Eat, Sleep, Paddle... Kayaking on the White Nile

By Claire O'Hara

Uganda - January 2013

Once again as the New Year rolls in it's time to head to warmer climates to train. This years January training destination is the White Nile in Uganda (Africa) one of the most popular freestyle kayaking warm water winter training destinations in the world.

Uganda is situated in the middle of Africa just above Lake Victoria. This beautiful yet very poor country is home to the source of the White Nile and some of the best whitewater and freestyle kayaking waves in the world (Nile Special and Club Wave).

Travelling out with me is my coach Dennis Newton and Swedish team paddler Maria Lingreen. We arrived in Africa on the 2nd January and have spent the last 2 _ weeks living at Hairy Lemon a lovely campsite and paddling resort on an Island in the middle of the White Nile.

Life out here is very simple. Every morning we get up and go paddling, come back and eat breakfast, chill out and do a work out, eat lunch, chill out and do some stretching, go paddling, eat dinner and then go to bed. Most days we surf Club Wave in the morning when the river is low and tow onto Nile Special in the afternoon when levels are higher. The waves are incredible but busy as there are a lot of paddlers out here from all over the world.

Every few days to mix it up we head upstream to surf a sweet little hole called 'Super Hole'. As well as freestyle there is also a number of big volume rapids you can run especially on the day 2 rafting section of the Nile. There are also a whole mix of other adventure activities to do such as Quad biking and horse riding safaris, zip lines, bungee jumps and rafting and the local towns, villages and markets to explore.

We have just moved to the local rafting town Buagali for a few days to catch up with Internet, do some shopping and surf super hole but will very soon be heading back to the Hairy Lemon and settling into island life and training once more.

This is the perfect way to kick start the year with a combination of healthy food, loads of exercise, warm water and sun. This is my third trip to Uganda and so far is working out to the be the best. Despite fluctuating river levels and the loss of a number of big rapids due to the new dam, there is still plenty of incredible big volume whitewater rapids and waves left to play on. I'd recommend it as a freestyle destination to anyone.

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