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“"Once in a Lifetime Experience" with thanks to Paraa Lodge and Kabiza Wilderness Safaris”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Paraa Safari Lodge

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Paraa Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Napanee, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“"Once in a Lifetime Experience" with thanks to Paraa Lodge and Kabiza Wilderness Safaris”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 8, 2013

My husband, adult daughter and I thank Paraa Lodge, Chobe Lodge and Kabiza Wilderness Safaris for our recent "once in a lifetime" experience in Murchison Falls National Park. Each contributed to our experiencing to the fullest, all that this extraordinary Park has to offer. We hope our comments may assist others in planning:

We write this “open letter of thanks” to all of the Staff, Management and Owners of Chobe and Paraa Safari Lodges, and to Jon Blanc and Geoffrey Mugambwa of Kabiza Wilderness Safaris, for an absolutely marvellous 4-day safari to Uganda’s Murchison National Park over Christmas 2012, which absolutely met, and exceeded, our expectations after almost a year in planning! To put our comments into context: We are Canadians with a passion for nature. I am a 60-year-old lawyer, my husband the same age and an investment and insurance broker/agent, our daughter a BSc graduate working as a contract analyst. We have travelled widely throughout the world, and have stayed in outstanding accommodations (Fairmont hotels and resorts, Starwood hotels and resorts, “boutique” resorts recommended by Rick Steeves) in many beautiful places.

The planning by Kabiza was outstanding in every respect, and the plans were carried out flawlessly! Jon Blanc, in the planning of these four days many months beforehand, and Geoffrey Mugambwa, in his constant care of us throughout the safari, really did everything possible to make this one of the most memorable experiences of our lives! I had written to Jon beforehand, about what we hoped to experience, and his planning and the trip itself were highly responsive – including with respect to our choice of accommodation at Paraa to which Jon added the recommendation of a night at Chobe. The best use was made of every moment of the trip, with every possible need anticipated and attended to. The cost of the flights, the cost and difficulty of arrangements for my handicapped daughter's care while we were away - all was worthwhile even had we travelled to Africa for purposes of the safari alone. At the same time, given how busy wedding events in Kampala kept us (kwanjula on 22nd, civil wedding on 29th, and numerous related events etc.) we really benefited in body, mind and soul, from our time in the Ugandan wilderness!

I learned about Chobe and Paraa Lodges from the Internet, and heard very positive feedback from friends who had visited there, and from fellow travellers on another trip who had also stayed there. Both lodges were strongly endorsed by Kabiza Wilderness Safaris, when we sought Kabiza’s advice.

Accommodations at Chobe and Paraa Lodges were quiet and lovely, clean and restful and comfortable given our very busy two-week schedule in Africa and at home before and after our trip. Pleasantly and with tastefully understated elegance, each of these unique lodges fits in with the spectacular surrounding natural beauty of Murchison Falls National Park – each overlooking the Nile River with indescribable views. Beds were comfortable, bedding and linens of good quality, and bathrooms very clean, rooms very attractive and well-kept. Food at the both lodges, and at the Masindi Hotel on the way back to Kampala, was also absolutely first-rate. Employees of Chobe and Paraa Lodges were outstandingly pleasant, welcoming and accommodating in every respect. They know how to deal with tourists from afar! It would have been easy to have spent another night or two in the "luxury tents" at Chobe (on the upper level to the left of the main building as one approaches the latter) where we could hear the rapids and hippos all night long and also have fresh air. In this regard we thank Kabiza for its recommendations and organization. Unfortunately, our short trip to Africa did not allow this additional time! Our 24-year-old daughter felt very safe and content on her own in her tent, next to ours - although I had expected I might need to share with her! Nature walk as sunset approached, with the Ranger George, was lovely and informative, and coming from cold wintry Canada it was also an exceptional experience to relax at the pool and on the dining terrace so close to, and with such spectacular views of, the Nile River. Accommodations were similarly pleasant at Paraa, where Kabiza had thoughtfully booked two adjacent rooms at the far end on the second story of the row extending to the left as you enter the main building. We could still see the river from the balconies, and it was very quiet. Kabiza’s recommendation that we not bother with air conditioning, in favour of ceiling fans, was a good one: It was comfortable sleeping under the ceiling fans in the quiet rooms. The food in both lodges was astonishingly superb, for such relatively small lodges in such remote locations! There was absolutely nothing more one could have desired, whether in the natural and unspoiled beauty of the location, atmosphere/ambiance, comfort, food, services.

