Jinja, famed for extreme water activities along the Nile, has been labelled the tourism capital of Uganda. Loaded with a host of activities both on land and water, it’s a must visit town for anyone in Uganda. So far, I have done only four (4) of the many activities; bungee jumping, white water rafting, quad-biking and a boat cruise. I need to get that number up so I’m planning a return trip for kayaking later this year. But today, let’s talk white water rafting!

Getting started with the rapids

Two weeks ago, I went white water rafting on the River Nile. And yes, it was as exciting and frightening as it sounds. The strong rapids flipping the boat and throwing us into the crazy water that tossed us all-over the place, damn! We all had a face-off with the Nile and this is my story.

Riding the waves

As a group of 5 friends and soon-to-be friends, we booked for rafting in advance with Nile River Explorers. One of us was a first-time visitor to Uganda and she opted to stay at the Nile River Explorers campsite for the whole back-packer experience. We tagged along and enjoyed that too.
On Saturday morning we hit the offices for a filling breakfast comprising of fruits, tea/coffee and rolex (a popular Ugandan street food made of a fried egg rolled in a chapati). We then embarked on a 20 minutes’ drive to Buikwe district where the excursion begun. There we met Paulo, our instructor for the day. He was a cool guy with an unsuspecting sense of humour, a great addition to our team! We hit the Nile!

5 hours on the Nile, let the pictures do the talking:
1. Paulo taking us through safety drills to ensure we were all comfortable with safety codes and their respective actions.

Going through safety drills
Tasting the first rapids
Rowing like the champions we are

2. After a hectic rowing session, we were treated to freshly chopped pineapples, glucose biscuits and water. We needed it!

Feasting on the Nile and as always, Ugandan pineapples never disappoint, sweeter than life

3. We by-passed the Itanda falls, a grade 6 rapid deemed too strong/dangerous for inexperienced rafters like us. By this time, we had come up with a group name “Pirates of the Nile” and nothing was going to slow us down….rrraaaaa

“Pirates of the Nile” and Itanda falls in the background

4. “Pirates of the Nile” singing and rowing happily: “Everywhere we go, people always ask us, who we are, we always tell them, we are the Pirates, the Mighty Nile Pirates…”

Pirates of the Nile getting ready for a hit

5. Eight (8) rapids, that’s how many we conquered, ranging from grade 1 to 5. Stronger rapids are accorded a higher grade number with six (6) being the highest.

Can’t recall what grade this rapid was, but it looks intense

6. 25kms later it all came to an end at the last rapid, “The Nile Special”. We went out with a bang when our instructor Paulo, stealthily steered the boat directly into the crashing waves and flip we went. We got the best of “The Nile Special”, I want another rap.

Paulo steering the boat into the waves
…and then the singing stopped,
The Nile Special hitting us hard and fast
…and then we flipped over !

And that, my friends, is what you should do this weekend!



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