With lots of big rapids on a beautiful, highvolume river, very exciting sections mixed with stretches to lay back and enjoy the scenery, white water rafting remains the most popular adventure activity. There are four rafting companies offering 1 day trips covering 31 km and two-day trips (45km) with overnight camping.
Adrift Adventure Co and Nile River Explorers have been operating since 1996, Equator Rafts started in 2002 and Nalubale Rafting in 2005. For those who prefer a slightly smaller dose of adventure, each company offers family float trips so that children less then 14 years old can also enjoy time on the quieter sections between the Owens Falls Dam and Bujagali.
Fortunately, there are no longer any crocodiles or hippos in this part of the river. The upper reaches of the White Nile have also become a ‘must do’ for international kayakers. Kayak the Nile offer kayak ‘schools’ from half to several days, where the less experienced can acquire skills necessary to tackle many of the bigger rapids. For those who don’t have time to learn, Kayak the Nile also offer also offer an adrenaline filled tandem kayak trip where adventure junkies are put in the front of two-seater kayaks and paddled down the biggest lines by professional guides. A more peaceful option is a sunset canoe trip to Bujagali Falls or a fishing safari. But if high-powered petrol-head action is more up your street (or off your wave), the Wild Nile Jet, racing “up the rapids at breathtaking speeds” in a custom made 10-seater jet boat imported from New Zealand and powered by 450HP V8 motor is an “unforgettable experience for the whole family (ages 5-85 years)”. Wild Nile Jet trips start from Adrift’s Nile High Camp, blasting across the rapids, around forest clad islands, in a spray of water from twin Hamilton Jet motors, travels (flies) down-stream to Bujagali Falls and upstream to Owens’ Falls Dam.
Along the way, amongst the white-water there’s lots of white-knuckle action, power sliding inches from rocky outcrops and the sensation of travelling at speed in the safe hands of a professional jet boat pilot, you get the best insights as to how the river was formed.
Still on the waters and as a new addition to the options involving keeping your feet dry, Nile River Explorers now offer cruise boat trips for groups of up to 12 people near Bujagali Falls. This service compliments their new 50-seater boat based upstream in Jinja, where a cold soda or beer provides the perfect accompaniment to a sunset cruise at the ‘Source of The Nile’.
In 2002, the list of adventure activities available extended to dry land with the arrival of All Terrain Adventures who provide quadbike safaris through the farms, forest and villages beside the Nile. “Off the beaten tracks and into the warm heart of Uganda”, this adventure company uses local guides trained to international standards, taking clients of all ages (family groups a specialty) on trips ranging from 1 hour to multi-day, starting from their base at Chillington Gate, Bujagali Falls. No previous riding experience is needed as before each safari, a free learner / practice session is conducted on All Terrain Adventures custom circuits. If it rains, ‘the wetter the better’.
A range of automatic and semiautomatic quadbikes provide adventure at the twist of a throttle for all shapes and sizes. Smaller fullyautomatic Kids Quads cater for younger riders. For those too small to ride themselves, there is the option of riding with a guide, Mum or Dad. Protective clothing (helmet, goggles, overalls, bandana, gumboots) and refreshments are included so all you need to bring is a big smile and perhaps a camera to capture some of the picturesque scenery along the routes. All Terrain Adventures ‘Roar of de Nile’ Guided ATV Safaris are tailored to suit each group.
All levels of rider from beginner to expert are well catered for on the ‘best quadbike safaris on the planet, at the best prices in the World!’ Open 7 days a week and no minimum numbers or fixed start times, All Terrain Adventures provides the most accessible adventure activities. With over 8 years experience and many thousands of happy clients, they have the best safety record of any company in the area. Three kilometres upstream near the Jinja Nile Resort is Adrift’s Nile Bungee
Jump. The tower is 44 meters above the water – time enough while falling to think hard about how well the rope is attached to your ankles!
If jumpers want an extra adrenaline rush, there is the option of being dipped headfirst into the river before the first bounce. Two years after All Terrain Adventures started running quadbike safaris on 4 wheels along the east bank of the river, Nile Horseback Safaris started with 4 legged trips along the west bank. Over the years, their stables have expanded with more horses kept in first class condition.
Nile Horseback Safaris offer short (2hr and 3hr) safaris and longer overnight and multiday horse safaris. For their shorter safaris, no riding experience is necessary. They have also recently introduced a 1 hour, walking only, safari. This safari is suitable for people with children under 6 years old, nervous riders or people who have a limited amount of time. “A wonderful stroll through the villages and along the Nile enjoying the scenery of the area without overtaxing anyone”. Nile River Explorers Mountain Biking have user powered tours using high quality bikes and expert local guides to help clients safely pedal their way in and around the Jinja area.
“Whether it’s a physical challenge you are looking for or to meander through villages by the banks of the Nile, they can make it happen for you”. By taking a guided tour through Mabira Forest you will see places you can’t get to in a vehicle and also learn about local flora and fauna around the area. NRE Mountain Biking also offer guided tours of Jinja and its scenic viewpoints as well as individual bike hire for the day. After participating in some of these adventure activities, there are lots of places to kick back and put up your heels with a cool drink. While relaxing beside the falls you may get an opportunity to see Ugandan acrobat Jeremiah Bazale.
This amazing man lost the use of a leg from polio when he was very young. To the accompaniment of music from the Budondo Cultural Group he performs feats of strength and balance. Donations that are collected fund the group. Boat cruises run by some of the nearby fishermen on the quiet waters below Speke Camp, are another way to take it easy and enjoy the scenery and wildlife. These trips take you out to some of the islands where you can walk to viewpoints overlooking the big rapids at Bujagali Falls.
On a visit back to New Zealand in 2003, Peter Knight of All Terrain Adventures noticed a road sign with wording that he borrowed and tailored to describe the developing tourism focus at Bujagali Falls. ‘East Africa’s centre for adventure’ has since become a by-line and extended to include Jinja as ‘East Africa’s Adventure Capital’.