Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hold On - Rafting the Nile, Uganda

On Friday I headed to Jinja with my roommates. We left at 2pm in the hopes that we would arrive our our campsite in Jinja before dark. As we drove Claudia played DJ and we danced all the way there, which should only take 4-5 hours from Eldoret, depending on boarder traffic.

Finally arriving at our campsite Jinja, Uganda

We arrived to our small hostel in Jinja, right on the Nile river. We were exhausted and hungry. Of course the kitchen at the campsite was closed. So we ordered rolexes (chapati stuffed with egg and veggies) from a local shop. We headed to bed only to wake up before sun rise to go rafting.

In the morning we woke up early, stopped at the bank for Ugandan currency. After loading up on Ugandan shilling we met our fellow medical student Fogarty Fellows form Kampala. They seemed as tired as us since they woke up early to take a matatu (local bus/shuttle) this morning to reach Jinja in time for rafting. We went with Nalubale rafting company. They are one of the highest rated and safest rafting companies in Uganda. They offered us a sweat deal for a full day rafting trip which included a guide, lunch and pictures of the whole experience.

I have been rafting a handful of times so I was excited for this class V rapid down the Nile. We started of the trip practicing some safety skills. What to do if the raft flips, what to do if you fall in. It was important that we practiced because the first rapid was a class V waterfall.

As we perched on the top of the rapid watching the safety boat and then a kayak flip over we were all a bit nervous.

We inched closer. Paddling swiftly to get to the perfect path down the waterfall. Of course as we edged closer to the edge we got stuck on a massive rock. We all paddled hard trying to dislodge ourselves. We felt the pull of gravity as the front of the raft tilted down. I was sitting right in the front. Everyone on the raft was screaming and yelling.

All of a sudden the boat tilted forward and became vertical as it slid down into the churning water below. We all held on for dear life as the raft slammed into the water below. The impact was so hard our raft penetrated the water and we all flew every which way.

When we surfaced again everyone was still on the raft. We had survived.

This was just the first in a series of class III, IV and V rapids. The eight hour day of rafting was full of adventure. We would jump out and lounge in the river enjoying the cool crocodile infested water as we floated down the Nile, the longest river in the world. We tried front and back flips off the boat. Enjoying spraying each other with our paddles and water guns. Holding onto the safety kayakers as they dragged us around the river.

We had lunch on the edge of the river. It was a satisfying salami wrap, pasta, carrot cake and fresh fruit. After lunch we ran the last four rapids before washing up on the shore of the island campsite we stayed at that night.

It was a perfect day with all my friends.


  1. What an adventure Adrienne. You'll have stories to tell for the rest of ur life!!!

    Ana Marie