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“My home away from home”
Review of Casa Del Turista

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Casa Del Turista
Ranked #1 of 20 Mbale B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 May 2014

Future Casa guests,

I had an extended stay (3 months) in Casa del Turista and I have the highest recommendation. The staff is amazing and always doing their best to make sure your stay is comfortable. Among places to stay in Mbale, it is the best place for price and comfort.

I recommend speaking with Baker or Saleh (brothers and owners) on anything related to Mbale and its surrounding. They are well connected and have a solution/answer for just about everything.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled solo
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2  Thank fvaldivia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 8 March 2014

I stayed at "Casa" for the month of February while on a medical elective for my last year of medical school. My top priorities- safety and cleanliness were always met. By mid-month, I felt like "casa" was home.

Culture- The owner, Saleh, greeted myself and two friends as we arrived and made us feel very welcome. Honestly, he and his brother, Baker, do amazing work for the community. Part of the revenue from Casa helps to support to village schools and the two of them are constantly looking for ways to support and connect with the community. Staff of hostel are fabulous and knew my food orders by the end of the month. Thank you! Hospitality is huge in Uganda, which is both wonderful and sometimes made me feel like people were bending over backwards a little too much for my comfort.

Bed- comfy enough. Very much appreciated fan provided by hostel. Mosquito net had a few holes.

Bathroom- Some rooms have bathrooms in the room. Squatter toilet is positioned below shower-head. Heated shower when generator is not booting up power. After heat and dust of each day, cold shower even felt awesome. More traditional toilet is in bathroom adjacent to common room if that is your preference.

Rates/package- Speak to Saleh and Baker about the possibility of including breakfast/and or dinner in flat rate. It was honestly wonderful to just come home from clinic and order food each night.

Food- Food is delicious. Wide variety of fresh produce was delicious and something I was not anticipating. Coffee was welcome treat on late mornings. Snacks or food range from posho chips with guac dip to fish fillet with rice and greek salad. (Some of my favorites). Be sure to order early! Willie is a fabulous cook who is busy, so anticipate a minimum of an hour wait for dinner, less for breakfast. Misunderstandings in communication were common throughout month not only at Casa but elsewhere in Uganda, be sure to clarify and if unsure if message came across, ask.

Wifi/place to relax- When power is on reliably (which is inconsistent throughout city), wifi was usually on. With generator powered up quick, wifi usually returned quickly. Wifi good speed for messaging, chat, email, facetime. Slower for trying to multitask on multiple web-pages or downloads. Wifi available in one common room, which sometimes made for a noisy background if trying to talk to family/friends over internet. Enjoyed relaxing on chairs in front of casa in shaded area and on the roof at night!

Laundry- Casa staff will do your laundry. I found it worked best to turn it in the night prior. Can be washed and dried in sun in one day. If you have a particular deadline for getting it back, might be best to specify. Prior to arriving, I learned that it is most culturally appropriate to wash your own undergarments. Tried my best to not let these sneak into general laundry bag throughout the month. Tip laundry staff by giving shillings to Baker!

Hostel/Hotel- BEST for: This was an ideal place to stay for a month long medical rotation. Casa attracts longer term volunteers who are working in region surrounding Mbale, as well as peace corp volunteers, and medical students. It was so much fun to gain new perspectives speaking to residents from across the globe. In addition to short-term volunteers (a few weeks to a few months), I would recommend Casa for tourists visiting the region to see Sipi Falls, Mount Elgon National Park, or en route to Kenya. This is for residents who would like basic accommodations with services that are actually considered more luxury compared to surrounding villages (running water, electricity, wifi, fresh food).

If considering staying at Casa for over six months, I would suggest being very honest with yourself whether you are the sort of person that needs alone time/space. Due to the set-up of the hostel, wifi areas are in common space. While wonderful, it was an adjustment to not cooking for myself and doing my own laundry. For a month, this was perfect, but something to consider if the stay is more long-term.

I will be highly recommending Casa Del Turista to future medical students staying in Mbale!

Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
3  Thank Claire P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2014

I stayed at Casa Del Turista (or just "Casa" as we called it) in Mbale for a period of about 3 weeks. My stay here was overwhelmingly positive as the place attracts primarily travelers who are in the area for some kind of long term commitment--people staying here are usually in Mbale for work, long term volunteering, peace core, or as medical students. Many stay at Casa in Mbale for a home base while much of their work or volunteerism takes place in the surrounding villages. This makes for a great atmosphere and a great environment for sharing and comparing experiences working with local hospitals, schools, etc. That being said, Casa certainly welcomes tourists as well and would be a great place to stay if you are in town only for a few days to see Mt. Elgon or visit Sipi Falls.

Staff--the staff at Casa are overwhelmingly accommodating. If you need a fan for your room, want a new blanket, want some ketchup, or happen to mention to them it is your birthday, you can be sure that they will bend over backward to get you what you need (be careful--you might unknowingly send someone out at 9 o'clock at night to find a birthday cake for you). The owners are truly wonderful people who want you to be comfortable and have the best experience possible. They work from dawn to dusk and devote much of their time to projects in local schools.

Accommodation--Casa is arranged with a central area of couches and tables and most of the rooms are connected to this area. A few have separate entrances in the back. Most rooms are designed for 2 people, but they were happy to fit a bunkbed into our room so that our group of 3 could share one room. Mattresses were fine by my standards, pillows were humongous and quite firm so I slept on my airplane neck pillow for the month.

