Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Uganda, Nile Special or just beeing a crazy Muzungu

A few weeks ago we came back from our first trip to Uganda. We, that is Jan a friend of mine from Munich, Maria my girlfriend and myself spent three weeks at the White Nile. Awesome three weeks I have to say!
Before we went to Africa and after the trip I´ve seen and read quite a few interesting websites and blogs about the different campsites and rapids and things to do etc. Therefore I won´t describe all the different places in vast detail but as I was asked some questions from friends who plan to go to Uganda in March I´ll try to recap them and write them down here so it might be of benefit to some other paddlers as well. Most of them are really basic things and you just realize you don´t know what to pack when you start wrapping up your "suitcase".
As I´m quite limited with time at the moment I´ll divide my Uganda story in 6 parts (each part of course packed with stunning wave action pics ;-) :

1. Arrival
2. Christmas
3. New Years
4. Day-Two Section & Local Paddlers
5. Change of Camp
6. Day-One Section & "My Top 10 Uganda Tips"

So today I´ll start with the Arrival-Part:
First of all, if you arrange a driver to pick you up from Entebbe airport with one of the kayaking- or raftcompanies beforehand (my recommendation would be to arrange it with kayak the nile), which is a really good thing to do, as there are loads of shady looking cab drivers at the airport waiting to rip you of and believe me, even if they are telling you "yes, yes, I know the place veeeery well", they don't have a clue what you're talking about, make sure you also print out the telephone-number of that guy or the company before you fly. As it is always possible that the driver does not show up, which happened to me. Guys, this is Africa which means everything is slower to say the least.
But if everything works out and you get your lift to Hairy Lemon straight (which is what we did) you can get on the wave straight on the first day, after around 3-4 hours drive. Oh boy, I tell you driving is an adventure on its own in that country.
Really scary driving habits, loads of shitty dirt roads, cars with nonexisting suspensions and a public transport system solely existing of Mitsubishi Minibuses. I`ve never seen so many Mitsubishi Minibuses in my life before, let alone so many people in one minibus.
So after an exciting drive you get to the Hairy Lemon Island. In order to get to the island you´ve got to bang on an old car rim and then wait 5-20 Minutes until somebody comes over with a wooden longboat and gives you a ride over.

hut with "calling-device" for shuttle-boat

The boat-beach clearly signals where to take of for Nile Special from the island:

After just 10 Minutes of paddling, the ideal warm-up, you´re already at your desired destination. And in order not to bore you, now that we´ve reached our main destination Hairy Lemon here some first pics of the wave:

righty Air-Blunt

sidekicking it

right Pan-Am

left Pan-Am

midway helix

One of my Ugandan goals: get safer with the cleans:

cleaning it on the left side

doing the same on the right

still one of my favorite moves: the airial backstab

low paddle-position to protect the shoulder at the california-roll

a concentrated face always helps ;-)

All pics by Maria Stelzig

almost after each session it was time to visit the chill-out-area to get some rest and relax your muscles

peace and out!

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