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White Nile Paddling

Listed under Rafting in Masindi, Uganda.

  • Photo of White Nile Paddling
  • Photo of White Nile Paddling
  • Photo of White Nile Paddling
  • Photo of White Nile Paddling
  • Photo of White Nile Paddling
Photo of White Nile Paddling
Photo by jbracegirdle
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In February 2009 I had a fantastic two days white water rafting on the white Nile river in Uganda. The trip started in Kampala with an early pick up from my hotel. A group of friends and I were driven to Jinja, the source of the Nile, for breakfast, a briefing and to get kitted up with lifejackets and helmets and then on-wards to the river. We were in the river by 10.30 and our guide, Reuben, took us all through a practical safety demonstration of what happens if the boat flips and what to do/ not do in the boat – we’d all been in the water before we hit the first rapid!

And there the fun began: several grade 5 rapids, long pools to relax in between the white water and many smaller grade 3s; the rapids all having names and ‘Big Brother’ and the ‘G-spot’ were ones to remember as our boat ploughed through the wave trains, span around in eddies and climbed vertically into waves (don’t worry the guide determines how hair-raising to make it)!

At lunch time we tied our 2 boats together (ours and the ‘oar boat’ taking our kit) and the safety Kayakers joined us for sandwiches and pineapple as we drifted through a long pool. Monkeys danced in the trees; fish eagles swooped overhead and the sun beat down; we all took the opportunity of a swim in the deep blue waters.

The afternoon session started with ‘Overtime’ which is essentially a mini waterfall! Mooring up against a small rapid we took the boogie board and fins and went for a surf, paddling out into the current and catching a wave – it’s a superb feeling being held in place while the river rushes towards you and the wave holds you on the river leaving you free to slalom from left to right!

It’s quite a physically tiring day and that made the ice cold Club beers all the sweeter as we set up camp at Itanda falls – an un-runnable grade 6 of enormous proportions. We made camp and sipped our beers as the sun went down. Reuban set about cooking up a delicious steak, hot potato and salad dinner (all included in the price). We hired local villagers to look after the fire and guard the boats and then settled down for the night – tired and happy! The sound of the water through the night adds to the fond memories.

After a full English breakfast, we set off under a hot sun and followed the river and rapids for another 12 km finishing at the ‘Hairy Lemon’ backpackers for Cokes and Clubs and then back to Kampala for 6

I arranged the two days white water rafting trip through Nalubale Rafting on the White Nile river in Uganda. I planned the trip from Kampala, although it can easily be arranged from outside of Uganda. Nalubale were excellent in their organisation and safety; and the guides and safety kayakers all a pleasure to spend time with – an awesome trip which I cannot recommend more!!

Go and try it!!

Recommended kit to take with you:

- Sun screen

- Shades

- Boardshorts/ swim suit

- Long sleeve rash vest (v. important to keep the rays off)

- Camera (dry bag is available on the boat)

- Towel

- Flip-flops

- T-shirt / shirt (for the evening)

- Light trousers (for the evening)

- Anti - Malaria tablets

- Mozi repellent

- Sleeping bag

- A sense of adventure!

Written by  jbracegirdle.

Other expert and press reviews

“The White Nile”

The White Nile starts it’s life as it tumbles out of the dam controlled mouth of Lake Victoria. At this point the river is officially called the River Nile and begins it’s 6700 km journey to the sea. However, to kayakers the world over – the first 35 km… Read more...

Written by  Ben Mason.

“Wild on the Nile in Uganda”

By Jeffrey Gettleman for the New York Times First Published: May 24, 2009 WHEN I showed up to go white-water rafting in Uganda, Josh, the Canadian rafting guide who stood barefoot in board shorts and looked like a hardier, hairier version of Brad Pitt,… Read more...

Written by press. Continue reading on

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Pure Insanity! In a good way.

Craziest thing I've ever done. The rapids were intense and the current was quick. The water was amazingly warm, and the scenery was top shelf.

1 Reply

How many days did you spend on the water?

Learn to kayak on the Nile

Visiting the Nile is an adventure in itself, but why not take your experience to the next level and kayak on the world’s longest river? Kayak the Nile, based in Uganda, is known as “Africa’s Premier Kayak School.” The instructors are from across the globe, all being highly qualified kayakers from their home countries. Many are B.C.U. (British Canoe Union) qualified, and some are even on the Fluid pro kayaking team. Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced level classes are offered, along with Freestyle classes. A campsite in Bujagali Falls is the hub of this adventurous experience, with the nearby towns of Jinja and Kampala offering riverside shops and restaurants.

Uganda's Victoria (White) Nile

You can begin your journey down the White Nile almost straight from it‘s source, Lake Victoria, at the Owen’s Falls Dam, upstream of Bujagali Falls. This is a big river and though in some places it’s wide and has it’s own sizable islands it is also quite deep and there are plenty of rapids, most of them larger volume grade four rapids but there are also some fives and Itunda, a five-plus, one of the largest commercially rafted rapids in the world, which is what many people would think of as a small waterfall. A few sets of these are usually portaged.

As well as the pure adrenalin of the white water, White Nile paddlers can expect to encounter exotic animals, friendly natives, crocodiles, hippos and other jungle sights and sounds. While you’re travelling thought you can visit Lake Mburo National Park, Murchison Falls and the home of the Mountain Gorillas.

Because it’s such a big volume river, you can paddle the Nile all year round, but it’s better not to risk the wet seasons in April and November/ December when it can get pretty hairy without much notice and though your trip will be exciting it could also be short.

If you’re only looking for a one day trip there are a couple of options and several companies offering hire facilities etc. and you‘ll usually finish your journey by a coffee plantation.

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