Nile is one of the biggest and the most mysterious rivers in the world. It starts its flow from Lake Victoria and goes through jungles savannas and desserts all the way to Mediterranean. Due to Arab Spring, as well as conflicts in South Sudan and Darfur, taking the river Nile odyssey is now harder than ever, but this adventurous trip still attracts lots of travelers from around the world.
Bukoba is a city in north-west Tanzania, this is one of the most beautiful parts of Africa, in close proximity to Serengeti National Park and on the shores of majestic Lake Victoria. Before starting the journey travelers usually spend few days in this beautiful area, visit Serengeti, dip in Lake Victoria and travel to island Rubondo, which is home to hippos, crocodiles and more than 400 species of birds. Outside Bukoba there is also a site of prehistoric cave paintings. Other than that, this city also has a very interesting museum, and it is a perfect place to buy supplies for the journey. If you want to be extra careful, you can also buy supplies and tracking gear from few online shops that operate in the area, such as Kupatana for example.
From Bukoba you will need to catch a bus to Kampala the capital of Uganda, great detour would be to turn West from Masaka, and head to Bwindi, Mgahinga, Kibale or Queen Elisabeth National Parks famous for their gorilla treks. Kampala is a very vibrant city, with busy streets and interesting suburbs. Simple public transportation route here, can turn into real adventure whether you choose to ride in Boda Boda (back seat of a motorcycle) or a Matatu (minibus painted in vivid colors with loud hip hop music banging). In Kampala and nearby Entebbe you can also find plenty of cultural institutions, monuments and sites including: Uganda Museum, Kasubi tombs of kings of Buganda, Nommo art gallery, Bahai temple, Gaddafi mosque, Cathedral and the Parliament building.
From Kampala most people go the place where Victoria Nile leaves Lake Victoria shaped by many linns, rapids and overfalls, where adrenalin junkies like to raft. Large part of this magnificent river that flows through Uganda is perfect for rafting. While you are there you should also visit Jinja, the place where Nile flows out the lake and the birth place of the famous Nile beer.
There are several different Nile tributaries in Uganda, that collapse into a great Nile river that flows all the way to the Mediterranean. Unlike Victoria Nile, that is excellent for rafting, Albert Nile is more suitable for slower rides, watching the beautiful sunset, while being surrounded with some of the biggest and deadliest river animals on the continent, including crocodiles and hypos.
Brand new country on the Nile’s way from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean. South Sudan is still facing lots of instability and border conflicts with its northern neighbor. Capital of South Sudan is Juba, city residing on the White Nile’s left bank. Before Juba you should visit Nimule National Park in deep South of the country. Juba will probably be your next stop. This city has recently became capital and it is already crowded with ex-pat communities from many different African countries and lots of bars, restaurants and clubs made to serve them.
Since the border between Southern Sudan and Sudan is almost impossible to cross, there are two different ways to enter the country coming from the south. One is by making a little detour to Ethiopia, but since it is very hard to get Sudanese visa in Addis Ababa, your best bet would be to catch a plane from Juba to Khartoum, directly or through Addis Ababa or Nairobi. From Khartoum you can easily navigate through Central Sudan down the White Nile river. Khartoum is a very important city on the Nile flow since this is where Blue and White Nile merge and create one of the biggest rivers in the World. City lives for the river and that is why one of the most important streets is called The Nile street, and here you can find some of the best looking Khartoum buildings, including Presidential Palace, with its guard changing ceremony and the Presidential Palace museum. While in the city you also shouldn’t miss to visit Souq Omdurman, one of the largest markets in whole Africa as well as Sufi dancing ceremony that’s held every Friday at Hamed al-Nil tomb.
Friday is a very busy day in Khartoum, since on the same day in Northern Khartoum (Bahri suburb) you can watch a real Nuba wrestling spectacle, with wrestlers battling in front of crowds that sometimes reach more than one thousand people. While you’re at Bahri, also visit Saad Gishra market, and Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory, bombed with Tomahawks in the recent war, very interesting place to wonder around and one of the most famous Khartoum of the beaten path sites.
This country is still coming back to life after the Arab Spring and recent terrorist attacks, and therefore it is highly advisable to all travelers who plan to follow river Nile down to Mediterranean to be careful especially when entering crowded places and buzzing around streets of Cairo. Most travelers that follow Nile’s route enter Egypt by ferry on Lake Nasser arriving from Wadi Haifa. From this place north there are lots of different temple towns, with plenty of historical sites. Two most famous ones are Luxor and Aswan. The later lives on Nile and its islands and it is called the Egypt’s gate to Africa due to its strong trade connections with Sudanese cities and big Nubian population. It is also the place of the famous Aswan damn. Luxor is much bigger and it is one of the most famous historical sites in the world. There you can see ruins and tombs of Ancient Egyptian capital Thebes and some of the most famous archaeological sites like: Ramses temple, Valley of Kings, etc.
Next destination for most travelers is usually Cairo, biggest city on the Nile flow and in whole Africa, with dynamic city life and crowded streets. Of course after Cairo you can visit plenty of other historical and natural sites of this beautiful country including world famous pyramids, Memphis, and of course Alexandria the biggest city in the Nile Delta, which is a great place to finish this interesting trip following the river that at the same time connects and separates people, nations and cultures of African continent.