Kibale Forest, Uganda
Sometimes, a safari lodge can be almost as great a highlight of an African adventure as the wildlife. That's certainly the case with Kyaninga Lodge, set against a magnificent backdrop of Lake Kyaninga and the legendary Mountains of the Moon, in close proximity to Kibale Forest. Perched on the rim of a crater lake surrounded by nothing but unspoiled natural vistas, the luxury lodge is built entirely of timber, featuring more than a thousand hand-carved logs.
Kyaninga Lodge’s eight cottages are built on platforms and set apart to offer privacy and tranquility. Access to the cottages from the main lodge is via a raised wooden walkway. Each spacious cottage is appointed with a choice of twin or double beds dressed in fine linens and feather pillows. An indoor sitting area leads out to a private deck where one can enjoy morning tea or coffee with views over the lake and the Mountains of the Moon beyond. The en suite bathrooms boast marble countertop basins set atop beautifully crafted Elgon Olive pedestals, clawfoot freestanding bath tubs, glass-walled showers and plenty of hot water from solar water heaters. Lighting in the cottages is also solar-powered, and each cottage features an electrical socket to charge cameras, laptops and other appliances.
The main lodge, built of heavy logs and thatch, is centered on a soaring lounge space with comfortable seating areas set around an imposing double-sided open fireplace. Here guests can enjoy a cozy evening over a good book, a board game, or a drink from the bar. The main building also houses the restaurant, where savory meals compete with stunning views. Two raised galleries offer intimate spaces for those wishing to absorb the panorama in a more private setting. On the lake side, two adjacent decks are furnished with comfortable lounge chairs, while steps hewn from local volcanic rock lead down to the swimming pool and two lawn terraces overlooking the sapphire waters and ancient forest fringing Lake Kyaninga.
Located on the lower slopes of the property, Kyaninga Lodge’s lavish gardens are the creation of London-based landscape designer Imogen Jenkins. The gardens were designed to provide a verdant complement to the magnificent log lodge and include one of the very few grass tennis courts and croquet lawns in Uganda. Kyaninga's extensive grounds also feature a kitchen garden, where produce is grown for the lodge’s restaurant, and a fruit tree orchard. In an effort to reverse the deforestation in the local area, Kyaninga Lodge has planted more than 10,000 indigenous trees and has an active program for working with the surrounding population to maintain the local ecosystem.