Most people come to Jinja to raft the Victoria Nile. But we don’t raft. With the class V water over our heads for kayaking we did the next best thing…jump in with a boogie board.
Yes, you read that right, we boogie boarded some of the biggest commercially rafted whitewater on the planet.
Upon jumping into the water our guide first gave us a bit of a lesson on the board, the gist of which was don’t let go and keep kicking. With a raft floating down beside us that we were free to ride whenever we wanted, we actually sat the first rapid out as it was a little big to be our first.The next two rapids were a blast as we bobbed through the huge waves, easy as well. We sat out the next monster rapid as well, there were some rocks there, and after that it was all us.
Probably the most fun we’ve had in a long time, and needed after a bad week of dealing a ton of bad luck, the next rapid after the break was probably the most fun all. Called silver-back it was a huge class V wave that as we entered we literally rode a water slide down several meters and crashed into the first wave that was even higher. Diving under that wave we popped out on the other side into countless more, doing unintentional cartwheels the whole way down. When I came up I saw that Nikki, my cousin who is traveling with us for a few weeks, wasn’t holding onto her board and I reminded her to grab it and start kicking to river right. Grinning ear to ear she said no, that first she had to pull her bathing suit back up from her ankles.
After a few more fun rapids we did some surfing as well. Same basic concepts as in a kayak or when on the ocean but a bit harder as your legs are dangling in the water behind you. It takes an incredible burst of energy to kick the entire body forward and catch the wave but once there, its easy. I made it twice, the first time with the help of our guide, and each time stayed put for a very long time. The first time Jill was videoing me and the camera cut out after over a minute…besting my previous record by over a minute. 😉
The last big rapid is a waterfall followed by something called “the bad place.” Much earlier in the day, at the rapid called Chop Suey, we rode the raft into an eddy and then jumped off of a rock and kicked as hard as we could into the current, going through a huge wave train before popping out down river. Now we had the same opportunity at the bad place, I’d been forced to go first at Chop Suey and at The Bad Place, (both of these are class V rapids) rather than being first I was the only taker, jumping in right behind our guide and following him down…the girls waiting safely below in the raft. The best part of this, by far, was jumping into this huge rapid in front of a bunch of “scared as shit” rafters who were probably cursing under their breadth at that stupid cowboy American following a kiwi guide…of all nationalities! (Kiwis are known for their ‘spirit of adventure’) We jumped in and through the biggest wave I’ve ever seen, we’re talking Tsunami height here, and bounced up the other side…my heart had been racing in anticipation but in the end The Bad Place was nothing but fun.
It was a great, fun day on the river. The only scars to show for it were on my toes where my flippers were too tight. Doing river-boarding was an uncommon selection but was way more fun than rafting or even kayaking would have been. It was also nice to see how beautiful the Nile can be compared to what we’re anticipating further north in Egypt. This river won’t be available for whitewater for much longer, due to the construction of an impending damn, and I think we’re all thankful for the memorable day it gave to us.