Every child learns of the Nile River in school. What we don’t learn is about the incredible rapids on the Nile. The Nile flows right out of Lake Victoria which is about the size of Switzerland but so deep that it holds a record amount of fresh water. We took a plane back to South Africa and then up to Entebbe, Uganda where the Nile begins. The river starts with 1,800 cubic meters/second at the source which is 7 times as much as the Zambezi. The rapids are big water rapids and definitely drop pool. The river is not unlike a many times bigger Ottawa or Slave River. Some of the drops are quite dangerous and there are so many channels that having a guide or scouting are required.
Steve Fisher and I went downstream from our camp on rapid to take some shots and found an island full of giant fruit bats. I am talking about 10,000 or more bats. Steve thought it would make a good picture if I was in the tree with them, so I tried, but the entire island of bats took off and circled. It looked like a scene out of Scooby Doo. These things had a wing span of three feet. Apparently they don’t bite, because if they did, we certainly would have been bitten.
After my first day on the river, I got Malaria. I found out that the anti-malaria drug my doctor gave me was for South America, not Africa. If you can, you should really avoid getting Malaria, it was not fun. It took me four days to get on my feet and paddling again (not well though). All in all I only got three days of paddling on the Nile. Our camp was right at the put-in and we only needed a shuttle home. There is 75 kilometers of incredible whitewater downstream of the camp. They even have a kayak school at the river through Nile River Explorers. Finally, we left for Johannesburg and then back to Atlanta. Jay went on to Australia, Jessie and Chris went to Chile, Clay and I came back to Rock Island.