The property was built under the management of Steve Williams, an Englishman who first laid eyes on Lake Kyaninga while walking through the region on his way to trekking gorillas in Kibale National Park. Immediately Steve saw the potential for a luxury lodge along the crest of a hill overlooking the lake – a luxury lodge made entirely out of timber, to harmonise with the wooded hill. There is accommodation here to suit most types of traveller, and an enormous range of things to do.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
Kyaninga is accessed via air or road to Fort Portal. Flights are available from Entebbe International Airport, followed by a short transfer by road that takes only 15–20 minutes.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
Due to its commanding position, the property is easy to spot as you approach. Additionally, all buildings are elevated on stilts, as are the walkways between them. The most imposing structure is the two-storey lodge, which occupies the highest point of the hill. Several flights of steps lead up from the road to the entrance, but the ascent is well worth the effort for both the comfort of the interiors and the breathtaking views. The lounge contains well-cushioned seating around coffee tables, as well as a monumental double-sided open fireplace, open to the bar on the opposite side. There are also a few board games, and free Wi-Fi. The dining area is set with very elegant chairs and tables fashioned from mvule and elgon olive. Stairs from this level take you to the upper storey of the lodge, where you will find a few private seating areas boasting panoramic views. Descend into the grounds, and one of the first features you will encounter is the spacious swimming pool, complete with wooden decking and a submerged seat. Descend farther, and you will pass through a number of terraces designed by Imogen Jenkins, including a kitchen garden and an orchard of fruit trees. Lower still, are a grass tennis court and a croquet lawn, where you may also play badminton and boules. And finally, there is Lake Kyaninga, framed by forest resplendent with wildlife – primates, bats, and birds!
The guest accommodation at Kyaninga Lodge is every inch as impressive as the main building, though constructed to a smaller scale. All eight cottages are linked to the lodge along a high wooden walkway, four on either side of the two-storey structure. Six sleep a maximum of two persons, and two are designed for families. Within each category, there is a bedroom with a double bed or twin beds, bedside tables adorned with flowers, a storage trunk, and a seating area with comfy chairs and a table. The en-suite facilities comprise flush toilet, twin washbasins made from marble, a glass-walled shower, and a freestanding claw-footed bathtub. Solar power provides hot water as well as lighting, and sliding doors from the living area lead onto a private deck that is ideal for sitting and sipping tea or something stronger while marvelling at the lake and mountain views! The family cottages have a mezzanine level, offering a fun sleeping space for the kids.
There is certainly no shortage of things to do at Kyaninga Lodge – swimming, court sports, croquet, and relaxing in the gorgeous grounds. However, a vast variety of other activities is available, enabling guests to explore some of the region’s finest attractions. You could start close to the lodge with a walk around the rim of the lake. Forest walks are possible within the crater – the terrain is a little trickier here, but you will be richly rewarded by wildlife sightings. There are bat caves to negotiate, monkeys to spot amidst the trees, and if you are able to take a photo of an elusive civet cat or porcupine the lodge awards a bottle of wine!
Village and cultural walks are on offer too – you can meet the elders and check out local farming methods. For a walk featuring highly dramatic scenery, Kyaninga suggests a half- or full day’s hike to and around the Great Rift Valley. Chimp trekking is just an hour’s drive away, within the rainforest of Kibale National Park. There is further forest to experience in the national park of Semulkini, just an hour-and-a-half from the lodge. The wildlife-rich Queen Elizabeth National Park is two hours away, and a drive of just 90 minutes takes you to the Rwenzori mountains, the so-called ‘Mountains of the Moon’. You can visit the Rwenzori Founders Art Centre, to see their collection of marble and soapstone sculptures. And nearby Tooro is a great destination for keen golfers, as it has a course with 9 holes and 18 tees. The region is also home to intriguing botanical gardens, where you can while away an afternoon sampling fruits, vegetables, and herbs.