As if Africa’s wild safari adventures weren’t enough already…
If seeing lions or the rare silverback gorillas out in the wild didn’t give you enough of a fright to get your adrenaline running faster than Usain Bolt, then continue to be fearless by heading to East Africa’s adventure capital, Jinja. Nestled along the banks of the Nile, Uganda’s Jinja is the perfect remedy to get you well and truly out of your comfort zone. Don’t be deceived by its stillness; this small town ain’t so quiet with the number of merciful shrieks from all around!
Being the adventure capital, Jinja is a) the type of place that makes you almost want to shit yourself b) don’t know whether to laugh or cry c) on a mission to give your mother even more grey hairs with its far-flung risky activities.
Being only just a two-hour drive outside of Uganda’s capital, Kampala, Jinja is the perfect place to treat yourself to a different kind of thrill. Here I share with you what daredevil activities you can get up to when in the adventure capital.
White Water Rafting in Jinja
Truth be told, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry just reminiscing about this moment in life in East Africa’s adventure capital. This part of the Nile is a wild beast. It has its moments of being calm, cool and collected but for the most part, it is rapid utopia.
Whitewater rafting the Nile is like getting sucked and spat out of nature’s washing machine set on an intense spin dry (or technically wet). Its grade five rapids along a 25 km stretch are to the extreme! (There is also a grade three course available.)There, of course, is some respite when the bumpy ride is exchanged for brief moments to collect yourself to get back on the boat in the brief calmness. Holding onto dear life, I was inevitably thrown out of the raft at least four times – it was scary as hell but oh so wicked to be put in an unnerving situation with four other people that also met the same fate!
As it is a category five, there are experienced crew kayaking along the raft to save you if the moment arises (as for me – many times). The way that they sail along the Nile is an art form in itself!
It is a great way to see all the stunning scenery and experience the Nile River as opposed to (now what seems like a tame) a ride on tourist boat slowly cruising as this rafting adventure crushes it!
I did have a photo of me hanging off the boat as the boat was about to capsize us all but unfortunately, this photo got lost in cyber world – d’oh! But the memories, the sheer awesomeness of experiencing in the Nile on this wild rafting adventure lives on.
Nile River Explorers lead fantastic whitewater rafting down the Nile – I am living proof, I survived! It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or not or a hardcore adventure enthusiast, they have adventures catered to all.
Full day rafting adventures start from USD $140 per person. This tour can also depart from either Jinja or Kampala.
Horse riding the Nile
OK – let’s slow it down a bit. After that gruelling trip down the Nile, it is only fair to bring it all back and do something much, much less intense (and allow you to recompose yourself).
Another way to experience life by the Nile is to go horseback riding – bet you didn’t expect to go riding horses in Africa did you? Various horseback tour durations lead you along the banks of the Nile, meandering through small villages and low-lying bushland. It is ever so peaceful to experience the Nile this way – even meeting locals along the way too! There are options to do overnight tours that take you to hills that overlooks the Nile valley and lush plantations.
It is a pleasant way to take in the scenery by following the flow of the Nile.
Nile Horseback Safaris is the only horseback tour operator in Jinja, led by an Australian and Kiwi couple. They were a pleasure to go with and to see Africa by horseback was something I did not even think I would be doing – glad I did as it was one of the most peaceful yet adventurous ways to experience the Ugandan countryside.
One hour horseback rides start from USD $40 per person. I recommend going longer as one hour only gets you started on what is a serene way to experience the Nile.
Life in Jinja can sometimes take your life into overdrive – literally. Be badass for a day by hopping onto an ATV quad bike and feel every bump and grind of the Ugandan outback. An ATV quad bike safari tour takes you by the Nile River at Bujagali Falls and off the beaten tracks where you will certainly leave a track!
The day that I went, things got super intense. We were all following the guide, single file and revving our engines as much as we could. Of course, we could only go as fast as the person in front of us. There were certain areas along the unmarked course where we could let loose and did our twists and turns to get our adrenaline and laughs going – this is the time where I was going for it and scaring myself!
Soon after, it started to rain, and the terrain soon becomes mud land. Pigs would’ve had a field day with the amount of mud that was being flicked about from our high powered vehicles. It was a laughing matter, navigating Jinja being drenched in the rain. Luckily, we had our very fashionista, mechanic-looking brown jumpsuits on to make the mud camouflage and protect our clothes.
All Terrain Adventures offers these thrilling ATV tours around Jinja. There are different routes to go around Jinja, taking you through small villages and nearby the Nile.
A three-hour ride circuit around the Nile starts from USD $105 per person.
This is not for the faint-hearted. Even though I consider myself fearless in many situations, this ain’t one of them, so I didn’t opt to do the leap of faith over the Nile. But just think, bungee jumping over one of the world’s most spectacular settings, the Nile – how cool does that sound! Maybe you have more of a wild streak than I do (if you do – I salute you) to jump for your life and see the Nile from bird’s eye view. For those that did it on my tour could not stop raving about it. I still do not think I would be able to do it. (Jump out of planes and over rivers? You are crazy right?!)
Adrift offers adventure activities in the Jinja area, including bungee jumping.
One bungee jump over the Nile starts from USD $115 per person. It gets cheaper to do more, so if you are tempted – you daredevil you!
Explorers River Camp – provides affordable accommodation right on the banks of the Nile River – couldn’t get more of a sweeter view now, can you? Its accommodation starts from camping grounds, safari tents, dorms to comfortable rooms with verandah in tow. With lush jungle all around you too – you would probably want to stay more than just a few days (I did!).
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