Last Descent of Blue Nile, AFRICA

12-14 day trips, with the option for longer expeditions.

Jul 28-Aug 8: preliminary kayak-only high water descent (~12 days; ~500km; self-support; shared cost): TL: Rocky Contos

Sep 28-Oct 25: raft-support medium water descent (28 days; 850km; Grand Canyon set-up; shorter sections possible); TL: Rocky Contos

Nov 3-Nov 30: raft-support medium water descent (possible additional trip if enough interest)

The Omo is gone. Now much of the Blue Nile will be lost. Let’s do something to protect what remains! Join us on one of our planned expeditions.

Expertly Guided Trip, Transfers to River from Flight, Food, Raft/Kayak and Paddles included; if you'd like to add rental of personal gear (vest, helmet, tent, sleeping bag) on this trip-- let us know, as this can be done inexpensively.

A $500 deposit holds your place; detailed trip pricing to follow shortly:

The Blue Nile flows through the bona fide Grand Canyon of Africa and is a river that deserves protection.

On this planned raft-support expedition, we’ll spend nearly a month rafting down the river canyon and documenting it on what is likely to be a last descent of much of the river before it is lost to a massive dam project due to flood the lowermost ~200km in Ethiopia.  

A preliminary kayak-only descent from the source will take place around late July or early August.  On the main trip launching late September, we’ll put in with the rafts just below Tissisat Falls (about 40km downstream of Lake Tana) where there is certain to be a runnable level of water in the river Sep-Oct.  The first challenge will be to navigate the tough rapids in the next ~50km, in what is called the Northern Gorge, where there are numerous class IVs and at least three Vs (Gauntlet, Crux, and Cave). The gorge ends at the Abay river confluence and 2nd Portuguese Bridge.  From that point down for the next ~800km of the trip, the river is fairly easy and usually class III max, though there still might be a IV in parts.  The deepest part of the canyon (the "Grand Canyon”) is the section between the 2nd Portuguese bridge and the Shefartak bridge (Abbay bridge).  There are possible participant exchanges at the three main bridge crossings of the river (Days 9, 12, and 19 of the trip).  Downstream of the Sefartak bridge we’ll paddle through the Black Gorge where there are much fewer people, more wildlife, and a series of tougher rapids (III-IV).  

We will have a special treat on the trip this year since ours will possibly be the last raft trip to float through the Lowland Gorges because the Grand Ethiopian Rennaissance Dam (GERD) is due to be completed later this year (2017) and will be flooding upstream ~200km from near the Sudan border.  In the future, trips will have to end around the km 600-650 mark.  

It’s very important to get the word out about how special the Grand Canyon section is and that no dams should be placed upstream of the GERD.  Given the huge amount of hydro power GERD is expected to add to the grid (~5000MW; almost half the power of Three Gorges), along with the new Tana-Beles project and the new projects on the Omo, the supply of electricity in Ethiopia will be much greater than demand for probably at least a decade, so we have some time to sway opinion and actually protect this Grand Canyon of Africa.