Just as Victoria Falls is known as the adventure capital of southern Africa, the same can be said for East Africa of Jinja. If you’re looking for some action on your holiday, the Pearl of Africa is a magnet for adrenaline junkies
hite water rafting
Bounce, spin and surf down the River Nile on a bag of air, armed with only a paddle. With names such as ‘Bad Place’, ‘Vengeance’ and ‘Bubogo’ (meaning ‘condolences’), the waters near Jinja are home to some of the world’s finest Grade 5 rapids. And, what’s more, this wildest of rides is available all-year round. For the ultimate thrill-seeker, this is also one of the few places on the planet where you can tackle major rapids in a two-man raft – just you and a guide against the elements.
Run the Nile’s raging waters solo – or, for the less experienced, in a pair – going airborne as you crash through the waves and over drops.
For the serious white water enthusiast, grab a board, don some flippers and surf your way down Africa’s premier river.
Stand-up paddle boarding
Hone your stand-up technique in the calmer waters around the Owen Falls dam – bobbing and weaving across the surface, while enjoying the tranquil surroundings – before adopting a crouching tiger-like stance as you hit the first section of white water – no doubt also providing the perfect opportunity for some stand-up (or fall-down) comedy.
Hurtle up the Nile at breath-taking speeds – upwards of 90kmh – as you skim over the rapids, experiencing twists and 360-degree turns along the way. If this doesn’t get your heart pumping, nothing will.
Join the Nile high club as you tumble from a 44m-high platform, taking in death-defying views of Africa’s longest river as you free fall – providing you are brave enough to keep your eyes open. Scared to jump on your own? No worries – take a tandem jump with a friend.
Act like a primate as you ‘fly’ between the ancient trees of Mabira Forest. Less than 60km from Kampala, en route to Jinja, Mabira is home to a network of five zip lines – high up in the forest canopy – that stretch for 250m across the River Musamya. Look out for grey-cheeked mangabeys and red-tailed monkeys, as well as palm nut vultures and fish eagles, as you zip along.
Hot air ballooning
Enjoy a spectacular sunrise (or sunset), floating 1000ft above the earth, before landing back on terra firma an hour or so later – you won’t even notice you are flying. The surreal experience of hot air ballooning over Queen Elizabeth National Park or Murchison Falls should be on everyone’s bucket list. The air, as they say – and the scenery, for that matter – is very different up here.
Uganda offers numerous options for climbers and hikers, but perhaps the stand out is scaling the Rwenzoris, affectionately known as the ‘Mountains of the Moon’. Bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwenzori National Park houses Africa’s third-highest mountain, Margherita – a snow-capped peak standing 5109m high. From one-day excursions to eight-day treks, there’s the chance to discover rare and endemic wildlife, tropical rainforest, lakes, rivers and waterfalls, as well as bag a summit or two. Here, it’s not the destination but the journey that counts.
Get down and dirty as you ride off the beaten track, whether it be along muddy trails in the countryside around Jinja or game-driving with a difference in Lake Mburo National Park. From gentle scenic rides to tough, challenging routes and multi-day adventures, this is a truly exhilarating way to see some of Uganda’s less-visited places.
Explore Uganda from a different type of saddle, cantering along the banks of the Nile, across tea plantations and through traditional villages; or, alternatively, a spot of horseback game-viewing at Lake Mburo.