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. 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.
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 bandas at $51-60 pp/night through to a 10-bed dormitory (approx $40 pp/night) which sleeps 10. Camping space is also available ($22) 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 board.
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. Combine this 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. Breakfast was a slow affair, taking over 1.5 hours to arrive so be prepared to lounge until a quorum of guests hits the dining room.
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.
Hairy Lemon can be found on google maps at: Or on their website here: hairylemonuganda.com