Crater Safari Lodge, Kibale
My weekend was well spent in an exclusive and new lodge new the land of chimpanzees in Uganda. This extraordinary weekend started with a journey from Kampala as we headed for the western route to Fort portal via Mityana – Mubende road.
The entry into the lodge was surprising as we were ushered into an unexpected gate at the lodge from the plantations in the cool breezes of Lake Nyinabulitwa. As you enter the lodge, you are welcomed by the main building where you meet the smiling staff with smiles.
The lodge is block built with local timber used on the floors and they are erected on raised platforms. The main building is more airy constructed using local timber and canvas in the sides. It has a lounge, restaurant and kitchen attached. It will also have a craft shop and a massage room. The is also the well stocked bar with the common brands. The lodge offers 11 cottages in total of which 2 are luxury and 4 can be converted into family cottages (with adjoining doors). All the cottages have good views of the lake but rooms 1 – 7 have better than the family cottages (8 – 11).
We were amazed by the creativity at the lodge that is not so common with most lodges in Uganda. The lodge also has access for people with disabilities or elderly people in case they are using the wheelchair and can’t user stairs to the main lounge.
Rooms and facilities:
All the rooms have almost similar features apart from the luxury rooms which have bathtub and soon other things like a mini-massage. The rooms are very spacious with two beds, two chairs and a table and another reading table and chair, good duvets, room safe. They all have en-suite bathrooms with showers [apart from the luxury], one sink, warm and cold water, drinking water in the rooms. Each cottage is equipped with a fire extinguisher.
The management is good being headed by a Richard with his rich experience having been in the industry in the Maasai Mara for more than 10 years. They are welcoming from the welcome drink, quick and hospitable. The food is good and we managed to have a look at their kitchen and it was clean [that will always tell you whether the place is clean and good or not].
With the uniqueness and creativity of the management, the meals can be arranged and served either in the restaurant (inside the main building) or outside [either in the lodge gardens or some other place that is outside the lodge where they arrange to have a feeling of having a bush meal. This however depends on the weather.
Chimp tracking: When clients are doing chimp tracking or any other activity that starts early that day, this can work well as it is only 20 minutes to the Kibale Forest National Park headquarters. The park is home to a total of 70 mammal species, most famously 13 species of primate including the chimpanzee and contains over 375 species of birds. Kibale’s 1450 chimpanzees represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate. The forest is also home to East Africa’s largest population of the threatened red colobus and the rare I’Hoest’s monkey.
Community: The lodge offers a walk to the top of the world passing through villages [though not much has been developed at the moment]. There is a village women’s group that can be arranged for an evening performances if requested by the clients at an extra cost.
Campfire: Lodge has a campfire areas overlooking the lake for an evening chill for a drink at sunset.
Getting to the Lodge:
The lodge is located on the edge of Lake Nyinabulitwa and can easily accessed on the Fort Portal – Kamwenge Road that passes through Kibale Forest National Park. This drive can take about 20 – 30 minutes from Fort Portal town. This road is now being upgraded and therefore can take longer than that (at the moment).