The many times I visited Jinja even as a little girl with my family, it was a thrill! It is a town quite different from Kampala that can be more relaxed and serene. I got to explore a different section of the river, at The Haven, which is only 2 hours away and the perfect spot for a weekend absolute relaxation.
Driving from Kampala, we set off at 8:00am making a few stops for some pineapple and Nina trying her luck with the ATMs… Driving is a good option as you will get there at your own pace. Three other Danish friends later joined us at the Haven using a taxi from the old taxi park, which cost them 7000Ugx to the Jinja stage. From Jinja, go past Holland Park and Nile Horseback Safaris which are 3km towards Kayunga.
The Haven is about 15km from the Jinja, with panoramic views of the overtime rapids, welcoming you the minute you sit down with a fresh glass of passion fruit juice in the Haven restaurant.
Thankfully, we had booked ahead of time through their website. We noticed that there were many guests arriving from different countries, which made sense as this luxury lodge has been around since 2006.
The Haven is solar-powered, which you notice as you walk to the reception and bar, with spacious and airy cottage suites that have been designed with natural materials. There are 4 luxury bungalows, 2 luxury bandas, 2 family bungalows for up to 6 people, a honeymooner and camping options. Their lazy camping is popular and a good way to explore Jinja.
I loved that all the staff at the Haven come from the Buikwe village and reside within the community…conversations with them were enriching since they know the area best.
We stayed in a double bungalow. Each room has it’s own unique and effortlessly chic style, with earthy tones and a view of the overtime rapids. Best of all is getting to enjoy the view in either a hammock or swinging chair.
The beds are very comfortable and amazing to wake up with a wide-angle view from the window. This is definitely a place that looks beautiful all year round. The peace and quiet made us feel like we were in a private-owned cottage.
Can we please appreciate their amazing shower? Taking a shower here was super refreshing in the wide stone designed bathroom. We also had a view from the shower! There was a cool Elephant shower which I must get for my home someday!
The Haven restaurant serves fresh, locally sourced food like delicious tilapia and Nile perch fish, tomatoes and pineapples. Having breakfast, lunch and dinner overlooking the view was refreshing.
We indulged in the set options of the day and had a feast at breakfast which we customized. Visiting the Haven with friends is ideal as you will spend time enjoying delicious food with great conversations.
Tip: it gets cold in the evening so remember to carry your sweater and socks. As well as mosquito repellent
There’s plenty to do at the Haven- even as it is a secluded place. Once you are done swimming and chilling by the poolside, there are more options.
- You can rent a mountain bike and bike around the area
- Nature walks- as this is an ideal place to appreciate nature which I always enjoy. Our guide Charles took us up to the Naalongo cave where we witnessed a lady that now lives there and has been attracting many of the locals to see her. The view going up was pretty!
- Nile Horseback ride, it is a quick drive to go horse riding which they can arrange for you depending on how long
- Sunset cruise- where we got to see different bird species and enjoyed a beautiful sunset with the amazing sky transformation
The Haven was a relaxing experience which I have added to my list of favorites in Jinja. It is a perfect weekend escape from the city suited for both locals and travelers. I spent two nights here to fully explore the activities, but for locals, one night will do.
Even though I was nursing a cold, I was able to fully enjoy our room, but did not swim in the pool. I cuddled up with nice cups of tea and my book, enjoyed the relaxing boat ride and watched fishermen cast nests amidst flying birds under a beautiful sunset!
You can also reserve a spot for lunch or dinner at the Haven and enjoy the view if you are not spending the night.
Have a great day,