How to find community lodges, Close to Uganda national parks.

Now you can be able to find a good number of community lodges around Uganda. Whether travelling alone, with family or with friends, a stay in these lodges will give you a memorable safari. I have listed fifteen (15) community tourism lodges that I feel everyone coming to Uganda must know about.  Each of these enterprises is located next to a specific national park. Their location make it very easy to explore the wildest places as you have always imagined; inside the national parks and forests, the exotic cultures or both on the same journey. These lodges provide guest accommodation that make your trip most efficient and manageable. The list represents each of the ten national parks of Uganda. It is a careful composition to ensure that every traveler can have a chance to experience the indigenous tribes that add value to every safari and trek offered in Uganda.

The accommodation offered by these communities range from self-contained to basic rooms in lodges and guest houses. They also offer camping grounds where guests can hire or pitch their own tent. For those who love to stay with the local families, we have catered for you generously by including homestays at certain national parks. Besides accommodation, these communities offer village experiences that include culture, scenery or nature tours. To be able to get a true experience of Uganda during your trip, it is most likely that you will have to pick one or a few from this list.

Communities provide the perfect gateway to every Uganda’s national park and wildlife areas. By choosing these communities, you choose to experience a true story of Uganda in the comfortable rooms, English speaking hospitable staff, services offered with passion and the hospitality you will not find anywhere else. It is a range of products, services and prices to choose from; the community tours, cultural dances, forest experiences, story tellers, cooking demonstration, the Batwa experience and many more. All the lodges and their activities are well aligned with the wildlife safaris and treks. The list of the community lodges bellow, is classified according to the national parks they are located close to.

At Mount Elgon National park:

1). Crow’s-nest rest camp – It is a local family lodge overlooking Sipi falls, near Mount Elgon national park. Crow’s nest rest camp is a good representation of a community lodge in Uganda offering budget rooms, restaurant and bar. The local community activities guests can participate in including coffee experience, water falls tour, village walk, rock climbing and abseiling. Resting at the balcony of your room or restaurant, the view of the energetic Sipi falls is enormous. A keen looker will be able to view all the tree water falls at once, popping in a gigantic mountain landscape. When you go to the top viewing point above the crow’s nest camp, the entire region of rugged hills, mountains and plains will appear to be bellow your neck.

2). Blue star homestay – Blue star homestay is located at Sipi village, in the foothills of Mount Elgon national park. The home offers space for about seven people each night. During the stay, guests have a chance to participate in the local life activities through the coffee making experience, farming and village tours, water falls tours, rock climbing and abseiling by the water falls and Mount Elgon trekking. Guests sleep under one roof with the family. The host prepares local food for the guests and the rest of the family to share. Guests can be invited to participate in cooking to be taken through the process of cooking in the local kitchen and with the local ingredients. Staying in this home is a hands-on cultural exchange opportunity.

At Murchison falls national park:

3). Boomu Women’s campsite – This campsite is located at the entrance of Murchison falls national park, Kichumbanyubo gate next to Budongo forest. The campsite offers guest rooms, camping grounds, restaurant and a handicrafts shop. The traditional accommodation styled bandas are placed in a local garden with flowers and tree shrubs where birds are commonly seen building nests as they sing. Guests have a chance to interact with the local women or exchange skills while they learn the role of the local woman in the local community of Kigarara village. Guests to this community lodge love the delicious local food prepared by Boomu women. Activities organized by this lodge include; a village walk and a cooking tour experiences that show case true Ugandan village life. On prior arrangement, the women can offer a crafts weaving workshop.

Kibale national park:

4). Tinka’s homestay – It is located in the villages behind Bigodi trading center- next to Bigodi swamp, near Kibale National park. This park is Uganda’ leading chimpanzee viewing place. The homestay provides comfortable overnight accommodation rooms and meals to guests who wish to spend a night close to the park or next to the community sanctuary before and after their memorable treks in the natural paradise. It is a modern home of people who love and cherish the local tooro culture. The host Mr. and Mrs. Tinka, together with their children will take you through the cultural journey in the foods, local traditional tales and the inspirational story that will make you realize how they enjoy hosting guests in their home. The activities offered by the homestay (at an additional fee) include Bigodi swamp walk, Bigodi village walk and a traditional lunch to none staying visitors’.

