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BWINDI LODGES (NORTHERN SIDE/ BUHOMA)

Bwindi Safari Lodge overlooks the primeval Bwindi forest, home to gorillas. The lodge has recently been completely refurbished and now offers unequaled comfort and style. Eight bandas overlook the forest canopy, each with a private terrace from which guests can watch birds and monkeys in the treetops. Each ensuite stone bathroom consists of double sinks, hot running showers, low flushing toilets, and the same unique, stylish décor. The main lodge building also maximizes on the beautiful views of the forest canopy, with both open and covered terraces providing optimum viewing platforms facing the forest. A cozy fireside bar and lounge area enables guests to enjoy a drink while swapping stories of their gorilla tracking experiences

 

Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp (High-end)

As the only concessionaire luxury camp within Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is the perfect base from which to track the park’s most famous resident – the mountain gorilla. The main area features a comfortable lounge and bar area as well as the main dining area while the mini spa offers a wide selection of treatments. Located within the National Park, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp offers guests an unrivaled location, including the best bird and wildlife viewing in the Bwindi area. In fact Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp often receives regular visits from the gorillas themselves. For the lucky guests in camp at those times, they may have the chance for a gorilla encounter without even leaving Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp.

 

Buhoma Lodge (High-end)

The comfortable cottages have been carefully built, each with its own private verandah, allowing wonderful views of the forest canopy of the National Park. Inside the spacious cottages, you will find comfortable beds, a well-appointed en suite bathroom with a flushing toilet and a hot shower, and also some rooms with bathtubs. An elevated lounge area, complete with bar and dining facilities, offers a cozy, comfortable environment, to discuss the day’s activities around the fireplaces which add atmosphere and warmth in the cool evenings.

 

Engagi Lodge (Semi-luxe)

Engagi Lodge in Bwindi is a modern lodge in a breathtaking setting offering stunning views over the forest canopy. The lodge is situated in a large tract of land contiguous to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and runs from the main road to the Park Headquarters down to the Munyaga River. The lodge has been built using local materials and a local workforce. It is constructed from rocks found in and around the site and eucalyptus trees while the rooms are thatched from banana fiber sourced from local farmers. The lodge consists of just 8 en-suite cottages, spaced out and hidden in the foliage. Each cottage has either double or twin beds, a bathroom with flushing toilets and hot and cold running water. All have private verandahs where guests can enjoy their morning tea or coffee as they watch out over the forest canopy.

 

Mahogany Springs (Semi-luxe)

Mahogany Springs offers privacy and serenity blended with optimal comfort in a spectacular setting. At Mahogany Springs it is the little touches that make the big difference, from the tiny details in the design of the lodge through to the unrivaled service levels provided by the highly trained management team. All the rooms at Mahogany Springs are suites. These suites are spacious with large double doors and beautiful windows. Each suite has its own private terrace with panoramic views of the surrounding area. All suites have large en suite bathrooms with open terracotta shower. For added comfort and peace of mind, all the suites have an advanced mosquito net system that wraps around the entire area of the beds.

 

Silverback Lodge (Mid-range)

Silverback Lodge is perched on high, atop the valley overlooking Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The view is absolutely stunning and the best place to enjoy après-tracking cocktails. Bird watching and sometimes primate viewing is possible right from the front door of your room. They have 12 rooms. The rooms are a bit small, but they are sufficient and affordable. The view however will make up for it; it’s without a doubt the best view in Buhoma.

 

Buhoma Community Rest Camp (Budget)

Located at the entrance to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Buhoma Community Rest Camp gives outdoor enthusiasts a taste of safari-style living and is an excellent base camp for gorilla tracking as well as observing the many endemic bird species that inhabit the region. This pleasant and well-kept camp provides guests several lodging options such as bandas, self-contained safari tents, dormitory-style accommodations, and leveled terraces for those with camping equipment.  The camp has an open-fronted restaurant where guests can enjoy exceptional views of the magnificent forest.

 

BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST (SOUTHERN SIDE/ KISORO)

 

Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge (High end)

The main lodge feels like someplace else – soaring ceilings, massive exposed wooden beams, big picture windows with endless views of treetops, volcanoes, and mountains. It feels like a ski chalet in the Alps or a stone palace in the Rocky Mountains. But with the gentle and warm welcome, the quiet dedication of your personal butler, and the smiles on the faces of virtually all the staff, this can only be in Uganda. Built of local volcanic stone, every cottage has a large sitting room with fireplace, vast overstuffed armchairs, and hand-woven carpets. Each individual cottage features the work of one of Uganda’s most respected artists (we call them the ‘Clouds 9’) Their work has been so highly regarded by guests that they have commissioned their own pieces and now the work of these artists graces the walls of homes and offices in New York, Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and London.

