I always ask all my clients what they knew about or thought of Uganda prior to their visit and the most popular answers are Mountain Gorillas and Idi Amin. The follow-up questions will be something like what are the chances that I will get to see the gorillas face to face or is Uganda now politically stable? A few seasoned travellers will talk about how much they like the organic local cuisine and how they would love to move to Uganda because the people are so friendly and the weather is warm. I have also heard lots of people call Uganda a hidden paradise unknown to the world.
The Uganda tourism board statistics show that over 70% of tourists who come to Uganda are here for wildlife reasons and will mostly refer to their visit as an African wildlife safari rather than a visit to Uganda which brings me to a conclusion that Uganda is seen as a wildlife destination with political instabilities rather than the nature haven it is.
In the past, when I thought of taking a tour just to take my mind of everything, my instant go-to destinations were by the beachside somewhere outside of Uganda. When I travelled to a destination in Uganda and Rwanda it was mostly to a wildlife destination and usually for work. My friends laughed at my hypocritical behaviour, " You market and sell Uganda as the best destination, but you go elsewhere for your vacations. That's despicable."
In the past few months, thanks to my "digital nomadness" I decided to take my work with me places and discover what Uganda is outside of wildlife and my favourite places have inspired the GETAWAYS section within Wildtroopers where we like to believe that we can get you the best deals at these places but we cannot overlook the bargaining power of BOOKINGS.COM as it sometimes has better prices and special offers so it is worth comparing with them as well.
Brovad Sands Lodge at Ssesse Island on Lake Victoria
This beautiful lodge is "The Place" for beach and Island lovers complete with natural white sand beaches, a large swimming pool and a cocktail bar. I love this lodge because it offers a lot more for the price charged giving a complete value for money service. It is located on the infamous Kalangala Island, one of the largest Islands on Lake Victoria, also known as Ssesse Island. There are two ways to get to the lodge. One, a modern passenger/car ferry, runs daily between the Nakiwogo dock just south of Entebbe and Kalangala Bay. The ferry departs from Kalangala for Nakiwogo at 8 am daily, and returns leaving Nakiwogo at 2 pm daily. The journey takes about 3.5 hours, and there is a snack bar on the ferry. The ferry costs Shs 10,000 ($3) per person for second-class seats or Shs 14,000 ($4) per person first-class seats. The ferry arrives a few meters from the resort and you can take a leisurely 15 minutes walk on the beach from the landing site to the lodge.
The second ferry departs from Bukakata (near Masaka) and Luku/Bugoma on the Western end of the island. It leaves Bukakata at 8:00 am, 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, and 4:00 pm, returning from Luku/Bugoma at 9:00 am, 12:30 am, 2:30 pm, and 5 pm. This ferry is absolutely free and will arrive approximately 40minutes to one hour drive from the resort. If you haven't travelled with your vehicle you will need to arrange transport prior to your arrival. Some of the activities to engage in while here include; Quad biking, hiking, boat rides, guided forest walks, cycling, Kalangala tours, photography,
beach volleyball, football, swimming, fishing and bonfire every evening from 7:00 pm.
BirdNest@Lake Bunyonyi in Kabale
This is the "if you know, you know" kind of resort which was expanded from the original four-roomed lodging to a fourteen roomed luxury boutique resort. It is located in southwestern Uganda in Kabale right at the edge of the deepest lake in Uganda, Lake Bunyonyi. Kabale is an 8 hours drive from Kampala city in Uganda or 3 hours drive from Kigali city in Rwanda. Kabale town is famous for being a developed town at the edge of Bwindi forest, home of the endangered mountain gorillas and is usually flocked by large numbers of tourists interested in gorilla tracking. While at the resort you can go for gorilla tracking in Bwindi forest, do nature walks within the forest and around the lake, go canoeing in a local dugout canoe on the lake, go ziplining across the lake, have a tour of the Islands, visit local communities including the Batwa pygmies who are the oldest culture in Uganda and visit Kabale town.
Pineapple Bay at Bulago Island on Lake Victoria
I visited Lamu once back in 2015. I had been thinking about travel and saving for about two years and my first destination choice was Lamu. It was not (and still is not) an easy area to access in terms of time and money but as soon as I arrived in Lamu, I fell in love. (This is a story for another day). Every time I feel like Lamu, I go to Pineapple bay on Bulago Island in Lake Victoria. This 500-acre island has it all: rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, tropical forests and sweeping grasslands.
This resort is built in the same Italian architectural style as Lamu and is a bird haven (over 300 different bird species) same as the resort I stayed at in Lamu. This resort is the right choice if you are yearning for a luxury beach holiday in Uganda. The resort is easily accessible with a 40 minutes boat transfer from Entebbe or Munyonyo.
Kaazi beach resort in Munyonyo, Kampala
This resort located on the shores of Lake victoria only 30 minutes drive from Entebbe airport is the perfect destination to end your visit to Uganda. My favourite feature about this resort is the entrance to the resort which is almost like a mini forest and will give you an "in the middle of the wilderness" feel before the forest surprisingly opens up to a resort right at the lakeshore. Kaazi is a family-oriented resort because it is kid-friendly.
I will update this list every time I come across a new gem in Uganda.