Country number: 62
Territory number: 68
When? July 2002, East Africa Tour, side trip from Kenya
Who? Group tour
‘The pearl of Africa’
Just a quick nip over the border from Kenya to see Lake Victoria. Jinja sits along the northern shores of the lake, near the source of the White Nile (Speke Camp no less). and I’m white water rafting. Yes you read that right. When I perused the itinerary I fondly imagined myself sunbathing or wandering around the local villages while the others got to grips with what I’m told are the most dangerous rapids in the world,gGrade 5s all the way down. Grade 6 is too dangerous to run and has to be portered round. See, I have all the lingo now. Anyway somehow I end up in this raft having paid 65 dollars to be frightened silly on my rafting baptism. Our instructor says he will go the easy way and promptly takes us in to the “G Spot” of the most dangerous falls on the river. Typical to discover a man who can find it when you don’t want him to. Six of the nine occupants catapult out immediately and I hang on, despite getting battered by everyone else’s paddles as they abandon ship. The longest 90 seconds in my life. The other instructors are actually jealous and say it was the longest “surf” they’d seen for ages. Now I have superb skills in hauling people back in to inflatable rafts and cuts and bruises all over my arms and legs. The procession of iodine daubed wounded at the end of the day has to be seen to be believed.
We don’t have time to do much else, which is probably just as well. There are fruit bats filling the skies over the little falls. Strange to think how hard those Victorian explorers struggled to find this place. I feel like a proper explorer myself now, after my overly adventurous journey. A quick chat to some children going home from the local school and we’re leaving. I shall have to return.