Week 45: Rafting the Nile in Uganda

Our YAV year is winding down and so it was time for our closing retreat.  Ideas and thoughts had bounced around for quite some time, but it was eventually decided that we would go to Jinja, Uganda to raft the source of the Nile.  So, the seven of us hopped in a bus for twelve hours and found ourselves doing just that the next morning.

The Seven Kenya YAVs before:
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I had crossed over the Nile during my visit to Kampala, Uganda with Cosmas in December and was awe struck by it.  Then in Cairo in January I crossed the Nile more times than I could count, but I had never been “in” the Nile so I was excited for the opportunity.  You only live once.

Our group of seven has grown accustom to being told what to do and then doing it without question which made for good Nile rafters.  I was very happy that everyone was willing and able to participate.  We found our helmets and life jackets and headed down the Nile with our Ugandan guide, Jeff.  Our favorite quote that Jeff kept repeating was, “And just enjoy the Nile.”  It was what he said previous to that statement that made it funny.  Jeff would say, “When you find that the raft has flipped and you’re under it, reach around, find the sides of the raft, pull yourself out, lean back, grab onto your life jacket, and just enjoy the Nile.”  Awesome.

We flipped collectively, as a raft, twice, but individually we found ways to make our way out of the raft as well.  We went down eight big rapids that were all class four and class five.  Class five is the highest level that rafts can go on, but the classes go up to seven which only kayaks can go down.

As I said, we’ve become very good at taking orders and following them which resulted in some really entertaining bo-jazz.  Story number one, Jeff would say wave at the camera and we would all turn and wave to the camera not realizing that the camera’s presence meant that we were getting ready to go down something that was worthy of being photographed.  Therefore, after Jeff would tell us to wave, a second later he would say, “Get down!” which means that you turn back to back bending down in the raft while holding onto the rope for dear life… “and then just enjoy the Nile.”

This is what happened:
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Story number two, Jeff would tell us to paddle hard and so we would… not asking what we were paddling to.  Turns out one time we were paddling toward a waterfall, so if we paddled hard we would get to go down a waterfall and if we didn’t rapids.  We paddled hard because we were told to do so and were the only group out of the three to go down the waterfall… backwards.  Awesome.

Going down the waterfall backwards:
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Flip Number Two
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I spliced together a very short video from our rafting experience:

This was my favorite touristy thing that I’ve done in Africa so far.  I’m a very outdoors adventure kind of person.  I think being with my six good friends for the last time in Africa made it even better.  As Dave Matthews says, “Turns out not where, but who you’re with that really matters,” however, I would argue that where you are can definitely add to the experience as it did in this case.

To view all of the photos click here.

Seven Rapids and One Waterfall later we decided to just enjoy the Nile:
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Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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