Semuliki national park:

5). Rwenzori escarpment view guest house – This guest house is located at Karugutu (30 minutes from fort portal town). It is a suitable base for exploring the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve, Semuliki National Park and the surrounding unique landscape. Staying in this part of the country is more like staying in Congo than in Uganda. Even many Ugandans don’t know this part of the country which is why it is special for all kinds of visitors. As you drive through the valley, from fort portal to Karugutu, you will probably be taking one of the best views of your life, driving on the rim of mountain ridges that display a mixed scenery of savannah on one side and the mountains on the other side. The community lodge offers traditional bandas, private rooms and camping grounds at home or in the cocoa forest. During the stay, the famers will be showing you how they do their local trades of fishing, cattle keeping and cocoa farming. Come and have a feel of Congo without paying a visa and in the comfort and security of Uganda

Rwenzori mountains national park:

6). Ruboni community camp – This community lodge is located next to Rwenzori mountains national park gate 26km from Kasese town. It is on the trail-head, 1km before Nyakalengijo central circuit gate. The camp offers guest rooms (both self-contained and none self-contained), a restaurant and bar. The activities offered by this camp include; three village tours outside the park and Rwenzori mountain trekking trips. The three tours are, a village cultural tour, a forest nature walk and hill climb scenery trek to the highest hill in the village. A cultural traditional dance can be arranged on prior arrangement. All Rwenzori trekking tours are organized more flexibly and affordably by this community camp.

7). Rwenzori turaco view campsite – Rwenzori Turaco view campsite is located on the trailhead to Nyakalengijo gate of Rwenzori mountains national park (24km from Kasese town) The lodge offers guest rooms and a spacious camping ground. Given its location, this camp is ideal for Rwenzori mountains trekkers on the day before and after the trek. Other services that can be offered are village walks, meals and drinks to the guest and treks into the mountains. It is located in a rustic greenery village where you will have a chance to live like a local for a moment. The staff are hospitable and will show you everything to make your stay most comfortable.

8). Rwenzori homestay – Located at the Nyakalengijo, gateway of Rwenzori mountains national park, Rwenzori homestay shows you the entire cultural background of the Bakonzo people living in the foothills of Rwenzori (western Uganda and eastern Congo). It is a hospitable extended family. The stay at this home is a practical showcase of the foods, the economic activities, the household chores, the dressing and other local trades of this mountain tribe. During the stay, you will be treated to delicious organic food including the local cuisine and the comfortable guest rooms.

Queen Elizabeth national park:

9). The Elephant home – Located within the great Elephant habitat of Queen Elizabeth national park, the name of this lodge is inspired by the regular visits of the elephant and other wildlife whenever they cross to the community land in Kikorongo, Near Queen Elizabeth. It is located 1km from the equator and five minutes’ drive to the park gate where the game drive starts on Kasenyi tracks starts. This lodge offers self-contained rooms, camping grounds, a restaurant/ bar/ crafts shop and a series of activities in the local area such as; the cotton growing experience, community hill trek to the mountain lake, the boda-boda safari around the park, traditional dances by the local community and the boat cruise and wildlife safari inside the park. Common site of wildlife during the Safaris organized by the lodge, is elephants, antelopes, buffaloes, Hipos birds and other small mammals

10). Nyanziibiri eco-campsite – Nyanziibiri is a name in the local Runyaruguru dialect meaning two lakes. This lodge is located next to the twin lakes; Kamweru and Kyema in Nyakasharu area near Queen Elizabeth national park. The lodge provides comfortable rooms overlooking the scenery of the crater lakes and the hilly country side. Guest love the scenery, variety of organic foods, hospitable staff and the great traditional story behind the lakes that shape the life of the surrounding indigenous community. Other activities offered to guests of this lodge include; the cultural mini-museum, trekking to the traditional cave, the board walk in the nearby swamp and the canoe experience on one of the lakes. It gives a good show case of Uganda’s cultural and natural heritage.

