There may be no such thing as a perfectly perfect holiday but sitting by the banks of the Victoria Nile enjoying a sumptuous breakfast, birds chirping in the trees, comes pretty close. Baker’s Lodge, situated just outside Murchison Falls National Park, is a lovely getaway spot.
It is built in the area where British explorer Sir Samuel Baker had set up his camp and settled for a while as he explored the area now called Bulisa district. Baker’s is an eco-friendly lodge, making up one third of the Exclusive Camps and Lodges Uganda Group properties (their other two lodges being Ishasha Wilderness Camp and Buhoma Lodge), whose trademarks are comfort and a contemporary environment for its guests. The lodge is on the south bank of the Nile and is just outside the boundary of the National Park,but it’s quite common to catch sightings of wildlife such as crocodiles, warthogs, hippos and numerous bird species. Sometimes elephants can be seen on the opposite bank of the river. We were fortunate enough to see a crocodile early one morning, outside our cottage. All eight of the Baker’s Lodge thatched cottages are situated under a canopy of trees and are decorated in a very traditional and homely style. From the great chest of drawers, the enormous beds and the horn décor in the bathroom – everything about the interior design is tasteful and well thought out. And then there is the uninterrupted view of the Victoria Nile through the full height screen windows at the front of each cottage. The cottages are built on raised platforms, meaning you do not have to worry about any scary wildlife joining you in the night, and each has a private balcony from which to take in your beautiful surroundings and watch the sunrise across the Victoria Nile. Although getting up early is not compulsory.
The lodge offers eight en suite cottages (some with bathtubs), a swimming pool, wifi in the lounge area and a fully functioning solar power and hot water system. One of the things that will probably stick with you after your visit to Baker’s Lodge is the staff, who not only make you feel welcome, but also give you a homely feel and great service. The lodge manager, Mr. Bernard Gichobi, told me the majority of staff members are recruited from the surrounding area.
The safari lodge offers international cuisine with four course dinners. The set menu is quite the delight, particularly their locally-inspired desserts. What could be better than having a well-cooked meal, under the light of the traditional lanterns and the beautiful stars in the sky?
You do not need your Candy Crush or even Pokémon to keep you occupied while staying at the Baker’s Lodge. The many activities offered include :
• Boat cruises, including trips to the foot of Murchison Falls and sunset cruises to the delta area (where the Victoria Nile joins Lake Albert). Scheduled and private cruises are available.
• Game drives in Murchison Falls National Park (the park gate at Mubako is less than a kilometre from the lodge).
• Sport fishing.
• The bush breakfast. This is definitely worth a try!
HOW TO GET THERE
There are two ways to get to the Baker’s Lodge. For the full luxury experience you can fly from Entebbe or Kajansi to one of the two airfields in the park. The driving route from Kampala is either via Masindi and then through the park or via Hoima. The latter route does not go through the National Park so avoids park fees.