The Nile in Jinja is the worlds’ longest river and has best white water rafting experience in Africa. If you have not tried this thrilling experience, then you want to include it on your bucket list and subsequently plan your trip to Uganda. Water rafting is an exhilarating outdoor activity often enjoyed through the different degrees of water, either calm water or rough water. In Uganda, this thrilling adventure is enjoyed on the River Nile in Jinja City – East Africa’s Adventure Capital. You want to include it on your Uganda safari in addition to the many other safari activities like; gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking, wildlife safaris, birding tours and cultural encounters, to mention but a few.
Jinja has become the “adventure capital of East Africa” as it is commonly referred to. Many people are attracted to not just River Nile and Lake Victoria but also the tranquillity of the town and its beautiful scenery. Jinja offers a combination of adventure and relaxation. It is a hub for adrenaline rush activities such as white-water rafting, bungee jumping, water sliding, tubing, sport fishing, kayaking, horseback riding, and quad biking, among others. In addition, to visiting Lake Victoria’s beautiful islands and enjoying the beauty of the “Pearl of Africa.”
The White-water Rafting Experience
White-water rafting is a thrilling activity that gets the water enthusiasts rafting through the turbulent rapids of the River Nile. The experience takes you through the several rapids between the beautiful mid-river islands, surrounded by lush forests, birdlife, and a range of communities. The activity is conducted in paddle rafts and travelers are grouped in teams. Each team is given a professional guide. Before embarking on the adventure, rafters are briefed in detail on what to expect during rafting, aspects of safety, and how best to enjoy the experience. More to that, there is a group of expert safety kayakers who tag along on every raft trip. These are there to save the day, for instance, in cases where people’s rafts may flip upside down, they will be close by to offer aid. There are also first aid safety boats to pick up those who are tired and prefer to enjoy a relaxing time in the boat.
The Nile offers 5 grades of rapids for water rafting with grades 4 and 5 being the strongest and most exciting to raft through. The river’s rapids contain more volume and turbulence than anywhere else on the continent. With grades 4 and 5, rafters are often given two options: to go through the rapids or around the edge. How you navigate the water is always dependent on the interest of your team, either through the rapids or around them.
There is an option for a full-day water rafting experience that can cover over 26 kilometers. The second option is the half-day water rafting which is suitable for most travelers who wish to explore other things. It starts in the morning with a briefing where rafters are given the choice to choose between which grade, they would like to do. Those who are not comfortable going for grades 4 and 5 can opt for grades 2 or 3. There is also a `family float designed for families which is slower and avoids the intense rapids. After the briefing, rafters are given safety gear including helmets and waterproof jackets to wear. And then white-water rafting begins.
The first mile often starts slow and is usually for the guides to train their rafting teams and prepare them for the stronger rapids. The further you go, the more adventurous the river gets. Every time you get to the next rapid, the guide will ask the team to vote on whether to go the hard way and pass through the rapid or take the easy way out am go around it instead. And then, the majority vote takes the win. During water-rafting, expect to encounter a variety of birdlife, some primates, and spectacular flora, and fauna that surround the river. You will also be able to encounter locals fishing, people enjoying horseback riding, and many other activities.
Information about White-water Rafting in Uganda
- The best time for white water rafting in Uganda is usually between January to March and June to September, during the dry seasons. Hence, during this time, the skies are clear with the sun shining bright. Remember to carry some sunscreen though, to avoid red skin.
- When going water rafting, remember to carry light clothes that dry fast and or carry extra clothing to wear after the activity. You will also need to carry money for extra expenses.
- Photography during water rafting is prohibited. There are rafters and kayakers to help you with that. They provide a photographer and the equipment to take the photos and record the scenes for those who would like videos too. And at the end, the photos and videos can be acquired either free or at cost depending.
- Besides the traditional white-water rafting, there is an option of Jetboat riding which involves racing downstream the Nile’s rapids in a speed boat with experienced guides of course.