Apoka safari lodge stands on a rocky ridge overlooking a waterhole in Kidepo Valley National Park. Accommodation is in super-spacious chalets with canvas walls and private terraces, and there’s a wonderful natural rock swimming pool, as well as a shady thatched dining area with a view over the plains. Best of all, Apoka is the perfect base for exploring a remote and relatively little-known park where lions, elephants and buffalo are all likely to be seen on a daily basis.
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge is the highest lodge in Uganda, perched at an altitude of around 2,100m/6,889ft on a forested ridge close to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park’s Nkuringo Gate. Eight cozy 80m2/860ft2 guest cottages each include a king-size bed, a spacious lounge completes with plump sofas and roaring log fire, and a stylish modern bathroom.
There’s no finer base than Clouds for gorilla tracking in Bwindi’s remote southwest, and the views towards the volcanic Virunga’s, with active Nyiragongo glowing orange after dark, are truly stunning. Luxurious touches include a personal butler, a pampering foot massage after your gorilla trek, and superb cuisine complemented by a selection of imported wines.
Kyaninga lodge a luxury owner-managed property on the outskirts of Fort Portal boasts the most impressive architecture of any Uganda safari lodge. Built almost entirely from wood and thatch, it consists of eight spacious cottages spaced widely along a stilted wooden walkway on the forested rim of Kyaninga Crater Lake.
The view across the lake toward the Rwenzori Mountains is sensational, there’s some great walking and canoeing on the property, and it’s one of the best places to stay in Uganda prior to chimpanzee trekking in nearby Kibale National Park.
Mihingo lodge situated in a private wilderness area bordering Lake Mburo National Park, Mihingo is an exclusive family-owned lodge that stands out for possessing that elusive ‘wow’ factor. A dozen luxury tented chalets are scattered across a forested hill whose rocky summit offers wonderful views in all directions.
There’s also a beautifully appointed open-sided dining area and a swimming pool set between the boulders. This is unquestionably the most luxurious Uganda safari lodge servicing Lake Mburo National Park. It has the added value of offering horseback and walking safaris, as well as night drives that come with a decent chance of spotting leopards.
Mount Gahinga Lodge has a peerless setting below a trio of tall volcanic peaks belonging to the Virunga range bordering Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Under the same dynamic management since it first opened in 2002, the lodge comprises seven massive cottages that combine local Bafumbira stone architecture with modern comforts and excellent amenities. Being only five minutes’ walk from the main park entrance, Mount Gahinga Lodge is ideally positioned for gorilla tracking in Mgahinga, as well as other activities such as golden monkey trekking and day hikes to the Virunga peaks.
Mweya Safari Lodge one of the most famous places to stay in Uganda, boasts a commanding cliff-top position on the Mweya Peninsula in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Overlooking a stretch of the Kazinga Channel that’s favoured by thirsty buffalo and elephant herds, it offers perhaps the most reliable in-house wildlife viewing of any Uganda safari lodge.
There’s also plentiful birdlife in the gardens, and on a clear day you can see the snow-capped peaks of the Rwenzori. With 54 rooms, it is not as intimate or exclusive as smaller Uganda safari camps, but the prime location and on-the-ball management ensure it remains a very popular choice on upmarket safaris.
Paraa safari lodge among the oldest and largest of Uganda’s safari lodges, constructed in 1959 on a slope overlooking the north bank of the Nile as it flows through Murchison Falls, the country’s largest national park. The 54-room lodge has undergone many face-lifts since then, but it still enjoys a wonderful location, best appreciated from the large and inviting swimming pool. It has comfortable, well-equipped rooms and a restaurant decorated in colonial style. Logistically, Paraa is perfectly suited for boat trips to the base of Murchison Falls and game drives on the productive Delta Circuit.
Primate Lodge accommodates guests in luxurious stone and thatch cottages set in Kibale National Park, Uganda’s top chimpanzee trekking destination. The lodge is only five minutes’ walk from the main chimp trekking trailhead. Guest cottages are spaced out widely in an area of rain forest where you’re likely to see red-tailed monkey, black-and-white colobus and a wide variety of birds.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp combining the feel of an exclusive safari camp with a gorgeous rain forest setting in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, is without doubt one of the best places to stay in Uganda. Accommodation is in eight large and stylish standing tents, each fitted with two queen-size beds and a private balcony set deep in the forest.
There’s no more luxurious base from which to visit Uganda’s mountain gorillas, especially as it lies practically opposite the main tracking assembly point at Buhoma, Bwindi’s Park headquarters. Wildlife viewing doesn’t stop when you get back to camp: forest birds include the dazzling great blue turaco, plenty of monkeys pass through on a daily basis, and it’s not unheard of for gorillas to wander across the lawn!
Sipi River Lodge is a welcome exception. It stands in lushly wooded grounds on the slopes of Mt Elgon, an extinct volcano that ranks as Africa’s eighth-tallest massif at 4,321m/14,177ft. This is a great base for hiking in the fertile Elgon foothills and visiting a trio of pretty waterfalls that adorn the Sipi River.
The main Sipi Falls is only a few minutes’ walk away, and the middle cascade actually stands in the grounds, within view of some of the cottages.
With a cozy rustic feel that might be transplanted from the English countryside, this isn’t your average safari lodge, and the relatively high altitude ensures it enjoys a pleasant temperate climate.