Whilst trekking gorilla’s in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park we stayed at Lake Mulehe Safari Lodge.
It wasn’t the best of arrivals. Not only had our day begun with an early morning game drive, but it was followed by a five-hour transfer on either dusty bumpy tracks or a tarmac road with steep inclines and hairpin bends. Whilst the scenery was stunning, it was hard to appreciate it. Eventually a sign turned us off the main road onto a rutted track, and indicated we still had 14km to go.
Arriving feeling slightly queasy, we were immediately faced with a steep set of stone steps with no handrail, a long stone path and 20 shallower steps leading to the main building. As we sipped a refreshing pineapple juice, pristine white face flannels were quickly transformed in colour due to the dust. As we were later than anticipated, we were asked to sit straight down for lunch: a fried fillet of tilapia, with chips and a whole sliced avocado. Sadly we felt unable to do it justice and headed off something to do with a pineapple at the pass. We were then asked to order dinner which was the last thing on our mind.
The lodge, at 1793m, is built into the side of a hill and whilst the views are stunning, it’s totally unsuitable for those with mobility issues. The 12 rooms, named after gorillas in the nearby park, are dotted around, but fortunately our room, Kitubwa, one of three in a row, involved only a flat walk and 20 steps from the main lodge.
The décor was a little dated with lots of orange and purple. The double and single beds had a bedside table between them with an English plug point for charging. The mosquito net drew across the whole room and due to the position of its opening and pillars in the room, we found it totally impractical. There were two garishly patterned comfortable arm chairs and coffee table, but we had to use a large table for our open suitcases. The open plan wardrobe had a hanging rail and two non-matching coat hangers but would have benefitted from some shelves. There was no TV, room safe, fridge or tea and coffee making facilities although the latter was always available in the bar. Wi-Fi was only accessible in the main area and was very fickle with staff having to constantly reboot the router.
The bathroom was large with sink, loo, a huge towel rail with orange and green towels, hairdryer and complimentary bottled water. The shower performed better than expected with plenty of hot water and reasonable pressure. Unfortunately, there was no cold water in the basin.
Although there was a covered terrace where we sat for drinks, the altitude meant it was too windy to eat outside. Dinner began with a soup or a salad and having opted for what we hoped would be the lighter option, found the salads tasty but huge, especially when served with tempting warm rolls and butter. Likewise substantial mains, with a meat, fish and vegetarian option, were served and we began asking for small portions. We either opted for fresh fruit to finish or skipped dessert. Lunch was either a packed picnic box for days out, or a two-course affair.
Breakfast consisted of juice, and a large fruit plate of pineapple, watermelon, mango and passionfruit. We avoided the cooked breakfast and settled for thick home-made bread toasted with jam and coffee.
The lodge had colourful gardens and lawns with various places for sitting out and admiring the lake and views of three mountains which border Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. On two of our three nights, there were only two other guests, but on our final day and night, we had the lodge to ourselves. There was a small bar area with community-made gifts for sale.
As most guests are there to trek gorillas, massages were offered to revive weary legs, but had to be pre-booked.
Various other activities were offered including canoeing on the lake or cycling. However, after an exhausting gorilla trek, all we wanted to do on our free day was relax and take in the views.
Whilst this was a comfortable stay, we suspect it wasn’t the best around and was chosen by our tour operator, Churchill Safari, because they own the lodge.