Lake Lyatonde’s Jewel: Papaya Lake Lodge

I started off 2018, with a relaxing solo trip to Fort portal, to explore pretty Lake Lyantonde and its surroundings. I used Link Bus, using four hours direct to Fort Portal, this time with no detours and arrived to meet Augustine who showed me a bit of the town before we drove to Papaya Lake Lodge.

The drive from town to Lake Lyantonde is about 30 minutes. I’m sure you can also use a boda though I wouldn’t recommend this through the steep and dusty road. A cab or matatu would be best.

Photo: Papaya Lake Lodge

Fort Portal’s Crater Lakes:

Many of these crater lakes are found south of Fort Portal. They include Lake Nkuruba, Lake Nyamirama, Lake Nyinabulitwa, Lake Nyinambuga, Lake Nyabikere, Lake Kifuruka and now featured here, Lake Lyantonde. The lakes are said to be bilharzia free, but I did not try to swim here yet. Best to stay cautious.

Most are surrounded by scenic steep hills, where the locals have cultivated the land. Visiting any of these lakes and relaxing here is an excellent addition for those planning to visit or returning from Kibale National Park.

Lake Lyantonde is opposite Lake Kifuruka, with pretty views as you walk up the steep hill. The waves of fresh air out here are your reward with a view! On our walk we met the owner of a piece of land atop the lake that plans to set up a yoga retreat; one can imagine how fitting this would be…

Activities around this area include:

  • Chimpanzee Tracking and Habituation in Kibale NP
  • Nature walks
  • Hot springs – Semuliki National Park

These activities and more can be organized by Papaya Lake Lodge upon request.


Banda Cottages

For relaxation after an adventurous day, Papaya Lake Lodge has nine uniquely designed and spacious cottages each on the volcano crater’s slope featuring views of the Lake Lyantonde from the balconies. Nestled by tree tops, each cottage is private and cozy with homey elements.

My cottage had two beds (one king-size and one single), a stone-decorated bathroom with a shower and verandas equipped with deckchairs and my personal favorite….a hammock!

It’s easy to relax here surrounded by the green and lakeside views. I admired the attention to detail with the original interior design with skillfully carved wood and leather accessories in the lounge area and lakeside bar.


A Pool With A View

Relaxing at the pool was another highlight at Papaya, as it is surrounded by Papaya trees, with views of the hills for dayss 🙂 On my last day here, I had a massage right above the pool area. You must experience this if you have the time…

Also, follow the path that leads to the lakeside (where I am told there will soon be a Yoga area) to enjoy the lake and maybe go for swim…


The restaurant is warm and inviting, with walls of old photos that tell stories from the colonial times. I dined with an adventure traveler called Nishad from Seattle, who described Uganda as his “crazy pick’’ as it wasn’t planned. We had some interesting conversations about culture…

I learned more about the Papaya manager Magdalena, who described Papaya as a home that they try to make comfortable for guests. She told me the Christmas period was the busiest for Papaya Lake lodge its three year existence as it was fully booked.

I was also curious about the architectural design, which she told me her husband was responsible for. He is also running the Rwenzori Founders Art Centre (an hour away from Papaya Lake Lodge) where the people in the community are taught how to make sculptures and art pieces. This is also a way that they support their staff and their talents, by buying their work for the lodge.

The food was delicious! Their menu caters for vegetarians and gluten-free lovers which was a detail i appreciated. Both lunch and dinner are three course meals which will leave you stuffed. Did I already mention that the bar faces the lake?

After dinner, I relaxed and warmed up by the fireplace before bed.

And I made friends with the sweetest Rhodesian ridge-back, as we both relaxed in the sun after a yummy breakfast. There’s no better way for a girl to spend her Saturday!

I read somewhere that ”Traveling for adventure doesn’t have to mean venturing far from home, just stepping off your well-worn path. Exploring the unknown…no matter your choice of adventure or wherever you go- the biggest adventure of all is getting to know yourself.”

Happy travels,



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