Perched on the rim of a volcanic lake, Ndali Lodge is the perfect base from which to explore the rainforests of Uganda or nearby safari destinations such as Murchison Falls National Park. It makes for a luxurious stopover during an African wilderness safari and is perfect for a weekend retreat that harks back to colonial-era comfort. Kibale Forest National Park, home to the largest concentration of chimpanzees in Africa as well as a vast variety of other primates, birds and butterflies, can be reached within 45 minutes. Also close by is the Bigodi wetland sanctuary, a community-based conservation project.
Family-run Ndali Lodge is situated on a 1 000-acre working farm with breathtaking views of Lake Nyinambuga. The informal yet luxurious main thatched lodge has a spacious sitting room, reception area and dining room. At night, kerosene lamps and candles in the communal areas create a magically romantic atmosphere – the lodge has no electricity or generators to destroy the tranquillity and ambience. The sitting room, reception and dining room open out onto Lake Nyinambuga and are connected by two open breezeways: fruit bats, owls and frogs like to use them as a highway to the crater lake.
Breakfast is on the verandah overlooking the lake: freshly squeezed passionfruit juice (from Ndali’s vines when in season) and homemade bread with wild honey go down well with a full English breakfast. Eight stone-and-thatch cottages, each large enough to accommodate a family, provide luxurious accommodation for 16 guests. The interiors are imaginatively and comfortably furnished with an emphasis on local materials. Mosquito nets enhance the romantic atmosphere while ensuring that you can get a peaceful night’s sleep. Each cottage has solar lighting and en-suite facilities with bath, separate shower, toilet and basin, and a private verandah, perfect for watching the sun setting behind the spectacular Rwenzori Mountains.
Local guides will take guests for walks around the farm or to the nearby Mahoma Waterfall. Guests can cool off in the swimming pool or swim in the lake itself, where a secluded jetty is a perfect place to relax, birdwatch – see if you can spot all five of the kingfisher species that frequent the jetty – or dive into the lake’s crystal-clear waters.