Holland Park-Self Catering Cottages on The Nile
By Michelle Sutton
On the west bank of the Nile just outside of Jinja lays an oasis, a place where you can relax in a hammock overlooking the Nile absent from the constraints of time. At Holland Park, time is all yours in your own private self catering cottage set in a peaceful and serene location. A weekend spent here was the perfect escape from the madness of Kampala.
Four and a half kilometres from the brewery along the Kayunga Road, we couldn’t miss the orange sign that directed us off the main road. We drove past several village homes and received the usual greetings you would expect in Uganda of children waving, laughing and shouting “Mzungu”. As we arrive at the gate we are sensing the placidity that lies within. The gate is opened and we enter a large property with sprawling green lawns speckled with a diverse selection of trees and shrubs.
The accommodation at Holland Park consists of three thatch roof cottages and one large tent nestled under a thatch roof. All of the units are self catering with fully equipped kitchens with gas stove, fridge, cookware and an outdoor BBQ with hardwood charcoal supplied.
The cottages sleep up to four people, with a queen sized bed and two twin beds in an open plan mezzanine. Downstairs is a bathroom with solar hot water showers, a dining room, kitchen and covered veranda. All the necessary towels and linens are supplied. They have been finished meticulously and decorated with an eclectic mix of antique furniture from Europe alongside custom made modern furniture and finished with little touches that make the place feel like home right down to fresh flowers from the garden gracing the table. The cottages face the river and hammocks are on hand for you to sink into and absorb the tranquility of the place.
The tent sleeps two people and is perched up on the riverbank. Don’t let the word tent fool you, it’s a luxury safari tent furnished inside, so there is no roughing it here. It is secluded from the cottages and gives a private bird’s eye view over the river. Its large covered veranda is furnished with daybeds and a hammock. Don’t be surprised if the red tailed monkeys come swinging by the tent during the day. The fully equipped kitchen is at the rear of the tent adjacent to a private bathroom and shower.
We spent the weekend in a cottage and felt like we had been drifted a million miles away. We awoke in the morning to the call of the fish eagles and spent hours drinking coffee while treasuring the view before finally deciding to cook breakfast. Our favourite aspect of Holland Park was the privacy and flexibility. You can spend your day however you wish and cook when you’re ready without the worry of mealtimes. Holland Park is set on approximately 10 acres and boasts 112 confirmed species of birds so remember to pack your binoculars
The owners Wim and Monique who live on the premises are friendly gracious hosts and always at hand to provide assistance if needed. The facilities are only open to guests, day visitors are not permitted so if you want to escape somewhere for the weekend and not have to see a single soul, this is the place.
The location of Holland Park allows for easy trips into Jinja which offers an array of activities as well as cafes and restaurants. Horseback riding is a 3 minute walk away and offers trail rides in the area. Onsite, a boat trip is offered which seemed like the natural choice for us after our incredibly relaxing morning. Wim took us out on the water in a motorboat and as we sat under the shade of its cover, we listened to him tell us about the area and point out birds, monitor lizards sunning on the rocks as well as vervet and red tailed monkeys. We gently cruised up to the Nalubaale Dam and then down to the new Bujagali Dam enjoying all of the sights and sounds the Nile had to offer. Apart from scenic bird watching excursions, fishing trips can also be arranged.
Holland Park is constantly evolving and plans are in place for a swimming pool in the future. If you are interested in staying but can’t be bothered to cook for yourself, a private international chef can be arranged. Our weekend at Holland Park was not long enough; I suppose no holiday ever is. We didn’t want to leave and missed its calming effects the moment we drove out of the gate.
Wim and Monique
+256 (0) 782 507 788