Whilst in Jinja on our recent trip to Uganda we were able to experience the River Nile in two very different ways. We spent one day white water rafting, but the evening before we took in the Nile at a more sedate pace as we had a Sunset Cruise. It was a great evening.
Before we set off we were pleased and surprised to bump into three colleagues from school (Paul, Karl and Julian also with his son) returning from a kayaking trip and holidaying in Uganda. It’s a small world!
Our trip was supposed to have been shared with a party from a brewery company but in the end they were late meaning the boat was just us and Anna, another ex-pat NGO on holiday from South Sudan. We all decided not to have the accompanying disco music but to take in the Nile’s atmosphere. As the sun slowly set we got some glorious sunsets.
Long Tailed Cormorants
African Fish Eagle
Matt on River Nile
Now we are back home we have finally been able to view the photos from our White Water Rafting on the Nile at the start of the month. It was an awesome experience and one of the highlights of our holiday even though Anita missed out due to illness. Here are some of the photos from our adventure. Full story here
Today was the day we hit the water – literally! After a stormy night with the most intense thunder I’ve heard we were booked to do White Water Rafting on the Nile. Sadly Anita was unwell overnight (tummy bug) and not feeling great, so it was just the three of us. After a hearty breakfast we were fitted with helmets and life jackets and loaded onto a truck. There were 14 rafters, 2 kyakers and a Nile River Experience employees. A long bumpy drive across country brought us to the river. We were spilt into two rafts of seven and assigned a leader who was to guide us through eight rapids after some preliminary training. We shared our boat with a Norwegan couple and a British couple. Each had one partner who was working in Uganda and a visitor from home. The other boat was similarly international in flavour.
We set off and quickly encountered our first Grade 5 rapid we stayed afloat but missed going over the trickier route of the waterfall. All determined to do the crazy routes further down stream. The next rapid was a Grade 4 but hit by a wall of water we capsized – all great fun. Between the Rapids we had some 20-30 mins of steady paddling with a chance to catch up with our crewmates. We did a further rapid staying afloat this time even with the turbulence. We all got out and bypassed the awesome Grade 6 rapid. We got straight on and did the lower half of these Rapids which were Grade 4.
We had another capsize later and this took us longer to get back on the boat. At all time we were aurrounded by safety boats and one of these picked up Bex and took her to the other boat which had annoyingly not capsized.
Then the final rapids – amazingly although really turbulent and awesome walls of water most of us stayed on and we stayed afloat. Bex and one other crewmates did not and as we were tossed about on the waves I sat on Matt. We emerged drenched, but pleased with ourselves. We had survived and it was awesome. We all jumped in the water before returning to shore and a late lunch. A truly awesome day.
Today we have been in Jinja. This is a town on the Northern Edge of Lake Victoria and the site famous for being the source of the River Nile. The longest river in Africa. Located by the famous explorer John Speke. Although claimed to be the source, in truth it is the point from which the Nile leaves Lake Victoria and takes the name “Nile”. From here it flows to South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt, flowing out into the Mediterranean Sea. Since the Lake recieved water from further South, the true source is the Kagera River which begins in either Rwanda or Burundi. If this is counted then the Nile is actually longer then the Amazon and therefore the longest river in the world.
Whether it is the true source or not. Jinja is a fantastic place to visit. The town is pretty with the air of a stereotypical American Town (think Back to the Future). The buildings are brightly painted, and some have an Art Deco feel. We stopped for coffee at the Source.
We also discovered a Commonwealth War Cemetry where soldiers from Uganda who fought in WWII are buried.
This evening we took a Sunset Cruise along the River. Sadly the iPhone ran out of power so just one pics for now.
We had a great time and though it was cloudy we still had a good sunset. We sailed up and down the Nile and observed the birdlife – cormorants, egrets, weavers and kingfishers as well as fish eagles were seen.
Amazingly, we spotted some work colleagues also in Jinja. Karl, Paul, Julian and His son were kayaking on the river just as we were leaving.
We followed up our cruise meeting up for a drink in town with guys. A good way to end the day.