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“Rest and relaxation.” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Banda Island

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Banda Island
Certificate of Excellence
Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Rest and relaxation.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 25, 2013

I spent a wonderful 3 days at Banda Island, enjoying the quiet, the views of the lake and watching all the amazing birds (never got to see the hippos or the crocodile...guess i need to come back for that!) Andrew was an excellent host and made me feel at home. The food was quite delicious-especially the fish. The boat ride over from mainland (I recommend going with Vince) was enjoyable as well. If you are looking for rest and relaxation in a beautiful spot on Lake Victoria, with basic amenities and good price, I highly recommend Banda island.

Room Tip: i stayed in one of the "beach cottages" for 10usd more per night. very basic room, the ni...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank andrea4peace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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100 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    60
    26
    7
    5
    2
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
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English first
Nijmegen
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 27, 2013

After a roundtrip through Uganda, my friends and I had a very good stay at Banda Island Resort the last days of our holiday. It was a heart-warming experience, full of wildlife at the front door of our cottage!

Although our travelling plan towards the island was challenging and ran out of schedule all the time, we were assisted and guided by Petra and Andrew who stayed very patient with us. We were happy that Andrew and Vince (the boatman) were waiting for us at Lutoboka as sun was setting by the time we arrived. They took us to the island where a nice fire was made on the beach to welcome us. Andrew promised and rewarded us with warm showers and cold beers, which obviously was 100% spot on by the time we arrived. Andrew was a very pleasant host: present when needed but not intrusive at all. He is a nice animator in any case.

The Banda spot is beautiful, a nice garden alongside the beach, the cottages basic but clean and comfortable and absolutely stunning at sunrise. The best of Banda is the wildlife at the beach; pied kingfishers, ibis, aigrettes, otters, iguanas, fish eagles, weaverbirds, cormorants, hawks and many more. At night the lamps and silence of the fishermen at the lake are unearthly. You can sit in front of your cottage just only watching. Recommended!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Norbert M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
32 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 1, 2013

I really struggled writing this review. On the positive side, the island is in a beautiful spot and is very secluded. The food is good, and it's a nice place to relax. Petra was wonderful in helping to organise transport to Banda.

However, two things really pulled down my experience of Banda. The first was the attitude of the current manager, whose sexist and racist remarks made me feel extremely uncomfortable, and it wasn't the odd infrequent comment, but a steady stream of discussion against women and Ugandans. When I was reading reviews before I went to Banda I noticed that someone else had also written about this manager, and I ignored those comments because so many other reviews were positive. More fool me. It significantly affected my experience on the island, and as the only guest for 3 of the 4 days I was there, made me feel very uncomfortable. The other thing which made me lower the score here was that the whole place feels a bit unloved: the rooms arent often cleaned and are covered in cobwebs and bits of bat poo, the bathrooms are the same, with no soap and infrequent cleaning. The whole place just feels a bit neglected, and could do with a bit more attention to detail.

I would probably go back if there was a new manager in place, but dont think I can recommend it otherwise, which is a shame as it has great potential.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Julia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kampala
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 14, 2012

Such a wonderful place! I spent a long weekend on the island and really enjoyed myself: beautiful landscape, exciting flora/fauna, nice people, excellent food, I highly recommend it! Banda Island really deserves a 2-nights trip minimum!

Blaise

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank BlaisePG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kampala, Uganda
Level Contributor
36 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 2, 2012

Banda Island makes for a wonderfully relaxing spot for either backpackers who want to get a nice tan and stop moving around for a while or busy people wanting to blow off some steam.

Our adventure began at Kasenyi, being brought on board on a porter's shoulder (to stay clear from bilarzia) is awesome, after that there is about 1h30 by boat.

At first we were a bit put off by the cottages, we had pre-conceived idea about the place and did not think it would be as rustic (no private toilets for cottage), but now I think that the "raw" feeling of the place enhances it's charm. Perhaps next time we will try the dorm or tents wich seemed really comfy.

