Byoona Amagara is an island oasis. After spending some time in Kampala, surrounded by a cloud of boda bodas, dust, and children shouting "Mzungu!" (who are adorable, of course, but sometimes that gets tiring), it was wonderful to arrive at Lake Bunyonyi and have a few days of peace and quiet.
The canteen is perched atop a nice hill with a beautiful view of the lake and some surrounding islands. I spent a lot of time relaxing, reading, and of course eating there. The food was quite tasty, and very reasonably priced (4000-13000 UGX for a meal).
There are lots of things to do, as well. You can hire a canoe and go for a paddle, hire a boat driver to take you on a tour of the lake (Punishment Island was interesting), go for a walk around the island, visit a Pygmy village, watch a movie in the cinema, go to one of the local craft markets, or have a swim. And it's a great starting point for gorilla trekking (Byoona Amagara runs their own at very reasonable rates).
And on top of all of this, what made my time at Byoona Amagara special was that the staff were very friendly and attentive. They worked very hard to make sure that everyone was enjoying themselves, even fulfilling a few special requests. I loved it there so much that I extended my stay there for an extra day!
I'd recommend booking one of the geodomes, as they're very cozy and have fabulous views. But for anyone on a tight budget, the dorms are a great deal.
Some reviewers had mentioned problems with theft, but every room I saw had cabinets that you can lock with a padlock, so I had no problems while I was there. Perhaps these are new, or perhaps the other reviewers just left their valuable lying about, but I don't see why anyone should have any problems now.
Anyway, I can't wait to go back again!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Byoona Amagara Island Retreat is a one-of-a-kind traveler's paradise located on an island peninsula at the heart of the lake. We cater to independent travelers and backpackers looking to get well off the beaten track. We have a gorgeous location overlooking a protected island cove, perfect for swimming, canoeing, hiking or just about anything else you can think of. We also have creative and comfortable lodgings, famously fresh and delicious food, sweeping views of the lake's islands and hills, and a variety of fun and interesting tours and activities... Not to mention some of the most affordable prices in all of East Africa! We also have Internet service available, as well as an amazing library and cinema with hundreds of great books and films. What Byoona Amagara does NOT have is noise, dust, overland trucks, mosquitoes (very few anyway!), or prices that insult your intelligence (or empty your wallet). Come stay in one of our beautiful geodomes and experience Lake Bunyonyi at its very best! Byoona Amagara is a staff-owned, not-for-profit establishment dedicating 100% of proceeds to support education and sustainable community development at Lake Bunyonyi. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Byoona Amagara Uganda/Kabale