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“Peaceful slice of paradise”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Byoona Amagara

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Byoona Amagara
Ranked #2 of 29 Specialty Lodging in Kabale
Certificate of Excellence
Kigali, Kigali, Rwanda
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Peaceful slice of paradise”
Reviewed January 6, 2013

We stayed at Byoona Amagara for a total of four nights at the start of 2013. We found the location, service, rooms and food all to be excellent, and great value for money. The lodge overlooks lake Bunyoni, and the rooms are spread out amongst the trees - meaning most rooms have a view of the lake, and total privacy. the lake view is unspoilt, with the near-by islands only housing the local residents, a school and a few churches.

Most of the rooms are "Geo-domes" - large wooden structures that are open-fronted, and open out to balconies overlooking the lake. They are comfortable and provide the experience of waking up to views over the lake from your bed. The dorms are simple, but clean and comfortable.

The service is polite and attentive without ever being pushy, and the staff are accommodating when tailoring food orders and arranging trips. The owner Jason, as well as his management team, was an excellent host, making sure we were comfortable and providing a lot of local knowledge. The food is a particular highlight - we had around 12 meals and each was excellently prepared, well portioned and delicious.

The showers are cold (hot showers are available for a small price), and only the higher-end rooms have private showers, but they are all clean and always available.

a perfect spot for someone looking to relax, with the option to go walking or out on the boats, and a good base from which to head out to the national parks.

We are already planning a trip back later in the year.

Room Tip: Deluxe Geo-domes provide private hot showers.
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Paul T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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191 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (58)
Date | Rating
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English first
london
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2012

so i was advised to stay here by colleagues in kampala who seem to have had a similar experience to many of the reviews here. i and my travel buddies on the other hand had a very different experience.
having arrived on the island from a long trip from kampala, we got shown to our geodome which seemed nice enough, although having accepted a booking for 3 people in 1 geodome they clearly are only made up for 2 people.
feeling like a shower after a long trip on the road, only to be told there are no dry towels - all are wet after having being washed and also no hot water.
this set the theme for our 3 day visit. the weather was overcast and at time raining, which is fine and expected for that part of the world, but then the establishment should be able to cope with this.
for our entire stay we had no towels, no hot water (other than having to order (be boiled) and then have to pay extra for) no water pump, so not even cold water for brushing teeth / rinsing face etc.
I have to say the food was very nice and whilst it took time to prepare it was worth waiting for.
another thing to watch out for is the tab system these establishments like to operate. a brief skim of the tab found 2 or 3 'extra' items which we had not had.
all in all a very disappointing experience. it is clear to see the potential that is there but for me there was a definite feeling of degeneration, lack of care and interest and that the community based project had taken its eye off its clients and was focussing more inwardly on its own needs and betterment.
i understand that the owner is american and is often not around these days, but perhaps he had returned between end october and december to re-establish some procedure / maintenance.
in essence if the sun isn't shining you stay will be peaceful enough but pretty miserable.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Yubam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Inverness, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
43 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed December 26, 2012

We stayed in the dorm which has two bunk beds for four people. This place is fantastic value if you are on a budget. We toured the islands with George who was an excellent guide. The design of this retreat is simple, ecological and ethical but no sacrifices involved. Great staff, good food, more luxurious accommodation if you want it - the log cabin looks like something from a fairytale.

Room Tip: The dorm had two bunk beds and no locks - a great sign of a good place to stay. Compost toilets and...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Frances N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
137 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed December 26, 2012

Byoona Amagara is a beautiful resort that encompasses roughly half the acreage of a small island on Lake Bunyoni. If you have come to Lake Bunyoni to relax, this is where it should be done. Very eco-friendly overall, fully solar powered. We had hot outdoor showers, the food was excellent, and the staff extremely friendly. Stayed in the geo-domes which was very affordable and private. It does get cold at night so be prepared.

Room Tip: Geodomes are great. Shower in the morning. Bring warm clothes.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Joshua R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Solothurn, Switzerland
Level Contributor
19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed December 22, 2012

WOW! it is wonderful beautiful amazing out here. it's so peaceful.. the dorm was great for it's price and the bathrooms/open air shower were just a cool experience. they only had electricity at the restaurant and main building, and yes the food was AMAZING and cheap!!
BUT: i had a bad experience with the receptionist as he was trying to hit on me hard which is scary when you're on a little island out in nowhere as a single person..

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank evajones a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ireland
Level Contributor
16 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank bebrady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
28 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ingriddutchie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Byoona Amagara

Property: 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 29 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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