Are you an adrenaline junkie? Are you looking to satisfy a wild craze? Are you ready to face your fears? You will find amazing, exhilarating adventure activities at the Source of the Nile, Jinja, popularly known as the East-African Adventure Capital. There are few activities found in Murchison Falls and Lake Mburo. The water adventure switches in mere moments from lazy relaxation to crashing through grade five rapids. Adrenalin junkies can challenge the legendary rapids at any time of the year because Uganda is favoured by the tropical warm climate all year long.
The major players who operate and provide exciting adventure services include Adrift, Nile River Explorers, Nalubale rafting, White Nile Rafting, Dream Balloons, All Terrain Adventure, Nile Horseback Safaris, and Kayak the Nile who offer different packages and services.
There are many activities that are suitable for the whole family. Some activities may have age or weight restrictions. Whether you prefer wild whitewater rafting exploration, fun family voyage, gentle scenic float trips, golfing or a few days of exhilarating scenery and multi-sport quest. You can find what suits your tastes and needs from;
Challenge your fear of heights by touching the source of the Nile from free falling from a tall structure 44m into the Nile is not for the faint of heart. It is an unforgettable thrilling activity that will get your adrenaline pumping. Located 3km upstream from Bujagali Falls, the views of the Nile river and forest canopy is amazing. You can either use the ankle tie or the full-body harness. Adrift specializes in tandem jumps, water touches and full-moon jump at most times including at night. The age limit is 13 years with a weight limit of 235kg, so you can choose to make this dive with a friend.
The Nile is considered to one of the safest and yet wildest grade 5 whitewater rapids in the world perfect for adrenaline junkies and learners to face the mighty rapids. The trips include huge rapids and beautiful scenery, with time to relax and swim on calmer stretches and let you take a breath, ready for the next section of raging white-water action.
Grade 4 and 5 rapids are usually challenging and the guide will explain it to you about the planned route through, for you to choose if you would prefer to join the safety boat or where possible, walk around and then rejoin the raft. Grade 3 rafting is milder than the grade 5 rafting. Extreme rafting is wild, faster, greater rush, extra challenges and is usually an exclusive trip with only you and an experienced river guide, on a small inflatable raft. You will be provided necessary briefings and training on rafting.
Children are allowed to go for rafting but under conditions. They must fit into an adult life jacket, they are aware that there is a compulsory walk around two rapids. They will do a Grade 3 trip, where they either run in the safety raft or on a paddle boat that will run the rapids, but do conservative lines.
The activity usually starts at 9 am and the age limit is 8 years. You will receive safety briefings, life jackets, helmets, spray jackets, custom-made rafting equipment, plenty of water, breakfast and lunch midstream. Every trip includes a professional guide, safety rafts, kayakers and a professional photographer will capture every memorable moment. You are required to carry loose clothing, shorts & t-shirt, hat, sunscreen, towel and a change of clothes.
Hot air ballooning can only be found at the Murchison Falls National Park and the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda and are handled by the Dream Balloons. Hot air ballooning is a perfect activity for those on honeymoon, the adrenaline junkies and those seeking a once in a lifetime adventure. The scenes up there are spectacular and the air fresh and soothing. This unique spectacular experience of flying in a hot air balloon can be done with one of the following options;
However, for now, only 8 passengers are permitted to fly up in the balloon. Children below the age of 6 and below are restricted. You will experience include; the general scenic view of the park, the Lake Albert and Victoria Nile views, the Off-road animals hidden, the bush breakfast experience in the wild, the pickups from the different destinations, the participation certificates, crossings by ferry and the ride on the hot air balloon. This ride lasts for one hour.
Horseback riding is an exciting activity to explore the tranquillity of nature, wildlife and birds. This experience can be suitable for all ages including children and aged persons. The activity caters for people of different skill levels from beginners to advanced. You do not have to worry if you have no prior experience. The horses are well trained to react to your skill level which makes you at ease to enjoy the ride. The guides are professional and well trained and will take you at a comfortable pace.
Horseback riding packages are short rides of 1 to 3 hours with packages such as pony ride, mixed group safaris, advanced rider safari and overnight horse safari. For safety reasons, there is a weight limit of 90kgs. You can enjoy this experience either in the East at Jinja or in the West at Lake Mburo National Park.
