When in Jinja next, you could explore Lake Victoria aboard sailboat XplorA, states Julius Kiyenje in this first-person account
After living in Florida for over two decades, I was excited to learn that I could go sailing in Jinja. When we arrived at Kingfisher Safaris Resort in Jinja, we were warmly welcomed by Hans Szameit of XplorA sailing boat and Hans Fischer of Kingfisher.
The resort is nestled in natural environment and gels with the surrounding, as though it has been there for centuries. As soon as you walk in, you see the beautiful pool and immediately want to jump in for a dip. The second thing we noticed was the magnitude of the tall palm trees and a man climbing to get some coconuts. After checking in we were treated to a delicious tilapia fillet lunch, while being briefed by Skipper Hans.
The briefing focused on the basics of sailing and important safety precautions. Sailing is an activity that is a mind and body experience. Be prepared for tranquility, along with hands-on experience. You do not need prior sailing experience, as Hans will teach you all you need to know.
Hans, a physiotherapist by profession, also has vast knowledge about health, wellness, and fitness, plus a true passion for sailing. He is a floating encyclopedia. He purchased XplorA (Explore Africa) while she was in great disrepair and spent a great deal of time bringing her back to sailing worthiness. Hans had to mould his own carbon fibre and imported the majority of the parts needed to bring her back to glory. His focus was not only on speed, but safety in order to ensure the comfort of his customers..
A little after 1pm we proceeded to the shore, put on our life vests, and boarded XplorA along with Skipper Hans and his assistant Aida. We used the engine (mainly there for safety) to leave shore as there was barely any wind. Rest assured that if the day you go out is windless Hans will give you a voucher to return free of charge. For the first forty minutes we learnt more hands on about the equipment on the boat, we helped raise the 30 square meters of sail, and thought it would be a slow laid back day on Lake Victoria.
Be prepared to adjust to your environment when on the water as things can certainly change from one moment to the next as we were to find out thereafter. As the wind picked up we were all ushered to our positions and tasks and the excitement began to build up as did the speed. We started to experience what sailing is all about as we all took a turn at steering and with manoeuvring XplorA around the great lake.
As the wind continued to pick up and the adrenaline kept building with speed we continued to work as a team under the directions of our skilled leader. We shifted from one side of the boat to the other in order to balance the weight of the boat and stay stable and afloat. Getting splashed by waves was also a highlight as the afternoon heat at the beginning was starting to get to me. A few hours elapsed with continual euphoria then we circled an island and were heading back to the Kingfisher Safaris Resort when the skies decided to open up. We barely felt it as we were enjoying ourselves too much.
The overall experience was enjoyable because we got several different senses activated. From the start, we felt one with nature on calm waters to fighting against it once the wind picked up, then the rain. The adrenaline rush from doing manoeuvres, getting splashed and then back to a relaxing environment back at the Kingfisher Lodge has left us yearning for more.
Contact Hans Szameit (Lamalo Travel) about custom tours and to book a trip at firstname.lastname@example.org or +256 717 221 693. Cost is $80 per person for a day, if you are a tourist. Discounts are given for residents and students.