alton)
3,950 ft (1,204 m)
 (2020 Estimate)
 • Total300,000[1]

Jinja is a city in the Eastern Region of Uganda, located on the north shore of Lake Victoria.[2]


Jinja is in Jinja District, Busoga sub-region, in the Eastern Region of Uganda. It is approximately 81 kilometres (50 mi) east of Kampala, the capital and largest city of Uganda.[3]

It sits along the northern shores of Lake Victoria, near the source of the White Nile,[4] at an average elevation of 1,204 metres (3,950 ft) above sea level.[5]


The city was founded in 1901 by British settlers.[6] It was planned under colonial rule in 1948 by Ernst May, German architect and urban planner. May also designed the urban planning scheme for Kampala, creating what he called "neighbourhood units". Estates were built for the ruling elite in many parts outside the centre city. This led to the area's 'slum clearance' which displaced more than 1,000 residents in the 1950s.[7]

In 1954, the construction of the Owen Falls Dam submerged the Ripon Falls. Most of the "Flat Rocks" that gave the area its name disappeared under water as well. Both the Baganda on the western side and the Busoga on the eastern side of the Nile called the area "the stones"[8] which is "ejjinja" in both languages. The name "Jinja" derives from this. A description of what the area looked like can be found in the notes of John Hanning Speke, the first European to lay eyes on the source of the Nile:

Though beautiful, the scene was not exactly what I expected, for the broad surface of the lake was shut out from view by a spur of hill, and the falls, about twelve feet deep and four to five hundred feet broad, were broken by rocks; still it was a sight that attracted one to it for hours. The roar of the waters, the thousands of passenger fish leaping at the falls with all their might, the fishermen coming out in boats, and taking post on all the rocks with rod and hook, hippopotami and crocodiles lying sleepily on the water, the ferry at work above the falls, and cattle driven down to drink at the margin of the lake, made in all, with the pretty nature of the country—small grassy-topped hills, with trees in the intervening valleys and on the lower slopes—as interesting a picture as one could wish to see."[9]

Jinja was among the Ugandan cities affected by the Uganda–Tanzania War of 1978–1979. After the Fall of Kampala to the coalition of the Tanzania People's Defence Force (TPDF) and the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA), Ugandan President Idi Amin initially fled to Jinja. There, he attempted to rally remnants of the Uganda Army (UA).[10][11] According to journalist Nelson Bwire Kapo, Amin even declared Jinja the new capital of Uganda,[12] but soon fled to Arua and from there into exile.[13] Parts of the local UA garrison belonging to the Eagle Colonel Gaddafi Battalion remained, drunkenly harassing and murdering local civilians, but most soldiers gradually deserted and fled Jinja.[14] The TPDF and their UNLA allies assaulted Jinja on 22 April 1979, occupying the city after encountering little resistance. The remaining UA troops mostly fled,[15] and Jinja's civilian residents greeted the TPDF-UNLA force with cheers. The operation was accompanied by some looting in the city.[16] Following the end of hostilities, Tanzanian officers reportedly used Jinja as a hub to transport stolen goods from Uganda to Mwanza, including cars, tons of coffee, large amounts of gasoline, and war materiel.[17]

Population during the 2000s[edit]

The national census of 2002 estimated Jinja's population to be 71,213 of which 36,325 were males and 34,888 were females. In 2010, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) estimated the population at 82,800. In 2011, UBOS estimated the population at 89,700.[18] In 2014, the national population census put the population at 72,931[19] However, the Municipality Authority contested the recent census of 2014, saying it under-counted Jinja's population.[20] According to the 2014 national population census data, Jinja is the largest metropolitan area in the Jinja District and the 14th-largest metropolis in the country.[2]

The majority of the population are of Bantu origin. Lusoga is the main local language. Jinja has a large population of inhabitants who are defined as "working urban poor". The average annual household income is estimated at US $100.[21]


Jinja has the second largest economy in Uganda.[22][23] In the past, factories chose Jinja as their base because of the nearby electric power station at the Owen Falls Dam.[24] Since the early 2000s, the economy of Jinja has picked up steadily.[25] The main economic activities take place in the central business district.[22]