 

Chameleon Hill (Semi-luxe)

Situated between Mgahinga and Bwindi National parks and Kisoro – you will find a place full of inspiration and enjoyment called Chameleon Hill Lodge. Located on the shores of one of East Africa’s most beautiful lakes – Lake Mutanda, you will enjoy spectacular views across the lake with its islands and surrounding hills. In the backdrop the Virunga Vulcanoes greet you. You have arrived. The “arty” design of the lodge has mainly been influenced by the location of the site itself. The most important element is undoubtedly the breathtaking view! The lodge and every single Chalet are positioned in a way that the view across the lake and volcanoes is unobstructed at all times.

 

Mutanda Lake Resort (Mid-range)

Mutanda Lake Resort offers one of the best views in Uganda! Perched on a peninsula in Lake Mutanda, isolated in the shadow of the Virunga Mountain Range, this lodge offers comfortable accommodation in a very unique corner of the country.  Their cuisine is listed amongst the best in Uganda. Situated between Kisoro town, Mgahinga and Bwindi National Parks the Resort makes a perfect base for a gorilla trekking, volcano hikers, and bird lovers as well for those looking for a secluded magical place in nature. Don’t forget to take your chance to dip in the lake as its Bilharzia free, so safe to swim, paddleboard or canoe amongst the locals going about their daily business on the lake! The sunset scenes are spectacular so make sure to be on one of the verandas (with a sundowner drink in hand) at that time.

 

Gorilla Safari Lodge (Mid-range)

Gorilla Safari Lodge comprises of 8 cottages with two of these being double-roomed family units for people traveling together. All rooms view Bwindi Forest. The discreetly serviced and superbly appointed cottages have a wonderful setting to relax and unwind and each room has its own en suite bathroom, with hot and cold water, as well as solar lights and a cozy fireplace. It is the ideal base from which to trek the Nshongi group of Gorillas. The lodge is locally owned and managed.

 

Gorilla Valley Lodge (Budget-mid-range)

Located on the border of the impenetrable forest and set on a steep slope the lodge has a truly unique setting. Imagine waking up with the sounds of the forest, having your cup of coffee or tea on your private terrace, experiencing the forest coming alive, and the mist mysteriously giving way for a lush jungle. Gorilla Valley Lodge consists of 12 en-suite rooms, built on a steep slope, ensuring the best views on Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. All rooms have a private terrace from where to experience the splendor of the forest.

 

BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST (EASTERN SIDE/RUHIJA)

 

Bakiga Lodge (Budget)

This would be our pick for your Ruhija accommodation. Bakiga is a non-profit lodge in Ruhija the heart of Bwindi Forest, Uganda. They offer 2 nice twin tents and 2 family Cabins, all self-contained with ensuite bathrooms. Bakiga Lodge is part of the Bakiga Community Project, a registered NGO in Uganda, and a registered charity in the UK. They work across Kabale to help the community’s access water. As such, all profits of Bakiga Lodge are used to finance the water projects. Bakiga Lodge is just a five-minute drive to the Ruhija Gorilla trekking meeting point and from the start of birding guided walks. With stunning views across the valley onto the Bwindi forest, the lodge is an ideal location to base your Gorilla trekking or bird viewing tour.

 

Gorilla Friends Camp (Budget)

Gorilla Friends Resort & Campsite is a nice budget accommodation conveniently located for tracking Bitukura and Oruzongo gorilla groups. Indeed, the Ruhija briefing point is only 500m from the campsite. The campsite has furnished safari tents, a restaurant, and a bar.

The tents and restaurants overlook the deep forested valleys making ideal places to relax and observe the nearby wildlife. The camp shop offers local tourism products offered by the different groups within the area.

 

LAKE BUNYONYI Lodges

 

Bird Nest (Mid-range/semi-luxe)

Birds Nest is located at the mainland on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi and is by far the best lodge around Lake Bunyonyi. This part of the lake is not perfect for swimming, but the swimming pool makes up for that. The lodge offers spacious rooms, great views over the lake, and a cozy restaurant known for its great food.

 

Crater Bay Cottages (Budget)

On the lake shores of popular Lake Bunyonyi, Crater Bay cottages offer a base to explore the beautiful surrounding nature and fun activities on and around the lake. Here you find a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the spectacular landscape, especially at the small dock right on the lake you will enjoy a very serene environment with plenty to look at. The lake-view cottages have private toilet and bathroom facilities and cozy gardens where you can sit and read a book, enjoy a picnic or listen to the many birds singing.

