I spent the weekend in Jinja with Fay and the option to raft and bungee jump came up. Every time I visited Jinja, I’ve fearfully avoided these two but secretly wished I had the nerve to one day; just do it! This was it!
My adventurous/daring friends have already done this once or twice. The thought of being on water against rapids terrified me more than jumping off a riverside cliff…
Rafting was scheduled for the morning and as we got to know our teammates and guide Roberto over breakfast, different thoughts run through my mind about what was yet to come. Fay recommended not over-thinking it, as we now waited for the last two to join us.
We learned that Adrift picks up rafters from Kampala; at Game Lugogo as part of their package. It costs 195$ to raft (half day and bungee) for foreigners and 400,000Ugx for Ugandans and residents. This includes to and from Kampala transfers.
I needed to prove to myself that I could overcome my fear of being out on water and go against rapids! Fay and I said we’d do this and see how feel about doing the bungee jump after. Now that the last two people had arrived, we were briefed extensively on how to handle ourselves on the water. Roberto was great and skilled at explaining how things work.
White Water Rafting: What you need to know/prepare for
You can opt for the half day raft or full day raft which both start on the west bank of the river above the overtime rapid. Both options have breakfast, lunch and a buffet inclusive. Half day has four rapids ending at The Bad Place/Itanda falls and full day has eight rapids ending at Hairy Lemon Island. At the end, pictures are available free of charge and video at 45$
I plan on going back for the full day to try out a package which includes kayaking and tandem. My plan is to look out for deals that get us other activities inclusive, dorm accommodation and discounted-second trips…
- We opted for the half day so we could bungee jump as well. We started at about 10:30am and we were 8 on the boat, including Roberto.
- You’re getting into water, the less you have on you, the better (all the important stuff you carry will be kept in a box which will be placed in the safety boat)
- Sunscreen is advisable and they offer some before you leave
- Listen to your guides’ instructions
- The test run in the water will be helpful to get you energized for the rapids. Your life jacket is your best friend! Ask your guide to show you what to do when the boat flips- because it will!
- You can swim on the clam waters between the rapids and eat your lunch whilst spotting some different birds.
- Your guide gives instructions on which direction to take. When Roberto screams “GET DOWN and HOLD ON!” then things are about to escalate! A group of small kayaks take lead and follow to watch over everyone. There’s also the safety boat option, if you aren’t up for it anymore.
- Again, I’d like to stress, listen to your guide’s instructions.
- You need a towel and an extra pair of dry clothes and underwear…I wore my swimming costume underneath a vest and training shorts that dried up pretty fast. Go for materials that dry fast as you will be in and out of the wtaer. Don’t be like me though-who carried only one outfit, so had to wrap my towel around myself after rafting all day to keep warm. Layers help…
- Shoes. We were asked to leave our shoes in the car at the office. This was confusing, because at one point after lunch you have to get off the boat and walk barefoot then get back on the boat and off again (for those doing the half day raft) at the end of our half day raft, we had to walk up a MUDDY SLIPPERY slope as it had just rained and the four of us had no shoes. Fun, if you like to wiggle up a muddy slope, but I’d have preferred having my sneakers for this…
- We had lunch before taking on two more rapids that were close to each other, then said goodbye to the others and went to bungee jump.
Bungee Jumping as a Pair: What you need to know/prepare for
- Looking down is scary, so avoid focusing on how high up you are. If like us, you would like to jump as a pair, you need to be about the same weight. Encourage each other like we did!! Your jump will be supported by a 12m steel bungee tower over a 32m riverside cliff! Does day time jumping sound too easy? Jump naked! This can be arranged with management at night…
- What I told myself was it will be fun; if I came all this way already why not; DO THE DAMN TING! Otherwise, you’re free to walk away-they say the fee is non-refundable, so perhaps that might jolt you into jumping.
- Close your eyes and jump! The adrenaline rush is real! While in thin air, I let out a scream of shock, excitement, panic and fear (all in one) once we touched the water. I remember Fay muttering in my ear, “Its okay Karen, it’s going to be okay.” And when I later thanked her, she confirmed that she was actually talking to herself!
- It all happened so fast! We were done in a few minutes and safely on the boat back to shore.
- They take pictures of you doing the whole thing which can be purchased at 25$ Turned out to be a really cool day conquering River Nile!
Where to Stay
Back at Wild Waters where we stayed, we freshened up (like African queens) by relaxing in a hot tub listening to the roaring rapids we had braved. I miss waking up to that sound. It was perfect to reflect on the days’ events and how I had just conquered my fear of being out on the water.
We couldn’t have done this at a more perfect time in my life. It was a happy reminder, that life will throw all kinds of rapids at us, which can be scary. Once we face our fears and focus more on what we desire, is when we can move onto the next level! It feels so much better to have done it and faced my fear, than being scared of the unknown. Of course there are going to be way more challenges than this, but having the guts to take the leap felt awesome.
Side-note: Now that I’ve done it, I feel like rafting and bungee-jumping would be something I’d consider as a fun way to spend my honeymoon (actually- scratch that, something more exciting will come up… take notes future-hubby!) I’d also do this again a fun getaway weekend with friends and family.
Here are my ideal romantic and cute places to stay after you conquer River Nile;
The Haven is a relaxing and romantic retreat, with views of the grade 5 overtime rapid. There’s the option to mountain bike, hike and camp. Their breakfast is EVERYTHING!
Nile Porch which faces Lake Bujagali, is the perfect hideaway and home to The Black Lantern, their signature restaurant. Next door, you can sign up for quad biking. Their tents are cozy and serene nestled in loads of plants and trees.
You can also do this as a day trip, and return to Kampala using public transport or self-drive.
For more on Fay’s perspective of our trip, check out her blog.
Have you been rafting or bungee jumping on the River Nile before? I’d love to hear all about your experience and additional tips on how best to experience it. How did you prepare for this trip? Have you conquered any of your fears lately?