Kabiza’s recommendation that we use the drive from Chobe to Paraa as a "game drive" was also an excellent one. It was a thrilling experience to drive for four hours, through such stunning landscape, seeing a multitude of animals and variety of landscapes at every turn, and meeting only I think about two other vehicles - apart from which we saw no one until quite close to Paraa! Geoffrey is of course an outstanding safari guide as well as driver, and gave us a wealth of information about the animals, the vegetation and the geography. Rain and thunderstorms kept us indoors that evening but Paraa is a pleasant place to relax and talk about one's ongoing adventure! Christmas Day - from 5:00 am to 8:00 pm - was a day to remember for sure. We had spectacular game drives in the morning and late afternoon/early evening, driving down to and around the delta area. Obviously it was quite something, for us, to be able to see the famous Victoria and Albert branches of the Nile as they meet at the top of Lake Albert and with the hills in the background across the water. Even more exciting was the sight of two lions, resting on the grass near the river, close to one elephant (with others across the trail) and deer (Jackson Heartbeast) also quite close to the lions - quite a scene! On the two drives on Christmas Day, we were joined by Ranger Sarah, who was extremely informative and very helpful in supporting Geoffrey as a guide. She was able to assist in locating the wildlife we only dreamed of seeing, and she gave so much information about the behaviour of the animals, and about the vegetation. We felt privileged to have been able to have experienced both sunrise, and sunset with the moon coming up, in this stunning environment. Our trip up the Nile to the base of Murchison Falls during the afternoon of Christmas Day, was also an unforgettable experience, and an opportunity to see so much more wildlife! The "African Queen" was very clean and comfortable, and the staff very helpful. Boxing Day's drive to Murchison Falls, and our time there, was equally memorable. There were so many different spectacular views of the Falls, and we were sorry to leave. Geoffrey made the best of the long drive home, too, taking us through the forested area of Budongo I believe. He was kind enough to lend his "sim" card to my daughter, so that she might copy photos he had taken with his own camera including numerous photos of the three of us - for which we are particularly grateful since we had purchased new equipment the day before travelling to Africa and we had a hard time figuring out how to use it properly! He took some wonderful pictures of all the highlights of the safari. It is obvious that he knows and loves the natural beauty of his own country!

We felt that the cost was very reasonable, for such individual planning and attention, for such a full and rich itinerary, and for the lovely accommodations. We are glad that we had the opportunity to have had an individual safari, for we were able to maximize viewing opportunities - and there's so much to see!

We know, realistically, that this may well have been our only opportunity to visit Africa and if that turns out to be the case, we are certainly lucky that we were able to have this experience in Uganda, and that our son and daughter-in-law had told us about Kabiza! The Kabiza website also certainly appropriately engendered well-placed confidence and left us so well-informed about all aspects of Uganda that we were really as well-prepared as any North Americans or Europeans could have been. We are also very grateful, that friends, and fellow travellers, told us about Paraa and about Chobe! We do hope that circumstances might permit our return in the not too distant future, and that we might be able to be accompanied by other family and friends. If such a trip may be again possible, we will certainly be in touch with Kabiza again, with a view to planning, once again, such a rewarding experience individually tailored to our situation and interests – but a longer safari, hopefully. Furthermore, we will return to Chobe, and to Paraa, and will plan to visit the third “sister” property which we understand to be in Queen Elizabeth Park.

I should add, that our son and (now) daughter-in-law were very happy with their more modestly priced safari two years ago, and that our son, his friend and his mother were similarly delighted with their safari in December 2012 prior to our trip. Thus, as noted, ours was the third wonderful safari planned and carried out by Kabiza.

From cold and wintry (but pleasant) Napanee, Ontario, Canada - rather missing the Ugandan sun!

