One of the brilliant assests to Edinburgh University Canoe Club is the vast range in abilities of the members. Coming to the sport of kayaking as a complete beginner without even the skill to paddle forwards on flat water, I benefited hugely from the wealth of knowledge of more experienced members of the group. Pushed and encouraged to try things even if that resulted in a swim (exiting my boat after an unintentional capsize – which was often the case at the beginning!). I joined the Club summer trip to the French Alps at the end of my first year which helped me improve greatly but left me with a thirst for more.
In Summer 2013, I followed in the footsteps of many and voyaged to the White Nile in Uganda for a new adventure.
The first week we had coaching from Sam Ward with his company, Love It Live It. It was absolutely incredible! The rapids are big and bouncy and I tried out surfing for the first time. At first, Superhole seemed very daunting but by the end of 6 weeks there, I managed a few surfs on the infamous Nile Special even got the hang of some flat-spins. I’m very eager to go back to the White Nile to improve on my playboating and master using the rope to get on the wave.
I could go on forever about the kayaking that summer but I shant. If anyone has any questions about it, particularly if planning a trip out there then please get in touch.
Uganda is an amazing country. We spent most of our time chilling out at the Nile River Explorer campsite and spent ten days living with a local woman who provided us with a nice room, chapati breakfast and simple dinner for the reasonable price of 10,000 Ugandan shillings a night (that’s about £2.50). We often took group trips into the town of Jinja, visiting the market or eating out at our favourite restaurants. I’d recommend staying for a good length of time so that you can really experience the area. 6 weeks went by so quickly and I cannot wait to return for longer.
To make the most of our time, Max and I decided to go on a safari in the Murchison National Park. A 7 hour drive from Jinja along a mixture of dirt and tarmac roads, the journey is long but well worth it. We were fortunate enough to spot elephants, giraffes, warthogs, buffalo, hippos, crocodiles, and even a lion (the ears anyway!), as well as many other monkeys and birds.
The most expensive part of the trip was the flights out there. Living in Uganda is easy and affordable and can be tailored to any budget. As students, going on safari was spashing out a little but was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. I would recommend a visit to the Heart of Africa to anybody, keen paddler or otherwise. It was a wonderfully trip and I can’t wait to return.