After visiting the far south-west, we had to drive all the way back to Kampala and beyond in just one day. The others, who had not gone to see the gorillas, had moved camp to Jinja at the head of the Nile near Lake Victoria.
Jinja is known as the "Adrenaline Capital" of Uganda. The camp here offers white water rafting, jet boating and bungy jumping. We passed on the latter as we had nno wish to stretch our backbone and become taller than we already are. But we were keen to do the white water rafting in what is reputedly one of the best places in the world for it. We opted to go "mild", not "wild", and were kitted out in lifejackets, helmets and with a paddle. The river in this area has about 7 rapids ranging from grade 1 to 5, with 5 being the wildest. There is no such thing as grade 6.
After the first few rapids, we were settling in and really enjoying it - water coming over the boat and drenching us, but only mildly scary! The next rapid was a grade 5 and the two other boats, one of them going "wild", got through no problem. We were told that it was a series of 4 waves of rapids about 50 mteres apart. But ... suddenly, before I even knew what was happening, we were tipped up and in the water. It is pretty hard to breathe in that swirling washing machine - and floating to the surface in the highly aerated water is nigh impossible. And we had tipped on the first of the waves, so we had three more to be carried along by before calm water where we could be picked up by the rescue kayaks or the other boats. So gasping for breath and being tossed around for what seemed an age, I finally found myself crashing into a kayak to which I could hang on and recover. All the others in the boat had been swept along as well for the 200 metres and were scattered all over the place. We were hauled into one of the other boats and them transferred back to our own boat.
I must admit I was a bit nervous at the approach to each of the next rapids, but they all went fine. Then to the last one. The rapids here were so strong that no-one, not even the experienced professionals, would attempt them. So we walked around the area and re-entered the boats halfway along so that we could do the last section, a grade 5. We were all pretty nervous by then. Both of the other boats flipped on the rapids before us, which didn't help our frame of mind! As the first wave came over the boat, I held my breath in anticipation, but miraculously we sailed through upright! What a relief.
We have a video DVD to prove it all. When it was shown in the camp that night, I even got nervous again in anticipation when the last rapid came up. It was an experience never to be forgotten.