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Whitewater Rafting

Fish eagles cry from the clear skies overhead, giant monitor lizards bask in the equatorial sunshine and flocks of long-tailed cormorants herd schools of fish into the shallows. The world’s longest river roars to life as the White Nile minutes after slipping quietly from Lake Victoria. It thunders between heavily forested islands and then leaps wildly into a series of spectacular drops. The roar of the rapids drifts upstream with the gentle breeze. Wooden canoes laden with excited locals congregate in the calm waters anxious to see our rafts in action.

To the amazement of our audience, we plunge into the maelstrom and ride the mountainous waves downstream. Our rafts explode through huge walls of whitewater and drift through the warm green pools (27°C) in the equatorial sunshine. This is whitewater rafting at its very best. The beauty of the Nile in Uganda is nothing short of spectacular and unknown to all but the fortunate few who have had the pleasure of standing on its banks.

‘Here I stood on the brink of the Nile … and nothing could surpass it.’ John Hanning Speke, 28th July, 1862 on ‘discovering’ the Victorian Source of the great river near where we start our rafting trips. In the 10-years since Adrift made the first-ever descent of the Victoria Nile (134 years to the day after Speke made his famous reconnaissance), the river has become a Mecca for whitewater enthusiasts from the world over. From the apprehensive who have never been on a river before to the seasoned adventurer, the Victorian source of the Nile in Uganda offers something for everyone. The Nile is the classic pool-drop river with deep, calm pools interspersed between powerful and exciting rapids and multitudes of different channels.

1. – > One day whitewater rafting – 31 kms
2. – > 2-day whitewater rafting/ river surfing – 48kms
3. -> 3-day whitewater rafting/ river surfing – 48kms

Mild or Wild
At no point is the Nile constrained to a single channel. The multitude of rapids between the beautiful mid-river islands allow us to choose softer options for those not willing to subject themselves to certain capsize of the raft or for long solo swims through the rapids.

Our expert guides are professionally trained to cater to the needs of each adventurer who joins us on the river. For those seeking a more gentle ride down the Nile we recommend the oar-powered raft where one of our guides rows the raft and all you need to do is to hold on and enjoy the ride. We fondly call this the suntan raft and it takes conservative lines through the rapids.

The differences between the lines taken by the oar-raft and the more popular paddle rafts are often subtle but it can make the world of difference to the enjoyment of your time on the Nile.

One day whitewater rafting – 31 kms
‘Forward, left-turn, hold on.’ I reach for the rope that traverses the perimeter of the raft and grasp my paddle tightly as the river drops away beneath us. Seconds after I fill my lungs with a healthy gulp of fresh air, a giant wall of green water is towering above us. The raft buckles as the bow explodes into whitewater and droplets of spray sparkle in the sunshine. Moments later we are under water.

Dressed lightly for a day in the sunshine the slightly cooler waters are a welcome relief. A split second later we emerge ecstatic as the raft summits a giant wave in what has become the Nile’s roller coaster. Another trough looms ahead and I exhale an enthusiastic whoop before preparing for the next dousing. I have rafted all over the world but nothing has quite prepared me for the Nile. Minutes later the raft is rocking gently in the calm pool below the legendary Big Brother rapid, no-one escaped the dunking and it is smiles and disbelief all around. Some of us turn upstream to watch as the next raft races down the long green tongue of the rapid and accelerates toward the first towering wave.

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