 

Heritage Lodge (Mid-range)

Heritage Lodge is located on an island in Lake Bunyonyi. The lodge offers nice accommodation in self-contained safari tents on high pillars, each with a private balcony. Unfortunately, the many eucalyptus trees block most of the views, but this is made up of friendly staff, great food, and a cozy restaurant.

 

Arcadia Cottages (Budget/ mid-range)

From this lodge, you will have the best view over Lake Bunyonyi compared to any other option. High up on a ridge overlooking Lake Bunyonyi, the eleven self-contained cottages are arranged around a central lodge building, where guests can enjoy the tasty dishes in our restaurant or relax and take in the truly breathtaking view. The rooms are well located, but rather simple and the food will do but do not expect too much.

 

Bushara Island (Budget)

Bushara Island is a wonderful accommodation in Lake Bunyonyi. Accommodation and restaurants are simple, but the view is great, and the food is amazingly good! The island is full of trees, shrubs, and flowers, which attract many colorful birds. If simple accommodation is not a problem for you, we recommend this place. All profits go to the local community.

 

LAKE MUTANDA LODGES

 

Chameleon Hill (Semi-luxe)

Situated between Mgahinga and Bwindi Nationalparks and Kisoro – you will find a place full of inspiration and enjoyment called Chameleon Hill Lodge. Located on the shores of one of East Africa’s most beautiful lakes – Lake Mutanda, you will enjoy spectacular views across the lake with its islands and surrounding hills. In the backdrop the Virunga Vulcanoes greet you. You have arrived. The “arty” design of the lodge has mainly been influenced by the location of the site itself. The most important element is undoubtedly the breathtaking view! The lodge and every single Chalet are positioned in a way that the view across the lake and volcanoes is unobstructed at all times.

 

Mutanda Lake Resort (Mid-range)

Mutanda Lake Resort offers most likely the best view in Uganda! Perched on a peninsula in Lake Mutanda (see photo), in the shadow of the Virunga Mountain Range, Mutanda Lake Resort offers comfortable accommodation combined with the most beautiful views on planet earth. Situated between Kisoro town, Mgahinga and Bwindi National Parks the Resort makes a perfect base for gorilla trackers, volcano hikers, bird lovers as well as those looking for a secluded place in nature. The cuisine is among the best in Uganda. Activities on the lake are organized by the lodge and the lake is safe to swim as its Bilharzia free.

 

LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK Lodges

 

Mihingo Lodge (High-end)

Mihingo Lodge absolutely one of the most wonderful lodges in Uganda! Each luxury tented room is nestled on a private piece of the lodge’s property, enabling guests to enjoy the tranquil environment in complete seclusion. Placed in varied settings, some rooms are situated in a forest, some with a lake view, and some on rocky outcrops.

The main dining area is a large thatched structure built of rocks, the wood of dead weathered olive trees found on the land, and native grasses. Below the dining area, an infinity swimming pool stretches out from the rocks and seems to disappear into the vast landscape beyond. From the dining and pool area, guests can enjoy the view of a westward oriented valley and its stunning evening sunsets over Lake Mburo National Park.

 

Rwakobo Rock (Mid-range)

Rwakobo Rock is the ultimate place to breathe in the essence of wild Uganda. This lodge’s aim is to ensure responsible tourism in every way. The secluded and peaceful retreat has spacious private cottages that are strategically placed around the hill to ensure a magical sunset view. The cottages celebrate the natural lines of the surrounding wilderness, providing comfort and luxury in an eco-friendly way. The zebras, warthogs, impalas, and bushbucks often gather around the lodge to drink water beneath the dining area. At night you can sit at the campfire while enjoying the beautiful starlit sky or hang around in the restaurant with a dining area overlooking an expanse of rock that borders the park. It does not get more ‘Africa’ than this.

 

Eagles Nest (Budget)

Eagles Nest is located just outside Lake Mburo N.P. on the top of a hill with great views over the park and is often visited by bushbuck and zebra. It has a large restaurant with seats overlooking the park. The safari tents are simple with two single beds, a private eco-toilet, and a simple shower with hot water on request.

 

LAKE VICTORIA ISLANDS (SSESE ISLANDS)

Pineapple Bay (High end)

Pineapple Bay is the only full-service lodge on the 500-acre (202-ha) Bulago Island where tropical forests and sweeping grasslands combine with rocky cliffs that look over sandy beaches. The resort is built & furnished with locally made materials and the 8 cottages feature unique Lamu beds and fantastic views. A lovely pool that looks into the lake with lounge beds and a bar make this the perfect way to enjoy Lake Victoria.

