The Rafting Experience – Nile Rafting, Jinga, Uganda


There are many places in the world where you can go rafting but one of the most fun, cool and excited place to do it is on the Nile. Uganda and the town called Jinja is the place to do it.

There are 2 companies that are doing the rafting. Nile Adventure and Adrift. I have chosen Adrift because the location of the accommodation place was much better than the Nile Adventure. The price is similar so it’s all about you. The good thing about Adrift is that the pickup from the hostel in Kampala, the drop off and the 2 nights accommodation were free of charge and its included in the price.

Regarding the price, it was $185$, bungee included as well.

The day started early morning with the pick up from Backpackers Kampala. Usually the time to about one hour. But the traffic in Kampala is one of the worst in Africa; and include some rain too. That makes more than 2 hours drive.

Short coffee break and so snacks and we were almost ready to go! Took the rafting gear : the water vest and the paddle and I am in the boat. And then the safety measure came. How to set in the boat when the rapids will be and how to get in the boat after we fell. When the guide told us to jump into the water I thought he was joking! But he didn’t.. and we all jumped into the Nile and had to get in the boat by ourselves. To be honest, it was a bit hard. And then the second time we had to get into the water. This time, our boat neighbors had to pull us from the water; easier this time!

The team Tutu, had 6 members: 2 Pakistanis based in Congo, one American, one Dutch girl and one south Korean girl.

Water Rafting Nile

And we start rolling. First half an hour was fun, easy and relaxing. Just rolling and enjoying the view. First rapid it was just in front of us; at it was a 5 category one! The highest one is 6 category and only the experience people can do it; because at category 6 you have to stay under water 1 minute. For category 6 you can stay up to 20 seconds. Strange, I wasn’t scared. And it passed quite well, fast, with adrenaline and no incidents. It was super fun!

 Second rapid was a Class 3 one and it thought so easy to pass through it. In order not to slip you have to paddle very hard and in the right direction; back or forward as your guide is telling us.

And then the third one came! A class 3 rapid called the Easy Ride. Not sure why it’s called easy; cause it wasn’t at all. Not sure either why we flipped into the water. I am pretty sure the guide wanted us to flip. I wasn’t prepared at all. Put the paddle into the boat, as required, holding with one hand the rope close to the edge and was waiting for the rapid to pass gently. But it didn’t! And next second I found myself under the water. I do have a problem: don’t know how to breath under the water. Had to have all the time one hand holding my nose. The first thing I remember was that I was swelling  some water; nose and mouth. Tried to reach the surface to breath, but a wave hit me and I was again for few seconds underneath.  Then, finally managed to be above and be able to breath a bit normally. I was looking a bit disparately for the rescue kayak and my boat. After a few seconds a spotted one and was trying to reach it. With my paddle, which strangely remained next to me, managed to get to safety. The guide laughed a bit about me, struggling to get out of the water  after the flipper. I wasn’t; only a bit scarred!Water Rafting Nile

A well deserved swimming break into the Nile arrived. For half and hour i just stayed and relaxed into the warm waters of the Great Nile.

Last rapid before the lunch was a class 3 one. Still scared not to flip again, I was holding very tight the boar and paddling quite hard in order to not keep the boat flipped. Fortunately, we didn’t flip!

Lunch was taken on the Wakisi Island. Fresh avocados, juicy pineapples and succulent tomatoes combine well with cured ham, cheese, potato salad and fresh bread had been served to us. It was perfect in order to fill our batteries for the second part of our rafting journey.

The break was gone and the second part was about to come. And what a start  to it! The next rapids were called “The Bad Place”. It was huge and very, very scary. We had three options. Number four was out of the question cause it was a class 6 rapid! Ours was a 5 class and we had to choose between a 100% flip, 50-50 flip and the chicken run. No one wanted the chicken run; some wanted the 100% flipped, but I was too scared to go again into the water. My call was in the 50-50 rapid. And I was lucky. My prayers had been listening and no flipped this time! Yuppie!

Our guide was a bit unhappy because we didn’t flipped. But he will be happy soon..

Six out of eight rapid was about to come. A class 4 one. I knew we were about to flip into the water the moment I saw the big wave hitting us; but this time I was ready. Tried to keep my breath, kept my calm and managed to be out of the water very fast. To be honest, it was a nice flipped. But 2 flips in one day were to be enough.Water Rafting Nile

Last rapids of the day, a 3 and 3+ class were pretty easy. It was a perfect day for rafting. Not too much sun, not too much heat and warm water.

The day ends after almost 8 hours of paddling. I could hardly walk or felt my hands. After a cool and healthy barbecue, the picture was shown to us. At first I didn’t want to buy it. 50$ it was a big amount to be paid for 10 photos. But after seeing it, I said what the heck! Who knows when I will be doing it again.

Overall, it was one of the best experience I had in Africa. I have little time to spend in this magnificent continent and the rafting experience will be one not to be ever forgotten!

by Sorin

Sorin is a freelance travel writer. He is an experienced travel writer and traveller. Since 2012 he explored more than 60 countries on 4 continents: Asia, Europe, Africa and North America. Currently is based in Romania after spending the last 7 years in Myanmar.