A new market for fresh produce was completed during the fourth quarter of 2014. The facility can accommodate up to 4,500 vendors and cost US$13.7 million to construct, with a loan from the African Development Bank from 2011 until 2014.[26]

The biggest local employer is the Kakira Sugar Works (KSW), a member of the Madhvani Group of companies. KSW is one of the largest sugar factories in East Africa, employing over 7,500. The factory burns bagasse byproducts from sugar manufacturing to generate 50 megawatts of electricity for internal use and sale to the national grid.[23][27] Sugar cane cutting median wages are about UGX:1,000 per day.[22]

The headquarters of Nile Breweries Limited are in Njeru, in Buyikwe district in central Uganda, near the Source of the Nile, from which the brewery has been drawing its water since 1956. Building of the brewery commenced in 1952 and was completed four years later. Bottles of Nile Beer, renamed Nile Special Lager, the company's flagship brand, were first consumed in 1956. In 2001, Nile Breweries Limited was fully acquired by South African Breweries.[28]

MM Integrated Steel Uganda Limited is one of the leading manufacturers of steel in the region. It has completed a $47 million (Shs122 billion) plant to produce 50,000 tonnes of steel products a year and directly employs 1,800 people.[29] The company has projected to invest US$600 million through 2018.[30]

Bidco International Oil Refining Company maintains a palm oil factory in the city. The palm oil fruits come from Bidco's 6,500 hectares (16,000 acres) plantation on Bugala Island in the Ssese Islands Archipelago, Kalangala District, in Lake Victoria. The factory in the islands crushes the fruit, and the crude palm oil is transported to Jinja for refining into edible oil and other products.[31]

Kiira Motors Corporation, also known as the Kiira EV Project, a locally based startup car company, expects to set up the first car manufacturing facility in Uganda, based in Jinja.[32] The Kiira EV Project received 40 hectares (100 acres) of land at the Jinja Industrial and Business Park. Production is expected to start in 2018. The government of Uganda will provide funding to the initial production and setting up of a factory for the project.[33][34]

Jinja city's strategic location at the source of River Nile with numerous power generating plants makes it ideal for industrialisation.


Jinja city is considered to be the tourism hub of Africa with numerous adventure activities for tourists such as, kayaking, watching games, traditional dances, sailing, native fights and tag of wars, horse riding, experience night life, bike riding, village walks, visit the museum, water rafting, visit Busoga Kingdom palace, camping, visiting the beaches, hiking mountains, fishing, food tasting, tubing the Nile, bungee jumping, sun bathing, trekking, swimming, water skiing, visiting forests, windsurfing, cabling, canoeing, cycling, tour sugarcane plantations and factories, visit Jinja city Port Pier, visit the source of river Nile, visit Makwanzi, Busowoko and Itanda waterfalls.

Busowoko Falls in Jinja District, Uganda, East Africa

The tourism sector of Jinja city is booming with numerous hotels, guesthouses, resorts, pavilions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, night dance clubs, theatres, golf courses, illuminations, amusement centres, zoos, bathing pools, sliding centres, casinos, cinemas, recreational centres, with many more opening up in the city.


The city also has several educational establishments including the following:

Universities and colleges[edit]

Civil Service College Uganda

Military colleges[edit]

Secondary schools[edit]

Primary schools[edit]

  • Galaxy International School-Jinja Campus[40]
  • Jinja Christian School[41]
  • Jinja Montessori Pre School[42]
  • Kiira International School[43]
  • Kiira Primary School[44]
  • Maggwa Crescent Primary School[45]
  • Riverside Academy[46]
  • Shilo Nile Star Nursery and Primary School[47][48]
  • Spire Road Primary School[49]
  • Victoria Nile Primary School[50]
  • Vic View Primary School
  • Naranbhai Road Primary School


