Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Paraa Safari Lodge - Murchison Falls National Park

From my recent trip to Uganda in November 2011 (Full Trip Report):

After leaving Kampala, anticipating the approximately 6 hour drive (under normal conditions) to Murchison Falls National Park, we stopped for a picnic lunch in Masindi at the Masindi Hotel. The roads were paved for about 4 hours to Masindi, where the gravel road starts about 30 minutes before the park gate. We arrived in time to catch the last ferry across the Nile to Paraa Safari Lodge, set high on a hill overlooking the river. The ferry crossing – the vehicle is loaded and passengers walk on – was quite picturesque: Cruising across the Nile with hippos surfacing in the distance and a flame red sunset backdrop. Just a quick ride up the hill and we arrived at the Paraa Safari Lodge. The lodge is one of the larger properties that we use (with 54 rooms), but I do think it is a good option for travelers in MFNP. With so many public areas, the lodge doesn’t tend to feel crowded.

Upstairs a spacious bar and dining area offer indoor and outdoor seating. The buffet choices were generally good, but group members did comment that the quality of the meat could be improved. I enjoyed my fish, along with the soup, veggie, salad and dessert options. Downstairs there are plenty of places to sit back and relax or connect to wi-fi (slow!), plus the huge pool outside boasts a swim-up bar and beautiful view. It is a great place to relax before or after lunch with a Nile Special!

CAS includes all meals at Paraa Safari Lodge in our itineraries; drinks are additional. Guest rooms are on the small side, but most of the overlook the river or pool, and all have private balconies. My room had an A/C unit, but it didn’t work so my room was really hot overnight. The en suite bathrooms include a shower with soap and shampoo (you don’t usually find conditioner in Uganda).

My common complaint: Please upgrade the linens and the whole place will look loads nicer! A nice neutral duvet or bed spread would really freshen things up. The rooms are really dark, finished in dark wood, and the dark bedspread on top of it all made the rooms look quite colonial and a bit outdated, but provide plenty of hot water and good water pressure. And, conveniently, there were plugs in the room for charging batteries.

Note: Please advise clients to take a headlamp or flashlight, at minimum – many hotels in Uganda are on solar power or generators and do not have 24-hr electricity and/or occasionally experience power outages.

Photos by Lyndsay Harshman/The Kusini Collection

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