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The source of the Nile at Jinja 

2a-Nile at source2b-Text near source

Finding and visiting the source of rivers can be both difficult and spectacular as easy and boring. Unfortunately the last qualifications apply to the beginning of the longest river in the world.

After paying 10.000 Ugandan shillings we are facing a few souvenir stalls along the right bank near Jinja. From here one can see the very first part of the Victoria Nile after leaving Lake Victoria.


A few steps further there is a modest monument dedicated to Mahatma Ghandi, the world famous apostle of peace and non-violence. After he was murdered in 1948 his ashes were split in portions to be scattered in the main rivers of the world. Gandhi’s monument in Jinja was unveiled by the prime minister of India in october 1997.

3-Ghandhi at source

The origin of the name ‘Jinja’ comes from the language of the two former peoples that lived on either side of the River.

In both languages ‘Jinja’ means ‘Rock’, referring to the location of the Ripon Falls. With the building of the Owen Falls Dam in 1954, these falls  were submerged and most of the 'Flat Rocks' disappeared under water as well. A description of what the area looked like in earlier days can be found in the notes of John Hanning Speke, the first European to visit 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.”

A small village near the source at Jinja

6-Village kids7-Village girl


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