The Qaddafi Barracks, an institution of the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF), are in Jinja. They are the location of the Uganda Junior Staff College,[51] one of the about a dozen military schools in Uganda.[52] The town is also the site of the Uganda Senior Command and Staff College, another UPDF institution, located in the Kimaka neighbourhood about 3 miles (5 km) north of Jinja's central business district.[53]

Electricity generation[edit]

In 1993, construction began on a second power station at the source of the White Nile; an extension of the original Nalubaale Power Station. The extension was completed in 2003, named the Kiira Power Station, and is capable of producing 200 megawatts of hydroelectric power at maximum utilization.[54]


Jinja station with a Uganda Railways diesel locomotive.
Man walking below the train bridge

Jinja is a major station on the Uganda Railway and is a port for Lake Victoria ferries.[citation needed]

Jinja Airport, a small civilian and military airport,[55] is located at Kimaka, about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) north of Jinja's central business district.

A bridge, known as the Source of the Nile Bridge, was built across the Nile, connecting the town of Njeru to Jinja. Construction started in 2013[56] and the completed structure was commissioned on 17 October 2018.[57][58]

The Kampala–Jinja Highway connects Jinja with the capital.

Local attractions[edit]

Jinja is commonly regarded as "the adventure capital of East Africa" due to the very many activities in town that one could engage in, especially for tourists.[59][better source needed]

Local attractions include white-water rafting, the "Source of the Nile", and bungee jumping. About 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Jinja is the Bujagali Power Station. The hydroelectric facility is providing 250 megawatts of electric power.[60]

Since 2015, the city has hosted the Nyege Nyege Festival, at Discovery Beach in the suburb of Njeru in Buyikwe district approximately 20 minutes from the Jinja Central Business District. It is East Africa's largest electronic music festival.[citation needed]

Places of worship[edit]

Vishvakarma (Hinduism) Temple in Jinja.

Among the places of worship, they are predominantly Christian churches and temples : Roman Catholic Diocese of Jinja (Catholic Church), Church of Uganda (Anglican Communion), Presbyterian Church in Uganda (World Communion of Reformed Churches), Baptist Union of Uganda (Baptist World Alliance), Assemblies of God.[61] There are also Muslim mosques.


Jinja has two major football teams Bul FC and Gaddafi FC, both of whom play in the Ugandan Super League.

Notable people[edit]

Geographic data[edit]

Jinja hosts the regional offices of the Uganda Red Cross Society, a humanitarian organization.[62]

City status[edit]

On 1 July 2020, the government of Uganda awarded city status to about one half-a-dozen municipalities. Jinja was one of those localities. As part of the qualifications to become a city, Jinja expanded to include the former Jinja Municipality, Bugembe Town Council, Mafubira sub-county and Budondo sub-county. The estimated population of the new city, as of October 2020, is about 300,000.[1]

In October 2020, the city mayor, Titus Kisambira, signed a memorandum of understanding, as an initial step in the establishment of sister cityhood with the city of Shenyang, in Liaoning Province, in China.[63]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Great African Travellers, From Mungo Park to Livingstone and Stanley, The Project Gutenberg EBook of Great African Travellers, by W.H.G. Kingston (2007) (https://www.gutenberg.org/files/21391/21391-h/21391-h.htm).


