Before John Hannington Speak discovered the source of the river Nile and the arrival of the British colonialists, Jinja was a small fishing village on the banks of the river Nile. When Uganda become a colony of Britain, the fishing village grew into a large trading centre with the Nile River an important crossing point to the Eastern part of the country all the way to Kenya.
The town continued to grow as more and more Europeans, Indians and Ugandans settled in it. When the railway and hydroelectricity power was introduced, Jinja quickly became the most industrialized town in Uganda. However the turbulent Idi Amin regime between 1972 and 1979 caused Jinja to start losing its position as the Industrial hub of Uganda.
The declining trend continued when Idi Amin expelled all Asians in Uganda depriving the industries of the required expertise. Jinja has never recovered it position even when the return of the Asians.
Kampala has now overtaken it as the industrial centre of Uganda. All was not lost though because while it lost its industrial status, tourism has thrived. Jinja and Uganda as a whole is a great place to experience the beauty of Africa. Apart from the serenity of the town, tourists are attracted to Jinja because the river Nile and Lake Victoria. The quiet town is perfect for relaxation and rest after visiting Uganda’s national parks. BBC
The river Nile offers some of the best adrenaline raising activities on earth like Bungee jumping, Quad biking, horseback riding and Whitewater rafting which is the subject of this article.
Whitewater rafting is a great sport that teaches how to remain calm under great pressure. The opportunity to do whitewater rafting from the longest river on earth is amazing. It is one of the best things to do in Uganda.
The river Nile has been a source of water for several civilizations. Whitewater rafting in Jinja takes you in the middle of the river Nile while passing through chaotic and turbulent rapids.
The Nile rapids in Jinja are graded 4 and 5 and offer the best whitewater rafting experiences in Africa. The rapids flow with more volume and power than those in river Zambezi. Although the recent construction of the Bujagali and Isimba dams have led to the destruction of some of the Grade five rapids like Namizi, The Bad Place and Kyabirwa, whitewater rafting remains intact.
Rafting companies have had to adjust and change their launching point and overall route further downstream but while still offering the same adrenaline rush and beautiful scenery that it used to be.
What to expect during whitewater rafting in Jinja
A day of whitewater rafting starts with early morning breakfast before being transferred to the banks of the river. All participants are required to leave their valuable and dry clothes in the car with staff.
The teams are given orientation about safety and what to expect. The orientation is supervised by guides who are very experienced and knowledgeable about the area and rapids.
They go through every aspect of safety to ensure that all rafters have the best possible experience. Other topics covered include how to get hold of the rope for safety, how to paddle and how to fall out of the raft in the right way. Participants are advised to remain as calm as possible if they trip over while holding their breath. Always travel with extra underwear and dry clothes. Choose clothes that dry fast because you will be in and out of water several times.
Before the activity begins, individuals are given an opportunity to choose between an easy or more difficult route. Those who are not prepared for the Grade 4 and 5 Levels can opt for the Grade 3 rafting. Families have an option of going for the slower family float trip designed to enjoy the river while avoiding the main rapids. All participants are required to sign a form with details about any ailments.
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