An alternative to rafting is to go solo and kayak through the raging river or take a more leisurely paddle on flat water. You can challenge the Nile and use the double-sided paddle to explore the mighty river. There is a kayak school that aims to ensure your experience is enjoyable, feel confident and gain control of your kayak. At the rolling clinic you will learn forward paddling, capsize, control skills, backward paddling, rescue techniques and rolling.
You can maximize your experience at:
The package includes an experienced and knowledgeable guide, high-flotation life jackets, helmets, spray jackets, light snacks and drinks.
The stand-up paddle expedition is an experience you will learn from a calm water introduction and then move forward to a river trip. You will start off from the Owen Falls dam and cruise down to Bujagali. The flat water here provides the ideal environment for you to learn how to control the board and for your instructor to give you some tips along the way such as basic strokes and rescue techniques. You will test your skills and tackle your first rapid with your guide leading the way at the first free-flowing section of the Nile that contains up to grade 3 rapids.
With this learning experience, you will benefit from the variety of features of the river thus build up a huge range of skills from running rapids to surfing and eddy lines. Nile is a safe place to learn SUP with experienced guides, safety equipment, no rocks to hit, warm water and the deep rapids. You will enjoy achievement from a beginner to being able to control your kayak on the white water. The scenery is spectacular with a variety of birdlife and plant life to enjoy.
Jet boat up the River Nile Rapids at breathtaking speeds and enjoy the wild 360 degree spins at the River Nile without being immersed in it except a bit of spray. An unforgettable awesome experience for the whole family from 5-85 years on a custom-made 12-seater jet boat. You don’t need any swimming experience and you will be guided by a professional jet boat pilot. The trip package includes; high-flotation life jackets, helmets, spray jackets, light snacks and drinks. You can also enjoy a threesome package that includes white water rafting, bungee jumping and jet-boat.
Riverboarding is a memorable experience for serious whitewater enthusiasts. The Nile has 8 major rapids for which you will experience different skill challenges depending on the water levels. The trip entails rafting and river boarding. You can relax during flat sections and safely raft the fewer rapids that are considered unsafe for riverboarding. Some rapids form waves that you can try surfing. Every trip includes safety raft, kayakers and professional photographers to capture those memorable moments. You will engage in extensive safety briefings and practice drills. You’ll be equipped with your river board, flippers, helmet, life jacket and you’ll follow the experienced guide into the heart of the rapids. The minimum age for this challenging activity is 14 years. The package includes boarding equipment, experienced guides, food and drinks, and free photographs.
The Nile river is the world’s longest river and can be explored with a 2-hour river boat cruise which usually starts from newly formed Bujagali Lake which is between Owens Falls Dam and the Bujagali Dam. This is at the Source of the Nile, in Jinja. You will be able to see beautiful scenery, birdlife, and animals. You can enjoy lunch cruises or even breathtaking sunset cruise offered by Nile River Explorers, Noah’s Ark, and Nile River Camp.
At Murchison Falls National Park, the launch trip upstream from Paraa to the foot of Murchison Falls presents an amazing display of wildlife and birdlife. The launch departs at 9 am and 2 pm daily and takes three hours. A boat trip to the Nile-Lake Albert Delta is a 4 to 5-hour return voyage also takes in a variety of other wildlife and birds. This voyage is recommended for birders on a morning cruise downstream to be able to sight the elusive Shoebill. Alternatively, a tranquil sundowner cruise offers the classic view of an equatorial sunset reflected on the river.
At Queen Elizabeth National Park, The boat cruise at Kazinga channel is extremely rewarding for viewing most wildlife that comes to the banks of the channel for water. The boat cruise is operated from 11 am – 1 pm, 3 pm and 5 pm local time. The boat cruise begins at the Mweya peninsula, 20 km west of Kasese-Mbarara main road through Katunguru.
In Nile River, Jinja, sports fishing (catch and release) can be explored by first time or experienced anglers. They usually target species like Nile perch, tilapia, yellow fish, and catfish using the following techniques, trawling, spinning and bait fishing. All fishing gear, camping equipment, safety gear, and drinking water are supplied. However, fly fishers will need to bring their own gear. More serious fisherman can go look for big Nile Perch using GPS, fish-finder, the latest rods and reels, the latest lures, and an experienced and capable skipper.
