Uganda is one of the continent’s most underappreciated safari spots. It is most renowned for its mountain gorillas, who may be monitored in the national parks of Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla. Less well-known is the fact that Uganda’s biodiverse network of parks also provides superb chimp trekking and a good chance of seeing all five of the Big Five. Other attractions include some of Africa’s most beautiful mountains and lakes, as well as a list of over 1,000 bird species. When it comes to places to stay in Uganda, the nation has a broad network of options, ranging from campsites and backpacker lodges to five-star hotels and world-class safari lodges. We present you to ten of our best luxury Uganda safari hotels and Uganda safari camps, listed alphabetically.
Apoka Safari Lodge
Apoka is without a doubt the best safari resort in northeast Uganda, perched on a rocky slope overlooking a waterhole in Kidepo Valley National Park. There’s a magnificent natural rock swimming pool and a shaded thatched eating area with a view of the plains, as well as super-spacious cabins with canvas walls and individual patios. Best of all, Apoka is an ideal base for exploring a distant and little-known park where lions, elephants, and buffalo are all common sightings.
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, which resembles an Africanized version of a luxurious Alpine ski chalet, is Uganda’s highest lodge, positioned at a height of roughly 2,100m/6,889ft on a wooded ridge near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park’s Nkuringo Gate. Each of the eight charming 80m2/860ft2 guest cottages has a king-size bed, a wide parlor with soft sofas and a blazing log fire, and a smart modern bathroom. There is no better base for gorilla hunting in Bwindi’s distant southwest than Clouds, and the vistas of the volcanic Virungas, with active Nyiragongo flaming orange after dark, are simply breathtaking. A personal butler, a soothing foot massage after your gorilla hike, and great meals paired with a range of exotic wines are among the luxurious touches.
Kyaninga Lodge.The most spectacular architecture of any Uganda safari lodge may be found at this premium owner-managed resort on the outskirts of Fort Portal. It comprises of eight roomy houses scattered widely along a stilted wooden walkway on the wooded rim of Kyaninga Crater Lake, built nearly completely of wood and thatch. The view over the lake toward the Rwenzori Mountains is spectacular, there’s some wonderful walking and canoeing on the property, and it’s one of the greatest locations to stay in Uganda before hiking chimps in adjacent Kibale National Park.
Mihingo is an exclusive family-owned resort located in a remote wilderness region near Lake Mburo National Park that stands out for having that elusive ‘wow’ element. A dozen luxurious tented cabins are spread across a wooded slope, the rocky peak of which gives spectacular views in all directions. There’s also a lovely open-sided eating space and a swimming pool nestled among the stones. This is without a doubt the most opulent Uganda safari resort serving Lake Mburo National Park. It has the extra benefit of providing horseback and walking safaris, as well as night drives with a good possibility of seeing leopards.
Mount Gahinga Lodge
Mount Gahinga Lodge, the main luxury base for visiting Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, offers an unrivaled position beneath a trio of lofty volcanic peaks belonging to the Virunga range bordering Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The lodge, which has been under the same active administration since its inception in 2002, consists of seven enormous cottages that mix traditional Bafumbira stone architecture with modern conveniences and outstanding services. Mount Gahinga Lodge, located only five minutes from the main park gate, is suitable for gorilla tracking in Mgahinga, as well as other activities such as golden monkey trekking and day treks to the Virunga hills.
Mweya Safari Lodge
Mweya Safari Lodge, one of the most well-known locations to stay in Uganda, commands a spectacular cliff-top position on the Mweya Peninsula in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It provides some of the most consistent in-house wildlife watching of any Uganda safari resort, overlooking a part of the Kazinga Channel frequented by thirsty buffalo and elephant herds. The gardens are also home to a plethora of birds, and on a clear day, you can see the snowcapped peaks of the Rwenzori. It is not as intimate or private as smaller Uganda safari camps, but the great location and attentive management ensure that it remains a popular choice for premium safaris.
Paraa Safari Lodge
Paraa, one of Uganda’s oldest and largest safari lodges, was built in 1959 on a slope overlooking the north bank of the Nile as it passes past Murchison Falls, the country’s largest national park. The 54-room lodge has undergone several renovations since then, but it still boasts a fantastic setting, which is best experienced from the huge and welcoming swimming pool. It provides pleasant, well-equipped rooms as well as a colonial-style restaurant. Paraa is strategically located for boat tours to the foot of Murchison Falls and wildlife drives along the fertile Delta Circuit.
Primate Lodge Kibale
Primate Lodge, one of my favorite Uganda safari lodges, houses visitors in magnificent stone and thatch huts in Kibale National Park, Uganda’s top chimp trekking location. The major chimp trekking trailhead is about a five-minute walk away from the resort. Guest cottages are spread out in a rainforest region where you may witness red-tailed monkeys, black-and-white colobus monkeys, and a variety of birds.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is without a doubt one of the greatest locations to stay in Uganda, combining the atmosphere of an upmarket safari camp with a stunning rainforest environment in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Accommodation is provided in eight big and sophisticated standing tents placed deep in the forest, each with two queen-size mattresses and an own balcony. There is no more magnificent location from which to view Uganda’s mountain gorillas, especially because it is directly across the street from the major tracking assembly point at Buhoma, Bwindi’s Park headquarters. When you come back to camp, the wildlife viewing doesn’t stop: forest birds like the brilliant great blue turaco, monkeys pass through on a daily basis, and gorillas have been known to meander over the lawn!
Sipi River Lodge
Sipi River Lodge is a pleasant exception to the lack of quality lodging in eastern Uganda. It is set in lushly forested surroundings on the slopes of Mt Elgon, an extinct volcano that, at 4,321m/14,177ft, is Africa’s eighth-tallest massif. This is an excellent location for exploring the rich Elgon foothills and seeing a trio of beautiful waterfalls on the Sipi River. The main Sipi Falls is only a few minutes’ walk away, and the middle cascade is right on the property, visible from several of the villas. This isn’t your ordinary safari lodge, with a warm rustic ambiance that might be transported from the English countryside, and the comparatively high altitude means it enjoys a lovely temperate environment.