The Isimba hydropower project is well underway in Uganda and the unfortunate truth is that we will soon be losing some of the white water on this section of amazing rapids.
There is a lot of misunderstanding surrounding the dam, and it is hard for people to find out accurate information on what is happening, so we have set up this page up to provide kayakers with information about what is going on to the best of our knowledge.
Here are some facts and dates about the project and it’s impact on the white water:
- Construction is well under way for the tallest version of the dam height options
- Based on the original schedule, the dam wall was due to be completed by mid 2017
(update as of the 20th of July 2017 – the dam wall has been delayed by 4-6 months) and the flooding of the rapids was scheduled for the 23rd of May 2018. These dates were taken from the Ministry for Energy’s schedule, but we are not being kept well informed, so they may vary either way.
Due to worker strikes and faults reported in the dam construction, we expect a delay of 4-6 months for completion. Therefore we expect flooding to push back to between the end of September 2018 and the end of November 2018. We are working to get further confirmation of these dates.
Please watch this video for more information:
The rapids that will definitely be flooded include:
- Nile Special
- Kula Shaker
- Hair of the Dog
The following rapids will definitely be left in place post dam:
- Real Deal
- Chop Suey
- Fairy Tale
- Dead Dutchman
- Giggity Giggity
- The rapid below the Owen Falls Dam
There is uncertainty about the Vengeance and Novacaine rapids. Depending on which displacement map you look at they are either flooded or unaffected, hopefully we can update you more on this before completion because we are working on clarification with the construction company.
What does this mean for Kayak the Nile?
Kayak the Nile will continue to operate post Isimba Dam completion, utilising the remaining white water and the numerous lakes and calmer river sections.
What does this mean for the Hairy Lemon Island?
- The Hairy Lemon Island will be completely submerged upon full flooding of the reservoir
- Before the flooding is completed, teams of dam workers will be chopping down all of the trees in the flood zone, including those on the Hairy Lemon. This was scheduled for mid 2017, but fortunately they have managed to preserve them for potentially many months still, however there is a level of uncertainty about how long the Hairy lemon will be able to preserve their trees (hoping for Feb 2018 or later because the dam was scheduled for completion in May 2018 but has now been potentially delayed for 4-6 months)
- The 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 at least two months prior to flooding
- There are great discounts available for long stay kayakers wanting to stay on the Hairy Lemon Island before it goes, for more information please email email@example.com or contact us at Kayak the Nile
Malalu 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.
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. The ramp, Itanda race, and for the most part the endurance race will remain unchanged post flooding, and it’s likely we will add a freestyle throw down on one of the remaining features, and a big trick contest on the Cuban.
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!
If you have any questions about any of the above, or anything to do with Kayaking on the Nile, get in touch below: