Travel

Jinja: A place where adventure tourism comes to life on R. Nile

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Nile Cruises are ideal on the flat waters of the river.

Nile Cruises are ideal on the flat waters of the river. MONITOR PHOTOS 

By Angela Nampewo

Posted  Saturday, October 19   2013 at  01:00

In Summary

Even with Bujagali Falls gone, tourists enjoy boat cruises along the flat and calm waters of the River Nile.

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It is the source of the Nile and some say, the source of adventure. With the long line of adventure activities on offer, there is enough evidence to support Jinja’s claim to adventure fame.

When you speak about adventure in Jinja, many will immediately think of white water rafting and they would be right. Rafting is probably Jinja’s oldest and widely advertised adventure sport. It dates back almost 20 years to the time when the Bujagali Falls, a series of cascading rapids, was still in place.

Even though the construction of the Bujagali Dam submerged some of the rapids on the rafting circuit, the sport is very much alive, thanks to the amazingly bouncy River Nile that has a string of rapids stretching for miles across Buikwe and Kayunga districts.

After the changes that have taken place on the section of the river between Owen Falls and Bujagali dams, tourism operators are thinking harder on how best to utilise the new expanse of flat water left behind after the flooding of Bujagali Falls.

It is this effort to make use of the flat water that has given rise to the Nile Cruise, a boating experience where tourists are treated to a two-hour ride on a 50-seater double-decker boat as they sip their drinks and watch the sunset.

Extreme sporting
For those more inclined to extreme sports, jet boating might appeal to your wild side. On the few jet boat rides I have taken, I have seen young and old people alike, screaming their lungs out as the boat captain swung the craft this way and that at alarming speeds, narrowly missing rocks. In fact a ride on the eight to ten-seater jet boats often feels like a series of near misses and head-on collisions with small river islands. You get to fly over water falls, spin around and splash but unlike a journey on the bus, there is no getting off before the journey is done.

If you like the feeling of falling out of the sky, sky-diving or however you prefer to describe free-fall, then bungee jumping is the thing for you. The bungee jump is quite literally a cliff-hanger because the platform is suspended over the edge of a cliff at the Adrift River camp near the bottom of Nile Resort Hotel gardens.

Even after the demise of Bujagali Falls, there is still plenty of adventure to be experienced in the area; including a ride on the all-terrain quad bike just like your favourite action movie heroes riding through the jungle.

There are kayaking schools that offer amateur lessons on how to paddle along in a kayak on the calm river waters; mountain biking through the villages neighbouring Bujagali and river boarding, among others.

Approximate cost of adventure in Jinja

Whitewater Rafting
Full Day Rafting – $125 (Shs313,750)
Half Day Rafting - $115 (Shs288,650)
Extreme Rafting - $145 (Shs363,950)
2-Day Rafting - $250 (Shs 627,500)
Bungee Jump - $115 (Shs288,650)
Raft / Bungee Combo
$195 (Shs489,450) – Full day rafting – can only be done over 2 days !
$185 (Shs 464,350) – Half day rafting
Wild Nile Jet
Exploding up the Nile
$75 (Shs188,250) Adult / $50 (Shs125500) Kid (under 12 years)
Ex Kampala, including lunch @ Wildwaters Lodge – $135 Adult / $105 Child under 12 years
Raft / Jet Combo
$180 (Shs451800) – Full day rafting and a jet boat ride
$170 (Shs426,700) – Half day rafting and a jet boat ride
Threesome
Full day rafting, bungee and jet-boat - $250 (Shs627,500)
Half day rafting, bungee and jet-boat – $240 (Shs602,400)
River and Lake Cruise
Nile sunset cruise – $45 (Shs112950)
Nile lunch cruise – $30 (Shs75,300)

anampewo@ug.nationmedia.com