Whitewater Rafting the Nile with Nalubale
Whitewater Rafting the Nile River.
Feb 21 – Kampala, Uganda.
My telephone rang at 05:51. It was my Ronald from Nalubale Rafting. He was looking for the hotel in Kampala where I was staying. Ronald arrived at the hotel at 06:10. 06:10! They had told me last night that he would be there at 06:15. Five minutes early? In Africa? Wow! A professionalism seldom experienced on this continent…!
Ronald helped me to get my backpack in the car and we drove through the city to pick up another future would-be Nile rafter. Our road crew complete, we drove two hours east to a Ugandan city called Jinja which is at the source of the Nile…a great place to start a whitewater rafting trip.
Whitewater Rafting the Nile River!
The Nile. The longest river on the earth! Class 5 rapids! Awesome…
I remembered to put on my seatbelt as we got out of the city. When I opened my eyes again we were pulling up the gates of the Nalubale Rafting Hostel and Offices. It was almost like I had been teleported from the outskirts of Kampala to Nalubale in Jinja… The car pulled up next to a stack of rafts.
Nine of us climbed into the back of a truck and sat on the bench seats. For 40 minutes as we drove through the Ugandan countryside on our way to the river. Children’s voices rang out along the road asking, “Hi, how are you?” in every small village we passed though, pleased at the chance to use the sentence they have learned in primary school.
We arrived at the River Nile. Beautiful. Green. It is lush. Alive with birds all around. The roar of the rapids in the distance announced their location to your presence. The Nile is a wonderful and required place to see in your life. And, the water is 27⁰ Celsius of gentle warmth…
We unloaded the truck and got everything ready. There was our whitewater raft complimented by a First Aid whitewater raft, and four other kayaks for all safety precautions. At 10:00 we climbed onto our water vessels and headed out on the water.
The 25 kilometer stretch of Nile River we would be tackling has rapids from Class 1 to Class 6. We would only be passing through rapids from Class 1 to Class 5.
Whitewater rafting the Nile River adventuring started with a 4 meter waterfall that we were to navigate our way down. What an introduction to the day! Were we ready? Of course! So much fun. Maria, a Spanish girl seated behind me, kept on checking to make sure she was able to scream. Her ability would never leave her!…
A First Aid safety supply raft stayed ahead of us and the four kayakers positioned themselves strategically for every rapids we would encounter in case there could be any problems. Our raft always came through the rapids last with all eyes on us to make sure we got to safety should any of us rookies fall out of the air-inflated boat.
Everyone was having a great day and we were involved in a lot of splash wars with the staff as we passed by each other on the water. At 12:30, we parked on the side of the river and climbed 50 meters up a bank where a pre-prepared lunch of wraps, salad, fresh fruit, and fresh baked cake was fuel for the afternoon. The feast was fantastic!
The afternoon was more of the same; there would be water fights, sea-green tossing battles, rapids to ride, and a lot of laughter. Our total time on the river for the day was five hours of rafting through eight sets of rapids. It was an amazing experience. It even poured rain and a thunderstorm took place as we were on the water which was a nice break from the sun as nature showed more of her sides to us.
On the final rapid, in the deepest part of 25 kilometer stretch of river, one guide remained in the raft and the other four of us jumped out to swim through the rapids as it was safe to do so. I passed through a swirl pool and it felt like I was in a video game or a washing machine cycle that eventually sent me on through. The rushing river carried us for about another kilometer downstream. I have always wanted to experience that in a safe place, to just feel the rush of the river carrying me with the current.
We all ended up at the same place where we got out of water, carried the rafts and kayaks to the truck, and loaded everything. Then, it was party time as we climbed onto the bench seats in the truck and drank beer supplied all of the way back to the Nalubale Rafting headquarters, laughing and joking with the staff for the whole ride.
If you are thinking of traveling to Uganda, visiting the Nile is essential. And, whitewater rafting the Nile is certainly the coolest first-hand way that you could ever encounter the longest river in the world . But, you need to hurry. The Ugandan government is building a dam to generate hydroelectric power and within two years, many of the small river villages will be flooded and the rapids are likely to disappear. So go now. Email Nalubale. It is a blast!
If you are looking for a great day, here it is.