11). Judith Rutaro Homestay – This homestay is located in Rumuri village, within the crater lakes are of Bunyaruguru. The home offers up to two bedroom that can take a maximum of two couples. It is suitable for guests who want to explore Queen Elizabeth national park, beyond the ordinary tourists’ wishes. The home practices agriculture as the key source of food and income. During the stay, guests are taken through the faming experience in different aspects such as animal rearing, banana growing and eventually you end up going through the coffee farming and roasting experience. In this home, every guest is able to process the organic coffee drink prepared from the village farm. Guests staying longer can have a chance for taking a village walk to the different hills and crater lakes to take views of the landscape while learning a cross section of the local way of life.

Bwindi impenetrable national park:

12). Buhoma community rest camp – Buhoma community camp is located inside Buhoma gate of Bwindi impenetrable national park. The camp has accommodation options ranging from self-contained rooms and safari tents, none self-contained, dorms and camping grounds. This lodge locateoion is a perfect base of gorilla tracking in Bwindi. Buhoma is the first and most preferred gorilla tracking point of Bwindi. The lodge setting inside the forest gives guests a feel of the Ugandan jungle, spending a night in the same forest as the gorillas. From the restaurant and other points of the camp, the view over the forest canopy is unforgettable. Other activities offered by the lodge include; a biking tour, the Batwa village experience and the crafts shop.

13). Ruhija Gorilla friends resort – Ruhija gorilla friends resort is a community lodge located on the high hills of Bwind next to Ruhija gorilla tracking gate. It is owned and run by a local community cooperative that aims to empower the local households to enhance their sustainable living. The lodge offers self-contained and none self-contained rooms or safari tens and camping grounds. They have an onsite restaurant offering delicious meals. The community arranges village tours such as community cultural walk, bird watching tour, village walks, handicrafts sales, and traditional dances. While here, before and after gorilla tracking, the lodge gives guests an opportunity to meet the people and view the household gardens and settlements over the high hills on one of the village walks. Some guests may choose to just stay at the lodge after the gorilla tracking, as the views over the hills overlooking Bwindi forest will give am endless relaxing moment.

Mgahinga Gorilla national park:

14) Mgahinga community Campground – This lodge is located next to the main gate of Mgahinga gorilla national park. It is accessed from Kisoro town, located 14 Km away. The community lodge offers accommodation rooms, a campground and village tours. The camp can also arrange activities inside the park including, volcano trekking, mountain gorilla tracking, golden monkey tracking and nature walks. The project is a strong link between the park and community through the gorilla conservation journey. You will also have a chance find out how the community works with the park to conserve the gorilla’s habitat, during your stay by interacting with the staff/ community.

Lake Mburo national park:

15). Rwenjeru campsite – Rwenjeru is a local dialect name inspired by a traditional treasured white cow (enjeru – white). This camp is located in the cattle keeping community of the Bahima who are the keepers of the Ankole long horned cattle. The lodge is located off the road to katengyeto gate of Lake Mburo national park that branches opposite Igongo cultural center. This camp offers camping grounds and a guest house.  It is located in the great Ankole cattle keeping area. While here, guests explore the traditional life of living with the long horned cow. The activities guest can participate in include; cow watering, milking and grazing that covers most of the household daily chores. Come listen to how the Ankole cows love being sang to in the local special melody. The local tribe truly loves their cows. You will discover how cows are respected and the position they take in the family. You can also take time off to visit the farming communities, do bike riding on the rolling hills and or visit Lake Mburo national park to do the wildlife safaris.

These fifteen lodges have something for everyone. They will introduce you to the experienced local guides that will show you hundreds of cultural and natural experiences around Uganda in the neighborhoods of the protected areas. Staying with them for a night or even taking their day tours, is an opportunity to listen to the first hand cultural story behind Uganda’s rich wildlife. If this is your interest, please contact us and we tailor an arrangement for you. We will happily arrange all accommodation and activity reservations, information or transportation to these lodges.

We look forward to welcome you to Uganda!!

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