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“VERY helpful”
Review of Budongo Eco Lodge

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Budongo Eco Lodge
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
83 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“VERY helpful”
Reviewed 27 March 2014

First of all the accom is simple but clean & we had no issues with our chalet (Mahogany). We were welcomed & well looked after. The food was good, my steak was delicious. The trekking was great. Chimps move faster than the Gorillas so are harder to trek & unfortunately that also makes them harder to photograph. Not the cheapest trip you'll do in Uganda but well worth it.

However where they really excelled themselves was after we had left. About 20km from the lodge & further into the NP we suffered a blown tyre & sheared damper on the rear axle of our car. Mobile single was almost non-existent but we did manage to get a text message to a friend who rang Budongo who immediately sent two of their staff to rescue us. Once we'd limped the car back to the lodge they organised a mechanic to come & fix it.

Great service when we weren't actually their problem any longer, thanks guys.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Nick S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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92 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
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English first
Cairo, Egypt
Level Contributor
32 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 February 2014

We stayed here for one night in order to track chimps in Budongo Forest, arriving in the early morning. Here, we had the most spacious room we'd gotten in our time in Uganda. On the other hand, the bathroom was probably the most unattractive we'd gotten. Most of the staff was very friendly, and they let me freely use the internet freely in their office. The food was rather good and the terrace of the reception area is a great place to have you meal. I don't know if this is a plus for the lodge or not, but the rangers that took us to track the chimps were outstanding and examples of what great customer service should be. Finally, when youre dozing off, you are serenaded by the sounds of the rain forest. A great place to stay!

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Bringlez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
148 reviews
70 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 February 2014

We were told going into our stay that it would be a very simple accommodation and service. It was what were told.
Were greeted warmly on arrival and had to ended up staying in the dorm rooms. Rooms were very basic as expected but we had no running water in the ONE sink. intact the faucet was broken too. We used the common area sink for cold water the next morning.
The lobby area was okay, very basic. We had some late afternoon tea which was served well.
Electricity was on and off all night.
Dinner was served well and very tasty. Portions were always an issue as we had a group of 6.
Breakfast was both cold cereal and scrabbled eggs, etc. coffee and tea were good!
We would go back if we had to as the price is right but it can use some attention to details.

Room Tip: Stay in the cabins if you can!
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank onthego2much
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Somerset, Uk
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 February 2014

We were a party of four staying in two cabins for two nights 24/25 January. Great setting in the forest and great atmosphere - the sound of birds and chimps all around is unforgettable. Two of our party did the chimp trek and said it was one of the highlights of the trip 2 week trip.
Accommodation - cabins are simple but comfortable and each is perfectly located overlooking the forest. BUT when we arrived we were told that one cabin had hot water but the other had cold. No problem - a cold shower was welcome in the heat. In practice - one had cold water (ours) and the other had no water and NO TAP IN THE SINK. How anyone cleaning the cabin could have failed to notice that a tap was missing was anyone's guess - or that there was no water (when did it go from hot to none?). A member of staff was summoned and looked blank. No other rooms available so they couldn't be moved but would be moved to another cabin next day when one became free. Fortunately our travelling companions could use our shower so - stiff upper lip and all that and off we went to dinner. More of that later. Next morning as our companions had to be up early staff brought them containers of warm water in which to wash (this wasn't requested so someone in charge had at least made some effort to assist). When they came back from the chimp trek, our friends were then moved to their new cabin. Water was cold but - not a problem. At least there was water.
Food - ah, now it gets interesting. When we arrived (about 6pm) we were told that dinner was a buffet and that it was served 7 till 9. Obviously with all the fuss about the water etc we finally made dinner at 8. A large party of American students with their leaders were already well into their dinner - sadly, there was little left for the four of us and what was left was cold. So - we requested more food and that it be hot. Blank looks. Our driver / guide intervened and more food was eventually brought but not much and it wasn't hot and largely, re-heated. All in all - pretty dreadful service and unimpressive meal such as it was. (Basically the lodge had not catered for enough people and as it was a buffet the dozen or so people who had been at dinner at 7 had made repeated trips back to the buffet leaving pretty much nothing for anyone else. It is beholden on the lodge to cater appropriately, manage the buffet and bring out fresh food to meet the need.) Next night we were ready! First at the buffet - but even then we had to tell the staff that the heaters underneath the food plates had gone out and the food would go cold. We noticed that a few other people who came late to dinner that night had the same treatment that we did. Breakfasts were fine. Lunches - cooked and fine although I asked for sandwiches instead and was told there was no bread! I didn't believe it.
Our experience was not a one off - overhearing conversations of other guests, pretty much most people had had problems of some kind - eg booked a cabin but ended up in the dorm because the cabins were overbooked, no water etc etc.
This is an eco lodge and our expectations were not high- we were happy to go with the flow and accept that water, power etc are not always available. But - being 'eco' cannot be an excuse for not being efficient and for falling to provide a good service. Clearly these kinds of issues come up all the time. This accommodation isn't cheap and good service costs nothing. Our guide . driver summed it up - he said it is a lack of supervision and he is right. So - Budongo Eco Lodge - go there but don't expect good quality and if you get it, it will be a bonus. Worth going for the setting and the chimps.

