Jinja has often been described as the Adrenaline capital of East Africa. Visitors to Jinja have opportunities to take part in some hair raising activities like Bungee Jumping, Kayaking, White water rafting (Grade 5), horseback riding and Quad biking. This article will be looking at Quad biking and horseback riding in more detail with information about how each activity is organized and what to expect incase one is planning on carrying them out.
Quad Biking in Jinja
Jinja is an excellent place to spend a couple of days after a safari in Queen Elizabeth, Murchison falls or Bwindi national park. Quad biking is one of the most exciting activities to engage in while touring Jinja town. The activity is organized in other parts of Uganda but not as popular as it is in Jinja town. What makes Quad biking special in Jinja, is the opportunity to experience the African countryside and mingle with local people as they go about their daily activities. Most African safaris occur in the African wilderness, inside a safari vehicle and with limited opportunities to experience the African rural life. Quad biking in Jinja is done mainly in the villages, forests, tea/sugar plantations and the banks of the Nile River. Not in the congested and noisy towns or trading centers by the main roads but to areas rarely visited by tourist.
The Actual Experience
Quad biking is open to individuals of at least 12 years. There is no limit to the number of participants and the activity can go on for up to four hours. Quad biking can be arranged for between one and four hours. The Quad companies usually provide all the required equipment including guides, overalls and goggles. The exercise begins with a briefing and free training lessons at the practice circuit for about 30 minutes. One does not need to have experience with the bikes in order to participate. The topics covered are generally about how to manage the bike on the road. Things like how to change gear, maintain stability, remain on track and look out for local kids crossing the road. Apart from general safety measures, participants are also warned about unnecessary overtaking/competition (as tempting as it is) and killing local animals.
Depending on the results of the training, a trip is designed taking into consideration the ability of the rider. To that end Bikers are put into three categories – expert riders, beginners and children. Participants are than assigned either manual or automatic bikes. After the briefing and training, bikers are fitted with overalls helmets and other safety equipment. The group then follows the lead biker in an organized line. All paths go through the countryside, but different routes are taken while going and coming back.
While on the track, expect to meet and bypass “boda bodas” (motorcycles), waving kids, people in their gardens, girls from the well or women carrying their babies with a load on their head. It is very rare to meet vehicles because the routes taken are off the main roads/highways. During the stops along the Nile, watch as women wash clothes by the river banks or little children swim through very powerful currents and rapids with only a jerry can. The guide will share with you the history of the river, Jinja town and the three power dams along the Jinja stretch of the Nile.
What You need to know when planning to do Quad Biking in Jinja
Quad biking costs between $50 to $110 depending on the route and hours.
In order to feel comfortable during the activity, bikers need loose/light clothing (preferably a tracksuit or legging). The Quad biking Company can provide the overalls and gumboots to protect against mud and watery surface but you can come with your own. Cameras must be kept in dust and water resistant bags.
The best time to go for quad biking in Jinja is during the rainy seasons of Uganda. The more mud in the ground, the better as sliding makes the activity more exciting. Moreover, during the rainy season, the countryside is very scenic with a lot of activity and beautiful singing birds everywhere. The dry season makes the track very dusty and a nightmare for bikers at the back of the group who may find themselve covered with dust on completion.
Although riding in mud is exciting, it is good to exercise caution. The Quad Bikes have large tires that can throw mud right into the face of the next biker.
Note: Apart from Jinja, Quad biking is possible in Lake Mburo National Park. Lake Mburo is the only park currently offering this activity because there are no elephants and threats from lions are non-existent. The large bikes are perfect for exploring the park even alone. The Quad bikes used in Lake Mburo National Park are easy to navigate and are fitted with silencers so as not to scare away the animals. Like in Jinja, Bikers undergo a briefing before proceeding to the see wild animals grazing on the savannah plains, forest and valleys. Bikers are strongly warned against over speeding or diverting from the established tracks. The park authorities provide gumboots, helmets, overalls and goggles.
Horseback riding safaris in Jinja Uganda
Horseback riding is a rare activity in Uganda. Over 1600, horses have been recorded by census Agencies in Uganda with most in the Karamoja region. Exploring a national park or local village on a horseback is a unique and marvelous way to experience the wildlife and landscapes of Africa. Mihingo safari lodge in Lake Mburo National park offers the best horseback riding experience and is only rivaled by Jinja town. Whereas the horseback safaris in Lake Mburo allow you get close to the park animals, the arrangement in Jinja is meant to allow tourists experience Africa’s village life while marveling at the panoramic views of the river Nile and tea estates.
Nile Horseback Safaris is the main company running horseback safaris in Jinja. The company is owned by an Australian Expatriate. Their horses are experienced and trained well and know what is expected of them. Each horse has a mounting block, saddlebags and rain jacket that can be very handy during the rainy season. Usually there are two guides – one leads riders and the other follows behind to ensure that no one is getting any difficulties. There rides take between 1 and 3 hours in the morning, afternoon and at sunset. Only experienced riders can go for the overnight ride because it is more strenuous and goes through challenging trails.
In order not to strain the horses, the companies have a weight restriction. Riders cannot be over 90 kilograms. Most of the companies in Jinja require at least two people in order to participate in the overnight/sunset horseback ride. Those who have no experience riding shouldn’t be worried because most of the participants are first time riders. Inexperienced riders are given training on how to control a horse before the start of the activity. In case there is a large group with different riding skill levels, the group begins at the same pace and separate at some point to allow the more advanced riders move ahead. To cater for kids, the horse riding company’s reserve some ponies for kids. Whenever kids are on a pony, a guide closely monitors them.
The cost of Horse riding
Horse riding costs between $40 and $80 per adult depending on the hours and sessions. The short pony ride for kids cost about $20. Sunset horse riding costs $60 while the 4 night overnight ride costs $265. It is important to book the horse riding activity in advance because the guides and horses may be limited. In order to book a horseback safari or tour, you need to contact a tour operator or go directly to one of the companies arranging the activity. Mission Africa Safaris can help you arrange a memorable Tour of Jinja including Horse riding, Bungee jumping, Quad biking and canoeing. We have good working relationships with horseback riding companies in Jinja and can help you put together a memorable tour.
In order to have the most comfortable experience, it is important to pack the following:
- A bottle of eater:
- Cream to protect against the sun:
- A Camera
- Closed shoes and the right clothes like long trousers.