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“Practically perfect” 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 21 Specialty Lodging in Kabale
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Ireland
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Practically perfect”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012

This is a getaway in the true sense of the word. We travelled 8 hours by bus, followed by a taxi and boat ride to get to Byoona Amagara, and it was worth the trip.

We stayed for 4 nights. We had peace and tranquility, and stunning scenery. We stayed in a deluxe geodome which was large, comfortable, and with breathtaking views. The hot shower with a similar view was an unexpected bonus.

The food is made to order, so there is a short wait if you don't order in advance, but having it freshly made more than made up for this. The crayfish avocado was my particular favourite.

Having thoroughly chilled out, we took a canoe trip around to some of the other islands on our last day with Justice. It was informative and fun, as well as having some adventure when we had to shelter from a sudden storm.

All in all, a stunning place to stay.

Room Tip: Deluxe geodomes are well worth the upgrade - we stayed in two different ones, and both were fabulous...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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124 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    73
    34
    10
    5
    2
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14
39
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1
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 (39)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012

The best place for some R&R at Lake Bunyonyi, beautiful place. Waking up with views on the lake out of your geodome, listening to all the birds, just magic! All the travellers have said enough about this place allready, we just want to advise to take the geodome called 'Ebimoori', which is set away from the main bar area and has by far the best views of the island.

Room Tip: choose Geodome Ebimoori
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Brantford, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

It is hard to add to the praises already sung for this resort! My adult daughter found the place...nice having kids like that! The food was amazing! My only regret is that (quite literally) I did not buy the t-shirt. I did buy a Christmas gift from the craft shop.

Room Tip: The difference in price between a dorm room, which would have to be shared, and a geo-dome for one...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St Austell, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012

In an open geodome you can watch the stars and the birds even from your bed! Environmentally sensitive destination - all electricity is solar, plumbing based on compost, but you can get a hot shower with a view of the lake. Wonderful helpful friendly staff serve excellent meals, arrange days out. Meals even arrive at the time they give you - rare enough in East Africa. Much of the income goes to the local community. The birdlife is amazing (so don't leave anything edible within reach of the crows - plastic wrappers are no challenge to them.) Quiet, beautiful, usually filled with other interesting travellers for chat in the comfortable restaurant, which of course also has a great view of the lake and other islands.

Room Tip: The luxury geodome is worth the extra, with private shower & loo and stunning views. The basic...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
TA
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2012

We stayed at the deluxe geodome during Janurary, and enjoyed every minute! The view to the lake is amazing, the staff was really friendly and helpful. The idea of a self-contained ecological room is wonderful, and the managers donate much of the money back to the community, which is also great :)
Overall, great value for your money :)

  • Stayed January 2012, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Los Angeles, California, United States
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2012

I booked a gorilla trekking excursion through Byoona Amagara which also included a stay in the resort (09/28/12-10/02/12). To address some of the previous reviews, yes, you have to pay a nominal fee for almost everything (electrical power to charge your accessories, hot water if you are not in the deluxe dome, local calls, internet access, etc) HOWEVER, remember that this little utopia is on an ISLAND located in a DEVELOPING NATION that is part of a CHARITY organization that is also ECO-CONSCIOUS! Also, meals do take some time to prepare, but this fact is clearly noted on the front page of the menu. Your meals are made to order and likely from scratch. But trust me, it's so worth the wait! My favorites were the goulash and egg sandwich with gouda!

To avoid typing all my praise again, I will include an email I sent to the owner after my trip.

Jason,

I wanted to write you a short note about my experience at Byoona Amagara, your wonderful resort.

From top to bottom, the entire experience was wonderful. I have to be honest, doing everything over the internet and dealing with the chaos, language barrier, and foreignness of another country, I was a bit skeptical that I would "get what I paid for", but I am so grateful to have been so wrong.

Jasper and Robert were excellent drivers, and since the drives were so long, I was very glad they were excellent company as well. Jasper was patient through out 8+ hour drive (including crazy traffic and being stopped by the police TWICE). Robert was surprisingly friendly at 5:30am and after his first question was "so, how's life?" I knew he was a good guy. He even stopped on the way so we could take pictures of the surreal view of the fog-draped valley. The gorilla trek was breath-taking - literally and figuratively. Seeing the gorillas and the organization of the trek was wonderful, but it was also the hardest physical challenge I have ever faced! But thankfully, once it was over, I had a private ride back to the resort which was HEAVENLY! Every member of the staff was friendly, courteous, and helpful...especially Clinton and Nicholas. I loved that Byoona Amagara attracts backpackers from all over the world because it gave me a chance to meet a lot of new people (and have fluent English conversations which hadn't happened in many weeks). The food was OUTSTANDING! (where do you get Gouda cheese from in Uganda?!) And of course, the domes....the beautiful, eco-friendly, architecturally creative domes! I loved the feel of the chill on my face while I was snuggled warmly under the covers in my bed. Waking up to the gorgeous view of the lake was something I will never forget. As you may recall, I was scheduled to leave on Sunday (which I was grateful for because I was told the traffic, especially from Kampala to Entebbe, could be horrible during the week), however, I opted to brave the traffic jams on Monday JUST so I could stay in your paradise an extra day. You are a visionary, Jason. From the tone and atmosphere of the resort (love the witty signs), to the food, to the domes, to the library and of course, the charity work that proceeds help fund....I was left in awe.

Thank you for allowing me to experience Byoona Amagara. My life has been made more whole by the experience!

With gratitude,
Jaden

PS. If you haven't guessed by the tone, I will be returning to the resort for many years to come!

Room Tip: If you have the option, go for the Deluxe Geodome for 10,000 USH more. You get private bath facilit...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antwerp
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2012

We stayed for 5 nights in a Deluxe Geodome at Byoona Amagara, and I wish it could have been longer! The location on Itambira island is stunning and there is plenty to do around the lake area. The menu at Byoona has so many great choices we never got bored or tired of the delicious food. I honestly thought it has one of the best kitchens in Uganda. We were there at a busy time when the place was completely full and we never had to wait long at all for our food. The owners have made the island a little oasis, walking paths, sports areas, swimming dock and lounge chairs, library, mini cinema and cheap canoe rentals to venture off to any of the other many islands. I really recommend the Deluxe Geo Dome, DO IT! It is so worth it, such a brilliant design and one of a kind experience. We had a lovely balcony that was frequently visited by beautiful birds, a smartly designed shower with hot water and lovely open air room with vistas on the lake. I admire the eco initiatives, solar power, and community projects funded by the proceeds from Byoona. The prices are very reasonable for food, drinks and any activities that you might want to do. One of our favorite places in Uganda.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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 21 Specialty Lodging in Kabale
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Byoona Amagara Island Retreat 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!), or prices that 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 staff-owned, not-for-profit establishment dedicating 100% of proceeds to support education and sustainable community development at Lake Bunyonyi. ... more   less 

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