Martha

Room Tip: All rooms seem to have an equally pleasant view. As noted in the review, we were happy with ours...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank mjdowney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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428 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Seattle, WA
Level Contributor
105 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2013

The Paraa Lodge is decent and middle-of-the-road. I have definitely stayed in better and stayed in worse. The location is probably the best thing about the lodge - it is right there once you cross the river. The food is plentiful and decent (although we were there with a large group and the lines at the buffet were ridiculously long). Internet (which is only available in the lobby) actually works pretty well. In addition, the laundry service was fast and affordable. Maybe this is obvious but I would give the wine a skip. We ordered a bottle that was on special for US$40 and found that it had gone bad (it was sour and cloudy). Management then brought us another bottle which had the same problem. We again sent that back and said we would give the wine a skip. They then tried to convince us to order another bottle, but the cheapest the had was $70. I told them I would pay the special price, but nothing more. They weren't very pleased about that which made me suspect this was a scam, but after some arguing, they agreed to let us not have any wine at all. The property is a bit older and could use some updating, especially the bathrooms. The drinks at the pool bar are incredibly expensive. Overall though, the lodge is pretty decent and probably in line, or better, than the other options out there.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank nelsoli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
34 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2013

The lodge has a beautiful setting with magnificent views. The swimming pool is amazing. The building, restaurant, rooms, bathrooms etc have seen better days. To make a long story short: the place is run down and in a need of renovation. The food is good, but not as good as in their sister property Mweya Lodge. Service is adequate. Internet is provided only in the lobby which is at night full of mosquitos. Exchange rate for foreign currency is 20% below the market- a pure robbery.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Leotar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lutry
Level Contributor
29 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2012

Positives: great views of the Nile and perfect location from which to do a safari and a Nile cruise. They have a nice pool and the main building is charming. The rooms have ceiling fans.
Negatives: The buffet food is neither great nor bad. We had expected better quality food. Their exchange rate is even worse than that of the Cassia Lodge at 20% below market. This almost turned a nice experience into a bad one. I mean, we already pay top dollar to stay here and then they want to charge an additional 20% just for paying with Visa in dollars.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Robert H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
73 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 16, 2012

Uganda's safari industry is new and evolving compared to other countries in East Africa. Paraa Safari Lodge has a very historic feel, with lots of wood in the building design. The pool was a great relief from the heat with a very cool bar in the water that also served food.

I enjoyed the food at Paraa compared to the other national parks in Uganda. The chiefs did an exceptional job providing a lot of unique flavours. The pastry chief was also very creative with animal shaped deserts that were delicious too.

The animals were right outside of the compound, which made it easy for the safari drives. A rare treat for us in Uganda was the Internet at Paraa. It was of good quality, which enable us to connect to the outside world. They have computers for guests, or you can use their wi-fi, which worked well.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank WhitehorseRichard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kampala, Uganda
Level Contributor
30 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 2, 2012

Paraa Safari Lodge is strategically located to the Northern Bank of the River Nile on the edge of flat Savana grassland planes where much of the game drive/viewing takes place. You will not need to wait for the 7:00 Oclock ferry to start a game drive but just wake up and have the luxury of even beginning your game drive as early as 6:00 am. The Lodge itself attracts a large population of the elephants, leopards and ofcourse the common Warthogs. You will be able to view a large number of Hippos coming to graze near the lodge as well in the quite of the dark night. You can even choose to come to this lodge through the Tangi gate that enters from Pakwach bridge. The location is so good that while there you just have to relax and enjoy all your activities without much stress of beating the ferry schedule and meal times of other distant lodges. The staff are very professional as well and caring for their clients. If you love nature walk then this is the perfect place for you stay since the UWA Ranger guides quarters are even located near here and you can easily arrange to have an armed guide come to take you through this activity. However, you must be informed that much of the meal here is Indian foods but with some other dishes as well, so for those who are not funs of Indian dishes may order for snacks that will prepared on order. The lodge has a good swimming pool.

