Whitewater Rafting The Nile in Uganda
In Uganda, you’ll have the life-changing experience of extreme whitewater rafting the Nile River rapids. If you’re a thrill-seeker or constantly fighting your own fears, the only thing you should fear more than leaving your comfort zone is staying in your comfort zone. This trip will help you push your boundaries.
Whitewater rafting the Nile can became a fast emotional and spiritual learning curve. Spinning blindly into underwater oblivion, unable to breathe, will make you realise the strength of character needed to remain calm and responsive under pressure. It’s equal parts amazing and a terrifying adventure and the mixture of those two is only equated in the misty mountain jungle of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest when you go gorilla trekking. Whitewater rafting will make you feel so aware of your body, your fragility, nor your mortality.
You have to watch this captivating video!
Adventure-seekers flock to Jinja to experience white-water rafting on the source of the Nile. It’s easy to arrange a day’s excursion rafting starting at Bujagali Falls and finishing 20 kilometers downstream at Itanda.
The route includes nine major rapids, of which four are a grade five. In the quieter sections you can float along enjoying the birdlife on the shore of the river, and taking a swim at the side of the raft.
But the Nile, that historic source of life gushing 4,000 miles across Africa to the Mediterranean Sea, is exceedingly beautiful — all you’ll able to see along the banks are miles and miles of pristine woodland, no garbage, no development, no fences, just cormorants and monkeys and the occasional crocodile lounging in the sun. The water is warm and clean, perfect for getting dunked into. The guides, who are a mix of expats and Ugandans, are funny, skilled and safe.
Uganda is a wonderful place to experience Africa — and rafting is just a piece of it. You can trek deep into Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and stand eye to eye with a 500-pound critically endangered mountain gorilla. You can scale mountain peaks in the Rwenzoris (also known as the Mountains of the Moon) and see wild elephants at Queen Elizabeth National Park. You can bungee jump, jet boat and kayak. And when you’re done and ready to relax, you can head to the capital, Kampala, to feast on the continental and international cuisine at local or boutique hotels and watch enormous marabou storks fly lazy circles in the air, like feathered B-52s, right in the center of town.
Winston Churchill called this green little country “the pearl of Africa,” and it remains a hidden gem. True, Uganda does not offer all the tourist bells and whistles of Kenya next door, like $1,500-a-night tented camps and beach vacations on the Indian Ocean. But Uganda also doesn’t have the baggage. There’s less crime here than in Kenya. There aren’t the tourist crowds. It’s cheaper. And perhaps most importantly, there is a different vibe — Ugandans tend to be a little more laid-back, a little less deferential. It’s a place where your driver will look you in the eye instead of avoiding your glance and smothering you with obsequious yes-sirs, no-sirs and fake laughs.
So what are you waiting for, let’s take you on a ride to Jinja the source of the Nile River to begin your rafting trip. We’ll be there to pick you up when you land at Entebbe International Airport, get you from your hotel in the city center or even extend your beginning or ending Uganda Safari trip.
We have to get to you to Jinja, a colonial town on the source of the Nile River and the hub of Uganda’s booming whitewater rafting business commonly dubbed the adrenaline capital of East Africa. You’ll drive two and a half hours east through the countryside, through inky blackness. And guess what? You’ll enjoy every bit of it. Spent the night at the Jinja Nile Resort, a serene hotel perched on bluffs overlooking the Nile, and the next morning, the fun begins.
If you’d rather something a little more relaxing, it’s possible to do a family float trip which avoids the major rapids and takes a slower approach at enjoying the river to the Source of the Nile River.
“Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.” (Ray Bradbury)
When To Go Whitewater Rafting
The ideal time to go whitewater rafting the Nile river is in January and February or June through September, Uganda’s dry season, when the sun is strong and the skies are clear. But since Jinja is essentially right on the equator, it’s balmy year round, typically 80s during the day, 70s at night. Adrift runs the river throughout the year, with May through August the busiest season, because of summer vacations.
Hotels and Whitewater Rafting
In Jinja, you can stay at the Jinja Nile Resort, www.madahotels.com. The hotel has a nice pool and spectacular views of the river gorge, complete with monkeys frolicking in the trees. Or you can take our favourite eco-friendly Gately On Nile, www.gatelyonnile.com.
You can also stay at Adrift’s noisy but spirited campsite, with dorm beds at $10 a person (Adrift rates are given in dollars), double tents for $40 total, and wooden chalets (again, for two people) at $50 a night.
The rafting itself is quite affordable, which is why Adrift (256-772-237-438; www.adrift.ug), which started in 1996 and claims to be Uganda’s first rafting company, is a backpackers’ magnet. The charges are $115 per person for half day; $125 for full day; $250 for a two-day trip; $335 for a three-day trip (both including food and lodging). The river guides serve up tasty food and cold Nile Special beer. During my two-day trip, we ate loads of fresh fruit, salads, lunch meat and chicken stew.
Tourist Activities To Do in Uganda
Private Vacation Holidays
Combine a beach holiday in Zanzibar with a jungle gorilla trekking safari and scenic Savannah game drive in one of Uganda’s beautiful safari parks to make a perfect Private Vacation Holiday.
Best Time to Visit Uganda
Equatorial Uganda has a blissful springlike climate – a 25oC with cooling night time breezes perfect for an African Safari night.
Uganda sits squarely on the equator with an average altitude of around 1,000m, which tempers the heat and means this really is a year-round African safari destination. March-May and Oct-Nov see the highest rainfall, but gorillas are still lurking in the mist – although trekking to find them will be slippery and slower. However, accommodation can be much cheaper at this time. The best time to visit Uganda is June-Sep, which is the peak season – but Uganda remains happily oblivious to mass tourism and you won’t need to worry about crowds.
Responsible Travel in Uganda
Surrounded by phenomenal volcanic landscapes, wildlife that many of you grew up dreaming of seeing with your own eyes, and some of the continent’s most friendly, welcoming people making you feel like a VIP wherever you go – being in Uganda can feel like such a privilege. Uganda really gives visitors all it can, and as guests we really should try to repay this kindness in some way.
Most tourism in Uganda takes place in its national parks with official guides – which shuts local residents and businesses out. But by looking beyond the parks, even for just a couple of days of your holiday, your money will go much further, and you’ll completely shift your opinion of Uganda as a place to see wildlife. Uganda’s people are every bit as fascinating.