White-water Rafting on the Nile

Trip Start Nov 03, 2011
Trip End Dec 10, 2011

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Where I stayed
Adrift Campground
What I did
White-water Rafting on the Nile

Flag of Uganda  ,
Saturday, November 12, 2011

We are in Jinja, the former source of the Nile, and we had an early breakfast before being picked up for our white water rafting on the Nile.  It took awhile to get there over a bunch of dirt roads.  Oh, I forgot before we went, we watched Sam & Joe bungee-jump into the Nile...at least Joe did, Sam was too light so she didn't hit the water.  They both dove very gracefully.  Well, we were driven on dirt roads past lots of houses and little kids waving to us.  When we got to the rafting place, we had another breakfast - coffee or tea, water and a sausage and batter-fried egg on a stick with a bit of pepper on the end.  It was rather good though.

We made a group of nine but I was dubious about falling off the raft so I asked for a less intense group, but since there were none, I was given the option of riding on the raft with the group and when there was a chance of falling off the raft, I would go over the rapids in the security boat with Fiona.  So in the morning, after our introduction and safety guidance, that is what I did.  I was with the group when we practiced getting back on the boat when in the water and trying to get air under the boat and get out from under the boat, but I didn't manage to get under the boat at all.  That didn't help my feeling of security if I were to fall into the water.  Christine, an experienced white-water rafter, had done rafting on the Zambesi and had a horrible experience so she chose not to do this one.  This had made me more apprehensive than I might otherwise have been.  But some of the others in our group were very keen on flipping over so I had to take that into consideration as well.  Hmmm, so much to think about....

Oh, we were barefooted since leaving the van that brought us over...
walking over mud paths and lots of stones.  It wasn't easy.  As they were pushing the rafts up onto the bank, I was trying to walk on the rocky path and a raft was pushed over my foot.  My middle toe hurt and turned black and blue by the end of the day.  Between blisters from my shoes, rub marks from my flip-flops and now the latest boo-boo, I might have been limping a little.

We went over two 5 level rapids in the morning and two 4 levels.  I think I did at least 2 with Fiona in the security boat with Ben our paddler.  He was really great - so was Roberto in the group's raft.  All the other rafting I have done, no one has ever tipped over - except on the bamboo rafts in Thailand - but not my raft.  The rapids had names like Retrospect, Vengeance, The Bad Place, Hair of the Dog.

In the group raft, I was in the back and tried to paddle in sync with the lead paddler; then I changed a bit and tried to paddle along with the person in front of me so that we didn't clash paddles all the time.  Roberto would yell out when we were to paddle...forward, backward, rest.  Somehow the rest was always welcome, but the exercise was great because when I got on the security boat I felt colder not doing anything.  We dropped down in some sections and you could see all the swirling water - I could see a lot better in the security boat since Fiona and I were in the front.  It was so exciting to come through the other side unscathed.  At least for me....my group did manage to flip once.   Fiona and I could see them floating down the rapids like little kayaks on their own.   It was fun to hear everyone recount what had happened in those moments right after they flipped.  I almost wished I had stayed on and tried it.

We broke for a lunch that was quite nice - a wrap with salad, ham, salami & cheese depending on what you wanted.  There was also delicious pineapple and watermelon.  The Adrift website makes it sound even better!  Lots of talk about food here. 

In the afternoon I decided it would be easier all around to go completely over to the security boat with Fiona and Ben.  It seemed the rapids were level 3 and 4 and I think the last one was a 5.  They were all a lot of fun...especially since I wasn't afraid of falling in.  The kayakers who accompanied the boats were very skillful...doing rolls and somersaults and all kinds of tricks.  The sky got dark and we heard thunder.  It rained at times too.  And it felt cold without the sun warming us up.  Even with the thunder and lightning, there was never any concern expressed about our being out on the water....unlike the US where sports, especially water sports, are stopped as soon as thunder is heard it seems.

At the end we had more food - kabobs and grilled potatoes and they pushed beer on us.  Juliet and I tried 2 new kinds.  

Soon after eating, we left in the van after walking through all the mud and having muddy, sore feet, The van skidded on the road and we all had to pile out so the guys could push it free.  The pushing happened twice and we ended up walking to the end of the road before getting back on the van.  The children watching this were hysterical with excitement and followed us as we walked down the road laughing at our noses and bellies and other odd characteristics.  It was a wild time and we all thought it was so funny and wonderful.  We got on the bus again with even muddlier feet.  Then we drove over more dirt roads to get back until Jamie expressed our need for a toilet stop so we stopped next to a field...we women got to go off into someone's vegetable patch and have a communal squat which we all found rather odd.  Back on  the van and back to the Adrift campsite.  Now the rush to the showers with the tension from the photo sellers who wanted their money in the next 5 minutes so I had to borrow money from Juliet to get money to pay for my one  security boat photo.  Ah, they had told us not to bring anything with us, especially not cameras so that we wouldn't lose or destroy them.  I think the main reason was so that we wouldn't have any photos and would feel compelled to buy theirs at $10 per photo or a set of 6 for $50.   Someone bought a set of the group photos and shared. 

Then I found out that the key to the safe had been lost so I had no money, no computer and no cameras for the time being.  a deep funk.  I did get my warm shower in time so that was a blessing.  I combed out my hair and started looking for everyone and found them at dinner.  I had missed the first course.  still a bit bummed because I wanted to tip Ben and didn't have any money so Fiona borrowed money from her nephew Jamie so she could give a tip because her money was in the safe too.  After dinner the lock was broken & I have my computer, cameras & money and need to pay Juliet for the money she lent me.  I am in the bar writing this up not plugged in so I am going to stop now so that I don't use up all my computer battery.  

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