Rafting the White Nile
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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
I roll into Jinja right where the Nile river flows out of Lake Victoria. I go directly to Nalubale Rafting and sign up for the full day trip for the following day. Rafting with this crew gets me two free nights Camping at the stunning Nile River Camp, and I entertain myself for the afternoon on the rope swing, one of the best I have ever seen.
In the morning I team up with a couple of random travelers and we gear up and drive to the put in, full of excitement. After some practice and training drills, we dive straight into the action, with a BIG class 5 waterfall to start. We go over backwards and I’m whipped out of the raft instantly. Swimming the first rapid of the day is good form!
From there the action continues, with massive class 4 and 5 waves the standard for the day.
In each rapid our guide asks if we want easy, hard or crazy, and I’m happy everyone else chooses crazy. Crazy means go right into the meat of the action, and the guide will put a little angle on the raft. He says with that angle we might flip, or we might not, he doesn’t actually know himself!
The highlight of my day comes as we approach the mandatory portage class 6 action. It’s a constriction of the river and the volume of water and size of the standing waves is hard to believe. We put in again just below, and paddle like made to get across into the class 5 we want to hit.
My mind bends trying to take everything in – I can almost reach out and touch a wave bigger than a house, as we paddle directly into a wave/hole as big as a bus!!!
In the monster one of the girls flips right out and has a rough swim in “The Bad Place”, which our guide explains is certain death at certain water levels – but it’s OK today.
The size of the waves and volume of water is staggering, and our raft is tossed like a cork.
I’ve done a lot of rafting before – including some big class 5 water – and this is a whole new thing. Absolutely, without question the most powerful water of my life, and also the most fun!
In the flat water sections we swim and back flip from the raft, and even surf a few of the friendlier waves for a long, long time. It’s clear our guide is a pro, and all the safety boats and other guys keep us safe and organized.
Just for fun I swim the last rapid of the day, big rolling class 4 waves. It’s disconcerting to feel the water sucking on my legs, doing it’s best to pull my under against my life jacket. The water here is immensely powerful, certainly nothing I have ever experienced before.
Rafting the White Nile is easily the best day of rafting in my life, and the team at Nalubale Rafting know their stuff!
If you make it to Uganda, get yourself to Jinja for a wild day on the river. Finishing off with more rope swing action is a great way to finish off the day!!