Approximately 85.2 km from Kampala, along the Kampala-Kayunga road, stands the magnificent Wildwaters lodge. The name was inspired by its location on an island sandwiched by two magnificent waterfalls; Kalagala and Itanda. Most of the island is untamed forest inhabited by “harmless” snakes (that’s what the guide said), river otters, monitor lizards (which are pretty good swimmers), red tail monkeys (which I didn’t see, but better luck next time) and birds that actively serenade you all day long even when you’ve had enough (thank you very much).
The lodge offers a host of activities, most of which are off the island and will require booking at least a day in advance. I opted not to engage in anything adrenaline pumping, but rather sit back and enjoy the thunderous and captivating tunes of the water. These were my highlights:
1. The drive
To get there, drive along the less travelled Kampala to Jinja route via Kayunga till you get to Kangulumira Trading Center. Take a left turn and drive till you get to the black grilled gate leading to the dock. But just before you get there, make sure you stop over at the view point to capture a glimpse heaven.
2. The boat ride
To connect from the mainland to the island you will take a 5 minutes boat ride across a narrow section of the Nile. Always wear a life jacket!
3. Wooden walk trail
On arrival at the island, the friendly staff welcome you with a glass of freshly squeezed juice as they relieve you of your luggage. You will be guided through the untamed forest along an elevated walkway: wind blowing, birds chirping and me going, “Ahhhhhh……… finally, finally the weekend”.
The island has 10 cottages each named after a mighty river or waterfall located in Africa. Because of limited accommodation, booking at least a day in advance is a prerequisite.
5. Dining room and pool side area
All meals are served in the thatched dining room surrounded by the pool side. They insist on guests having all meals from here and after seeing the view, I understood why. It’s a fierce captivating collage of the unaltered world. Pure magic!
6. The rooms
The rooms are quite something: spacious, bright and airy. The stoned walled shower and bath tub on the balcony are not to be ignored. Spend time in the room and enjoy it all.
7. Itanda Falls
Along the well marked trail one finds their way to the mighty Itanda falls. It thunders and roars as water crushes onto the rocks splashing violently in a somewhat circular motion like a washing machine.
8. Enjoy the nature walk
The call it forest bathing: taking it slow and allow yourself to “take in the forest”.