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“Blown-away!”

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Ishasha Wilderness Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Kampala
Level 6 Contributor
90 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Blown-away!”
Reviewed October 9, 2012

I have chosen to take my time to do this (and other) reviews, of our stay which was undertaken as part of a one-week, self-drive trip in July.

The drive down the Ishasha Road was long (2 hours), slow-going (40 kmph), dry, dusty and noisy. We were totally exhausted at the end of it, but finally reached the southern sector of the Park gate, and the signs of lush green grass that beckoned alluringly. Quickly through, and immediately onto the typical sand track, following the signs easily towards the Camp.

As we approached the top of the hill, on the ridge and looked down to the valley below, with the tree-lined river lying tantalisingly in the backdrop, our spirits soared. We were almost there, and it didn't take us very long to get down off the ridge (past a hyena den, we learnt later) and into the Camp.

As is customary, we were met by enthusiastic staff, who assisted us with where to park; took our bags; and led us to the main dining banda. We felt so stiff after the long drive, and were delighted to find the cold towel and refreshing lime juice on arrival.

We absorbed the view, adjacent the river, and then headed off for our tents. We had booked one tent for the 3 of us, but someone had cancelled and so I was fortunate enough to get a tent of my own. To call them "tents" is really an understatement. They are luxurious, canvas yes, but on a large concrete base, with a permanent roof over, and beautifully fitted out. The separate bathroom was not only clean, but every attention to detail was provided, in delightful recycled card boxes, and packagings. The thing that delighted me most about this, was the so thoughtful packet with soap powder in, so that you could wash undergarments yourself. IWC does however, have a free laundry service. A basket is at your disposal, for return next day.

When it came to hot water, all that was required was to inform the staff you wished to take a shower in 10 minutes, and the water was delivered externally to a bowser-like system, high enough to give the perfect pressure, at a great temperature.

We had 3 delicious meals in the Camp; probably amongst the best quality of food I have experienced in the country. The bar was well-stocked and good value for money, and nothing was too much trouble. If you didn't want coffee, then hot chocolate was quickly provided.

We didn't see any lions on the trip, as the rumour was they'd migrated to the DRC. However, we heard, then saw a single elephant in the Camp, and got some wonderful photos of that, and we spotted a Malachite Kingfisher on the bank. I started to get my novice "birding" eyes in!

Whilst we were there, the works were continuing to upgrade all the original tents, all to the same high specification, and I had the chance to walk round the whole camp looking at the position of the various accommodations.

I would highly recommend Ishasha Wilderness Camp, if you are looking for that bit of extra care and attention, especially in the middle of a long drive from either Bwindi or the northern sector of QE.

I realised subsequently, I should have stayed longer here rather than elsewhere. It was one of those places that was hard to leave.

Room Tip: You could ask for one of the tents closer to the River.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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4 Thank ShellyRM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Buenos Aires
Level 5 Contributor
26 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed October 5, 2012

My wife & I traveled with 8 friends in September this year & had a truly awesome two night stay at Ishasha Wilderness camp in QEII National Park, Uganda as part of a more extensive Uganda & Rwanda overland safari. Ishasha Wilderness Camp is operated, owned & managed by Wild Frontiers Uganda. A quality, top-class company with (in our opinion) the best professional field guides Uganda has. Our guides were Joseph & George whom we requested as they had been our chaperones on our 2009 overland safari for 12 days in Uganda. We had stayed at Ishasha Wilderness Camp previously, however the Ishasha we had stayed at has since undergone a massive re-development, refurbishment. It has gone upscale in terms of the quality of guest accommodation, guest facilities & product delivery. It was a whole `new look` Ishasha we came to & wow, what a transformation, embellishing & not in any way detracting from the unique position & location of the `old`Ishasha we had so much enjoyed on our first stay. But it remains amazing ´value-for-money`in fact, we`d venture to suggest `exceptional value-for-money` is a more apt & fair testiment.

