Festivals – A Visitor’s Weekend at MTN Nyege Nyege 2018 | Jinja, Uganda

From Thursday 6th September to Sunday 9th September 2018, festival revelers thronged Nile Discovery Beach in Jinja to experience the MTN Nyege Nyege music festival which ended on a major high.

Intro: Jinja has always been a peculiar town that never seems to threaten to wear off, even on my third consecutive return. Nyege Nyege (the phrase means “the irresistible urge to dance” in the local Luganda language, and something a bit ruder in Swahili) this year with MTN Uganda unveiled a three year sponsorship deal to support the promotion of East Africa’s largest music festival, promising to grow it from strength to strength. We spent about $30 bus ride from Nairobi and, $7 per night on the hotel.


The Ride: From Jinja town (Uganda’s second largest town after the capital, Kampala), it was a ten-minute boda-boda ride to the festival site, the Nile Discovery Beach Resort (the only spot you can see two bridges and two dams at a go), a holiday resort that was built but never opened. The maze like hotel, completely covered in plant life of all kinds that it possible for you to lose your sense of direction and finding it again, has become home for the festival attendees and those camping, this year round, off the main site.

Nairobi Underground Festivals – A Visitor’s Weekend at MTN Nyege Nyege 2018 | Jinja, Uganda

Tweny Benjamin Photography

The Meal: Mornings were spent touring the Jinja town occasionally visiting the Central Market for Katogo-byenda for breakfast. Katogo a dish where a staple is cooked in the same pot with a sauce, is popular in all regions of Uganda. The staple is usually matooke, Irish potatoes, cassava or sweet potatoes, while the sauce meat or vegetables – beans, peas, groundnuts or greens.At the festival, in between sets, we found ourselves at the numerous Rolex ( Rolex is a popular food item in Uganda, combining an egg omelette and vegetables wrapped in a chapati.) vendor spots. We drove to Namwojjolo, a small town on your way to Kampala famous for their barbecued chickens served on sticks and Gonja—the infamous, tasty and steamed plantain.

Nairobi Underground Festivals - A Visitor’s Weekend at MTN Nyege Nyege 2018 | The Events Kahuna

The Find: A common misconception about rivers is that they all flow south. The River Nile, with its source in Jinja is among the countless examples of rivers flowing northwards.  We got to experience Safe Boda in Kampala, an Uber app for Motorcycles. Motorcycles taxis, commonly known as boda-bodas, are one of the most used transportation services in Uganda. We traveled back to Jinja aboard the blue stripped white taxi (their version of Kenyan matatu) through the Mabira Forest Conservancy and Najjembe market on the busy Jinja-Kampala highway.

Nairobi Underground Festivals – A Visitor’s Weekend at MTN Nyege Nyege 2018 | Jinja, Uganda

Safe Boda Image By Chocolaty Prints / Gunvor EJakobsen

Lesson Learned: Jinja is the adventure capital of Uganda with sports and festival activities. Despite all these activities, it tenderly remains affordable for any traveler on a budget.

Embukane Vincent Libosso, a digital content creator based in Nairobi. Additional photos sourced. Nyege Nyege Festival 2018 Photos courtesy of Tweny Benjamin, Tweny Moments Photography.