You know that a place is seriously relaxed when there is a hammock behind the bar and seriously relaxed is the essence of Hairy Lemon Hotel in Jinja Uganda.
A secluded private island in the middle of the Nile just outside of Jinja provides the perfect Mecca or kayakers or for those just wishing to chill out.
Hairy Lemon Hotel in Jinja Town Uganda is as it says on the tin, heaven on earth.
Accommodation is brilliant, ranging from camping to posh private buildings, food was DELICIOUS, varied and plentiful, the staff were friendly, learned your name, and were always around for a chat.
On our first evening we went for a paddle round the island (I was there mainly for kayaking) and Paul came and served us gin and tonics in our boat as a welcome!
The island has a natural jacuzzi, water volleyball, a number of chillout bandas, games and books are there for quiet evenings, and a well stocked bar for the not so quiet.
This island is not a luxury hotel, nor does it claim to be. If you're not willing to shower outside, use a longdrop (though there are flushing toilets) and brave the odd snake or gecko, then it won't be for you.
But if you do want an amazingly individual island on the Nile, superb location for kayaking/fishing all sorts of other things, a natural jacuzzi, friendly and welcoming staff and the experience of a lifetime, then the Hairy Lemon in perfect..
Booking is essential as the island is only reachable by boat and they do not cater for day guests.
Arriving in the secure car park on the other side of the river, you’ll be greeted by a menagerie and a wooden boat is quickly summoned to shuttle to the island – about two minutes away.
The island itself is surrounded by small bathing pools sheltered from the roaring rapids.
These claim to be bilharzias free, but without a conclusive answer there is always a risk.
There is a net set up in
one pool for water volleyball, and ample space for Frisbee, football or
whatever sport strikes your fancy.
Accommodation ranges from various sized to a 10-bed dormitory which sleeps 10.
Camping space is also available in the centre of the island. The bandas are basic, consisting solely of a bed (with mosquito net) and table.
However, since most visitors are focused on getting on/into the water a sparsely furnished room is not a significant deterrent.
All accommodation is clean and well maintained. Bathrooms are communal, and are a combination of basic showers, pit latrines, and eco-composting toilets.
The Nile does flow right past your doorstep and the
communal areas are well furnished. All prices for accommodation include full
Light or late sleepers might like to invest in an eye mask and ear plugs as the curtains are made of pale material so the rooms are bright early.
with the sound of rushing water, and the monkeys like to make their presence
known by tapping on the tin roofs of the bandas in the mornings.
In keeping with the island’s ethos, meal times are a relaxed and communal affair.
Lunch was one of Hairy Lemon’s own pigs expertly spit roasted with a range of salads and home-made pita bread.
Dinner was a generous spread of soup and stew with accompaniments. Timing, however, is everything.
There’s always enough food but it’s wise to get in the queue ahead of the hungry kayakers!
The bar is well stocked with a drinkable glass of wine at 4000 UGX. There is also a small range of snacks which are reasonably priced.
Give Hairy Lemon a miss if you’re looking for luxury lodging or a romantic getaway. Give it a try if you’re looking for a secluded spot to hang out with friends on a budget or you are a keen kayaker wanting the Nile on your doorstep.