For a start the guest tented suites are three times the size of what used to be guest tented accommodation. The bedroom was 11m x 5m & a separate en-suite bathroom, 4.5m x 5m - huge. The decor has been so tastefully & thoughtfully done, with a billowed white shroud material as a `roof` (below the actual canvas of the tent structure roof) - ratan mat coverings over a concrete pad floor, large bug screen covered windows - two at the back of the tented suite on each side of what was a king sized & so comfortable bed - two on one side of the tent, & two on either frontage of the wood framed, wooden door of the tent. You could choose to have the canvas roll-down covers on the interior of the bug screen windows set at whatever level of open, or partially closed or fully closed as you wished, as the canvas window covers roll & have velco strips on each side & the top; we chose to have ours down as it just meant the breeze flowed through the tented suite, whereas others who may not have extensive experience of sleeping in the African bush, may prefer the windows covered. Each tented suite has a generously large his side & her side wardrobe, two bedside tables, a large `trunk` at the foot of the bed & a writing desk & chair. Bed side lamps can be operated all night as they are sourcing solar stored power. The bathroom is astonishing by other comparative standards of other safari camp tents we`ve stayed in, in fact it is as big as most safari camp tent bedrooms are in other safari destinations we`ve been. Big vanity & basin, two separate towel rack locations, one by the basin on the vanity, the other along a big wooden bench top where the generous amenities are placed. Modern flush loo, wonderful walk-in shower area that has a seriously large rain-bucket shower head & amazingly, water doesn`t splash all over the floor outside the shower stall as they have recessed the floor in a concave fashion with a bigger than normal outlet drain in the shower stall floor. Overall, a fabulous guest tented suite, way more than one expects. Mainlodge at Ishasha is set between the two pathways leading to the guest tented suites that are set out along the river frontage. It has a very tall A frame thatched roof, but open on three sides which again means the breeze flows easily through the guest area. As we were a party of 10, we dined at the large dining table, but in addition there are three if not four smaller dining tables for couples & there was one other couple in camp during our stay. All meals are included & portions are certainly more than adequate; you place a a la carte order for your breakfast - cereals, fresh cooked muffins, toast, eggs prepared any style, bacon, tomato, sizzling locally prepared sausages etc, tea, coffee, hot chocolate & various juices. Lunch was a pre-set menu, again generous helpings & dinner, wow, very special in both choice of cuisine & the presentation. The staff team were always there, in-&-around, willing to help & the lads on the bar - well, we kept them busy & they too delivered great service with a smile. Gem viewing in the QEII National Park has gotten much better by virtue of the robust numbers of Uganda Kob, Tsessebe & other plains game, specifically warthog clans & buffalo herds which have swelled since last we were there. The crowning glory of this region in QEII & its iconic inhabitants are the tree climbing lions & we had wonderful sightings, stationary in the safari 4x4 quite literally directly under lioness & cubs a matter of 5m, 6m above us in the Sycamore fig trees. A brilliant leopard with a wildebeest calf high in a tree was another highlight of our safari game drives & you can`t go without mentioning a kaleidoscope of birds, especially raptors - Bateleur, Marshall, Brown Snake & Steppe eagles plus a number of different buzzards & kites, plus four different species of owls (during the daylight hours!) Anybody contemplating a safari that includes QEII National Park, do yourselves a huge favour & include Ishasha Wilderness Camp - minimum 3 nights or you`ll kick yourself when you have to leave, if you only book for two. Neal the camp manager has the place humming like a finely tuned big diesel engine; he`s a real character & equally, knows what guests expect & ensures his team are up to the delivery thereof. We`re heading back to Uganda in 2014 & Ishasha is going to be our launching pad for our QEII tree-climbing lions focus on that safari. It deservedly commands a reputation as the best zip code in QEII - by a long chalk.

Allan & Muriel
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Room Tip: Minimum stay has to be 3 nights - the game viewing ranks right at the top of the spectrum & QEII...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
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2 Thank Echeverria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2012

We stayed here for just one night as part of a Wild Frontiers tour of Uganda (booked easily through World Primate Safaris in the UK), really wish we had stayed longer for several reasons. Firstly this bit of Queen Elizabeth National Park is excellent and I'm sure we would have had more great sightings if we had done more game drives. Secondly the camp itself is a wonderful place to relax, with a comfortable lounge are and a nice deck over the river on which to sit back and take in the sights and sounds

The rooms are more chalet than tent, ours was extremely spacious with a lovely king sized bed, complete with mosquito net, and a large and well lit bathroom. There are no fences to keep wildlife out, so you need to be escorted to and from your room at night for safety reasons - this adds to the wilderness experience and excitement of staying somewhere like this, though in the end the only animals we saw at the lodge itself were birds and monkeys, with a buffalo visible on the far side of the river. Elephants apparently make fairly regular appearances - we saw an enormous herd quite nearby on a game drive so find this easy to believe

This is part of the Uganda Exclusive Camps collection and, like their other property (Buhoma Lodge) that we stayed in, the combination of fantastic views, great service, delicious food and perfect location adds up to a very special experience. Like Buhoma, laundry and massages are offered as part of the service, though we didn't make use of either during our short stay

