Nile River Camp Backpackers and Campsite
By Anita Jivani
The reputation of this new asset to Jinja’s booming tourism industry has mainly been by word of mouth as it opened after all the leading Uganda guide books were last printed. Hearing of it through a friend’s experience, I decided to pile the kids in the car, slip away from the Kampala chaos and spend a few days on the Nile.
The camp is situated next to the Nile Porch above Bujagali and offered me a few choices of accommodation. I chose to have four beds in a dorm room and as the place was relatively quiet, it meant we had the room to ourselves for the duration of our stay. Each bed has a cosy duvet and the room was spotless until we unpacked. The children had brought lots of things to amuse themselves but none got used. The camp is brilliant for kids with a decent sized pool and there is a little stream running into the Nile to be explored which has enough mini water falls to class as a “babbling brook”.
Ten Safari tents have been erected along the top of the river bank and are well spaced, each with its own hammock and stunning Nile view. They are available as a single or double option, a double is ideal if you are a couple. None of the accommodation is en suite but the showers were always gushing and hot and the bathroom facilities kept clean with the addition of fresh flowers every day. Little touches like that added to the feeling that we were one up on backpacking. The bar is a friendly place, offering usual drinks and stuff but when it rained, the manager, Damian, put on Nat Geo for the kids and made sure they were plied with milkshakes. The menagerie of kittens, rabbits, dogs and monkeys also added to the children’s enjoyment. The rope swing from a tree above the river was the death defying, all time, definite favourite for the kids. I just kept my eyes shut.
The camp is a good base for other activities, Nalubale Rafting offer all their activities from here, birding, fishing and sunset cruises being the latest activity on offer. We did a sunset cruise. The guy who runs these, Bingo, is so passionate about nature that it was infectious and the children delighted in seeing what they could spot before him. He gives a brief lesson on how to use the binoculars that are for use whilst on the boat. More than 120 species spotted so far and counting! Quad biking, crazy golf and horse riding are also options and will be doing those when we stay again in a few weeks. (Apparently paintballing is about to open)
Hammocks hang from the abundant shady trees and it tempting to settle in with a book and enjoy the incredible, slow sinking of the sun across the river. On the first night we were there another guest, steeling themselves for rafting the next day, exclaimed that it was the “colour of melted lions”, certainly a perfect location for the ubiquitous African tradition of a “Sundowner”
Although the trip was for my kids Easter break, I did manage to sneak off and have time in the River Spa next door. The massage was wonderful and the pedicure, perfect. The staff at The River Camp were happy to keep an eye on the kids who were all involved in building a raft out on Banana plants to float on the pool. It never managed to float with a child on top but supplied lots of fun in the planning and building, and of course, sinking
Our favourite meal at the camp was the Nachos and the fresh baked breads. Both dishes are served with hummus, salsa and Babaganoosh. The chicken wings are served on slate and delicious too. Breakfasts cater to all, bacon competing with fresh fruits. The bread is all home baked at The Black Lantern and we strolled up there on our last night to treat ourselves to the pork ribs. So although in “budget” we did luxury. And the Nile River Camp is best of both worlds. A very relaxed spot where kids can be noisy, muddy, thrilled, taught and then collapse into a comfortable deep sleep. Overall, a wonderful place for families and budget orientated travellers who want to get real value for their money and their time. But let’s keep it a secret!
For more information, please contact:-
The Nile River Camp
Mobile: +256 776 900450 / +256 772 903344