White water rafting on the Nile
White water rafting on nile in Uganda is one of the most spectacular to do activity while on a Uganda safari and must be one of the highlights for one’s visit. Home of the white water rafting experience is the town of Jinja, located at the source of the River Nile which is the longest river in the world. Lake Victoria, the source of River Nile is shared by the 3 East African countries of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania and the River Nile flows through several African countries until the Mediterranean Sea where it pours its waters. From where the Nile starts, there are several waterfalls that exist and the powerful volume of water creates powerful rapids that provide an unforgettable rafting experience equivalent to that of the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe. Therefore White Nile has up to 7 times the volume of the Zambezi and the raft bursts through vast walls of the White Nile and drifts through the warm pools in the Equatorial sunshine.
The first drop of the river by a paddle was in 1996 and the most powerful grades that is grade 4 and 5 extend of rapids have since been developed into a world-class rafting destination possessing some of the most dominant and constant rapids in Africa. There are falls that have been identified for rafting adventure including the Bujagali falls where the rapids follow swiftly following one and other however, when the rapids enter wildwaters reserve (protects the unique flora and fauna of the mid-stream islands of the Nile), there is more time between the rough water but the rapids larger. The Itanda falls are the other rapids on the Nile, too powerful for the rafts so the rafts are basically taken around the top. This has supported several water activities at the Bujagali falls downstream of the Nile, close to Jinja town and has been advertised as “Adrenaline capital” of Uganda offering not only white water rafting but also Kayaking, bungee jumping, River boarding, Mountain biking, horse backing, quad biking to mention a few.
The Nile River is a definitive pool-drop river with deep pools combined with exciting and powerful rapids and multitudes of different channels. Rafting has been divided into several grades which stretch from 1 to 5 rapids. The first 3 rapids are simpler to do even for children and the further you go, they get harder and this makes grade 4 and 5 the hardest to do. At each rapid, you are given options of whether to go ahead to a harder rapid which is the middle part of the River or only do the easier rapids around the edge of the Nile. However, note that rafting may not turn out as you expect because in every raft, if you do not paddle in the right directions, the routes may change as not expected. Grade 4 and 5 of the rapids are the hardest to do so expect long and rollicking rapids with plenty of thrills and spills. These powerful rapids between the beautiful mid-river islands allow the expert guides to choose milder options for visitors not willing to subject themselves to certain submerging in the river.
White water rafting on the nile does not need any earlier rafting experience for anyone as guides train clients on all parts of safety and organize them for a memorable experience. Rafting is done in paddle-rafts and people join as a team with a professional guide who provides instructions to the team. Paddlers are briefed comprehensively on the best way to enjoy the water given all the aspects of safety including use of safety kayaks which every raft trip. Usually the kayakers are professional paddlers who use their experts to kayak through the rapids ahead of the raft so that when the team flips upside down, the kayakers will be there to assist in getting the people back on the boats. With a stunning river and lots of good rapids, there are some exhilarating sections with space between the lay back and float along taking in the landscape and enjoying the nature specifically the different bird species found.
There is a number of rafting companies that have been formed in the past years to offer white water rafting experiences including for 1 or 2 days covering about 45km with overnight camping, incentives to offer the guests including meals and drinks. Some of the companies include; White Nile rafting, Nalubale rafting Uganda since 2005, Adrift Uganda and Nile River Explorers since 1996, and Equator Rafts since 2002. These companies take on the big four, monster Grade 5 rapids including Itanda falls. Each company offers clients safety boat to handle big rapids and also offer family float trips for children less than 14 years to also enjoy the water of the falls. All these companies have different prices for white water rafting ranging from $100 per person and above. Rafting is a full day experience depending on which level of rafting you wish to do.
White water rafting trips begin slowly for the first few kilometres giving the guides an opportunity to train their team/crew better on the different aspects of rafting on the Nile. White water rafting has total rafts of 25km including the best rapids in the world and thus only high quality safety equipment and qualified experienced guides operate the largest rapids (4 and 5 grade which provide some of the finest rafting experiences with massive standing waves leaping from the clear blue sky and rock walls from the power of the booming rapids) and clients do not have to do all the sides runs unless they want to. Some of the rafting equipment that visitors need to carry for the white water rafting experience including a swimsuit, a pair of sandal, shorts to wear and bring a change of outfit that you will wear after getting wet. Other amenities include a camera, sunglasses, a grin and sunscreen.