 

One minute South (Semi-Luxe)

This is the perfect place to stay with a family or group of friends. One Minute South Island Villa is situated on Bulago Island just one minute south of the equator. The residence is on 20 private acres offering seven bedrooms with serene island views. The entire property is rented out to the group and no individual rooms are available. Relax in the clifftop infinity swimming pool or spend the day on the deserted golden beaches. Take part in Talapia fishing from the jetty and enjoy nature walks while spotting over 300 bird species. Meals are prepared by the internationally trained chef, Bosco.

 

Lagoon Resort (Mid-range/ semi-luxe)

Lagoon Resort is located just outside Kampala on a peninsula in Lake Victoria. It can be a perfect place to relax at the end of your tour and can be reached by a 25-minute boat ride from Munyonyo marina just south of Kampala. The resort is located in a large bay, giving visitors a wonderful view of Lake Victoria, as well as making the resort home to many birds, and some cheeky monkeys too. There is a swimming pool as well. Your visit to Lagoon Resort will make you feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and you’ll return home refreshed and relaxed.

 

Brovad Sands Lodge (Mid-range)

Located on the fore-front white sand beaches of the Ssese Islands, Brovad Sands Lodge is a great beach getaway on the Ssese Islands, providing the finest first-class beach accommodation that blends well with the traditional hospitality of the native Ssese Islands. Enjoy the exclusive setting and unique lifestyle at Brovad Sands Lodge an amazing Ssese Islands resort beach hotel. Picture the gorgeous rich airy gardens, the precious artwork, the exotic decor as well as the white sand beach.

 

Visa requirements for Uganda

Most visitors (apart from people from a few visa-exempt countries in Africa) will need to get a visa for travel to Uganda. You used to be able to get a visa on arrival in Uganda, but this no longer the case. You now need to apply for an electronic visa online prior to your trip. Go to https://visas.immigration.go.ug/ to apply. A single-entry visa costs US$50 and a six-month multiple entry visa costs US$100. If you’re traveling to Rwanda and Kenya on the same trip, then apply for the 90-day multiple-entry East African Tourist Visa, which covers all three countries and costs US$100.

 

Travel insurance for Uganda

For your holiday in Uganda, you should get comprehensive travel insurance that covers all medical emergencies and includes activities that you plan to do, such as gorilla tracking and white-water rafting. Make sure that your travel insurance covers medical evacuation. If you will be renting a car in Uganda, be sure to get comprehensive insurance that covers all damages to the car.

 

Traveling to Uganda

From Europe and North America, you can fly to Entebbe in Uganda either via the African cities of Addis Ababa, Kigali, or Nairobi or via the Middle East, going through Dubai or Doha.

Getting around in Uganda

One way to travel to Uganda independently is by hiring your own car. Hiring a 4×4 is highly recommended, because most roads are unpaved and are often extremely bumpy and potholed, and most of the roads in the national parks are only suitable for 4x4s. However, driving on rough Ugandan roads is not for the faint-hearted, and if you don’t have much experience driving in Africa it might be best to think about hiring a driver for your trip. If you don’t hire a car, your options for getting around cities are shared taxi vans (known as matatus) and Boda Boda motorcycles (but note that both matatus and boda bodas have high accident rates). The safest option is to take private taxis (the taxi-ride app Uber operates in Kampala). For long-distance travel between major towns, the most affordable option is coaches, which are slow and can be crowded – and they do have accidents. The most hassle-free way to travel around Uganda is to fly: Aerolink (www.aerolinkuganda.com) flies to Uganda’s top five national parks, Eagle Air (www.eagleair-ug.com) has scheduled flights to six towns across Uganda and also operates private charter flights, while Fly Uganda (www.flyuganda.com) offers private charter flights to all of Uganda’s airstrips as well as custom flying safaris.

 

Changing money in Uganda

Uganda’s currency is the Ugandan shilling (US$1 is around USh3800). US dollars are widely accepted for lodging, activities, park entrance fees, and safari activities. The dollar bills need to be newer than 2003 and have no tears on them. Uganda is a cash society: many lodges and restaurants in Uganda don’t accept credit cards, and payment for park fees and permits are in cash, so always have enough cash with you. There are ATMs located in towns across the country, but if you’re traveling to remote areas, it’s a good idea to travel with enough cash to pay for everything you will need.

 

 

About the author

Besides the classical safaris, Tours in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and offers theme-based packages and special interest tours, like Gorilla and Chimpanzee Trekking Safari tours, honeymoons Safaris, group tours, tribal and homestead tours, white Water Rafting tours, Mountain Hiking Safari Tour school/colleges groups Safari Tours and many more.

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