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“Lovely stay”
Review of Budongo Eco Lodge

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Budongo Eco Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 5, 2013

I was there in February 2012. I was staying in Uganda for three weeks and we decided to visit Murchison Falls Park and the Budongo Forest. I was travelling with three other people and a driver we had hired in Kampala. The lodge was a perfect spot, away from the business of the tourists. Nestled in the Budongo Central Forest Reserve, it is surrounded by amazingthe trees and the chimpanzees that live in the forest. The lodge is solar powered, a system that also provides hot water. All the water used at the lodge is rain water. The rooms are in different cabins along two paths in the forest. Our room was spacious and clean, two bunk beds with bedding and mosquito nets. Shower and toilet facilities were shared. Showers were clean, toilets are "composting" or, in other words, fancy out-houses. Not the most pleasant odour but it works. We did not smell the toilets in our room (like other reviewers did). We did see a small spider in the shower facilities but you have to remember, this is not a hotel, this is an eco-lodge, in the middle of a forest. The restaurant is outside, a perfect spot to enjoy diner while listening to the chimpanzees in the forest and watching the stars. There were several options for dinner, all basic but good. The lodge offers a number of activities. We went for two guided walks: the forest walk and the chimpanzee walk. These are excellent tours, led by a local guide. Staff were pleasant and helpful. Can't wait to go back with my kids one day.

Room Tip: Rooms along the Mahogany trail are great
See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank csgobeil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
simbasafaricamp, Manager at Budongo Eco Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded July 5, 2013

Dear Guest,

Thank you for choosing Budongo Lodge as your holiday destination. We apologize for the late reply and thank you for giving us an opportunity to serve you. We are pleased to note that you had a memorable stay with us and enjoyed the lodges facilities and friendly staff. It is indeed feedbacks such as yours which motivate us in delivering services to our best. Your words of appreciation have been shared with our team. We are looking forward to welcome you again and hopefully your kids too in the near future.

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50 - 56 of 95 reviews

Reviewed December 7, 2012

Our two night stay here was amazing. Located a 'stones throw' off the main road running from Masindi into Murchison Falls National Park, the lodge could not be easier to access.

We were given 'Hornbill' for our room, which is located directly down the path from the main lodge. Each room has a small veranda, without chairs, as well as a guest controlled outside light that can be left on while at dinner for a welcome return or switched off to detract bugs from loitering. The room itself had the customary number of beds (with mosquito nets), a sofa, two fold up camping chairs, and a built in shelving system with hanging bar and hangers.

Through a separate, lockable door were the facilities. The first room through the door had the sink with cold/warm water access, as well as two doors. The first door led to the attached, enclosed shower with warm/cold water. The second door led to the attached, long drop 'eco' toilet. Each of these two rooms were well ventilated to remove steam and odor. I must add that despite it being a common complaint on this forum, our toilet did NOT smell while we were there. I liken this to an airplane lavatory, when they are freshly emptied they do not smell, but if it is nearing the end of their 'life cycle' they can be somewhat stinky. Although the rooms did have electricity for lights, they did not have charging locations for phones, cameras, etc which had to be done at the common charging station in the main lodge.

Despite somewhat slow serving times, the food here was outstanding. We all felt that it was by far the best of the trip. A special thanks to the chef for the well prepared and delicious meals we were provided.

In regards to chimpanzee trekking, I would rate this location last compared to the treks in Kibale National Park and Kyambura Gorge in QENP. Although the trail system is by far the best of the 3 locations (a well maintained grid system dividing the forest), the forest itself is mostly secondary, resulting in a very thick ground cover of bushes and small trees. Because of this, at least in the locations we were trekking, I would find it hard to believe good chimp viewing would ever be possible here when the chimps were in the trees. With that said, the terrain seemed much flatter, making the level of difficulty of the trek much easier than that of the other two locations (Kyambura being a gorge has a steep descent into the gorge, flatter central trail system, with a similarly steep ascent out of the gorge). Also, the other two locations utilize a somewhat limited road system to bring trekkers 'closer' to the chimps prior to the actual hike. Where to my knowledge, Budongo does not, leaving trekkers to hike the entire distance to/from the chimps.

To close each day, we were sung to sleep by the insects and frogs of the forest. Complete with backup vocals from the local tree hyrax and an occasional solo from a 'barking' baboon. The perfect way to usher in the dreams of the night!

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank boystownboys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
simbasafaricamp, Guest Relations Manager at Budongo Eco Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded July 29, 2013

Dear Guest,

Many thanks for leaving such lovely comments. Your experience has been shared so vividly and we are grateful you chose Budongo Eco Lodge as your holiday destination. We have continued to make an effort to eradicate any odours from the bathrooms and we are glad you had no complaints in this area, it means its working :)

We have had a challenge getting the power to the rooms based on the lodge being located so close to the forest. On the bright side this could positively contribute to one's experience of 'being in the wild.' Either way we continue to work on the infrastructure to allow for the extension of the power to rooms.

We are glad to report that since your visit we have hired more staff especially during peak seasons to ensure faster service to our clients. Your words of appreciation have been shared with our chef and we look very forward to the opportunity to give you another memorable holiday in future..Complete with the 'African Jungle lullaby' to end your nights!

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Reviewed November 17, 2012

I stayed here when I first came to Uganda in 2008. Back then it was a lovely new lodge built out of freshly varnished pine with an enthusiastic manager and charming local staff.

