Were there also village people around to haul his boat around unsurpassable rapids? We only needed such external help once. Otherwise the river did the carrying. But for most people, rafting is not so much about floating than about flipping over. Gilles’ raft turned over five times on the 27 kilometers of river travel. Heidi chose the rescue boat, which travels the same river but approaches the rapids less hazardously.
From there, she watched in amazement how people and paddles were flung far from the rafts. So did the watchful guide, ready to pull the castaways from the river. Only once did he make a grim face when he considered a particular flip as to dangerous. He screamed at the kayakers, who desperately tried to reach the drifters. The current was so strong that everybody was washed away in the gushing water. Gilles was rushed by with eyes wide open. Luckily he avoided crashing too hard against big rocks and came out of this adventure with only a few bruises. Eventually the kayakers fished up everybody.
Nile Rafting Explorer was the company we chose to rock through a total of nine rapids. The stretches in between require a lot of strenuous rowing. For that two rafts plus the rescue boat are tied together and the guides take turns doing this strenuous job.
In the meantime, we admired the lush scenery on the banks and exchanged travel stories with our fellow rafters. Peter & Sophie from Australia were travelling overland from Cape Town to London. Mike and Lili, two South Africans, started in their camper in Johannesburg and came as far north as Uganda! They were the real experts on East Africa and also the bravest. Neither of them could swim! Mike tumbled through four rapids before he joined “the chicken box”, as the guides called the safety boat where Heidi and Lili were enjoying themselves.
After a frosty drizzle, every gush of Nile water felt like a warm shower. So we did not mind when we headed straight for a delicious barbecue ashore after the last rapid. Thanks to an accompanying photographer, we can look again and again at the scared faces disappearing in the water, paddles flying through the air and then nothing, but a raft up side down…