In Murchison Falls, sports fishing is conducted along the River Nile rocky surfaces, the bottom of the falls at the Devil’s Cauldron, and at the banks of the Nile. The two fishing sites are at Murchison Falls and below Karuma Falls. Nile perch and some catfish provide exciting challenges to anglers using casting lures. Smaller fish like theTigerfish can be caught using the live bait or spinning method. Fishing spots can either be accessed by boat or by walking down from the top of the falls to the gorge which can take 45 minutes.
Fishing in Murchison can be done at any time of the year through the best catches are seen early in the morning and late in the day. When the water level is low and clearer from Mid-January to early-April, you can catch more when fish feed more when there is a dramatic variation of weather conditions. All anglers are advised to have rods that are between 8 ft and 11ft with a multiplier reel and 7” spinning rod for smaller fish.
Be cautious of the Hippos and Nile crocodiles while fishing at the River banks.
This is a relaxed and mellow ride for family or young children. It is an ideal trip for younger children to get a chance to float and swim down a peaceful stretch of the river. Drift down calm green pools in the sunset while getting up close to the remarkable birdlife along the Victoria Nile.
You can also take the houseboat safari with the capacity to accommodate 8 people and has 2 crew members who will also provide the meals. You will relax and enjoy fishing, scenery landscape, primates and birdlife.
The Mabira Forest Canopy Super Skyway was started in 2014 by Aaron Blanchard from Carnation WA. It is located at Mabira Forest, 45 minutes from Kampala on the highway to Jinja. The zip line system is a canopy tour of the Mabira forest where you will soar between the ancient tall trees. While up there you will experience a unique perspective of Mabira Forest, primates like grey-cheeked mangabeys and red-tailed monkeys, a variety of bird species and the roaring Griffin falls. There are six platforms in the treetops in a network of 5 zip lines stretching 250 metres across River Musamya. For safety reasons, the weight capacity is restricted to 250kg. The activity has two sessions; Morning- 8 am to 1 pm, and afternoon- 2 pm to 6 pm, daily.
All Terrain Vehicle Quad Biking is an exhilarating “all ages, all levels, all adventure” muddy adventure to be experienced by the whole family. The packages are tailor-made to suit different abilities from easy, scenic rides to tough, challenging sections. The package includes a professional guide, protective clothing and refreshments. Even without experience, you will be trained and can enjoy scenic sights of River Nile. There are also multi-day packages for game-viewing and adventure safaris at Lake Mburo National Park.
Mountain biking and cycling is an enjoyable experience which both exercises your body but also you can enjoy the scenery and beauty with a panoramic view of the lakes, forest and birdlife.
In the East, you can go through different trails to marvel at the birdlife, trees and cultures such as Bujagali ride, Bugembe Viewpoint and Mabira Forest reserve ride.
In the West, Lake Mburo National Park also provides cycling tours in the park of which you can enjoy wildlife viewing and beautiful scenery.
Golf safari has increasingly been a popular tourist attraction with a great climate to enjoy all year. You will enjoy a unique golfing experience while visiting this fascinating country. You will get courses that comprise of a good range of 18 holes in ‘rolling parkland’ with beautiful greens, very few steepish slopes, broad tree-lined fairways, bunkers, a burn that meanders throughout and professional cardies. Most of the holes are well-designed with the burn coming into play quite appropriately, several thought-provoking doglegs, and some well-positioned bunkers. Some courses are right at Lake Victoria or near the National Park.
Some of the golf courses in Uganda are:
Tailor-made itineraries can be organized with the Green Fees and Pre-booked Tee-off times along with stays at some of Uganda’s most luxurious hotels and lodges.
This is located at Bujagali Falls, Jinja with an African safari-themed course with life-sized statues of the Big-5 (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, and elephant) and other animals. Big Game mini-Golf is an adventure for the whole family, open from 8.30am to 4.30pm daily. Putt past the python, round the rhino, tee past the African tiger, hack from inside the jaws of the hippo and bogey beside the buffalo. Get photos with the Big-5 and many other animals.
Apart from its popularity with mountain gorillas, the Pearl of Africa is the best destination to experience mountain climbing adventure with various mountains and volcanoes located in different corners of the country. There are short and long hiking spots to meet your skill, fitness and expectations located in World Heritage Sites as Rwenzori National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Mt Elgon National Park. The mountaineering spots reward hikers with spectacular views of nearby communities, wildlife and other attractions in the neighborhood.
