Jinja Nile Resort
By Michelle Sutton
Jinja is well known as being the adventure capital of Uganda and is located relatively close to Kampala making it an ideal destination for weekend getaways. Regardless of your purpose, if you are looking for a resort hotel centrally located with plenty of character then the Jinja Nile Resort is a good choice.
When we arrived at Jinja Nile Resort, we entered the secured parking area and drove up to the covered entrance. We were greeted by a young man who took our bags from the car and entered the large lobby under a high cathedral ceiling. The reception desk is situated in the middle of the lobby and is flanked by two large wooden staircases that wind their way up to a mezzanine level. Vintage portraits of four explorers are painted high on the wall and natural light floods through a large stained glass window. The entrance is impressive and grand.
The resort is on 30 acres of well groomed gardens facing the Nile River. In late 2011 the river was flooded in preparation for the launch of the newly constructed Bujagali Dam so the water level has risen slightly and several of the rapids have been engulfed by water. The view is still as spectacular as ever and looking down river you can see the new dam in the distance. 140 colonial style cottages are neatly aligned throughout the gardens. Some offer Nile facing views while others are set back amongst the tropical gardens. All rooms have a private balcony, a small sitting room with a bar fridge, coffee and tea facilities, a TV with a few channels, a writing desk and a double as well as a single bed with a large mosquito net. In the rooms you’ll also find a wall fan and a closet with a digital safe. The en-suite bathroom is spacious and features a large shower. The rooms are generous with space, clean and although the decor is slightly dated they have been well maintained and function well.
The pool with two large mosaic crocodiles on the bottom is the heart of the resort and we are drawn to the numerous chaise lounges around its deck. Most of the chaise lounges are in the sun for those who want to soak up some rays and get your Vitamin D and a few are under pergolas covered with colourful bougainvillea providing a respite from the heat. The crystal clear pool is inviting. There is a smaller children’s pool attached to the main pool for the younger guests to splash around in. A pool boy is on hand to provide towels and move chaise lounges around if needed. A mix of pop and contemporary Ugandan music plays in the background at times a little on the loud side and several waiters are available to serve cold drinks and take your order from the poolside menu. Before deciding on lunch we decided to take a refreshing dip in the pool and visit the swim up bar for a cold drink. The bar is fully stocked with water, fresh juice, sodas, beer and spirits. Cocktails are available but do take a little more time to prepare, so if you order one be prepared to wait.
After enjoying a cold drink at the swim up bar we were ready for lunch so we started to explore our options. The poolside menu has a range of salads, snacks, burgers, pizzas, and chicken, beef and fish dishes. We decide to share chicken fingers as a starter, followed with main courses of chicken tikka served with naan bread and chicken in a basket with chips. We were happy with our choices and thought that it arrived within reasonable time. There was also an option for buffet lunch served poolside which offered a large variety of dishes. We spent the day relaxing under the hot equatorial sun and dipped in and out of the pool periodically. During the day the resort sells day memberships which we found created a nice atmosphere of many people around the pool.
As the sun was going down we went up to the mezzanine level for a view over the resort with the Nile in the background and the Nalubaale Dam in the distance. After enjoying the view, we visited the main bar, a great location for sundowners. There is seating inside at the bar or in large comfortable chairs in the adjacent lounge and TV area which was showing a football match. We sat outside on the veranda overlooking the pool and munched on banana chips. As we enjoyed the last moments of daylight we could see that the evening buffet was being set up outside next to the pool. The dinner buffet had no shortage of options including soup, salads, and main course dishes of Asian, Continental and Ugandan cuisine. An outside tandoori oven was being used to roast meat, chicken and for making naan bread which I particularly enjoyed. The food was what you would expect from a buffet, not haute cuisine but tasty and plenty of variety to satisfy anyone.
After dinner we wandered down the path back to our cottage. The location of Jinja Nile Resort is peaceful and we fell asleep to a chorus of crickets and frogs. We had a good night sleep on what we considered to be a comfortable mattress. In the morning we woke to a blanket of mist over the river and sunlight infiltrating the darkness. We made ourselves a cup of coffee in our room and enjoyed it on the veranda while waking up to a beautiful view and songs of birds.
After our coffee, we strolled over to the main restaurant where buffet breakfast was being served. The spread included fresh juices, coffee, tea, pastries, cereal, waffles, eggs, sausages, beans, tomatoes, potatoes, pancakes and plenty more. I sampled a few items from the buffet and placed my order with the omelette maker. There was plenty of seating inside as well as outside; we chose the open air terrace affording us the opportunity to enjoy the view and fresh morning air.
Jinja Nile Resort has a number of facilities within the premises including a health club with various cardio machines as well as weights. Although we didn’t use the gym during our visit is was clean and relatively spacious with large windows facing the river. Inside the changing rooms were showers, a steam bath, sauna and a private room reserved for massage. Set amidst the gardens is a tennis court and an indoor squash court. The resort facilitates various activities and given the location the Jinja Nile Resort is a great conference venue. There are several conference halls and meeting rooms depending on individual needs.
I found the resort staff to be very friendly and efficient. On one occasion our waiter was unsure of some of the details of our order and returned to clarify before placing the order in the kitchen. I thought this was admirable as sometimes wait staff will not take time to seek clarification resulting in mix ups and disappointments. The resort accommodation rates are bed and breakfast so if buffets are not your thing, you can always venture out to sample the fare offered at nearby restaurants. On the other hand Jinja Nile Resort offers everything in one location so if you don’t want to leave the resort, everything is available at your fingertips. The Jinja Nile Resort is not one of the latest lodges on the block but it is as its name suggests a resort. We didn’t leave the comfort of the resort during our two day stay and found all the makings of a relaxing weekend. We spent most of our time by the pool and taking walks through the property enjoying the scenery and gardens.
For more information, please contact:
Jinja Nile Resort
Tel: (043) 4122190/1/2. Tel: +256 332 122 190/1. Mobile: +256 772 607 385
Email: email@example.com. Website: http://www.madahotels.com/jinjanile
Author: Michelle Sutton, http://discoveryonsafari.blogspot.com