  1. ^ a b Daniel Kazungu (15 October 2020). "Uganda Decides 2021: Kyemba nominated for Jinja city Woman MP, pledges to make Jinja city great". Kampala: PML Daily. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Cabinet approves creation of nine cities". Daily Monitor. Kampala. 21 May 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Road Distance Between Kampala And Jinja With Map". Globefeed.com. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  4. ^ "Profile of Lake Victoria, East Africa". Britinnica.com. 13 January 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  5. ^ Floodmap (2019). "Elevation of Jinja, Uganda". Floodmap.net. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  6. ^ Britannica, Jinja, britannica.com, USA, accessed on July 7, 2019
  7. ^ Byerley, Andrew (1 October 2013). "Displacements in the name of (re)development: the contested rise and contested demise of colonial 'African' housing estates in Kampala and Jinja". Planning Perspectives. 28 (4): 547–570. Bibcode:2013PlPer..28..547B. doi:10.1080/02665433.2013.774537. ISSN 0266-5433. S2CID 144439029.
  8. ^ Forward, Alan. You have been allocated Uganda. Poyntington Publishing Co; First Ed Edition (9 October 1999) Chapter 18.
  9. ^ Kingston, W. H. G. (2007). "Great African Travellers, From Mungo Park to Livingstone and Stanley, The Project Gutenberg EBook of Great African Travellers". Gutenberg.org. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  10. ^ Avirgan & Honey 1983, p. 155.
  11. ^ Cooper & Fontanellaz 2015, pp. 36–37.
  12. ^ Kapo, Nelson Bwire (14 April 2019). "Amin escapes from Kampala on day of overthrow, 'captures' power again from Soroti". Nile Post. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  13. ^ Mugabe, Faustin (8 May 2016). "How Amin escaped from Kampala". Daily Monitor. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  14. ^ Avirgan & Honey 1983, p. 159.
  15. ^ Avirgan & Honey 1983, pp. 158–160.
  16. ^ Avirgan & Honey 1983, p. 160.
  17. ^ Wiedemann, Erich (5 November 1979). ""So was hätte Idi Amin nicht geduldet"" ["Idi Amin would have never allowed something like this"]. Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  18. ^ UBOS (2011). "Estimated Population of Jinja In 2002, 2010 & 2011" (PDF). Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 July 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  19. ^ UBOS (27 August 2014). "The Population of The Regions of the Republic of Uganda And All Cities And Towns of More Than 15,000 Inhabitants". Citypopulation.de Quoting Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS). Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  20. ^ Walukamba, Aldon G (16 March 2015). "Jinja Municipality Contests UBOS Population Statistics". Uganda Radio Network. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  21. ^ VUC (2000). "Visiting Uganda: Jinja". Visiting-Uganda.com (VUC).
  22. ^ a b c Wagner, Florian (29 May 2010). "Economy of Jinja". Jinja.eu. Archived from the original on 12 July 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  23. ^ a b VUC (17 August 2015). "Jinja". Visiting-Uganda.com (VUC). Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  24. ^ Kasita, Ibrahim (3 February 2012). "Owen Falls Dam: Powering Uganda For Five Decades". New Vision. Kampala. Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  25. ^ TEA (16 August 2015). "The return of Jinja, town on the Nile". The EastAfrican (TEA). Nairobi. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  26. ^ Nabwiiso, Samuel (10 August 2014). "$13 Million Jinja Market Close to Completion". East African Business Week. Kampala. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  27. ^ KSW (2010). "About Kakira Sugar Works: Kakira Sugar Works Employs Over 7,500 People". Kakira Sugar Works (KSW). Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  28. ^ New Vision Supplement (24 August 2013). "Nile Breweries Limited Expands foot print to Western Uganda". New Vision. Kampala. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  29. ^ "MM Integrated Steel Mills (Uganda) Limited: Steel The Best". Littlegatepublishing.com. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2015.[dead link]
  30. ^ Bwire, Stephen (16 March 2015). "Jinja acquires Shs120b steel plant to boost local industry". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  31. ^ IFAD (2005). "A Successful Public/Private Partnership: Vegetable Oil Production in Uganda". Ruralpovertyportal.org. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  32. ^ Mulupi, Dinfin (25 November 2014). "Introducing the 'Made in Uganda' Electric Car". Howwemadeitinafrica.com. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  33. ^ Agaba, John (13 July 2014). "Uganda to Start Producing Cars In 2018". New Vision. Kampala. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  34. ^ Kafeero, Stephen (12 July 2014). "Government to Fund Kiira Car Production". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  35. ^ UNCHE (17 August 2015). "Uganda National Council for Higher Education: Private Universities". Uganda National Council for Higher Education (UNCHE). Archived from the original on 21 June 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  36. ^ "India's NFSU opens first overseas campus in Uganda, EAM Jaishankar describes it as 'significant milestone' in bilateral ties". Press Trust of India. 12 April 2023. Retrieved 12 April 2023.
