The vision of Englishman Steve Williams, Kyaninga Lodge is a beautiful, unique property that took six years to complete, with locals trained in new woodcraft techniques to help build it. The main building is perched on a rocky outcrop, with large log cabins strung out on either side of it along the ridge overlooking Lake Kyaninga. Views from the lodge’s outdoor decks are hard to beat, with the crater lake, distant mountains and lush green forest creating a feeling of peace and seclusion. At night the cottages are lit up and open fireplaces offer a warm, homely ambience, which can be soaked up over delicious dinners and fine wines.
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The small number of spacious wooden cottages are spread out along the hillside overlooking the lake and mountains beyond, featuring private balconies from which to enjoy the views. Constructed using local timber, they’re set on raised platforms and are connected to the main lodge via a raised wooden walkway. Each is furnished with hand-carved furniture and either twin or double beds, as well as featuring an indoor sitting area and an en suite bathroom with a marble-topped basin and claw foot bath. Solar power is used to heat the water and generate electricity, and a socket is included in each cottage to charge electrical appliances.
The lodge is located 12 kilometres northeast of Fort Portal town, overlooking Lake Kyaninga. As well as enjoying views of the crater lakes, you can see the distant silhouettes of the Rwenzori Mountains, also known as the Mountains of the Moon. Kibale Forest National Park is less than an hour’s drive away, where you’ll find large populations of chimpanzees and other primates.
Food and Drink
Delicious meals are served in the main dining room, with the three-course dinner menu designed by an international chef. Consisting of European cuisine, the chefs use local ingredients in all of the dishes, most of which are picked from the lodge’s own kitchen garden or sourced from local markets. The homely bar area is centred around a large stone fireplace, and there’s an extensive wine list.
There are two family cottages with an additional mezzanine floor, and extra beds can be included in each cottage on request.
Facilities and Activities
The pool is lined with local volcanic rock, featuring wooden decks and a submerged seat. Wi-Fi access is available in the main lodge, and there’s a tennis court, badminton court, croquet and boules facilities within the terraced grounds, where you can relax in tranquil surroundings or take a look at the kitchen garden. Alternatively, take a scenic two hour walk down to the lake or a one hour walk around the crater’s rim.
It’s worth noting that there are a significant number of steps at this lodge, as the rooms are spread along the crater's edge.
Environmental and Social Responsibility
The lodge has been involved in the local community since its construction, and most of the staff are from the surrounding area. Many of the locals who helped to build the lodge are now employed by Kyaninga Homes, a company that builds log cabins and furniture like those seen at the property. To reverse the area’s deforestation, the lodge has planted over 10,000 indigenous trees and runs a programme to encourage the surrounding population to maintain the local ecosystem.
You may wish to visit Kibale Forest National Park, which is home to more than 1,000 chimpanzees along with 12 other primate species, including red colobus monkeys, olive baboons, grey-cheeked mangabeys and bush babies. You can see these, along with over 300 species of bird (six of which are endemic to the park), on guided walks and tracking tours through the forest.
Kyaninga is a beautiful property, and one from which we get superb feedback. The combination of charming staff, a uniquely designed lodge and stunning views make it a great base for exploring the crater lakes and nearby Kibale Forest.