The Rwenzori mountains also known as the “Mountains of the moon” are found along the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rwenzori is the highest peak in Uganda and the third highest in the whole world. Mt. Stanley/ Margherita, the highest peak stands at 5109m, and are also one of the only three on the continent with permanently snowcapped peaks which often melts into rivers flowing to the lowland areas such as river Nyamwamba and River Mubuku. At the base of the mountain is Mount Rwenzori National Park which was gazette in 1991. The Rwenzori’s support an array of rare and endemic wildlife, tropical rainforests, stunning glaciers, beautiful waterfalls, rivers and lakes.
Travellers follow different trail depending on their fitness level and the endpoint;
With 6 snow-capped mountains, Margherita Peak is the highest.
Rwenzori Mountaineering Services (RMS) is an indigenous, non-governmental organisation entrusted with a concession won from The Uganda Wildlife Authority to provide trekking tourism services/support on the Central Circuit Trail within the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. They operate 6 mountain camps for accommodation in the mountains, arrange guides and porters for visitors, administer a campsite/accommodation at the trekking head/base, coordinate transport to Kasese, may provide food, and provide climbing and equipment rental. The charges are inclusive of National Park entrance fees. The maximum weight permitted is 25kgs of his/her luggage as per the trip tariff, any additional weight will require payment for an extra porter.
There are 8 Virunga mountain volcanoes shared between Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda shares 3 of the Volcanoes offering excellent day hikes with lots of unique and rare wildlife such as the Mountain Gorillas, Golden Monkeys, endemic birds and mountain vegetation.
It is the third highest peak which starts the chain of the Virungas, situated on the Rwanda – Uganda border. It is a long hike to the summit taking about 5 hours which makes it tough, and coming down takes roughly the same. It has a small crater lake at the summit which can easily be circumnavigated to get access to spectacular views of adjacent Karisimbi in Rwanda and Mikeno in DRC.
It is the smallest of the three located between Muhavura and Sabinyo, which is shorter and easier to hike. It has a larger crater lake though it is difficult to circumnavigate to gain better views.
This is the more challenging of the three to hike but the most interesting. It is located on the border of the three countries; Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. Much as the three countries share it, Mount Sabinyo is best hiked from Uganda. The rugged terrain and the many crater lakes on the sides of Rwanda and Congo make it difficult to hike in these countries. The volcano has three peaks which look like three spaced teeth, hence the local name Sabinyo which translates “Old Man’s Teeth”, one in Uganda and the other two in Rwanda and DRC respectively.
Mountain Elgon, lies in eastern Uganda on the border with Kenya, with its highest peak Wagagai situated on the Ugandan side. It was once the highest peak but soil erosion reduced it and is now the 8th highest peak in Africa and the 4th in East Africa. Apart from climbing Mt. Elgon one can enjoy the fascinating wildlife along the slopes, varied vegetation, caves, water pools, falls, and wonderful scenery.
There are two major trails that take 4 to 5 days to the peak are;
– Sasa trail or Budadiri trailhead- accessible from Mbale, is the more direct to the peaks and going through the bamboo forest.
– Piswa trail- it is easier to hike that Sasa trail.
The Sipi Falls is arguably the most beautiful waterfall set of three stunning waterfalls (85m, 75m and 100m) situated along the foothills of Mountain Elgon. The falls originate from the hot springs at the summit of Mount Elgon in the border of Uganda and Kenya.
You are required to pack sturdy hiking shoes, drinking water, energy snacks, a safe sleeping bag, warm jackets and sweaters to deal with the cold nights. In all other water activities, do not bring any valuables such as camera, jewelry, electronics because you might lose them. You can, however, carry a change of clothes, sunscreen, towel and medication you may need.
The companies operating these activities aim to provide you with the best experience which is safe and fun. They have professional guides and crew who undergo continuous training to ensure safety procedures and standards are maintained. They periodical maintenance checks to ensure equipment are in good working condition and are assigned an appropriate working lifespan. All visitors are briefed before every activity and every trip includes safety raft and kayakers.
In conclusion, Jinja definitely is the Capital for adventure, adrenaline filling, and thrilling activities. Whether you are a first-time thrill seeker getting out of your comfort zone, all you need to experience these challenges is just a good sense of adventure and the ability to hold your breath.