Papaya Lake Lodge has a wonderful location, overlooking the crater lakes of Lyantonde and Kifuruka. This is an elevated position, and guests enjoy views not only of the sparkling waters but also across to the magnificent Rwendori mountains. The lodge is owned and operated by husband and wife Sebastian and Magdalena, who moved to the area from Europe in search of a new life. There is accommodation to suit most types of travellers and a wide range of trips on offer to several of Uganda’s finest national parks.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
Papaya Lake is accessible via light-aircraft flight or road transfer from Entebbe International Airport. The drive takes about 5 hours and includes a very picturesque stretch of road from Fort Portal, flanked by tea, guava, avocado, and banana plantations.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
The main lodge at Papaya Lake is an impressive timber, stone, and thatch structure overlooking both crater lakes. Inside, there is an airy and spacious restaurant and bar, incorporating a few lounge areas. This creates a relaxed atmosphere – corner sofas mingle with campaign chairs, both set around chic wooden tables. Sophisticated light fittings hang from the ceiling, while the walls are adorned with some interesting black-and-white framed photographs of the local flora and fauna. There are many intriguing artefacts too, while a few well-positioned plants pay subtle homage to the natural surroundings. This area flows out onto a delightful sun terrace, the perfect place for winding down and admiring the spectacular views! And the property’s swimming pool boasts 360-degrees uninterrupted vistas of the lakes, the mountains, and the plantations all around. The lodge’s chefs pride themselves on their ability to satisfy even the most demanding gourmand. Their cooking is a fusion of cuisines from all parts of the world, prepared using fresh ingredients. A Papaya Lake speciality is without doubt the homemade pastries, filled with fruits from the lodge’s own gardens.
The guest accommodation at Papaya Lake consists of eight cottages and one villa. All are positioned on the slopes of the crater, and each provides breathtaking views of Lake Lyantonde from a private veranda. Spaced well apart from each other for privacy, they also benefit from green screens of trees. The cottages contain one king-size bed and one single bed, in addition to bedside tables and lighting, mosquito netting, a separate seating area, and en-suite facilities comprising flush toilet, washbasins, and shower. The interiors are beautifully furnished, with a soft neutral palette that contrasts effectively with the rich colours outside. As with the main lodge, a few artefacts are in residence – and the timber, stone, and thatch construction of the cottages is a perfect blend with the natural setting. The same design approach has been used for the property’s villa, which has three bedrooms, a lounge featuring a cosy fireplace, a big bathroom, and a spacious terrace. It is an excellent option for a family or a group of friends.
Papaya Lake is well positioned to offer a variety of excursions to some of the finest national parks in Uganda. Kibale is a fantastic destination particularly for fans of primates, as the lush rainforest within this park is home not only to chimpanzees but also to black-and-white colobus monkey, red colobus monkey, blue monkey, and L’Hoest’s monkey. So as well as enjoying treks through the forest, you can take part in forest walks to see all the other wildlife - the birding is impressive too! Queen Elizabeth N.P. offers safari on a grand scale. Chimp treks are available in the park’s deep gorge, and the rich mix of vegetation provides homes for species ranging from tree-climbing lion to giant forest hog. Game drives are great fun here, and you can also enjoy guided walks, hot air balloon rides, river cruises, kayaking, and village visits.
Another area offering superb walks is the Ikuri forest within Semuliki N.P., situated on the Semuliki valley floor. This is a must-visit for plant lovers, as the diversity of trees and shrubs is astonishing to see. Trips to the famous ‘Mountains of the Moon’ – the Rwenzori mountains – are also available. And if you head out to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, you will find yourself in one of the world’s best locations for trekking the magnificent mountain gorillas - do not forget your binos.