Casa is not a quiet hostel. Most nights there is music playing and people are up talking. There are roosters everywhere in the neighborhood and occasionally cats come by and make noise. The central area has wifi that is slow but functional. Along with the rest of Uganda, the power is intermittently on and off. When the power goes out they are quick to start their generators, which power the lights and the internet. It does not power the hot water, so if you want a hot shower you need to make sure and take the opportunity when the power is on. We enjoyed taking mostly cold showers since it is so hot.

You can have your room cleaned and your sheets changed as frequently as you like. We opted for about once a week. Casa provides sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, toilet paper. Our room had its own bathroom and shower, but some of the rooms do not have a bathroom and those guests use a communal bathroom and shower.

Casa is located close to the center of town but on a more quiet road. It is within easy walking distance of the central clock tower. We walked to work everyday.

Food--Casa promotes what they call "slow food," which designates their food as organic and sourced from local farms. The menu has breakfast (eggs, toast, fruit, pancakes, smoothies), lunch and snacks (wraps, sandwiches, nachos), and dinner (rice with curries, fish, chicken, beef, pizzas, salads). They have a great espresso bar and make wonderful coffees. Most items are between 5,000 and 20,000 shillings.

The main thing to know about the food is that you should order plenty of time before you want to eat. Particularly at dinner time, it may be 2 hours before your food is ready. When we arrived home at 5 or 6pm, we would usually order dinner immediately and hope to eat by 7 or 8. Breakfast and lunch may be faster, depending on how many other people are around and ordering food. If it has been a long time and you are wondering where the food is, go ahead and ask. Sometimes the kitchen has run out of things and messages get dropped in the line of communication.

Casa was very accommodating of our schedule--we had to leave for work each day by 6:45, and they designated one staff person to be in charge of getting up at 6am to cut pineapple and bread for us along with hard boiled eggs so that we could eat breakfast before the kitchen was open. There were a few days of mix up where breakfast was not available, but in general they worked hard to get us what we needed and by the end of the month we had a good routine. Just another example of how hard they will try to give you the experience you want.

Value--Casa is not a luxury place, and I wouldn't tell my parents to stay there because I think it's best for a younger crowd, or travelers that are looking for the basics and are okay with it being occasionally noisy at night. If that's what you are, I'm sure you won't find a better place to stay in Mbale for the value. Because we stayed long term, we developed a deal where we paid a flat rate for the room, breakfast, and dinner for the month. This was ideal (despite occasional mix ups with the kitchen) because we did not have to seek dinner each night after returning from work. If you want to stay at Casa, just tell them what you're looking for and my bet is that they will work with you to make it happen.

Overall, Casa is a wonderful place to stay and its owners are truly lovely people. I would go back there in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank JMG33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 February 2014

This new hotel is a welcome addition to the lodging offerings in Mbale. The prices seem to be pretty good, though you might do well with some negotiating. The owner and staff members are very friendly and accommodating, however the hotel lacks in a few important ways. Firstly, the rooms are all connected to the central lobby, and due to vents in the walls and frequent commotion in the hall, it's very noisy. Secondly, the beds and mattresses are pretty awful by Ugandan standards. On the plus, the newly opened restaurant serves food from the recently shuttered Chat 'n Chino and is your only option for mexican-like dishes in town (aside from the more expensive Mt. Elgon Hotel).

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Dignen5150
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2014

Heard of this good place and the nice people working there. Unfortunataly there was no room available, but the owner arranged for me a room in the guesthouse next door. I could make use of the facilities of 'the casa' such as the internet and the cafe. The place has no downsides; it's located very close to the center of Mbale, yet it's on a quiet road. There's a nice atmosphere among the staf and guests. The food is good. And the owner has a bright view on service to the costumers! I would recommend this place to all people who want to enjoy a good and cheap stay in Mbale.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled solo
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1  Thank Thomas B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 December 2013

We stumbled upon Casa Del Turista by accident and were very positively surprised. The management is highly likable and helpful, the place calm and with a good location. Rooms are quite nice for the price range and the possibility of a hot shower is a blessing.

The place would maybe benefit from a bit cozier feel (color scheme, lights, common room etc), but nonetheless felt nice. When in Mbale, Casa Del Turista is definitely one of the best choices.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank AliinePopUp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 November 2013

The staff at Case Del Turista are the most welcoming people I've experienced in my 3 months in Africa. Kind and friendly, they ensure all of your needs are met. Beds are comfortable, mosquito nets have no holes, and the wifi is free. The location is nice as well, as my girlfriend and I would make daily walks to the markets of Mbale or head down to our favorite bar or restaurant. We spent roughly 3 weeks here in Mbale volunteering, and the price of the room is very affordable and a great value.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Larry K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Casa Del Turista

Address: Plot 18, Nkokonjeru Terrace, Mbale, Uganda
Region: Uganda > Eastern Region > Mbale
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 20 B&Bs / Inns in Mbale
Price Range: £12 - £14 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
At Casa del Turista, we are focused on providing excellent services like bed and breakfast.Tour and travel, Research; volunteer and Internship placements. At Casa the customer is the king ...and you will find friends. At Casa we promote and believe in slow food philosophy ie. food should be good,clean and fair. With a variety of offerings to choose from plus our tailor made services we're sure you'll be happy staying with us. NOW ECO SHAMBA CAFE IS OPENED WITH THE BEST COFFEE ...IN TOWN.... ... more   less 
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