Ishasha Ntungwe River Camp
By Aranta and Tan
Me and my husband are photo journalists, and were looking at doing a photographic safari with particular interest in the Tree climbing lions. We searched around and chanced on the small treasure in Ishasha Ntungwe river camp. We approached from Kasese and did the morning game drive where we found huge herds of Buffalos and Elephants, tree climbing lions along with many beautiful birds.
Some background information about the lodge:
Ishasha Ntungwe river camp is located about 3 km from the Ishasha gate at QENP. Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth national park is famous for the tree climbing lions. This area has however seen a rise in the number of buffalo and elephants as well as other game. This Eco lodge has a strong link to the Kameme community and sits on reforested land that was once farmland.
There are two different types of accommodation available at Ishasha Ntungwe river camp Two river edge tents and five luxury tents. The luxury tents have comfortable twin beds and well crafted African decor, an extension built onto the back of the tent houses a modern bathroom with a solar-powered hot shower. The back zipper of the tent opens into the facilities so the tents are fully self-contained. Netting on all tent openings ensures the tent is well aerated, mosquito and insect free. These sit a safe distance from the river due to the fact that this area is a flood plain in the rainy season.
Luxury tent, set on the ground with adjoining bathroom and toilet
The river edge tents are built closer to the water and because this is a flood plain, they are raised high up on a wooden platform. These are thatched with grass with green canvas wrapped round the black stained eucalyptus poles. This is where we slept and was definitely much cooler in the hot Ishasha sun. These river edge tents boast of two comfortable beautifully crafted beds complete with a mosquito net and a table where you can place your valuables. There was a door leading to a bathroom and toilet which were beautifully finished and spacious. The solar water heaters are positioned close to each tent so we did not have to wait long before hot water flows in the shower. The bathroom walls are clad in beautiful river stone and slate which gives it a unique feel. From the balcony of my tent where I spent time sucking up the sounds, I could hear the roaring of the Ishasha river with clear view of the Colobus monkeys across the national park. This provided a well deserved calming effect, the sounds of monkeys and birds constantly remind one of Mother Nature’s ability to create harmony amongst all its creatures.
River edge tent set on a wooden platform complete with bathroom and toilet
Ishasha Ntungwe river camp is your ultimate travel adventure destination right in the middle of the wilderness, relaxing and forgetting the hustle and bustle of Kampala. The camp is dotted with wild bush and brush giving it a true feeling of wild safari at its awesome best. The first night we were there, an elephant wondered through the camp, and feasted on the pawpaw close to the tent where we had slept without any incident. The next morning we were awash with stories of buffaloes, at times wounded by lions rummaging thru the camp. Betty the resident manager showed us a damaged solar water heater by a buffalo while being pursued by a lion; remember they are on the ground next to the tents.
The camp boasts of two Dining areas my favorite being the one right by the river. The second dining doubles as a reception area and bar and is mainly used in the wet season when the river side dining is inaccessible, we found the river side dining more enchanting for obvious reasons; full view of the Ntungwa river while watching large groups of Colobus monkeys jumping from tree to tree with birds chirping along. This dining sits right in front of the elephant trails where in the cover of darkness they cross for different varieties of food thus raiding community gardens.
During our stay we ordered our meals from a set menu, dinner ended up being a four course meal. There was always a different starter for each meal. A variety of continental cuisines, curries, and desserts were on offer. I particularly enjoyed the Avocado Venegrade, tomato soup, grilled beef with parsley potatoes. It was amazing to have freshly baked cakes, cookies and other pastries all baked using a solar oven and simple charcoal oven.
This eco lodge boasts of near zero emission because they use solar water heating, solar refrigeration, solar ovens, solar power lighting, rainwater harvesting as well as reforestation. The community is fully involved in the activities of the camp as part of sustainable tourism effort. This was evident in the evening when we were treated to local community entertainment by the camp fire complete with folk songs. Betty made it interesting by interpreting the goings on and was surprised when my husband joined in the dance.
Besides the big game; Tree climbing lions, Buffaloes. Elephants and Hippopotamus there are over six hundred bird species with a huge concentration in Ishasha Sector. For bird lovers, within the camp alone we counted over one hundred species my favorites being: sunbirds, Turracos, fish eagle, double toothed and yellow breasted barbets, grey caped warblers, wattle eye, lover birds, widow birds etal. Fire place Community entertainment, Dining, Guests enjoying community entertainment
You need to travel with a four wheel drive car and a professional guide to take full advantage of what Queen Elizabeth national park and in particular Ishasha Ntungwe river camp and its environs has to offer. Other activities, reading, board games, bird watching, and interpretive village walks.
We could not leave before Betty (the resident manager) got us to plant an acacia tree in the hope that when we come back a leopard will be perched up that tree since it’s the only one we did not see. The staff here is lovely and friendly and I could not stop wondering when I will be able to come back to this lovely place and its people.
For more information, please contact:
Ishasha Ntungwe River camp
Plot 186 Lusi Nvumirwa close Mutundwe off Nalukolongo Industrial area
Mobile: +256 772 602205. Tel: (031) 2277719
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.treelionsafarilodge