Friday, March 2, 2012

Emin Pasha and Kampala Serena

After breakfast at the Lake Victoria Hotel, we were met by Lydia, client services liaison at CAS and briefed on our upcoming safari plans.

Please note that this safari itinerary should not be viewed as a suggested itinerary – this trip was designed as an exploratory trip and was quite the whirlwind tour!

CAS does not recommended fewer than 2 nights in most locations (3 in some areas) and we are careful to limit daily driving distances as much as possible due to logistics and road conditions.

That said, Uganda is NOT a massive country and scheduled flights are not available (PRIVATE charter flights are available) so most travelers do spend a good amount of time on the road. The Ugandan countryside is beautiful, varied and there are lots of opportunities to stop en route and interact with locals. Should travelers not want to do a driving itinerary, we highly recommend requesting PRIVATE charter flight rates when the itinerary is initially quoted.

During our safari briefing, Denis loaded the stretch (7-seater GUARANTEED WINDOW SEATS) 4x4 and we were on our way! Our first stop was the Kampala Serena for a site inspection (approximately 1-1 1/2 hrs from Entebbe, depending on traffic). The Serena is exactly what I’d expect from a Serena. The public areas and gardens were actually really lovely and the hotel is chock-full of amenities. The rooms (152 total) look very similar to the Nairobi Serena, but aren’t as nice as the Kigali Serena. While the hotel is truly smack-dab in the middle of Kampala, but I’m not sure that anyone on a first visit to Uganda would venture out on foot from the hotel.

From the Serena we continued to the boutique hotel, Emin Pasha. Set in a quiet and posh-looking corner of Kampala, Emin Pasha is a good luxury option for travelers continuing on to Clouds or for those looking for more intimate accommodations. Many of the 20 rooms overlook the lush gardens and are designed with a classic colonial feel. All rooms are en suite, some with bath and others with shower, balconies, all with beautifully hand-crafted wooden furniture, draped mozzie nets and subtle floral patterns. Amenities include a swimming pool, spa, bars, restaurant, lounge area and a shop that is stocked with high-quality local art and crafts. I really liked this hotel and would recommend it for a more luxury-oriented traveler.

For another lodging option that is closer to the airport and for the more budget-conscious traveler, see the review of Lake Victoria Hotel. After these three hotels, we continued on to Murchison National Park and stayed at Paraa Safari Lodge, enjoyed a private boat tour of the Nile, and enjoyed a fine meal (best of the trip!) at Nile Safari Lodge.

Photos by Kampala Serena and Emin Pasha Hotels.

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