Source of the Nile Ride, Jinja, Uganda

This is a quick post about my random adventures related to the Source of the Nile here in Uganda. It all started when I got a WhatsApp message from Bike Shop Uganda.’  The message concerned an outdoor event by Activate Uganda called ‘Source of the Nile Trail Run and MTB Challenge. Let me point out that neither running nor challenges are high on my list of things to do, but the location of the event in the Jinja area was. So a very poor plan began to form and an even poorer implementation ensued.

moderateI started by asking around for a dirt road GPS track from Kampala (the capital where I am based) and Jinja. The website did have some routes but you have to pay to download the tracks and I think that sucks. So I created my own (poor decision in hindsight).

The next day I took the motor canoe from Ggaba Port across Lake Victoria to Bula port. I then started peddling like a fool for the next 9.5 hours. Let me point out that I missed a few of my GPS marked turns and so the actual route (see Maps & Facts) I did involved quite a bit of winding along the 90+ kilometers of pitted, bumpy, dusty and seriously undulating farm roads. Let me be clear for novices. Uganda is full of hills and the farm tracks do not enjoy the luxury of winding. They generally attack hills by simply cutting straight up one side and down the other. Exhausting work up and adrenaline spiked fear down.

Once in Jinja I did a bit of exploring (sight seeing) and a lot of recovering (from my ride).

cost range

Total Cost Range of this Activity is: $

See Activate Uganda for Race Entry Fees

2022 prices

Source of the Nile Race

Fast forward a few days and 200 plus people are now gathered at the Nile River Explorers Camp (the registration point for the event) getting their packets, buying T-Shirts and drinking cold Nile beer. Heaps of fun until the rooster crowed at 5:30 Am for the 6:30 start.

Click to watch Video

The organizers (Activate Uganda) did all the normal technical stuff nicely (starting line with electronic bib trackers, calked out the route on the dirt roads and trails, etc.) and the race/challenge participants generally set off at intervals on time.

But where am I in this picture you ask? I decided not to participate since it is mighty hard to ride a MTB on muddy chicken laden trails while filming an event. And yes, I preferred to film on that lovely day rather than getting scratched and muddy.

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There were 3 different routes, depending on which of the 4 races or MTB a participant was in so there were lots of opportunities to film participants and more importantly the locals and their habitats (the race literally wound through tiny villages, on foot paths and people’s front yards).

By mid-morning things were winding down, the speedsters had finished quickly, and it was getting mighty hot, so I returned to the Nile River Explorers to watch Rob (one of the participants) take advantage of the camp’s crazy water slide into the river (see video), said my farewells and then rode East towards town to spend a few days by the Jinja Base Camp pool and explore ancient Nyero rock paintings.

Other Uganda Outings

Visit the GPS tracks page for a list of GPS tracks that you can download (zipped) for use on your phone. Visit my adventure mobile apps (which include limited mapping and GPS features) or the Android Lotus app for more robust real-time GPS navigation.

Check out the Escape from Kamapla post for a summary of Uganda stuff.

Read the Punishment Island, Lake Bunyonyi blog.

Read about Murchison Falls Self-drive safari.

Read about the Nyero Rock Paintings day trip.

Read the Lake Mburo National Park Safari blog.

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