Room Tip: If you love the view of water ask for the Nile View rooms upstairs. If you miss out then ask for the...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled on business
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Helpful?
Thank Patrick O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UGReview, Manager at Paraa Safari Lodge, responded to this review, December 6, 2012
Dear Mr. Patrick,

On behalf of my entire Team and personally I would like to thank you all the way for your 5 star review of Paraa Lodge and such words of encouragement make us all feel our passion for what we do is being rewarded!

However I would just like to clarify on the cuisine we offer; you mention much of it is Indian and I would like to point out that we offer 80% of our fayre as the non vegetarian dishes and 20% vegetarian dishes. The 80%n on-vegetarian comprises of continental food and the 20% vegetarian dishes includes some Ugandan /other African cuisine and indeed some Indian cuisine,giving a wide selection to all our esteemed guests The Paraa Safari Lodge Kitchen Team is of course always extremely accommodating and is always happy to cater for Guests with any special dietary requirements e.g. diabetic, gluten free diet, cholesterol free diet, Jain food etc. In other words, we are proud offer some of the best and the widest range of food in Uganda for everyone and indeed many of our guests who have reviewed us on these pages mention just that and we thank them for that.

We look forward to your next visit and hope we may demonstrate our range and variety of excellent fayre!


Crispus Nguraru Mwamidi,
General Manager,
Paraa Safari Lodge,
P.O. Box 22827 Kampala,
Tel: +256 772799991 | +256772788880
Fax: +256 392280588,
Email: gm@paraalodge.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kampala
Level Contributor
31 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 27, 2012

The view is one of the main attractions of this place. We had gone there after 3 years hoping it would be the same experience. However, when we were checking in, it took us almost 25 mins per room and we had about 30 people in our group!! The rooms were ok but not matching the price. The game drive, however was excellent with a good guide.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ace222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UGReview, Manager at Paraa Safari Lodge, responded to this review, December 2, 2012
On behalf of the entire Team at Paraa Lodge I would like to sincerely apologies for the unacceptably long delay that the guest experienced on arrival;we do appreciate that after a long journey this can be rather frustrating,annoying and an unnecessary and unacceptable inconvenience.

Unfortunately the guest was part of a larger group which we were not expecting on that day as whilst they had indeed made a booking at our Reservations Office in Kampala it had never been confirmed subsequently and ordinarily it is upon confirmation of bookings that many of the pre-checkin procedures such as the guest details and mode of payment are addressed at our office in Kampala,thereby avoiding delays at the time of checking in at Paraa itself.Thus on this occasion ,due to the above and with the arrival of a second large group at the same time,the guest was indeed delayed during check in.Once again my most sincere apologies and I would like to assure our guest and everyone that is is the exception rather than the norm.

I happy to inform that our rooms are being upgraded in the early part of the new year and the improvements include changing from linen and blankets to duvets/ comforters and other decorative improvements within the rooms.This will go along way towards making the guest experience at Paraa even more comfortable and enjoyable.

We do look forward to welcoming the guest back and make up for the delayed checkin time on this occasion.

Apologies,

Crispus Nguraru Mwamidi,
General Manager,
Paraa Safari Lodge,
P.O. Box 22827 Kampala,
Tel: +256 772799991 | +256772788880
Fax: +256 392280588,
Email: gm@paraalodge.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Paraa Safari Lodge

Property: Paraa Safari Lodge
Address: Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda
Location: Uganda > Western Region > Murchison Falls National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 13 Specialty Lodging in Murchison Falls National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Paraa Safari Lodge 3.5*
Number of rooms: 55
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Established in 1954, Paraa Safari Lodge is located in northwest Uganda in Murchison Falls National Park overlooking one of nature's best kept secrets, the River Nile. Paraa Safari Lodge offers a unique blend of comfort, relaxation and adventure. Each of the rooms is a haven of style and serenity, complete with balcony and private bathroom. The safari decor of the lodges still reflects the bygone era of early explorers, enshrined with a modern touch. The luxurious pool overlooks the winding River Nile below, which was the setting for the classic Hollywood move, The African Queen". ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Paraa Safari Hotel Murchison Falls National Park
Paraa Safari Lodge Uganda/Murchison Falls National Park

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