Entebbe-Jinja waterway is long overdue, says Kadaga

Tourism
Entebbe-Jinja waterway is long overdue, says Kadaga
An architect's rendering of the Source of the Nile pier

Kadaga, who was on Wednesday inspecting the construction of a modern pier at the Source of the Nile in Jinja City, said the water transport that would boost tourism is long overdue.

JINA CITY | The First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Community Affairs, Rebecca Kadaga, has urged the government to open up Lake Victoria waterway connecting Entebbe to Jinja.

Kadaga, who was on Wednesday inspecting the construction of a modern pier at the Source of the Nile in Jinja City, said the water transport that would boost tourism is long overdue.

"I have been advocating for water transport where tourists can use boats from Entebbe to connect to Jinja instead of struggling with Mabira and Jinja Road jam," Kadaga said.

Ten years ago, it took slightly over an hour to commute from Jinja to Kampala. Then another 45 minutes from the capital to Entebbe. The two-hour journey is now a dream that appears to be long in the past and too far in the invisible future.

On a good day nowadays, it takes about three hours from Kampala to Jinja City and for someone coming from Entebbe, that means at least five hours on the road.

The government says the ever worsening traffic will be relieved once the Kampala-Jinja Expressway is constructed. But its construction is yet to even start.

Kadaga's push for a waterway connecting Entebbe to Jinja City would make for some eyeliner for tourism in the country. In 2019, the MV Vanessa Yacht was brought into the country by Port Nyanza Evergreen Waterways to ease travel and spice up tourists experience in the country.

The vessel was to cruise between Jinja and Entebbe thrice a week on Monday, Friday and Sunday, breaking the marine gridlock between Entebbe and Jinja.

However, the vessel, run by Port Nyanza Evergreen Waterway, was last heard of making a distress call after apparently running out of fuel en route to its docking point at Water Front Beach in Entebbe. It was from Kalangala that December.

The Entebbe-Jinja waterway remains a thing only birds can enjoy.

The Nile Post has contacted the Ministry of Works and Transport on Kadaga's call for the waterway to be opened.

The MV Vanessa briefly gave hope that the Entebbe-Jinja waterway had been opened | Courtesy

Last year, the Ministry of Tourism kicked off an ambitious project to revamp tourism in Jinja City targeting the Source of the Nile. However, of all the amenities planned for, the waterway was not on the drawing board.

According to the State Minister for Tourism, Martin Mugarra, the government is looking forward to develop other tourists attractions across the country, including securing land tittles to the sites.

"Many tourists who visit the Source of the Nile get disappointed when they don't find anything apart from taking photos at the Source but as a Ministry we are looking to develop all the tourists attractions in Uganda," Mugarra said

Similarly, in efforts to improve the human resource in hotel and tourism industry government has constructed a state of the art Crested Crane Hotel in Jinja and redevelopment of Uganda Hotel and Tourism Training Institute at a tune of Shs40 billion.

Construction of a modern glass pier at the Source was launched last November. The works, which are in phases shall see a construction of a modern pier, a glass viewing deck and other amenities in the first phase.

Angella Nakiyingi, a supervisor at the pier construction site, said the first phase of the work is 95% where the additional phase stands at 75% and they expect the new Crested Crane Hotel shall be handed over by the end of the year.

Jinja City leadership is optimistic that the redevelopment shall attract mlre tourists who visit this heritage site.

"We thank government for stepping up efforts to redevelop source of the Nile because it is our flagship tourism attraction as Jinja City Council," Peter Kasolo, the city mayor, said

Jinja City Council Speaker Bernard Mbayo says they have a target of attracting about one million visitors to the Source of the Nile from the current figure of 250,000 annually.

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