We chose this lodge over Mweya, which is far west on the mouth of the Kazinga Channel, because we wanted a small lodge and a more intimate wilderness experience. If you want a larger, admittedly fancier hotel, more removed from animals, consider Mweya.
Jacana was a 20 minute drive from the Kyumbura Gorge, 40 minutes from the main game drive area of Queen Elizabeth National Park. It was further than we expected - Katana looks closer if you're debating, though their views are inferior to Jacana. For the extra time, our benefit was staying right on a lake, and my wife loved hearing the hippos calling at night. The lodge also offered a "Captain's Table", a candlelit dinner out on the lake, which was quite pleasant, though shorter than we would have liked.
The staff was top notch, the service probably better, and friendly in a relaxed, not forced, way, than anywhere else we stayed on our trip to Rwanda and Uganda. Richard, our security guard that walked us to our cottage each night, was particularly great.
The food was very good - they made a chicken kebab dish one night that was one of the best dishes I ate the entire trip. The main entrance and the main lodge and dining areas are very welcoming and aesthetically pleasing, and there is a massive fireplace area that was equally enjoyable.
The pool area is not as nice as the pix online. The swim-up bar seems to have fallen into disrepair, and though there were canoes to venture onto the lake, they looked disused, perhaps because no one wants to canoe in hippo territory?
The cottages were advertised as "spacious", but were barely large enough for the bed. The bathroom was small and cramped, with a miniature shower with temperamental hot and cold water knobs. However, given the location, the water temperature issues are certainly forgivable - we weren't expecting the Four Seasons.
Despite these challenges, we came for nature, and had it in abundance, including vervet monkeys coming near the pool and dining area, and the serenading of hippos and chimpanzees. It was a very pleasant stop, though the rooms and pool areas just need some sprucing up.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set on the edge of Uganda’s largest crater lake, this tree house lodge grew out of the forest, peacefully at one with nature. The delicate use of rock, poles, wood, rope, organic furniture and rich textures blend perfectly with the smells, sights and sounds of this tropical hardwood forest. A cracking fireplace combined with a magical atmosphere creates an unforgettable experience. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Jacana Safari Hotel Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Jacana Safari Lodge Uganda/Queen Elizabeth National Park