  37. ^ "Senior Command and Staff College, Kimaka -Jinja :Uganda National Council of Higher Education". www.unche.or.ug. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  38. ^ "Junior Staff College –Jinja :Uganda National Council of Higher Education". www.unche.or.ug. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  39. ^ Vision (12 September 2018). "UPDF To Establish National Defence College". New Vision. Kampala. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  40. ^ "Welcome to Galaxy International School Uganda". Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  41. ^ "Jinja Christian School". www.jinjachristianschool.ug. Archived from the original on 16 August 2018. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  42. ^ "Jinja Montessori Pre School". Archived from the original on 19 July 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  43. ^ "Kiira Junior Prep - International Community School - Jinja Uganda". Kiira Junior Prep - International Community School - Jinja Uganda.
  44. ^ Knowledge, ELSTROM Network. "Thyges skoleprojekt i Uganda, Thyge, Thygesskoleprojekt, Jinja Uganda, Kiira Primary School". thygesskoleprojekt.dk. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  45. ^ "Magwa Primary School - Magwa Crescent Avemar Arcade Shopping Mall, P.O.Box 1113, Jinja, Uganda". live-uganda2.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  46. ^ "Riverside Academy". Yellow.ug. 4 February 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  47. ^ "Shilo Nile Star Nursery and Primary Day and Boarding School. Jinja, Njeru.Uganda". Shilo Nile Star Nursery and Primary Day and Boarding School. Jinja, Njeru.Uganda. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  48. ^ App, Daily Monitor. "Headmaster, teachers fired for failing classroom tests". Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  49. ^ "Spire Road Primary School,SPIRE ROAD,Jinja M/C- Kigongo". www.kigongo.com. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  50. ^ "Victoria Nile Primary School". Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  51. ^ Kiirya, Donald (14 July 2010). "Uganda: Army Can't Stay Out of Politics - Defence Minister". New Vision. Kampala. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  52. ^ Raymond Baguma (9 February 2009). "Army To Start Maritime Operations". New Vision. Kampala. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  53. ^ Doreen Musingo (29 November 2009). "Jeje Odongo cautions Kimaka graduands against HIV". New Vision. Kampala. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  54. ^ Ojambo, Fred (11 April 2014). "Eskom Seeks To More Than Double Ugandan Power Plants It Runs". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  55. ^ Tajuba, Paul (30 January 2015). "CAA Unveils Master Plan to Create Four New International Airports". Daily Monitor (Kampala). Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  56. ^ Francis Kagolo (15 June 2012). "Construction of New Jinja Bridge Commences December". New Vision. Kampala. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  57. ^ EABW Staff (17 October 2018). "President Museveni Commissions $125 Million New Nile Bridge". East Africa Business Week. Kampala. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  58. ^ BBC & Daily Monitor (18 October 2018). "Uganda opens iconic bridge across River Nile". The EastAfrican Quoting Agencies. Nairobi. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  59. ^ Kaziba Safaris (12 January 2019). "Best Honeymoon Safaris in Uganda the Pearl of Africa". Kampala, Uganda: Kabiza Wilderness Safaris. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  60. ^ "Bujagali: Powering Uganda From The Nile" (PDF). International Water Power & Dam Construction. March 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  61. ^ J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann, ‘‘Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices’’, ABC-CLIO, USA, 2010, p. 2920
  62. ^ "Uganda Redcross Society Jinja Branch - Uganda | Viadeo". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  63. ^ Mary Karugaba (27 October 2020). "Jinja signs cooperation agreement with Chinese city". New Vision. Kampala. Retrieved 28 October 2020.


  • Avirgan, Tony; Honey, Martha (1983). War in Uganda: The Legacy of Idi Amin. Dar es Salaam: Tanzania Publishing House. ISBN 978-9976-1-0056-3.
  • Cooper, Tom; Fontanellaz, Adrien (2015). Wars and Insurgencies of Uganda 1971–1994. Solihull: Helion & Company Limited. ISBN 978-1-910294-55-0.

External links[edit]