Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Paddling the White Nile
Paddling LIfe has posted a great story written by Jessie Stone, a doctor who has worked in Uganda on malaria projects, on why she loves the White Nile and why it is amongst her favorite paddling destinations anywhere in the world.
The Nile is the longest river in the world and flows from its source, Lake Victoria, for more than 4130 miles. The river is fed by two tributaries, the White and Blue Nile, that flow across a number of countries. The White has its origins in Rwanda, but really picks up power in Uganda, which is where Stone has spent much of her time exploring it.
The good doctor's article reads more like a love letter to her favorite paddling spots, with her sharing some of the best places to drop your kayak in the water. She describes some amazing white water, with all kinds of challenges, with intermittent slow sections that are highlighted by the locals bathing and doing laundry along the shores of a river that helped to give birth to civilizations on this planet.
Sadly however, much of what Stone loves about this section of the White Nile will soon change. The Ugandan government is in the process of building a dam, which is set for completion in March of 2010. That dam will actually flood several of the best paddling spots in the region, and change the flow of the river below it forever. Much of the "Wild Nile" will be gone, another great river tamed by man.
This is a good story that makes me want to head to Uganda and paddle this portion of the river before it is altered forever. I know this is done in the name of progress, and the dam will likely provide power to a developing nation, but tat doesn't mean it isn't a sad loss none the less.