Kayaking the Nile

Taking advantage of a rare lull in our schedule, we took brief trip to Jinja. Famous for its location at the source of the Nile, Jinja is one of the most popular destinations in Uganda. We arrived at our hostel just in time to join a truck full of rafting guides out to a campsite overlooking Bujagali Falls and the Nile. Waking up the following morning, we stood amazed by our view. The camp’s hillside setting allowed a large scale view of this beautiful, historical and important river. Deciding that there was no way that I should miss an opportunity like this, I hired a guide and decided to go kayaking.

The water was surprisingly warm. Ibra, my guide, was about my age and a friendly guy. A brief refresher course got me going and soon I was moving into new kayaking territory. Learning the t-rescue is the first step in learning how to “roll.” Although I had already learned the “wet exit” or how to get out of a kayak when it tips over, the t-rescue was a new approach. While upside down and under the boat, you are supposed to run your hands along the side of your boat until you feel another kayak bump against your boat. Despite being upside down, you somehow keep oriented, push off the other boat and flick your hips, snapping yourself back above the water. Sounds easy, huh? Or not. It was surprisingly hard to orient myself to being upside down and breathing in water.

From there we launched off into the fun part of the trip. We started at the damn, just near the source of the Nile, where it meets Lake Victoria. Passing through intense rapids was quite a thrill. Exotic birds appeared along the shores, the water and on the Nile’s islands. Between rapids, Ibra and I carried great conversations. The sun shone brightly on us but a breeze kept the weather pleasant. The trip reinvigorated my interest in white water kayaking and I’m excited about more opportunities in the future. What better place to go kayaking than at the source of the Nile?

Africa, Life, Travel

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