The Travellers Rest Hotel in Kisoro was our lunch stop after we crossed the border from Rwanda, and was somewhere that I wished we'd had the chance to stay.
It's an old colonial style hotel with a few rooms arranged around a beautiful lawned garden with wonderful birdlife that conjurs up images of sundowner G&Ts in the pre-independence era. It's a place that the great gorilla conservationist Dian Fossey used to retire to write up her notes, and according to the hotel's brochure, she apparently referred to it as her ''second home".
Our lunch was pleasant, although service was predictably slow (as is a consistent feature of the Great Lakes region).
The hotel's brochure also advertises guided tours, including gorilla trekking, hiking, bird watching and encounters with the local Batwa people. I would qualify this by saying that have not done any of these myself with them so I can't vouch for their quality, but as the hotel is easily accessible for those travelling independently by public transport, these might be good options. See the website below for more details.
If you're planning to travel north from Rwanda into south west Uganda, I'd recommend this as a nicer and more affordable place to stay than the overpriced and underwhelming hotels in Ruhengeri.
The Kazinga River View Lodge is a depressing case study into why communities should be discouraged from developing tourist infrastructure without consulting with people who actually understand tourists' requirements.
Let's start with the few positives. Firstly, the complex does have an elevated position, and thus, a view out over the Kazinga Channel, although it's in the far distance. Secondly, the first impression you can from the road - as shown in the photo above - is one of quirky, interesting architecture. Sadly, first impressions can be misleading, and the camp is a disaster of planning and execution from start to finish.
To begin with, the office and restaurant are located a considerable distance from the accommodation, which means that you have to drive between the two. Anyone with the slightest understanding of tourist requirements would realise that this is a disastrous arrangement, and that once tourists are in camp, the last thing that they want is to have to climb into their vehicles and drive to the restaurant for meals. This halfbaked arrangement is not just inconvenient, but also has safety implications: what happens if a tourist has one beer too many with supper and then has an accident on the poorly lit road back to camp. And how are tourists meant to raise the alarm in case of emergency if the office is so far away?
Secondly, the entire area around the huts has been cleared, removing any natural shade and devastating the ambience of 'being in the bush'. Again, a fundamental error that could have been avoided with some consideration of tourist requirements.
The huts were so awful that - for once - I forgot to take photos. Suffice to say they were charmless, poorly planned brick structures which gave no consideration to basic design considerations. For example, the tiny sink was marooned in a concealed corner of the bathroom, and the floor of the bathroom had not been graded towards the shower plug hole: thus, taking a shower would result in flooding of the bathroom (and possibly the adjacent bedroom). When we visited (March 2013), they had not yet finished installation of the electrics, so the walls were gouged with channels for the electrical conduits and empty switchboxes. Despite the fact that the huts were not yet completed and were lacking the advertised electrical power, the camp management insisted on charging the full nightly rate.
The 'restaurant' - which you drive past as you enter from the road towards the office - is an open walled structure reminiscent of the mess hall in an army barracks, and meals have to be ordered in advance. It would have been hard to have designed a less attractive structure, and this is light years from the relaxing venue that tourists expect when they come to stay in a bush lodge.
As for the staff, well, they were truculent, unwelcoming and inattentive from the time that we arrived - which was long before we saw the state of the rooms and decided to take our custom elsewhere. Clearly they had not been trained in the hospitality industry, and from the state of the facilities, management was clearly shambolic.
In summary, maybe these facilities would be acceptable to local tourists, but the price tag clearly indicated that this camp was pitched at international tourists. I'm a budget traveller at heart and like to support local businesses where possible, but abysmal planning, poor design, bad management and rude staff are an unacceptable combination, whatever the price tag. What's saddest is that a consierable investment has clearly been made in a venture which is spectacularly badly calibrated to the target market.
Instead we decamped to the lovely Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge down the road, which - whilst more expensive - gave us the facilities and atmosphere that we had travelled all this way to experience.