As well as the lack of congestion found further North in the park, the Ishasha sector is well worth visiting for the wildlife itself - in particular the cats up trees. We may have been especially lucky, but even in our short stay we managed to see lions up trees, lions not up trees and a leopard (up a tree, of course), as well as a good variety of other game and birdlife

Highly recommended - and try and make sure you have at least two nights there!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank OL_london
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Luxembourg
Level 6 Contributor
113 reviews
88 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
Reviewed September 27, 2012

Just coming from the big "Mweya Safari lodge" in the northern part of QENP, this lodge really looked more like my own idea of a genuine safari bush camp. The tents were spacious and pleasant as well as the camp but not luxurious (which is OK). The nice thing is that the tents are not too close to each other and they are well set along the ishasha river. Besides that the staff was very gentle and the dinner quite good.
This lodge is an ideal location to look for the famous "tree climbing lions" which is something rather rare (you can possibly see that in Lake Manyara in Tanzania as well). Finding the lions is always very nice (be it on a tree or on the ground). We got lucky to see 2 lionesses and 4 cubs in the same tree.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank jboule
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kampala
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed September 17, 2012

If you are looking for the superlative bush camp experience, Ishasha Wilderness Camp offers it in spades. I first stayed here two years ago - when it became my favourite bush camp experience of Uganda. I revisited recently, and was delighted to find it surpassed my memory of the place and has improved considerably across the board - in areas where it never seemed lacking before!

Its location is amazing - wild plains in southern QENP - away from the hustle and bustle of the northern sector around Mweya. The tents look right over the river - where there is lots of birdlife and the odd bigger thing too (elephants occasionally cross and hippos live nearby) and are roomy with massive beds and rush matting and kitenge crocheted rugs... the bathrooms were fine before but have become much bigger, with built in shower structures (hot water on demand - bush style - but piping hot and plenty of it) and flush eco-toilets and the best toiletries I've seen (they sell them in the gift shop - but for the weight restriction on the flight home I would have definitely bought some).

The bar and restaurant area is huge but has cozy nooks and corners to relax the day (or evening) away. The food is excellent - really excellent, with every element of the meal thought through and done to perfection, and plenty of original choices for the location - and the atmosphere/dining experience lived up to the grub itself.

The camp is serenity itself. You can lose time here perfectly happily. Go out for game drives when you want to, or stay back at base and enjoy the peace and quiet of the Ntungwe river. It's an amazing place and has always made me feel quite at home - I certainly will not be leaving it two years before the next visit. I went for just one night after a weekend in Bwindi - curtailed due to work commitments - but when I next visit I'll try and make time for three - I can't ever imagine getting bored of it.

Room Tip: All tents have river views, but if you prefer to be set back slightly with a wider view, with the ch...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank dontgiveupthedayjob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kenya
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed September 13, 2012

This camp is the only accommodation in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park so they have no competition but that does nit mean theyhave rested on their laurels.

I believe the tents are all new and they are great, plenty of space in both bedroom and bathroom, sold floors and a great view overlooking the river. The noise of the weaver birds at dusk was so enjoyable tio listen to. They have a new flushing toilet system which works very well and only uses a very small amount of water. For a shower the tent attendant will get the water to you preference and they pour it into a 20 litre jerry can which they hoist up for you to use. Works well but you can not linger in there.

Food was very good and so was the service.

There is wifi in the restaurant but it is only available during certian times and has very limited bandwidth, you are in the middle of the bush after all.

Neil the manager is very good but he can be a little casual at times, but we enjoyed talkig to him.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank chui101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kamapala
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed August 29, 2012

We felt like we were on our second honeymoon! Our favourite part of our stay was a private table that was set under the stars for us to enjoy a romantic dinner. We didn't even ask for this and it was a very welcome surprise.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank miss_giraffe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ishasha Wilderness Camp

Property: Ishasha Wilderness Camp
Address: Wild Frontiers Uganda (G&C Tours Ltd), Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
Location: Uganda > Western Region > Queen Elizabeth National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 32 Specialty Lodging in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Ishasha Wilderness Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Each of the ten spacious framed canvas rooms, situated in the wooded area besides the river, is comfortably furnished and with its own private en suite bathroom and dressing area providing running water, solar hot water 'bush' showers and a flushing eco-friendly toilet. We also offer "Fly-in" safari packages which include transportation to and from nearby airstrips as well as game drives and other activities included within the rates. Please inquire with us for more details. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ishasha Wilderness Camp Hotel Queen Elizabeth National Park
Ishasha Wilderness Camp Uganda/Queen Elizabeth National Park

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