Best hotels and hostels in Eastern Uganda

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Jinja

    Wildwaters Lodge

    One of Uganda's best luxury hotels, Wildwaters lives up to its name by overlooking a raging stretch of the Nile from its stunning island location. Accessed via a boardwalk, the private thatched-roof suites have canvas walls and palatial interiors with gleaming polished floorboards, poster beds and sofas. All open up to balconies with outdoor claw-foot baths overlooking unhindered Nile views.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Sipi Falls

    Sipi River Lodge

    A real retreat set in lush gardens with porch rockers and a creek-side trail to the second waterfall. Dorms and bandas (thatched-roofed huts) use separate bathrooms with individual room locks and plenty of space. Splurge on a cottage with gorgeous batiks, private deck and shower views of the falls. A great on-site restaurant attracts nonguests for espresso drinks and homemade meals.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Jinja

    Haven

    Overlooking a wild Class VI rapid, this wonderful, friendly lodge is all about location. With pleasant grounds featuring a play area, bike rentals and sandbox, it's great for families too. There are sensational panoramas from suave bandas (thatched-roofed huts), tents and bungalows, all with hot water. It boasts numerous ecofriendly credentials, a safari-style restaurant and swimming pool with sunloungers.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Jinja

    Gately on the Nile

    Gately's stylish rooms boast high ceilings, mosaic tile floors and batik fabrics. They're split between a lovely garden house and loft apartments and a gigantic villa across the road, all with views of Lake Victoria. The Mediterranean-style house is a great choice for honeymooners and families. Service is attentive and the restaurant is one of the best in town.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Jinja

    Source of the Smile Guesthouse

    With cool tropical design, a gorgeous garden and pool, this relaxed guesthouse indeed invites smiles. Its Icelandic owner and local staff are helpful and interactive, and the huge buffet breakfast beats most in Uganda. For other meals, there are menus for ordering out. Tiled poolside rooms offer an extra dose of character; otherwise there are cheaper, more conventional rooms out the back.

  • Lodging in Jinja

    2 Friends Guesthouse

    A relaxed guesthouse with smart safari-themed rooms with flat-screen TVs, safes and attractive Ugandan art. Cottages around a lovely bamboo garden and swimming pool go for slightly more. There are bikes for hire (USh15,000 per day), plus free laundry service and a worthwhile on-site restaurant.

  • Lodging in Jinja

    Hairy Lemon

    Situated 15km downstream from the rafting starting point, Hairy Lemon's isolated location on a small island makes it the perfect getaway retreat. More rustic than luxurious, dorms and bandas (thatched-roofed huts) are basic and mostly share bathrooms. A short paddle away is Nile Special, a world-class wave for kayakers. It’s essential to book ahead.

  • Lodging in Jinja

    Nile River Explorers Campsite

    The most popular place to stay at Bujagali, this attractive camp is set on a grassy site with sensational river views. There's a good mix of budget rooms, often full with overland truckers and backpackers, but the tented camps sloped along the terraced hill are the pick of the bunch – they have superb outlooks – as do the showers!

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Mount Elgon National Park

    Rose's Last Chance

    Located near the trailhead in Budadari, Rose's is a laid-back, comfortable, fun and friendly place that brings guests closer to the local scene. Testing local brews is a favourite activity and Rose sometimes brings in musicians and dancers at night. The dining room has good vibes and bedrooms are cosy and clean. It’s close to the UWA office.

  • Lodging in Mbale

    Mt Elgon Hotel

    A colonial-era stalwart with modern flair, rooms here are spacious and quite plush. Amenities include a sauna, Jacuzzi, swimming pool and minigolf. It’s in a quiet area outside the city, surrounded by verdant grounds. The high-end restaurant is popular with the general public, with a huge menu including local, Indian and continental fare.

  • Lodging in Jinja

    Surjio's

    Relaxed Surjio's has a pleasant garden set away from town near the edge of the Nile. Pricier rooms are spacious with polished blonde-wood floors, high beds and lovely bathrooms. Go for an upstairs room for a glimpse of the Nile. Staff are friendly, and it has a swimming pool and a popular pizzeria with gluten-free options.

  • Lodging in Mbale

    Casa Del Turista

    This friendly guesthouse is a relaxed place to hang out, with a great on-site cafe, spotless dorms and private rooms with a dash of style and en suite bathrooms. As the only hotel in town geared to international travellers, it's quite popular, so reserve ahead. The only downside is that common areas can feel overcrowded.

  • Lodging in Mbale

    Visitors Inn

    This newish multistorey hotel is set at the edge of downtown where it's less noisy at night. It's a great deal: immaculate bedrooms have tiny balconies and TVs, fan and canopy beds. The wi-fi can be weak.

  • Lodging in Sipi Falls

    Moses' Campsite

    Sipi’s original backpacker option, this small, laid-back operation has a good view of the falls from its wonderful rickety terrace and unhindered views of the plains below from a rocky cliff. The bandas (thatched-roofed huts) are decent, the staff friendly and colobus monkeys often hang around the shady campground. For better or worse, the addition of a bar means music-filled evenings.

  • Lodging in Sipi Falls

    Sipi Falls Resort

    Sublime waterfall views and affordable bandas (thatched-roofed huts) with open-air private showers (cold) ensure a memorable stay. Hosts are friendly but beds can be lumpy and meal service, like in most places, is deplorably slow. Quantities of local French-press coffee is a big plus. The old house was used as a residence by the last British governor of Uganda.

  • Lodging in Sipi Falls

    Crow's Nest

    Set up by Peace Corps volunteers, these Scandinavian-style log cabins feature some private baths and views of all three waterfalls from their terraces (go for cabin 2 or 3). They can arrange cultural walks (USh30,000) that cover hunting traditions and spiritualism. And yes, someone really did make a mess of the email address: crowsnets, not nest!

  • Lodging in Jinja

    Busoga Trust Guesthouse

    Usually full of NGO workers, this is the perfect choice for those not into Jinja's backpacker scene. Busoga Trust has a chilled-out vibe with homely lounge, kitchen for self-caterers, fast wi-fi, a patio looking out to its garden and spacious rooms. Proceeds go directly towards water-sanitation projects in rural villages. Reserve online.

  • Lodging in Jinja

    Nile River Camp

    This laid-back site run by Nalubale Rafting has a scenic river location fringed with eucalyptus trees and an atmospheric thatched-roof restaurant/bar. There are hammocks strung about the place and the swimming pool is a huge draw.

  • Lodging in Jinja

    Jinja Backpackers

    This unassuming, relaxed backpackers is owned by a Kiwi-Aussie couple who've set up rooms in a large sheep shearing–like shed with dorms and private rooms centred on a ping-pong table. It's conveniently set just back from Bourbon bar and the waterfront, outside the town centre.

  • Lodging in Jinja

    Explorers Backpackers

    Jinja's original crash pad is still a popular budget choice with attractive murals and open-air lounge spaces. Dorms are decent and the forest cottage with lovely wall murals is equipped with a kitchen. Sunday brunch is a highlight. Overland trucks pop in now and then, but this is a much quieter spot than Bujagali.