The pebble beach is nice, although it could use a clean up for the cigarette butts, the bar/dining room is awesome, the volleyball net near the lake makes for some wet volleyball (which is good because the sun is intense). I learned to play backgammon on their absolutely brilliant backgammon table. The bonfire at night is awesome.

If you want something to drink, you just go and get it and check your name... the paying part is managed in the end, no hassle. The food is fully inclusive and good.

The manager, Andrew, knows how to entertain without being pushy or needy, the dogs are amazing and not threatening at all.

Cell reception is not that bad if you call from the Castle.

My girlfriend and I stayed from Friday to Sunday for my birthday and we needed a break from work. We came back relaxed, with a great tan, heads full of nice souvenirs and a small hangover :).

Room Tip: The cottage are a little bit expensive for the amenities they offer, no private toilets, just comfor...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank David M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antwerp, Belgium
Level Contributor
16 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 10, 2012

Banda is a Robinson Cruisoe type of place. We stayed 3 days there at the beginning of a tour of Uganda. The trip there is an adventure to start with, we took the public ferry from Nakiwoga and I felt like Michael Palin. Then the 40 min canoe ride to the Banda from the landing site was something I will remember for a long time. Passing rainforested islands where I'm sure Tarzan actually lives and watching the sun set over lake Victoria was a touching experience. As we got closer to the Island, Andrew the Manager got news on the phone that they did not have any meat for dinner we were all satisfied with his "B" plan of Ratatouille, but Andrew was not giving up so easily! As we approached the Island we spotted some fishing canoes, we approached 1 to see if they had a catch and to our delight they offered us a 7kilo Nile Perch (which we all agreed was more like 9 or 10 ) And the feast was on! The food is great, and the accomodation (we were in the lazy camping) was good, reasonably new tents clean bedding.
The island is small with 2 beaches, 1 which has been filled with sand... not a particularly soft sand I should warn, and the second which is untouched... so a grass beach. This for me was the most special, since it's quite unique and it made for some great photos.
We were also there for the Blood Brothers Party which brought a more energetic mood to the Island!
Banda is recently under new management and I know there are plans for development, they have made a good start, everything works, there is plenty of hot water, loo roll, lanterns etc and the atmosphere is great. It's a bit more raw and less equipped than other similar places, for example Hairy Lemon and Byoona Amagara but it has it's own special soul!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JanHan81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 30, 2012

I recently stayed on Banda Island with four friends for their Blood Brothers and the Kokonuts party, and although the weather delayed the music playing until Sunday morning the weekend cannot be described as anything short of perfection. Right from the initial phone inquiry about staying on the Island the party organiser Petra made us feel extremely welcome and it was her excitement and enthusiasm that tipped the decision to go. From then on it was a breeze, although having to organise transport, accommodation and food for over 100 people Petra and Andrew were constantly smiling, they always knew what was going on and made you instantly feel part of the Banda Island family. As for the Island itself, all that can be said is paradise. Although not the white sandy beached beauty many would expect from a desert island we all felt that Banda held its own to perfection, with a gorgeous beach for those relaxing moments; a jungle like wilderness towards the back of the island to be explored by the more adventurous; and an 'island' that everyone must at one time attempt to swim to, I would say that one thing you should not find on Banda Island is boredom. I can honestly say it was one of the best weekends I have had, and I cannot recommend staying here highly enough.. you will not be dissapointed.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank KatieWhite01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Banda Island

Property: Banda Island
Address: Banda Island | Ssese Islands, Uganda
Location: Uganda > Central Region > Ssese Islands
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 8 Specialty Lodging in Ssese Islands
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Banda Island, the hidden gem of the Ssese Islands archipelago, is a beautiful place with the most amazing sunsets. Peace and tranquility are at the top of the list, with amazing staff and management making sure nothing detracts. For the adventurous at heart, there is water skiing, wake boarding and a small Laser yacht. We also offer fishing, boat trips, nature walks and have a beach volleyball net waiting for you. In the evening we light a bonfire on the beach so you can watch the lights of the fisherman on the lake. Above all, you can be assured that the people you meet there are friendly and like minded travelers, there to simply enjoy a piece of paradise. And .... Our food is great! ... more   less 

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