Ndali lodge is a well managed luxury lodge, situated in Fort Portal Western region of Uganda overlooking the awesome Lake Nyinambuga in the heart of Bunyaruguru Crater Lake about 26 kilometres south of Fort Portal and 40 minutes’ drive from Kibale Forest. Ndali Lodge is located on a tea plantation that covers about 1000 acres of farmland. Ndali Lodge is perched on a ridge of an extinct volcanic crater that is now filled with a placid lake.
The Lodge is owner run and is built from locally sourced and found materials, on land originally owned by tea farmer Trevor Price and developed by his son in the 1990s. The main lodge includes a reception, lounge, dining area, bar and veranda. Marked by polished floors, white walls, exposed beams, lightweight seating, well chosen local artefacts, and lit at night by candles or hurricane lamps, the main lodge’s interiors are welcoming, intimate and relaxing.
Ndali is situated on a 1000 acre estate. Apart from about 100 acres on which coffee, bananas and vanilla are cultivated, the rest has been reforested during the last 16 years so that there is a real habitat for birds and monkeys. The power of the lodge is all solar, including the refrigeration. It boasts an innovative ‘Hydraulic Ram’ pump to bring the water from the lake to the lodge which uses gravity and no fuel. There is also a small, fast growing eucalyptus forest on the estate which provides all of the firewood for its hot water system. The crops cultivated on the estate provide vital jobs for nearby communities.
Access: The property is usually accessed by air from Entebbe to Fort Portal Airstrip, from where it is a road transfer of around 60 minutes. It is also possible to arrive here by guided overland safari from Queen Elizabeth National Park (3 hours) and Bwindi Forest (8 hours). Driving from Kampala could take you anywhere between 5-7 hours depending on traffic and road conditions.
Fort Portal is blessed with a number of crater lakes and one of them is the location that hosts Ndali Lodge, which overlooks its own private crater lake. It is a beautiful lodge in a relaxing environment and perfect for a getaway or as base accommodation for tracking chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park or participating in a Bigodi wetland swamp walk. The Lodge is about 45 minutes from the chimpanzee tracking trailhead at Kanyanchu. The world’s densest concentration of volcanic lakes embraces the hilly landscape area around, giving the lodge an enchanting distant palace feel. It’s a perfect base to hike around the region and go primate tracking in the nearby Kibale Forest.
With a capacity of up to 16 occupants, Ndali’s eight grass-thatched cottages are spacious and airy, with each facing west to offer a panoramic view to the spectacular ‘Mountains of the Moon’ – Rwenzori Mountains. The interiors are imaginatively furnished, using local materials. Each cottage, large enough to accommodate a family, has possesses a double or twin bed, plenty of changing room, a seating area, spacious en-suite bathroom and a private verandah ideal for watching the sun setting behind the Rwenzori Mountains. The bathroom includes a flush toilet, basin, shower and stand-alone bath. Tasteful, restrained, the cottage’s interior designs are a beautiful mix of reclaimed woods – four poster beds, tables – and locally made materials.
Meals are served in a spacious dining room/restaurant or guests can request for room service so that they can have meals in the privacy of their cottages. Breakfast can be had from the viewing deck as you enjoy beautiful scenery of the crater lake, forests and Rwenzori Mountains. Guests take tea in the afternoon and evening drinks with other guests before an English-style meal. Meals are usually served at separate tables, in conventional restaurant style.
Special diets such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, kosher and other variations should not be a problem, so long as you let us know at the time of booking.
The style feels almost Spanish mission, with the main building commanding breathtaking views of lakes on either side. The airy and tastefully decorated lounge and dining area, set in colorful flowering gardens, have something of an English country-house ambiance, an old library, and superb candlelit, home-cooked four-course dinners. The lodge’s style is a mix of rustic romanticism and post-colonial luxury.
- Laundry Services
- Swimming Pool
- Sauna & Steam Bath
- Wi-Fi Available
- Restaurant & Bar
There are a range of activities that one can undertake while staying at Ndali Lodge. Most famous is a 45 minutes’ drive from Ndali Lodge to Kibale Forest National Park for chimpanzee tracking, Usually, the chimpanzee tracking walks last 2-3 hours and are restrictive to eight people. The experience of viewing wild chimps up close can be incredible. Kibale Forest is home to an estimated 1500 chimps, divided into fifty or more groups. Some of these groups have become habituated to the presence of humans and can be reasonably easily found and approached.
You will also enjoy bird watching plus tracking other primates found in Kibale Forest. Bird lovers will be interested to know that there are 325 species of birds recorded in the national park. The list includes the six species endemic to the Albertine Rift region, like the black-capped Apalis, collared Apalis, purple-breasted sunbirds, blue-headed sunbirds, dusky crimson wings, and red-faced woodland warblers.
There are some lovely walks in the area, including the walk in the small Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary in hopes of meeting more primates in the east of the park. A network of trails in Sebitoli Forest provides further opportunities for viewing various primates and birds on the forest’s northern side.
Amabere ga Nyina Mwiru Caves is a renowned cave system located near Fort Portal, around 15km from Kibale Forest, and is considered to be one of the seven wonders of Uganda and great to visit.
Ndali Lodge is also close to Queen Elizabeth National Park for game drives, boat cruises along the Kazinga Channel, Ishasha sector for the tree climbing lions and Rwenzori for mountain hiking treks.
From Ndali lodge, guests can also go on guided nature walks around the 1000-acre farm plus visits to the Ndali vanilla processing plant, to Muhomo Falls, walks to see the crater lakes upclose and personal, visits to local banana and coffee plantations as well as witnessing waragi alcohol brewing in oil drums.
If you simply want to stay at the lodge and relax as part of a weekend getaway, then the lodge swimming pool, sauna, 2 traditional boats on the lake or the crater lake below Ndali Lodge would be a good relaxation focal point. You may simply choose to sun-bathe on the shores of the lake or go kayaking on a 2-man kayak that is provided by the lodge