The lodge is still there although it seems a lot darker and damper than before. The manager is apparently long gone, and the charming local staff seem to have been replaced with a much surlier bunch. The chimpanzee trekking was still good, and we had the added pleasure to hear them hooting and calling all through the night.

We actually stayed in the same cabin as we did 4 years ago, however as noted in previous reviews, you could now smell the compost toilet in the room and a number of lights did not work. The food was not bad, similar to what you would find in most hotels of this price range.

It was good to stay here as we could get up and do our chimp trek straight from the lodge, and sleeping in the forest with all the sounds is amazing. I think a little bit maintenance and some staff training would not go amiss here.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank BSammyB788
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
simbasafaricamp, Guest Relations Manager at Budongo Eco Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 19, 2013

Thank you for taking time to write your review. We are sorry to hear about the toilet being smelly. Whle we use eco-toilets, that is still not an excuse.

We do our best to keep the toilets clean and oder free through regualr cleaning and the use of sawdust. However, we are looking for permant solutions to deal with our eco toilets.

We would also like to let you know that we have since hired a new manager who is helping to address many issues and making sure our visitors all feel a warm welcome.

Thank you for your input.

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Reviewed September 30, 2012

Situated inside the Budongo Tropical rainforest this lodge does a good job of minimizing its impact on the environment. Lights are solar powered, as is the water heating, and toilets are of the composting variety. The simple but comfortable cabins are nestled in the forest, sufficiently far away from each other that you feel completely private and surrounded by trees, lush undergrowth, and forest sounds. Construction is mainly wood, with a concession to modern materials in the use of metal roofs instead of thatch, a regrettable choice given that it results in interiors that are too warm for comfort at midday. Our guide Evelyn was courteous and informative, and her obvious passion for the forest wildlife was contagious. The food at restaurant was acceptable if nothing special, the service slow and uneven, but delivered with a smile, this is Africa, after all! Recommended.

Stayed: September 2012
2  Thank Architectandmusician
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2012

The Budoingo Eco Lodge is ideally located in the Budongo Forest, right off the Murchison Falls park entrance road. From this lodge you can easily go on chimpanzee tracking in the forest.

It is an eco lodge, so everything at the lodge is ecologically sound. The toilets are composting toilets, so no flushing available. Water is heated by solar energy and energy is not available 24/7. That does not take anything away from enjoying this lodge during our visit last month. The food is decent to good, like most places on our trip. Personnel is very friendly and the manager of the lodge provides a nice, loose atmosphere on the premises.

Our room was spacious and located right in the forest. While settling into our room, some baboons were watching us from the edge of the forest. In the evening, we could already hear the chimpanzees calling in the forest. My main features for judging a room (location, quality of the bed and the shower) were all fine for our room.

So, if you are not looking for the most luxurious place to stay and love being out in nature, this is a fine lodge indeed. The forest it is located in is really beautiful and although we only did the chimpanzee tracking there, I can imagine that you can do some lovely forest walks in that area as well.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Ronley01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2012

I saw a photo of a room on the web site with shiny knotty pine walls. It looks bright and sunny. I did not occupy a room like this at Budongo.
Impressions: dim and dark. Dim lodge, dim rooms. As they are solar-powered, evidently there is not enough sun to power sufficiently in the forest. No way could you read in bed at night. I could hardly see what i was eating in the ldoge.
The food was decent but nothing special. Staff was pleasant (thank you, Brian and Tim)and tried hard to please, but one female receptionist's "eco-aroma" was waaayyy too "natural" even by local standards. Tim is the manager, and he tries VERY hard to keep Budongo Lodge up to snuff. He is fun to talk with, and has a good sense of humour, which he no doubt needs. Read his informational letter in the cabin, about the unsung heros who have to clean the "eco-toilets."
Speaking of which--mine had NO smell. Amazing that a pit toilet can be odor-free. The shower was ok in my cabin. It is in a small extra room where you step down for the shower. My cabin was one of the farthest from the lodge. It gets dark, so do use a torch to and from the lodge.
It's a great location for doing the chimp trek, but don't plan on spending more than one night there. This would NOT be a good base for the rest of Murchison Falls Park.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank calinurse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2012

If you enjoy sleeping in a cabin with just screens covering the windows, that has an odiferous pit toilet (euphemistically called a "composting toilet") wafting its fragrance into the room, where you have to "shower" in tepid water under a faucet because the water pressure is not strong enough to actually make it up to the shower head, while sharing your cabin with cute little mice (two) and not-so-cute spiders (three) the size of your outstretched hand that come out at night when the lights are off, then this is the place for you.

We stayed in the Duiker Room at the Budongo Eco Lodge for one night after our enjoyable chimpanzee trek with the very capable, very friendly, and very knowledgable Sauda. While the location and the staff were terrific, due to the circumstances listed above, we would not choose to stay at this lodge again.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank William H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Budongo Eco Lodge

Address: Budongo Forest Reserve | Budongo Forest, Murchison Falls National Park 33024, Uganda
Location: Uganda > Western Region > Murchison Falls National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 13 Specialty Lodging in Murchison Falls National Park
Price Range: $75 - $153 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Budongo Eco Lodge, also known as the Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism site, is located in the heart of Budongo Forest Reserve, in Murchison Falls National Park. The lodge consists of comfortable eco-cabins with private veranda, four spacious dorm rooms, a visitor's centre and restaurant. In addition, many different forest activities are offered in the direct surroundings, including chimp tracking, chimpanzee habituation, forest walks and bird watching. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Budongo Eco Lodge Uganda/Murchison Falls National Park

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