Sunday, July 12, 2015

Kayaking the Nile

On Carley and Dillon's last weekend in Uganda, we decided to go to Jinja to do some souvenir shopping and spend time on the Nile. We really wanted to do a river cruise, but you have to have at least 5 people, and we were only three. So instead, we opted to do a kayak tour of the Nile. I'm so glad we did, since it was probably the best way to see the river. 
Our guide took us out and explained everything about the wildlife, the nature, the dam, and the people. I was fascinated with the birds since they were so strange. But we also saw a monitor lizard that was probably close to six feet long. It was intense. 
We started off moving slowly since we were in no rush to get anywhere. But then our guide realized that he was talking too much and we weren't really moving, so we started paddling a little bit more quickly. 

Our guide told us that we were going to kayak down to a cave and then back. I thought we were going to kayak inside of a cave, but it turns out we were kayaking to a cave entrance that isn't really a cave (you can kind of see it in the picture on the left). Back before the river was dammed, the villagers would go to the walls of the cave and scrape out rock to finish the sides of their home. Depending on how high the river was at the time would change the color of your house. Inside of the cave, there were a TON of bats hanging upside down. I didn't know that there were going to be bats, so I kayaked right up next to it and got completely freaked out. I don't think I like bats very much. 
Since it was just a leisure kayak, our guide had drinks that he brought along with him and would pass them out to us, and we had a lot of time that we could relax and enjoy the Ugandan sun. Carley and Dillon were leaving in just a few days, so we really had to soak up as much sun as we could before they left.  
As we kayaked and lounged around on the Nile, we saw some storm clouds in the distance and started getting worried. In Uganda, storms come in in full force, and they can move very quickly. 
We started moving quickly so we could beat the rain - which was a race against time. We were definitely going to get wet.
We could see the rain pummeling the river in front of us like a solid wave of water. It was actually quite terrifying. Soon we were all drenched in freezing cold rain water - and our guide recommended we stick our hands in the river. It felt hot. It was such a strange effect. Since the rain was colder than the river, the river actually felt like bath water. The rain was pouring hard and we were soaked, plus we were rowing against the wind. 
But eventually we made it back to the dock... and then the rain stopped. We were all cold, so we decided to get in the river and swim around for a little bit before showering off and getting dressed. Dillon even did a zip line that dipped into the river. I love the Nile. I love being anywhere close to a body of water. The Nile has magical powers - and all the guides joke that this is the same river that Moses was in. Of course, Moses was in Egypt which is a long way north of where we were, but still it is true that this is the same river. 

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