We start rafting at the base of the magnificent Kalagala Falls in Kayunga District and raft downstream from the heart of the recently established Wild waters Reserve. It is a wonderful river journey for the whole family. Instead of choosing the biggest and wildest rapids, we instead drift swiftly between beautiful forested islands, bounce down smaller rapids and explore the least known channels of the river.
Rapids the kids have called ‘Bella boo’ and ‘Stuck tree’ are a delight to the young ones who usually choose the front of the oar-powered rafts for the wettest ride of the day.
After the first afternoon of rafting we pull into our island home for the night. The kids are in charge of choosing which bed in the dormitory and where they will sleep while we prepare dinner.
The next morning, the adults have a chance to river surf at ‘Nile Special’ the infamous surf wave found near to the Hairy Lemon. The wave behaves in much the same way as an ocean wave rolling upstream in a wall of whitewater. We put fins on our feet and attach the lightweight board to our wrist. After some basic instruction from our expert guides you will be surfing thousands of miles from the ocean.
There is nothing quite like the thrill of riding a surf wave especially when you are only meters from the spectators. The kids can watch the action or have fun nearby building sandcastles on a small beach.
Floating down the calmer section of river we meander our way through the lush forested islands and encounter local fishermen in their canoes. The kids have a chance to try river surfing as well bouncing down the smaller rapids or riding on the kayaks with our safety kayakers.
There are plenty of opportunities to swim, relax on the raft and spot the amazing array of wildlife, including red-tailed monkeys, fish eagles, monitor lizards, otters and thousands of members of the cormorant family.
Malalu is the only other significant rapid of the day. This again provides a fantastic opportunity for the adults to to river surf while the kids can watch from a nearby rock. Our river journey ends after 19 km immediately after Malalu.
Where to meet: Meet at Kangulamira Police Post at 12 am on the first day of your trip. Kangulamira is in Kayunga District and is 98 km from Kampala and will take approximately 1hr 15 minutes. When traveling from Kampala, you have two good options:
1. Follow the Gayaza Road from near Mulago Hospital or Kayunga Road from Kisemente. For the first 10 km, the road is in poor condition and is busy. After, this follow a beautiful new road for 19 km to the town of Mukalagi.
2. Follow the Kampala-Jinja road to the town of Mukono (24 km from Kampala) then turn north for Kayunga. The Mukono-Kayunga road is a good sealed road with little traffic. Follow this road from Mukono for 19 km to the T-junction at Mukalagi and turn right for Kayunga.
From Mukalagi, enjoy the drive to Kayunga town – 31 km (which you will reach soon after the overhead steel bridge which marks Kayunga District). At the town of Kayunga, the sealed road forks and you should take the right hand fork toward Njeru. After 9.5 km you will pass through the town of Nazigo and follow this for another 8 km to the town of Kangulamira. This is also a good sealed road.
At Kangulamira, turn left onto a marram road, drive straight through the roundabout and you will find the police post several hundred metres past the roundabout on the right-hand side of the road. An Adrift representative will meet you here for the short drive to Kalagala Falls (4 km).
You can leave your vehicles parked safely at the Police post until after the trip. The Adrift truck will transfer for you back to your vehicles via rural Kayunga. We fondly refer to this as the wildest ride of the trip.
3. From Jinja. Take a right turn at Njeru (directly opposite Nile Breweries) and follow this good sealed road for 23 km to the town of Kangulamira. Follow instructions as above.
What to bring:
- Quick dry shorts preferably with a drawstring waist (to wear on the river)
- A light colored T-shirt to wear on the river
- Sun suits and hats to wear on the river (helmets are not necessary)
- Rafting sandals, a pair of old trainers or bare feet
- Long sleeved shirts, trousers, casual shoes or sandals for the evening
- Children’s life jackets (if you have them)
- A change of clothes for the end of the day
- A towel and warm clothes for the children which can be carried on the raft in case of inclement weather
- Toothbrush, razor etc.
- Suncream and insect repellent
- Torch or headlamp for the evening
- Any medication you may need during the trip
- Please do not bring any jewelery including watches or any valuables.
You will be accommodated at the Hairy Lemon Island in dormitory accommodation which has basic mosquito nets (some of them ill-fitting), a sheet, blanket, pillow and pillow case on single bunk beds. Basic furnished tents with twin beds are sometimes available for an extra $ 20 per person (these must be booked in advance with our company).
Family dorm: Has one double bed and six bunk beds.
Dorm one: has 10 bunk beds .
Adults: $ 160
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Africa Uganda Outdoor: Water Drifter Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting
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