Rhino Raft Race - 2009 -2014

Rhino Raft Race is a unique rafting fund-raising day held in support Rhino Fund Uganda.

Nile River Explorers made a pledge to organize this event on behalf of Rhino Fund Uganda and with the help of local businesses made it even more a success each year.

Ascot Ladies Team Rhino Raft Race Trophy Racing for the finish line

An article from THE EYE UGANDA February – March 2010

The problem with hosting an outdoor event in November in Uganda is that you never know on which day it will rain and if it does, will it be a torrential downpour followed by blue sky and sunshine, or will it be just a miserable day.

Well on Saturday 14th November 2009, the rains poured not once but three times on Explorers River Camp at Bujagali Falls. And although many of the 200 people gathered there were soaked to the skin, their enthusiasm and purpose for being there was in no-way dampened.
Twenty teams lined up to do battle for the Rhino Raft Race Trophy. Teams of six, in heats of four racing along a 5km stretch of river from Owen Falls Dam to Bujagali Falls to raise money for Rhino Fund Uganda. Not too long ago, the rhinoceros roamed freely throughout Africa, enjoying vast populations and wide open ranges. Explosive growth in the human population and extensive poaching activities has caused their numbers to decrease severely, creating worldwide concern.

Mother and baby Raft Race logo Racing for the finish line

The last wild rhino in Uganda was spotted in 1983. Remaining populations in East and Southern Africa are alarmingly low. Rhino horns fetch a high price on world markets where they are sold to be made into sword handles, medicines and aphrodisiacs. To make things worse, rhinos have an extremely low reproductive rate, breeding only once every two or three years and bearing only one offspring. So chances for survival of the species are low.

In 1997, an organization named Rhino Fund Uganda was established with the ultimate goal of reintroducing the rhino back into Uganda. Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU) is responsible for raising adequate funds and gaining international recognition for the upkeep of Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary at Nakitoma, 170km north of Kampala, as an interim step towards the reintroduction of the rhinoceros into Uganda’s National Parks.

On Saturday 14th November 2009, $10,000 was raised in one day for this worthy cause. Companies, families, friends and volunteers banded together to do battle. Challenges were also put out between friendly rival teams. The directors of Nile Breweries left a wake and their manager’s team a good 30 seconds behind in one heat. V.S.O and Peace Corp volunteers once again battled it out continuing a friendly grudge which started over a previous football game. The results and competitive spirit was admirable, at the end of the day only 30 seconds separated the 5 fastest teams, with the fastest coming in at 20mins 10 secs.

Tourism Uganda team Trentyres team VSO team

The Ascot ladies, representing Nile River Explorers, who looked resplendent in their colourful kikoys and flower ordained hats, should have won the prize for best dressed but after a long day of sipping champagne and eating cucumber sandwiches, organizers were unable to find a team member coherent enough to accept the prize.

The Keltron Construction team, captained by Timmy Flowers and consisting of his kayaking and rafting friends, were most despondent to find that second prize was a grade 5 rafting trip with Nile River Explorers. Accusations of ‘rigged’ were directed at organizers, but good humour quickly returned when the team decided to auction off their prize and managed to raise another Ush/ 1,000,000 for Rhino Fund Uganda. Well done Keltron!!

But the stars of the day, the winning team were the rangers from Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, who despite having never been in a raft before were so determined to win that they almost forgot to stop after the finish line. Seems like the dedication they have to their rhino’s is so great that even the wooden rhino trophy belongs in their care.

Keltron team Rhino Rangers with winners trophy Nile Breweries directors accepting their prize

Nile River Explorers intend to make this an annual event, so come and join us next year to see who will beat the rangers – maybe it could be you! Rhino Fund Uganda and Nile River Explorers would like to thank the following companies and organizations for their support in this event:
Nile Breweries, Sadolin, Trentyres, Coca Cola, Bujagali Energy, Muntoni Construction, Brussels Airlines, Keltron, Bubbles O’Leary, Rwenzori Water, Shoprite, Your Choice, Bread & Cakes, Wild Frontiers, On Course, Kayak the Nile, All Terrain Adventures, Ngamba Island, UWEC, Two Friends, Game, Semliki Safari Lodge, Kibale Primate Lodge, Serena Lake Victoria Hotel, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Nile Horseback Safaris, Red Chilli, Sheraton Hotel, Sipi River Lodge, Media Moguls, Mamba Point, The Haven, Orient Bank, Lotus Mexicana, New York Kitchen, Pearl of Africa, Great Lake Safaris, V.S.O., J.A.S.A and Tourism Uganda.