Isimba Dam

The Isimba hydropower project is well underway in Uganda and the unfortunate truth is that we will soon be losing some of the whitewater on this section of amazing rapids.

There is a lot of misunderstanding around, and it is hard for people to find out accurate
information on what is happening, so we have set this page up to provide kayakers with
information about what is going on to the best of our knowledge.

Here are some dates and facts about the project and it’s impact on the whitewater:

  • Construction is well under way for the highest version of the dam height options.
  • The dam wall with the current schedule is to be complete by mid 2017 and the flooding of the rapids is scheduled for March 2018.
  • The rapids below Itanda will be flooded including Malalu, Nile Special, Kula Shaker, Hair of the Dog and most likely Vengeance.
  • Everything from Itanda and Kalagala up will still be there post dam so quality whitewater kayak will still exist post dam completion.
  • Before the flooding is completed, teams of dam workers will be chopping down all the trees in the flooded areas, including those on the Hairy Lemon. This is scheduled for mid 2017.
  • Dates provided are based on Ministry of Energy statements and construction schedules and are not certain.

What does this mean for Kayak the Nile and Hairy Lemon Island?

  • Hairy lemon will be fully operational for as long as possible and open until the flooding itself, but will be under the process of deconstruction of the buildings and trees from around mid 2017
  • There are great discounts available for long stay kayakers wanting to stay on Hairy Lemon
    Island before it goes, for more information please email hairylemonuganda@gmail.com or contact us at Kayak the Nile
  • Kayak the Nile will continue to operate post Isimba HPP completion, utilizing the remaining whitewater and the numerous lakes and calmer river sections also.
  • Nile River Festival will continue up to and beyond the dams completion, events will be changed and updated to utilise the amazing whitewater we will have left

One thing is for sure, if you have never surfed Nile Special or you would like to surf it one more time you should get a move on and get yourself out here!

Latest Update:

Quarry Blasting:
A quarry has been operating for a while now down at the normal take out (river left) at Malalu, where recently they have been blasting and rocks have landed in the wave’s main eddy.

We have had a meeting with the team in charge of blasting at the quarry and the resolution was that they would email out to all of the river operators and the Hairy Lemon at least 24 hours before they’re next going to blast.

Any scheduled blasting should only take place between the hours of 6pm and 6:30pm according to the lead contractor.

They have also supplied the phone number for a representative called Michael, who knows when the blasting will happen so if in doubt you can call the Kayak the Nile office before planning your next Malalu trip.

The Nile River Festival:
The Nile River Festival will continue long after the Isimba Dam, and most of the festival in its
current format is actually held on rapids that won’t be affected.

2018 will be the last time the freestyle part of the competition is held at Nile Special, but while the locations for the competition days may change slightly, the spirit and the spectacular show will go on.

Any questions about the Isimba Dam?