By Solomon Oleny
It started and ended on a delightful note. I am talking about yesterday, Day 4 of my month long search for the 10 most sensational safari lodges along river(full list coming up in January edition of this blog). I visited a lodge I am already starting to miss for its exquisite cottages and unobstructed views of the source of the Nile.
Living Waters Resort it is. It is a family run Eco-friendly hotel built atop the same Hill where John Speke stood in 1858 before declaring Jinja as the source of the world's longest river. In memory of Speke's discovery, a chapel like monument was constructed here over 30 year's back (Below). It has a concrete triangular roof with tips pointing in the directions of settings that influenced the discovery by speke. One points towards the Mediteranean sea, it's final destination. The other points towards it's source in Jinja and the third, towards Buganda, a Kingdom that immensely supported Speke's pursuit/discovery. It comes across as one of the most important historical attractions in Uganda. This explains why it is one of the few featuring on the current currency, 2,000 shilling note to be exact.
Above is the monument on the 2000, as seen below. Picture credit; Bank of Uganda.
Looking at the cottages of Living Waters Resort from the outside, you are bound to think of it as a luxury tent. On entering inside though, you will be blown away by the realization that it is a safari lodge. One with colourful decor that is themed along African Heritage.
Each cottage is self contained, roomy and well spaced from the next, this made me feel like I was in my own small home. I particularly like to think of it as slice of heaven as the Bible describes heaven as a beautiful place free of stress. In this case, two magical views ebbed away my stress;
1.The sight of countless birds that add life to the place with their gorgeous plumage and tweets (that are sweetly seductive).
2. Regardless of whether you chose to spend your time here at the gardens, cottages or diner, you are guaranteed of three sweeping views that will fill your eyes with tears of joy: 1. Africa's biggest freshwater lake, Victoria, 2. Source of the world's longest river, Nile. 3. One of Uganda's most welcoming Kingdoms, Busoga. You will also get to see a calm-historical-spot on the River where Mahatma Ghandi's ashes were sprinkled after he had crossed the great divide.
Captions: Above; Lake Victoria as taken from one of the cottages. Below; River Nile flowing under the train Bridge ahead of its journey to the Mediteranean sea.
Caption: Below; Views of Busoga Kingdom as taken from the resort
I couldnt help it enjoy all this beauty while sipping wine at one of the hammocks in the gardens(below).
On the part of food, exciting flavours of farm fresh vegetables kept flowing from the kitchen. The chef and her efficient team were very accommodating to my needs.
On the other hand, Joseph and Joan the owners of the property were clearly passionate about guiding. Not only did they show their love and respect of the natural world surrounding them, but also shared their enthusiasm of the Nile with me, and an Swedish couple that had come for honeymoon.
It was impossible not to feel the Magic of the Nile while Joseph showed us its flora and fauna as we took a sunset cruise(above). If bird-watching makes you happy, morning boat cruise is must. You will see lots of species that prey on fish. One such is the Malachite Kingfisher.
On the whole, my stay here was a surreal experience. My only low encounter was the weather. It was moody for much of the day. This killed my chances of seeing over 30 bird species that have been recorded here in the past.
What most travelers know it for; A lovely wedding destination
If honeymoon is on your mind and you love peaceful settings that are full of life, this is the place to be. The cottages are surrounded by cozy flower gardens-with a scent I can compare to a combination of pine mixed with a forest's freshness. Standing in their midst, you'll feel the heat of excitement climb your neck and spill onto your cheeks.
"Like it, there are many enchanting places around the lodge."....."If my guess is right, this could be the reason its is one of the most vibrant wedding destinations in Uganda."said Nicole Anderson, a professional photographer I found during my visit. She had come a head of a photo-shoot of a newly wedded couple. Thanks to its spacious gardens, the resort can host a wedding reception of over 300 guests.
Other things to do
During your stay here, you could also take advantage of the lodge's close proximity to different activities to pursue them. These include quad biking(below), bungee jumping, water rafting (below), and horseback riding. The lodge has packages in this regard. If you have any further inquiries but have limited access to internet, you can reach Joseph or Joan on +256772472504 / +256702984274