Raft the White Nile before the Adventure ends!

When the rivers are frozen in the Kootenays – it’s the perfect time to check a major item off our bucket list!

The White Nile is one of the world’s best white water rafting/kayaking rivers. In the African city of Jinja, Uganda, the White Nile originates from Victoria Lake. This is a river that every adventure junky should check out before it disappears. The reason this rafting section may be lost to the world is that there are 5 proposed dams in the works. The first damn was finished in 2011 and drowned out 4 massive rapids including the amazing Silverback section of the White Nile. The White Nile employs huge amounts of local Ugandans and brings international tourists from all over the world and if the following 4 dams are not stopped this will end tourism in the area and flood local villages. The White Nile still has 8 world class rapids left, but a new dam is threatening to wash out the bottom 4 including the kayaking Mecca of the Nile Special.

Why should people travel from all over the world to visit this amazing section of White Water? On a recent trip to Uganda, my wife Terra and I were lucky enough to raft with Nalubale Rafting. This company was full of qualified professionals and made our first Nile experience amazing, so much so that we went a second day. Here is our experience on the Nile which started our African adventure off right.

 

The trips where amazing from the get go. Traveling through the Ugandan countryside to reach the start of our rafting adventure was a great way to see how locals live and farm. After arriving you get out on the water for some safety training. This river is full of huge Class 5 high volume rapids which create some of the most breathtakingly spectacular rapid sections that I have encountered in my 15 years as a white water rafting guide. The first rapid you face is a Class 5 waterfall named Overtime! This rapid is a hold on and hope for the best rapid with a huge horizon line as you approach it and an amazingly fun decent down. It was a great way to start our Ugandan adventure and helped us wake up from our 34hr flight. This is a drop and pool river so you have a huge section of white water followed by flat beautiful paddle sections filled with wildlife before the next rapids. The next rapids were Retrospect (Class 4) and Bubugo (Class 3). Three rapids down and still no flips. Then you arrive at Itanda Falls one of the most awe inspiring sections of river I have ever had the pleasure of visiting! The first part of Itanda is a Class 6 section which is impossible to raft so you portage this massive section of water and enter the bottom set of rapids. The size of the waves throughout Itanda is amazing with some reaching 40 feet high. Our guide, Ashiraff, gave us the option of doing the sneak line to avoid the “Best” rapids but Terra and I had not traveled halfway around the world to do the sneak line so we pushed off and paddled as hard as we could to enter The Bad Place (Class 5) and as its name would suggest there was no way our raft was making it through. It spun us side ways and in an instant we had one of the biggest flips I have ever been a part of. After being underwater for a bit I popped up 20 meters down stream and enjoyed floating down through the massive haystacks of water until I realized that I had not seen Terra yet and started to spin around in the water to see where she had ended up. As I spun Terra popped out of the water 20 meters behind me with eyes the size of dinner plates and I knew that she had went deep and experience a true rafting swim. At this same moment I realized that I was in trouble as this was our honeymoon and Terra had never experience a flip in rafting let alone a flip on one of the biggest rapids in the world. As we all swam back to the raft and Terra was discovering that she was ok and we all looked at each other and laughed at what just happened but also how amazing this African experience would be. After we all got back in the boat we paddled a short distance down river to an amazing lunch spot high on the side of the river. Lunch was amazing and it was great to get hydrated and out of the hot African sun.

After lunch we continued down river starting with Vengeance (Class 4), Hair of the Dog (Class 5), Kula Shaker (Class 5) and finishing the amazing day by hitting the epic kayak surf wave The Nile Special (Class 5). The Nile Special ended our White Nile Rafting experience the only way fitting of such an epic day with another huge flip! We all then just floated down the Nile until the take out point a few kilometres down stream. After the trip the Nalubale Staff gave everyone some refreshing bevies including some delicious Nile Special Beer which was a great way to end the day.

Our experience with Nalubale Rafting and their amazing staff on and off the River including Artha, their office manager, who went above and beyond to make our trips amazing was world class!! Since my first days as a rookie raft guide my goal was to one day experience the White Nile and its amazing white water rapids and I can say it far exceeded my wildest expectations. I was only able to raft the bottom 8 rapids due to the first dam that has flooded the first 4 rapids of the Nile and without pressure on the Ugandan government (the best being through international travellers visiting and spending money to go rafting and stay in Jinja) the bottom 8 rapids may be lost and with it the livelihoods of countless Ugandans.

So go visit the White Nile and experience one of the best White Water Rafting Rivers in the world before its too late!
We hope we can go back soon!!

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