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“A Nature and Community Friendly Retreat” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Byoona Amagara

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Byoona Amagara
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Itambira Island | Lake Bunyonyi, Kabale, Uganda   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Kabale
Dundee, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“A Nature and Community Friendly Retreat”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2011

This is an incredibly worth while place to stay. Not only is it a uniquely peaceful, tranquil, natural habitat of which you have the opportunity to enjoy, but this hospitable lodge funds a local rural development initiative! Concentrating on renewable energy and local healthcare maintenance amongst others.

Please have a look at the website to see just how special this place is:
http://lakebunyonyi.net/index2.php?page=1

The island has a great atmosphere and the concept of keeping natural is shown in the operation of the lodge and it's beautifully done (snazzy toilets and shower with a view!!). There is a large menu, including delicious desserts... I remember trying the chocolate fudge balls - they're the type of desserts you won't find in any other places around Uganda if you're travelling on a budget, yet they are fresh and a good portion size.
If you don't order in advance the food can take a while to arrive: I ordered a cheese sandwich as a snack and I honestly swear they were rowing the cheese from another island!

Half of us camped in our tents and half stayed in the basic dorms... cosy and very reasonably priced. They'll lend you a basin if you bring your own washing powder for your clothes and there's a line provided for drying.

Lovely walks around the island, traditional canoes are great fun and there is a little place where you can go and watch a selection of films, projected up onto the screen - which is what we did in the evening.

Personally, I wouldn't stay longer than for four or five nights before moving on but that's all you need to completely rejuvenate and chill out.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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115 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    68
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    5
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11
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (37)
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English first
Auckland
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2011

Byoona Amagara is a completely unique and special place. The setting is tranquil, but there is loads to do around the island. The dug out canoes make for a fun boating experience once you learn how to steer, swimming in the lake is wonderfully refreshing and a visit to the local school is a delightful and eye opening experience. The staff at Byoona Amagara are genuinely friendly and great entertainment. The GeoDomes are rustic and comfortable; they have superb open views to the lake below. The food is absolutely fantastic. The prices are so reasonable that you feel guilty! Go for it you'll love it.

Room Tip: Go Deluxe GeoDome
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2011

Enjoyed 4 nights at Byoona Amagara - especially in the spacious and fairly secluded family cottage with yard (we also liked the outdoor shower with its lovely view of the lake). Food is good - but best to order early for a specific time later on - and main dining area is well located. Friendly staff and good value, except for the poor exchange rate offered for US Dollar (make sure you bring enough Ugandan shilling to cover your stay). Remember to bring a sweater - it got chilly some evenings when we were there.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2011

I have stayed at Byoona Amagara twice over the last two years and can't recommend it enough. I was leading a group of students and school teachers on a trip to our partner school in Kabale and used this resort as our place to relax at the end of a busy week of work.

Although I was camping on this visit (as I had to 'babysit' the students) a few of the staff members stayed in the cottage and few in a new wooden lodge building. In all cases, the different accommodation types are not only comfortable and well kept, but are perfectly in keeping with the resort's character as a quasi-eco resort.

A final mention has to go to Clinton, Gad and Peace who ensure that any of your needs are met with the minimum of fuss. They were exceptional at ensuring that fussy students all got exactly what they wanted come meal time. The kitchen staff work hard every day preparing fresh crayfish dishes that taste wonderful. The presence of a night-watchman on the island ensures that despite the remoteness of the resort, you feel safe at all times.

Room Tip: If you aren't on a budget, treat yourself to the cottage with it's view of the lake.
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Dublin, Ireland
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2011

I can't compare this to other accomodations on Lake Bunyoni, but I'd definitely recommend it. We stayed in a Deluxe Geodome, which was a beautiful room with an amazing view out over the lake. I'd strongly advise booking this type of room in advance. The food and dining area was one of the nicest in any place we stayed in Uganda and the meals were superb. The staff (special thanks to Junior and Gad) made us feel very welcome.

Overall, my only regret was that we only had 2 nights here (and arrived quite late the first evening as well) as it's a wonderful place to relax.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2011 via mobile

I stayed 4 nights with 2 other friends in one of the deluxe geodomes. It was the most relaxing 4 days with minimal access to the outside world (ie minimal Internet, etc). Byoona Amagara is run as a perfectly sustainable establishment, with solar power energy and no unnecessary waste.

The restaurant served the best food we had in uganda (try the prawns stuffed in avocado, the chapatti 'burrito' an generous fruit bowl).

I highly recommend staying here. Make it the end of your trip to uganda for the perfect relaxing finale to your trip.

  • Stayed June 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
54 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
161 helpful votes 161 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2011

Had a great few days chilling at byoona amagara. We stayed in a geodome which we highly recommend and also a cabin which was good but nothing special, so we went back to the three-walled geodome! There's nothing like waking up to the view of sunrise over a calm lake and nothing between you and it but fresh air. Food and drink was pretty good overall. You need to plan ahead as it's all done at africa pace, but that's fine. Beers weren't always that cold, but there's a very good reason for that as they use solar power to cover all of the electricity needs on the island. Highly recommend taking a dugout around the lake, they're more challenging to paddle than you think. Great price too.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Byoona Amagara

Address: Itambira Island | Lake Bunyonyi, Kabale, Uganda
Location: Uganda > Western Region > Kabale
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Kabale
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Byoona Amagara is a one-of-a-kind traveler's paradise located on an island peninsula at the heart of the lake. We cater to independent travelers and backpackers looking to get well off the beaten track. We have a gorgeous location overlooking a protected island cove, perfect for swimming, canoeing, hiking or just about anything else you can think of. We also have creative and comfortable lodgings, famously fresh and delicious food, sweeping views of the lake's islands and hills, and a variety of fun and interesting tours and activities... Not to mention some of the most affordable prices in all of East Africa! We also have Internet service available, as well as an amazing library and cinema with hundreds of great books and films. What Byoona Amagara does NOT have is noise, dust, overland trucks, mosquitoes (very few anyway!), And prices that will insult your intelligence (or empty your wallet). Come stay in one of our beautiful geodomes and experience Lake Bunyonyi at its very best! Byoona Amagara is a not-for-profit establishment dedicating 100% of proceeds to support education and sustainable community development at Lake Bunyonyi. ... more   less 

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