Jinja is referred to as the adventure capital of Uganda. But even the non adventurous souls are catered for in this amazing source of the Nile town. It is usually advisable to start the day a little bit early so as to view the elusive birds in the morning and to experience the best early morning cool weather but still thank God for small favors, even if you miss the morning weather it is always cool in the Mabira forest.
Pick up from your place of residence as early as 8:00 A.M, and travel to Jinja, our first stop over is the Sezibwa falls. Sezibwa Falls is a 45 minutes drive from Kampala and is located on Jinja Road after Mukono town. It is a wonderful place for a nature walk, birding, picnics, a limited hike to the top of the falls and the cultural worship grounds with their lush greenery grounds which are suitable for camping with sound of the falls in the background.After Sezibwa falls we proceed to the Mabira forest walk, which starts from form the Mabira rain forest lodge. During this walk one gets to view and appreciate the lush greenery growing luxuriantly and hear the most authentic bird songs and sounds as they chatter in the top and canopies of this rain forest and if fortunate one get to see the elusive monkeys.Proceed with After the nature walk in the Mabira forest we pass over the newly built bridge and then proceed to Jinja town for lunch at Jinja Sailing Club. Apart from the delicious meals, Jinja town possesses one of the best views of the source of the Nile and the railway.After lunch, take a short tour around Jinja town. We proceed to the Hindu temple which has a bronze statue of Gandhi and visit the golf course which possesses very beautiful view of the Nile and Lake Victoria.Conclusion of Jinja city tour To end the day, go for a boat ride to visit the actual point where the source of River Nile starts from and view the Speke monument where John Speke stood when he discover the source of the longest river in the world.

The symbolic Gandhi statue in Jinja

With its lush greenery and cool sea breeze, it remains one of the most visited sites in Uganda. But the ‘source’ is also famous for hosting one of the world’s most charismatic figures: Mahatma Gandhi.

The father of the Indian nation, Gandhi rests on a raised brown slab plinth in the lush green gardens on the extreme right hand corner of this expansive space. Appearing in an artfully rendered bronze bust, his presence bestows a calming tranquility in an otherwise busy environment.

In this dark, grey-brown bust, Gandhi spots a pensive demeanor, looking down on all his visitors or perhaps praying for them. Set against green towering trees and a thriving fl ower garden, the bust shares in the cool whispers of the fresh breeze emerging from the tender leaves of the healthy trees surrounding it.true

It brings down a sort of calmness and peace that seem to elude any part of this active place. In a symbolic sort of way, such a background powerfully resonates with the very values that this man stood for: peace, calmness and co-existence. And, it easily rubs off the visitors.

As I stood below this monument, marveling at its chiseled bronze glazed body, I witnessed the nearly divine spell that it seems to have on visitors here. In groups; in pairs; even as individuals, people approach this statue with some sort of prayerful reverence.

A young woman came to the statue as I watched. With calculated steps, she made her way to the garden; her initially quick strides growing ever slower as she got closer. She suddenly stopped right in front of it.

She looked at it straight up, went up the steps, closer to the pedestal, read the words on the foundation stone, turned her head, looked up and lightly reached for the statue with her hand.

“Why?” I asked. “What is it about this man that brings you here?”

“I do not know. I want to know more about him, maybe I can teach my students about him; I do not think he is covered in our syllabus. I would like to go back and ask those who know more about him to tell me,” said Joyce Asaba, a teacher of mathematics and social studies from Hoima.

She afterwards paused for a picture while standing next to the statue and disappeared. As an artwork, Gandhi’s statue bares appealing aesthetic qualities; a shapely torso with a glazed yet rutted finishing that makes for powerful texture.

This is the kind of statue that you see and also want to feel. Through well-considered, even slightly exaggerated rendering of the eyes, nose, moustache, lips and ears, the artist draws us into the soul of this highly acclaimed individual.

His eyes are not just closed or half closed, the lips are not just firmly clenched, and brow not just well-lined, and the ears not just wide spread- the artist is saying something: that Gandhi is watching, praying, listening; please join him.

Birth of the statue

The statue at the source of the Nile was an idea of the Indian community in Uganda in collaboration with the Indian government.

It was unveiled on October 5, 1997 by His Excellency Inder Kumar Gujral, then Prime Minister of the republic of India. It has since been maintained by Bank of Baroda, an Indian owned bank here.

According to Ashok Garg, the bank managing director, this monument stands not only as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s in­ uential work in Africa, but also as a reminder of Gandhi’s decision to have a portion of his ashes sprinkled in the Nile in 1948.

“By putting up the statue, we commemorate a great man, who worked hard to spread a message of peace in the world, but also whose virtues of non-violence in­fluenced leaders like Nelson Mandela and other rulers,” Garg says.

Gandhi spent 21 years of his illustrious career in Africa where he championed the rights of the downtrodden and marginalized communities.

It was his wish, according to some unofficial sources, that on death, some of his ashes be sprinkled in the Nile, perhaps to cement a long lasting relationship with a continent that shaped his career, but also, I guess to immortalize and spread his legacy in Africa and beyond.

No doubt the ashes sprinkled in Nile in Jinja have been washed all over the continent and beyond. The Gandhi monument has become a pilgrimage and tourist site for Ugandan and Indian nationals.

According to Garg, every year, on October 2, Gandhi’s birthday, the Indian community pays homage to their country’s founding father by visiting the statue and presenting ­ flowers.

For many Ugandans, this monuments stands for the honour and grace of a peace activist and world icon.

“To see that Gandhi’s ashes were immersed here and his statue located here is a great honour to our country,” Susan Mulungi, a restaurant operator, says.

She adds that as an individual, the presence of Gandhi’s monument here reminds her “to always be tolerant with my friends”.

 Ismail Kirunda, a tour guide at the source of the Nile, says alongside the spot where John Speke is said to have seen the Nile, Gandhi’s monument has added a tourist value to this place.

“A number of people come here just to see and take pictures next to Gandhi’s statue” he says.

Also get to see a number of water birds in the isolated tiny islands on the lake and then board the car and drive back to Kampala/residence.