The Queen Elizabeth Bush Camp is a lovely camp in a gorgeous spot, right on the southern bank of the Kazinga Channel. The fact that we ended up in this great place after refusing to stay at the shambolic and ill conceived Kazinga Channel River Lodge made us value it all the more.
The accommodation comprises spacious permanent en suite safari tents, which have well maintained mozzie nets that lend them an elegant 'Out of Africa' feel. The shower facilities are in private enclosures at the back of each tent, where you can linger under the solar-powered shower and gaze at the wildlife or the stars, depending on the time of day.
The camp layout is excellent and makes the most of the camp's superb setting right on the southern bank of the Kazinga Channel. The birdwatching is outstanding and wildlife can - and do - wander through the camp, particularly after dark: a fact that I independently verified when I narrowly avoided stepping straight into a large pat of hippo poo outside our front door! For this reason, the very helpful staff will escort you to and from your tent outside of daylight hours (and will agree a time with you at your convenience).
The food is well prepared, nicely presented and generously portioned. My only slight quibble is that because of the camp's location right on the water, the mosquitoes were more active than I would have liked. For this reason, make sure that you're taking the correct malarial prophylaxis and ensure that you come equipped with insect repellent and mozzie mats.
If I had to pick the accommodation that we stayed in on our Great Lakes foray that best aligned with our priorities and parsimonious instincts, then the Crater Bay Cottages would have to be it.
Set on the steep shore of Lake Bunyonyi, this small hotel offers basic family-friendly accommodation that was just ideal for our needs. The rondavels (round thatched huts) are basic but secure and adequate, with simple en suite facilities, and the setting amid tropical gardens that command an exquisite view out over an inlet at the head of Lake Bunyonyi is incomparable.
The gardens slope down to a slightly rickety jetty from where you can catch a boat ride or go for a swim to the opposite shore. The bird spotting in the gardens is also astonishingly good, and without leaving the premises, you could easily chalk up a couple of dozen species.
The restaurant is an unpretentious, laid back affair with good, affordable food. I loved the freshwater crayfish that I ordered, and the menu also features local specialities such as the 'rolex' (not as expensive as it might sound!). You can also have drinks in a gazebo located half way down towards the shore, which is an ideal location for sundowners.
If you're on a tight budget and don't have your own vehicle, it's good to know that the hotel is relatively accessible for backpackers using local matatu taxis.
My only warning would be that the steepness of the slope makes it unsuitable for people with limited mobility, and although there were a couple of families with young chidren there when we visited, you'd have to factor this into your decision (as prams and pushchairs need to be carried down the steps).
Accommodation around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is at a premium and doesn't come cheap. If you're planning to go gorilla trekking - as we were - you'll have to make an early start, so you don't want to stay too far away, and the roads in the region make for slow going, which further limits your choice.
We were travelling as a family and were were on a fairly tight budget, so our tour operator suggested that the Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge might fit the bill. As it turned out, it was an inspired suggestion, as Nkuringo was as near perfect for our needs as we dared hope for.
Nkuringo is best described as a 'budget lodge', falling in the middle ground between the more upmarket lodges (with price tags to match) and backpacker accommodation, which we have sadly graduated beyond. It offers a small number of modern, carefully maintained and well equipped bedrooms, which have shared shower and toilet facilities, and a small camp ground with one permanently pitched tent. We'd normally prefer an ensuite arrangement, but given the cost differential that this would have imposed, we really couldn't justify it, and I have to say that the ablution facilities were well maintained and very clean.
The meals are basic, hearty fare: certainly not gourmet, but tasty and plentiful, and ideal fuel for your gorilla trekking exertions. The packed lunches that they provide for trekkers are also generous.
Like most lodges in this part of the world, power comes from an on site generator which only operates between certain hours, but provided that you confirm what these are, you won't have any trouble charging electrical appliances.
