Growing up in the first industrial town of Uganda – 15 facts about Jinja



Growing up in the first industrial town of Uganda
Growing up in the first industrial town of Uganda.



I was born and raised in Jinja – Uganda’s first Industrial town. It was a small town then, with a population of about 200 thousand people, according to census figures.

The reason why I want to share my story is because there are many young professionals who do not know what life was like before they were born. They may not realize that things have changed for the better and it’s thanks to those who came before us.


About Jinja


Jinja is currently a city in the Eastern Region of Uganda, located on the shores of Lake Victoria and also lies north of the lake.

It is situated in Jinja District, Busoga sub-region, in the Eastern Region of Uganda.

Roughly 81 kilometres (50 mi), by road, east of Kampala, the capital and biggest city of Uganda –

Jinja is along the north shores of Lake Victoria, near the resource of the White Nile.



My Roots

was born and raised in this, then Industrial town of Uganda, Jinja.

Recently, my buddies and I paid a check out to a number of areas where I trace my childhood days; one of the residences we stayed, in the late 80s, one of the primary schools I went to, the Cinemas I went to and where I discovered how to swim from.


Oboja Road


Growing up in the first industrial town of Uganda

In 1988 we transferred to Oboja Road (one of the many – well planned streets in this town) in this white and blue flat (still standing, however in disrepair). Here I played and did whatever kids do.




On the road below us, was Spire Road Primary School, among the 3 primary schools that I went to.

See, my father was a Civil Engineer, working with Uganda Grain Milling and various other Government Parastatals, and whenever he was posted in a new location of operation, we likely altered schools – reason I ended up in numerous schools.



The Fun – growing up in Jinja


Growing up in the first industrial town of Uganda
Dingos– Jinja’s 2nd earliest cinema.

When it involved amusement, I loved motion pictures and did everything to make sure I caught lots of, from among the Cinemas this town had to offer; consisting of Town Tokies, the first Cinema to open in the late 1950s, Odeon which came later in 1960s and Dingos.




The Movie Theaters

Together with my friends, we visited Odeon Cinema, now a Church and Dingos– Jinja’s 2nd earliest cinema.

Situated on Lubas Road, Dingos was built in the very early 1960s. The cinema was originally referred to as Deluxe Cinema and later came to be referred to as Alka Cinema prior to ultimately resolving for its present name; Dingos Cinema in the early 1970s.

With the expulsion of Asians in 1972, the movie theater lost clientele and became money strapped, rapidly running into disrepair.

Dingos Cinema is still in existence but mostly broadcasts sports matches before the Covid-19 pandemic.

I liked films so much that I saved my “break time” money to catch one, which set you back 200/- at the time.


Jinja Club – Swimming


Dingos-- Jinja's 2nd earliest cinema.
Jinja Club Swimming Pool.

When it wasn’t movies, I went swimming at Jinja Club and similar to the movies, I saved money to raise 500/-, the amount the club charged for swimming.

There is a whole lot I can tell regarding this town, but to do that I would certainly need an entire collection of short articles.



To recap my “Back to my roots” story today … below are a couple of fascinating facts regarding Jinja.



15 quick facts about Jinja


1. Jinja is the second largest town, now City in Uganda.

2. It is the second busiest commercial center in the country, after Kampala.

3. Jinja was established in 1907. Before 1906, this area was a fishing village that benefited from being situated on long-distance trade routes.

4. Population – figures from the Population census of 2014 places it at 471,242.

5. The origin of the name “Jinja” originates from the language of both peoples (the Baganda & the Basoga) that lived on either side of River Nile in the location. In both languages, “Jinja” means “Rock”.

6. Language – The majority of the population are of Bantu origin – Lusoga being the main language.

7. The distance between Kampala and and Jinja is 70km – The Road distance is 79.9 km.

8. The distance in between Jinja and Entebbe Airport is 91km – The Road distance is 113.4 km.

9.  Weather – The average temperature for the year in Jinja is 73.0°F (22.8°C)

The warmest month, on average is January with an average temperature of 70.0°F (23.3°C)

The coolest month on average is June, with an average of temperature of 71.0°F (21.7°C)

10. Queen Elizabeth 2 stayed in this town on her first Visit to Uganda in 1954 at the now defunct Ripon Hotel. The Hotel was additionally frequented by President Idi Amin in the 70s.

11. Main Street (one of the streets in this town) is roughly 2 km end to finish, making it one of the longest streets in Uganda.

12. The oldest commercial structure still standing in Jinja was developed by Vithaldas Kalidas, an Indian inhabitant in 1919.

13. It is impossible to take a trip to Jinja by road without going through some form of Sugar Cane plantation.

14. The Madhvanis have been Jinja’s solitary biggest capitalist for over 80 years.

15. Jinja District is bordered by 5 areas. Buikwe to the West, Kayunga to the North West, Kamuli to the North, Luuka to the North East, and also Mayuge to the South East.


Conclusion: From the onset of its existence, Jinja has been a city with a unique history and identity. In this article, we’ve highlighted some of the experiences that make growing up in this town, now city unique. We hope you’ll enjoy reading about our hometown! Are you ready to visit now?


Interested in visiting Jinja? Get in touch with us through or Whatsapp Text us on +256-709-448-500


Explore Jinja with Enock and Jaqi
It’s one thing to discover the stunning scenery of Jinja, Uganda and quite another to discover the adventure activities it has to offer.
You want to take photos of that clear water, but you also want to jump off a cliff into the mighty Nile River.
You want to watch the sun go down, but you also want to climb up on the top of that hill and watch it rise over the neighboring hills.
You want to feel the wind in your face as you speed down a hill, but you also wouldn’t mind taking a trip down the Nile in one of those boats.
Travel with Enock and Jaqi, and discover new places, make great friends, and have a blast!


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Growing up in the first industrial town of Uganda, on the shores of Lake Victoria, Jinja has its own unique set of experiences. From daily life to religion, here are 15 things about Jinja you should know!

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