Tag Archives: Jinja

Uganda Host Country Day, A Trip to the Source of the Mighty Nile River, Jinja

15 Nov

By Kat Alexander

The Africa Travel Association’s 39th Annual World Congress was held from November 11-16, 2014 in Kampala, Uganda, with attendees hailing from across the African continent, the United States and beyond. Following four days of informative conference sessions, delegates were treated to a day at Jinja, the second largest town in Uganda and the source of the mighty River Nile.

Photo by: Marie Claire Andrea

Photo by: Marie Claire Andrea

Our journey started early Saturday morning at the Speke Resort Munyonyo. Delegates boarded a caravan of cars and mini-buses and traveled 90 kilometers east through the Ugandan countryside. After a two-hour journey past breathtaking views of lush green hillsides, tea plantations, and the Mabira Forest, we arrived in Jinja.

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Photo by: Kat Alexander

Delegates gathered on a hillside above the Eastern Bank of the River Nile, near the point where the river begins to flow from Lake Victoria, the source of the Nile, to the Mediterranean Sea. Honorable Rebecca A. Kadaga graciously addressed the delegates. “It’s been a blessing and a privilege for us to host you in our country, which is also your home,” she said, supported by the Hon. Uganda Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Dr. Maria Mutagamba and Hon. Bouba Bello Maigari, Minister of State, Ministry of Tourism and Leisure Republic of Cameroon.

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Photo by: Kat Alexander

In a gesture towards sustainable development and in line with ATA’s Annual Tree Planting Ceremony at the World Congress, the Uganda Tourism Board gave each delegate a sapling to plant on the river bank. “We believe that in your lifetime you will come every often… to look after your tree. Your tree will be named after yourself,” said David Gyabi of the Uganda Tourism Board.

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Photo by: Kat Alexander

After the tree planting ceremony we walking down a brick stairway — passing women selling colorful handicrafts — to the banks of the Nile.

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Photo by: Kat Alexander

A dugout canoe race was held to mark the festivities, each boat propelled through the water by three men.

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Photo by: Kat Alexander

In the end, the team rowing on behalf of The Bank of Baroda emerged victorious.

Photo by: Marie Claire Andrea

Photo by: Marie Claire Andrea

Photo by: Solomon Mario Oleny

Photo by: Solomon Mario Oleny

Following the race, delegates walked along the bank of the Nile to board boats of their own.

Photo by: Kat Alexander

Photo by: Kat Alexander

After a 10 minute ride south, we reached a cluster of huts perched just above the water line. Just beyond, a small blue sign emerged from the water saying, “The Source of the R. Nile.”

Photo by: Kat Alexander

Photo by: Kat Alexander

We crossed on to Lake Victoria and continued our journey, eventually pulling ashore under a row of palm trees. We enjoyed a delicious lunch under the warmth of the sun, a perfect ending to our day together.