Uganda’s White Nile – Winter Escape

Since my first trip to Uganda in 2005 i’ve been out here every Winter and Katya likewise, it really is a playboaters dream Winter playground.


Last Winter we decided to take a break from Uganda and headed for a month in Galicia/ Portugal instead.

So in the two years since we were last here a lot has changed on the river with the finishing of the Silverback dam. Undeterred however, me, Katya and Bren Orton decided to escape the cold and dryness of the UK and the harsh Siberian winter.

For myself and Katya we really just wanted to get on warm, perfect waves, relax in the tropical environment, watch the animals and nature thats so abundant here and feast on the many delicious fruits.

You can get the best banana’s, papaya, pineapples & passion fruit in the World and many other tasty fruits; some unusual like Jack fruit and others more common like watermelon, all so fresh, ripe and tasty, perfect for our diet we eat a raw diet of mostly fruits, so here it’s like a banquet for us.

The two waves we’ve spent our time on so far are Nile Special & Malalu.

Nile Special you’ve probably seen a 1000 times but at the right levels its a really sick wave you can go huge on, its not the easiest wave in the World to surf as it can be a bit violent but when it greens out you get a perfect ramp to throw whatever you’d like off of it.

When Special gets too foamy and the level starts to rise Malalu a big soft mostly green wave forms 40minutes paddle downstream. Very friendly and soft and in the evenings when it gets high and the wave gets steep and green it’s one of my favourite waves in the World.

Having spent the few weeks before I came here battling it out alongside Bren at a cold and deserted Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham it’s so sweet to be out here with Katya on the waves I really love to paddle and best of all no thermals are necessary.




Between sessions we’ve been loving life on the second island at the Hairy Lemon campsite. It’s pretty special here as we are the only ones on this bit of the island and because of that the animals shelter there and enjoy the peace.

Every day we are treated to the sight and sounds of the birds, monkeys & monitor lizards going about their daily routines. In the evenings across the little channel of river from us a rare African Finch Foot bird has been roosting! It’s a bit like being in a Wildlife documentary, I love it!


Bren, Palm’s junior star has been paddling so well out here too, he’s really getting the waves dialled in and his paddling is going pretty sick! i think he has 4 more weeks here and is pretty fired up to run some of the bigger rapids too having already been showing some of the other guys down Itanda so look out for more from him when he gets back to the UK.

Just before I came out here I drove down to Palm HQ to pick up some summer kit for the trip out here and they had a few new items to give to us to check out too;

The Paw Shoe and the Vortex Jacket

The Paw shoe is pretty much a dream for Playboaters, as lightweight and slimline as a neo sock but with a thin sole to protect your feet, we’ve been running around rough rocks everyday and squeezing into our boats and they’ve held up great to our abuse, pretty sick bit of kit for Playboaters like us.

The Vortex is a new lightweight cag that has been ideal out here to whack on over the top of my deck as it’s a bit too hot for my normal zenith shortie and I hate just paddling in a deck as too much water always gets in whatever I try (not fat enough to fill the gaps 😉 So the vortex has been an ideal lightweight solution for me and has so far kept the water out of my boat and not made me feel like i’m going to pass out in the heat every time I have a long ride.

Off to Jinja today to go get fast net and see some of our old friends at Nile River Explorers where I used to work and then paddling in paradise again tomorrow.

It’s also worth mentioning the rapids for paddlers wishing to head out here now the dam is in.

Although there is no Silverback section anymore there is a cracking section of 50? km of river full of rapids and waves still here.

With the constant high water the big rapids like Dead Dutchman, Itanda, Hypoxia and Kalagala are at perfect levels and are getting ran very regularly by those who want to push themselves in that direction and of course there are plenty of nice grade 3 and 4 rapids and smaller waves as well as holes along the Day 2 stretch of river.

Anyhow bye for now,

Pringle & Katya

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About James Bebbington

2011 ICF World Freestyle Kayak Champion & 2011 ICF World Cup Freestyle Kayak Champion Passionate about Kayaking, Travel, Nature, Dreams, Raw Food & the Beauty of Life. Don't give up on your dreams, listen to your heart!
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1 Response to Uganda’s White Nile – Winter Escape

  1. scotty says:

    hey james &katya, its scooty here! i left u at the lemon 3 weeks ago; best wishes to both of you x u might be glad to know ive totally been on the raw friut and veg thang!!! i have had cooked soups (veg) and some fish but apart from two horrible mistakes involving 1 x kebab and 1x mcdonalds, which i felt sooooo yukky after its been good…. ive stated to have porridge now in morns for heart healthy oats and calcium milk but a big thanks for ur inspiration, it was the icing on the cake for something that had been on my mind for sometime and my body despro nededs it!!! thanks and big hug to both of ya x scotty

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