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Our visit to Uganda was filled with incredible animal interactions and outdoor experiences. But there is one experience that really stands out in our memory – spending a few days experiencing the Nile River and staying at the beautiful Wildwaters Lodge.

The Nile River, Uganda
The Nile River, Uganda

The source of the Nile, located near the town of Jinja in Eastern Uganda is one of the highlights of any visit to Uganda and we were so excited for an opportunity to spend 3 days enjoying the beauty of the Nile River from the Wildwaters Lodge, a Jinja Nile resort.

Here is what made our stay so special!

Wildwaters Lodge Location & Sustainability Practices

The Wildwaters Lodge is located on a 6.05-hectare private island on the west bank of the Nile River, just 30 minutes away from the busy adventure-hub of Jinja. 

Wildwaters Lodge, Uganda

Wildwaters Lodge, Uganda

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Wildwaters Lodge is located at the heart of the Kalagala and Mabira Forest Reserve, a group of mid-stream islands in the Nile home to a multitude of animals including river otters, giant monitor lizards, red-tailed monkeys and hundreds of species of birds.

The source of the Nile River, Jinja, Southern Uganda
Wildwaters Lodge and its surroundings

The lodge is the centrepiece of a conservation initiative aimed at protecting and restoring the formally pristine riverine environment for future generations. The management of this Jinja Nile Resort puts a lot of focus on sustainability of the lodge operations, not only in terms of the environmental impact but also on ensuring that the local communities benefit directly from the visitors to the lodge. Their future development plans look exciting and promise to bring even more positive change to the nearby community!

To get to the lodge we had to cross the river on a small wooden boat, which was an adventure in and of itself. But it was only a preview of what was to come during our stay on the island.

Once docked, we found ourselves in the heart of a beautiful rainforest. Elevated wooden walkways guided us from the dock to the restaurant and common area. 10 traditional cabins were dotted along the island offering views of the Nile River and the rainforest.

The Rooms at the Wildwaters Lodge

9 deluxe double rooms and 1 family room are available at the Wildwaters Lodge. We stayed in one of the deluxe rooms and were pleasantly surprised by how spacious and well-appointed it was.

Our deluxe room at the Wildwaters Lodge
Our deluxe room at the Wildwaters Lodge

The thatched rooms featured a King bed, a daybed, a desk, a closet, and a seating area with two comfy armchairs and a coffee table. Each room also had a massive private bathroom with a rain shower and a beautiful pink granite washbasin.

En-suite bathroom at the Wildwaters Lodge
En-suite bathroom at the Wildwaters Lodge

Our private balcony was equipped with a stand-alone bathtub and sun chairs and offered an incredible view of one of the biggest rapids on the Nile. The thunder of the rapids outside of our room made it feel like we were completely immersed in nature.

Our balcony overlooking the Nile River rapids
Our balcony overlooking the Nile River rapids

Thanks to the loud white noise of the river, we had amazing uninterrupted sleep during our stay at the Wildwaters Lodge. All materials used in the construction of the lodge were sourced from sustainable woodlands and forests and as we found out during our stay, a new policy has been implemented to use non-hard wood products in the further development of Wildwaters Lodge facilities. 

Food at the Wildwaters Lodge

Similarly to all other hotels in Jinja Uganda, Wildwaters Lodge offers its guests a full-board stay with breakfast, lunch, and dinner included in the cost of the room.

Restaurant at the Wildwaters Lodge
Restaurant overlooking the Nile at the Wildwaters Lodge

All meals (are served?) in the restaurant on the island, although room service was also available on request. We really enjoyed dining at the restaurant by the pool that offered beautiful views of the Jinja River. 

Breakfast included a fruit and pastry buffet as well as made to order eggs. Juice, coffee, and tea were readily available.

Poolside dinner under the stars at the Wildwaters Lodge
Poolside dining under the stars at the Wildwaters Lodge

Lunch was a 2-course meal that included an appetizer and a main from the restaurant’s menu. Dinner was a whopping 5-course meal that consisted of a starter, appetizer, main, dessert, and 2nd dessert. It was way too much food and most days we didn’t get past the 3rd course, but the food was amazing every time.

All dishes were made with fresh ingredients and the menu easily accommodated our “reduced meat” diet. 

A la carte menu at the Wildwaters Lodge
A la carte menu at the Wildwaters Lodge

Activities at the Wildwaters Lodge

While we loved hanging out at the Wildwaters Lodge and enjoying the peaceful surroundings on the island, the best of this experience awaited us on the Jinja  River itself.

Wildwaters Lodge offers a ton of great activities at the lodge, suitable for every age. For those looking for a calm way to enjoy the Nile, there are family floats and stand up paddleboarding. For adventure seekers, there is white water Jinja rafting, whitewater kayaking, and even bungee jumping.

There are lots of quiet and easy stretched of the river suitable for low key exploration!
There are lots of quiet and easy stretched of the river suitable for low key exploration!

We traveled to this part of Uganda specifically for a chance to try whitewater rafting on the Nile

… and we couldn’t wait to get out and experience the Nile’s grade IV-V rapids with Adrift

Whitewater rafting on the Nile. Photo by Adrift.
Whitewater rafting on the Nile. Photo by Adrift.

We spent an entire day on the river and had a fantastic experience. The rafting was exhilarating but with the help of Adrift’s skilled instructors and spotters we felt safe and well looked after. We tackled 8 different rapids (including one waterfall) and had a blast doing it! We both managed to stay in the raft the entire time and felt like we truly conquered the Nile.

After returning back to the lodge after a day of rafting, we treated ourselves to a long massage on the balcony of our suite and celebrated conquering the Nile with yet another great meal at the Wildwaters Restaurant.

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