They are the qualifying statements that demonstrate that Nkuringo offers excellent value for money if you're willing to forego a few creature comforts. Now let's get on to what Nkuringo offers that is pretty well unbeatable.
The drive from Nkuringo to the point where you assemble for gorilla trekking takes about 45 minutes (actual distances are meaningless in this part of the world).
Well, firstly, the lodge's location is absolutely breathtaking, as it it perches precariously just below the crest of a ridge that commands a view out over Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. It is an aweinspiring sight sharpened by an element of menace as you realise that in the next day or so, you're going to be slogging over the steep topography and through the dense vegetation (the use of the word, 'impenetrable' is no accident). Walk a few metres over the ridge crest to the road and look the other way, and you have the majestic spectacle of the five volcanic peaks of the Virunga mountains on the horizon. It's hard to think of a place blessed with a more spectacular setting.
Nkuringo's other huge advantage is the quality of its staff. From the moment that we pulled into the parking area, we were enveloped with kindness, and the welcome that we - and particularly our kids - received was the warmest and most generous we encountered in what is a very hospitable part of the world. Nothing was too much trouble, and although it's a cliche, we genuinely felt at home. This was tremendously important to us, as our kids were too young for gorilla trekking (you must be 18), and we had arranged for them to be looked after at the lodge on the day that we trekked. All I can say is that they did a fabulous job - thanks to Shallon (pictured above) and that they had a day every bit as good as ours!
The kids from the local village also visit in the late afternoon to do a 'gorilla conservation dance' for the guests.
If you're thinking of travelling in this region - and particularly if you're trying to stretch a limited budget - I wouldn't even consider staying somewhere else: my only advice is to book well in advance, as space is limited.
The Astoria is a simple, concrete, tower block hotel just across from the shared taxi ‘station’. It is a couple of floors above a shopping precinct and goes on for what seems eternity. Only people who are physically fit to climb stairs with luggage should stay here. What do you get in return for this climb? The rooms are big, clean, have good beds, the staff are nice and security is armed at night. You also have an almost roof top bar with music and cold beer where you can definitely mix with local people. You can also see a fair amount of Kampala.
I stayed in room 538 which overlooks the shared taxi area. Needless to say it was loud, especially during the day. I suggest you contact them ahead of timer and ask for an odd-numbered room and specify a mid-level floor not facing the 'Old Taxi Park'.
The rooms have comfortable beds, cleaned daily, closet space, TV, fan (no need for A/C), refrigerator, modern toilet and shower. They also have some flip flops for you to use to prevent slipping and athlete’s foot. Towels were also changed daily.
All in all, it’s a cheap hotel by downtown Kampala standards – but a good hotel. I paid 90,000 for 4 nights. With the exchange rate at the time I wrote this tip that would be about $12 (US) a night. I am good at haggling and time has moved on. Definitely insist on a discount if you stay multiple nights. Just get a single night price and start haggling!
• Low price
• 2 blocks from the main Market and Post Office
• Clean and comfortable
• Staff are friendly
• Has a high rise bar with live music (you get in free)
The Central Inn is a wonderful place to stay. It's located in Entebbe, which is just a short drive away from Kampala.
The service here is wonderful. They help you with your bags and are very friendly. There is wireless internet available, as well as TVs in all the rooms. The rooms are all very clean and have comfortable beds, nice bathrooms, etc.
The food is also great here. They've got a good selection, and a buffet-style breakfast is served every morning.
I would highly recommend this hotel. It's very nice, and it's just a short walk to the beach!
The Central Inn has a lot of great aspects to it such as same-day laundry service (though I admit that I did not take advantage of it).
It's a short walk from Lake Victoria's beach, which is really wonderful.
For the sake of making guests feel safe, there are security personnel at the front gate at all times. However, I want to make it clear that nothing about the area is unsafe or worrisome. On the contrary, it is very peaceful. The guard is simply the Inn going the extra mile to make you feel safe.
We had the money to pay our last night there and we are happy for that. The swimming pool is amazing, and food is great.