Room Tip: cabin not dorm
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Deborah W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UgandaLodges, Guest Relations Manager at Budongo Eco Lodge, responded to this review, 21 March 2014
Dear Deborah,

Many thanks for your detailed feedback which like our other guests’ we always very much appreciate as it helps us see where we stand, which areas where we are doing well and in which ones we can do better. Our greatest desire is that all our guests have a wonderful and memorable stay experience. We do go out of our way to achieve this but are aware there is always room for improvement so we appreciate the time you have taken to share your experience at the lodge. Specifically we thank you for the pleasure of hosting you and your friends at our Budongo Eco lodge on January 2014 and are delighted you enjoyed the forest atmosphere and your friends are right, the chimpanzee tracking experience is out of this world. Thank you for the complement.

Appertaining to the accommodation log cabins, really I can understand what you are saying and apologize. This not how we do things, there was unfortunate case of double booking where one guest extended their stay and our management did not realize we should have been fully booked. Which necessitated our opening up of an extra cabin but clearly it was not ready. I know our staff worked hard on it but even so I am glad they eventually moved your friends to another cabin, again we apologize for the inconvenience.

Really the food (?) What can I say, these teenagers can really run a buffet – they must be still growing and of course we have to take good care of them, one of mine is a teenager, I know what it means. We had however set aside separate food for your party of four which was being warmed and was eventually brought but evidently our service team failed in effectively communicating this to you more clearly. I cannot say that the water issues should have the effect of making us in communicating, it is not an excuse and we have reiterated and made that very clear to the manager and staff.

I would not say this is the general kind of feedback that we get from our guests and do not recall that we had any similar from any of the guests who stayed with you on those particular nights although that does not in any way diminish the importance of your particular feedback, which deeply appreciate and take very seriously. We find constructive criticism and are determined to learn from it and promise to cross the t’s and dot i’s as necessary and promise you that changes will and are already being done to enhance operational and service provision for an overall better guest experience for all.

Thank you again and we hope to one day have the pleasure of hosting you again.
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Hamble, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
76 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 January 2014

We arrived at Budongo to find that the electricity was not working and this also meant no running water, now you might think that would put us off staying here but on the contrary we loved it.
We had to take "strip" washes standing in a bowl and using the cold water from the borehole (as do many Ugandans daily) and had our dinner by candlelight and this made our stay even better, the staff coped really well and prepared a lovely evening meal and even managed to supply us with a couple of cold beers.
I would return here tomorrow and suggest you give it a try.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank pdjlk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
simbasafaricamp, Guest Relations Manager at Budongo Eco Lodge, responded to this review, 6 February 2014
Dear Guest,

Many thanks for staying at Budongo Eco Lodge and for going a step further to share your experience.

Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused. The truth is we had purchased a new freezer just after the New Year at the lodge which was consuming more power than we had expected thus causing inconsistency in the lighting in the rooms and reception/dining. My guarantee is we had an electrician on site all last week, who worked on the entire power system at the lodge that now supports both the freezer and the general lighting in rooms and reception/dining area.

The lack if hot water issue has been confirmed to have been a result of using our solar panels for heating which did not keep the water hot until morning and we have done is start a procedure for heating water using firewood boilers at 5.00am every day to assure hot water after wake. This is being enforced and will continue to be the case consistently.

We are pleased the staff managed to make turn it around into a positive evening for you with a lovely dinner, candle lighting to set the mood and the cold beers (Well done to our freezer despite its previous consumption of power, cold beers were our consolation it seems!).