Before going to Uganda I had never tought I would pay such a high ammount for a night in a hotel. But we realized soon that "reasonable good" hotels in that country are expensive, even for european standards.
Lunch-buffet is 40.000 shilings(13 euros) or you can go to the bar close to the pool and order pizza, hamburgers, pasta....
They offer free shuttle to the airport.
If you are not a resident you can pay a fee (10.000 shilings: 3.1 euros) and you can use the swimming pool and the gym. Great deal!
We paid 180 euros for a night. Breakfast included.
We spent our first two days in Uganda in this place. Rooms are clean and spacious. We stayed in a double selfcointaned and another with no bathroom...but the common toilets and showers are very clean and they have several, so your room is always close to one.
Young travellers use to be there, and it is a good place for a conversation and to get ideas and opinions about the country. Sunday dinner is barbaque!
They offer free internet for residents(very slow!) and that is good.
It is outside Kampala, in a quiet neighborhood...for Kampala standars. It is easy to hire a boda-boda right at the door, mini buses go to and from downtown constantly, and you can arrange trips outside Kampala there.
Mweya is a very good lodge. Nature is every where, magnificent views out of each window and balcony. Friendly and hospitable service. Food is above the averege Lodge level.
Available guides, at $20 per tour - about 2 to 3 hours.
Dont miss the boat ride along the channel.
The pool overlooks the magnificent view, near by is the open dinig veranda where birds share your un attended food.
the price - US $ 350 per room, for 2, full board is very reasonable, comparing with such facilities or less in Kenya.
A beautiful new, fully funrnished house for your short stay for travelling or business.
In Kazo in Kampala, not far from Mulago and Makerere.
Good quality for little money.
Stay between the beautiful people of Uganda.
Fully fenced and very safe.
You get a house for less than the price of a hotel bed
Located right at Lake Victoria, this is also a conference hotel that can count former US president bill Clinton among its residents (they clearly try to make the most of it, including a "presidential" hall for business/conference events. The hotel is conveniently located for visitors who fly into Entebbe and want to avoid the traffic into Kampala before they head on. The rooms are pleasant, food is ok. you should be carefull when ordering chicken tandoori in the garden restauran on a hot day - some people I met there had serious stomach problems afterwards, seems like the meat was not kept cool enough. The hotel also has a business center with rather fast internet.
I especially liked the big, park like garden with its lake victoria vista - even if you are on a work trip, it adds a bit of a holiday atmosphere
In the middle of the Kibale Forest National Park you can find this very welcoming lodge.
You can choose between safari tents, cottages or the tree house.
They have a quite good restaurant and very friendly and helpful staff. They made us an early, early breakfast, before we went to see the chimps.
Just two minutes walk to the headoffice of UWF, where you start your chimp-trekking.
Bar with cold beers and sodas.
Restaurant serving local food.
Accommodation in clean Bandas or lodge rooms adjoining main house.
A large percentage of the profits are going to develop income-producing projects and setting up training classes for local disadvantaged villagers.
Situated at the start of the mounntains, this guest house/lodge provides good opportunities for hill walking plus guided visits to local farms, village trading centres, schools and hospitals.
Ideal place to meet local people not already used to lots of tourists and see how they live.
Watch and listen to a dancing and singing show put on by local women - who have formed a group to support several orphans in their village
Opportunity to perhaps help with one of the projects and learn from them; alternatively teach a skill you altready have.
Yes, why spending lots of money for hotels if renting apartment costs cheap. This is Naalya, residential suburb of Kampala, situated about 10-15 kms far from the city centre. There are lots of apartments for rent here, starting from 100 up to 1.000 euros per month, and it makes 3 or 33 euros per day. The cheapest but decent hotel in Kampala cost 25 dollars per day, and its room with bathroom only.
Here you get kitchen, bathroom, dining room and one or more badrooms for les money.
Naalya is very safe area......
Sort by: Most recent | Most helpful
Top Uganda hotels