Again many thanks for leaving your lovely comments here and we would be honored to have the opportunity to host you again on your next visit to Murchison Fall National Park. It is indeed feedback such as yours which motivate us in delivering services to our best. Your words of appreciation have been shared with our team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
State College, Pa
Level Contributor
126 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 October 2013

Stayed two nights there towards the end of our Sept 2013 safari. As the name suggests, an ecological lodge. Solar lights, solar heated water, a pit latrine, system to collect rainwater for various uses, and special consideration given to trees in middle of walk-ways to maintain unbroken canopy. Cottage windows screened and curtained. Mosquito netting around large bed in very spacious room. Plenty of hot water for shower but not for sink (okay by us). Bathroom light okay for shaving in early am. Bottled water provided.

Battery/device charging at reception area. Main building served as dining area (both out on porch and inside), lounge, gift shop and small nature center. No frills, no noisy atmosphere. Staff friendly.

Food, tasty and plentiful. Breakfast was eggs to order, bacon, toast, juice, fruit and coffee/tea. One dinner was tomato soup, bread, chips, veggies, chapatti, chicken in gravy and a thin pancake in hot syrup for desert. Soda Ugh2,500 ea.

Wonderful to sit on the porch and listen to the birds and other wildlife. Thick forest canopy made observation difficult. Opening around main building easier to spot birds. Largest spiders I have even seen in high web using wires near main building for support. Great sleeping with only natural sounds of the rain forest. Expect a shower now and then.

Invasion of winged ants late one afternoon caused us to relocate to another cabin. Not a big deal as living in a rain forest one expects such. Given the dense overhead canopy cabins are damp.

Not for the traveler expected all the amenities of the typical lodge. Budongo Eco Lodge provides adequate, clean accommodations in a great setting particularly for those interested in chimp walks and birding in the dense forest. Given where we decided to go for birding walks it was out of the way but still interesting and we have no regrets staying there.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank wegoustay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
simbasafaricamp, Guest Relations Manager at Budongo Eco Lodge, responded to this review, 5 November 2013
Dear Guest,

We thank you for choosing to stay at Budongo Eco lodge and for going a step further to share your experience at the lodge.

We are glad that through your trip you managed to experience a range of things- from the chimp walks, to the array of birds, to the thick forest canopy…down to the spider’s and winged ants. This combined with clean, comfortable accommodation, tasty food and warm hospitality from our staff is what we believe make for a truly remarkable and memorable holiday in the heart of the jungle. We are very pleased that Budongo Eco Lodge left you with no regrets and we look very forward to your next visit.
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Kampala, Uganda
Level Contributor
53 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 September 2013

The greatness in the Jane Goodall institute, Budongo eco tourism project, has well situated Cabins for slightly a higher budget in the Forest and dormitories for slightly lower budget.
The Feeling is the Greatest in the Great Conservation Area of Murchison falls!
The cool moist forest repairs your body temperature regulation since other areas around swell to over 30°C.. so after the Savannah experience, the humid North and southern banks of the mighty Nile river, this Forest area is the best.. Chimpanzee and a host of other primates plus rare Bird species inhabitants of the furthest East of the equatorial region hang around this Natures Magnet.
My most recent visit, you can get in touch with the rest of the world here as the Wifi connection is now in place..

Room Tip: The Hyrax, Chimpanzee cabins are the furthest and birds dwelling on the forest floor are obvious to...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Mamalandsafaris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
simbasafaricamp, Guest Relations Manager at Budongo Eco Lodge, responded to this review, 19 September 2013
Thank you for sharing your valuable and inspiring comments with us and also for choosing Budongo Lodge as your holiday destination. We do pride ourselves in the location of the lodge and consider ourselves very fortunate to to be located next door to these majestic creatures that inhabit this African rain forest, the chimpanzees.

As you rightly pointed out Budongo Forest is home to 359 species of birds and makes this forest famous for its biodiversity in birds, including the rare Puvel’s Illadopses which is endemic to Budongo Forest.

We welcome the opportunity to accommodate you again.
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Additional Information about Budongo Eco Lodge

Property: Budongo Eco Lodge
Address: Budongo Forest Reserve | Budongo Forest, Murchison Falls National Park 33024, Uganda
Region: Uganda > Western Region > Murchison Falls National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 13 Speciality Lodging in Murchison Falls National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Budongo Eco Lodge, also known as the Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism site, is located in the heart of Budongo Forest Reserve, in Murchison Falls National Park. The lodge consists of comfortable eco-cabins with private veranda, four spacious dorm rooms, a visitor's centre and restaurant. In addition, many different forest activities are offered in the direct surroundings, including chimp tracking, chimpanzee habituation, forest walks and bird watching. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Budongo Eco Lodge Uganda/Murchison Falls National Park

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