The Uganda Safari Company (TUSC) began its conservation efforts in 1992 in the Semliki Valley Wildlife Reserve – an area that suffered badly from poachers during Uganda’s troubled years. Husband and wife team Jonathan and Pamela Wright have worked tirelessly to heal, reintroduce and preserve the diverse wildlife of this area. A key aspect of the conservation effort is promoting tourism. With this in mind, the company established Wildplaces Africa; and low-impact, high-end, environmentally sensitive lodges were developed to provide further services and to aid continued preservation. A full-service safari company, TUSC, takes visitors on guided trips throughout Uganda. Itineraries are all tailor-made and vary in duration from three days to three weeks. Safari vehicles are specially designed for comfortable wildlife viewing, with plenty of leg room, large viewing hatches and fully trained guides, so that guests can enjoy a superior safari experience.
For our property portfolio, we have sought the pockets of Uganda that still remain wild and secret. In these tracts of glorious wilderness we have built small, fantastically comfortable safari lodges and camps. At our properties you won’t be jostling for space at the buffet table, you won’t be queuing with other vehicles for a glimpse of a lion or a herd of elephants. Our award-winning lodges are intimate, private and unique. Service is gentle and discreet. We hire from the local community and are active in building community projects. Everything we do has conservation at its heart. Our property portfolio includes Apoka Safari Lodge (Kidepo Valley National Park) | Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge (Bwindi) | Semliki Safari Lodge (Semliki Valley Wildlife Reserve) | Pineapple Bay (Bulago Island, Lake Victoria).
Semliki Safari Lodge is situated in the Semliki Wildlife Reserve in the heart of the Albertine Rift Valley. The reserve is bordered by the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains and Lake Albert. Semliki Wildlife Reserve is the oldest protected area in Uganda. It is unique, and is gifted with geographic barriers that have formed a natural haven for wildlife.
Staying at Semliki is like stepping back in time. It evokes the spirit of the old explorers, it piques curiosity and inspires discovery. Semliki is secluded and intimate. With a maximum of 18 guests we promise excellent service and attention to detail…and an unforgettable experience.
Our guests stay in golden-hued tents with gleaming hardwood floors. Staying under canvas is one of the most romantic and exciting things to do in on safari in Africa. You hear the sounds, you feel the wind, you smell the rain before it comes. But this isn’t roughing it either: the tents are protected by a thick thatch roof and feature en-suite bathrooms with running water, hot showers and flush toilets. Tea or coffee is brought to you in the morning so you can lie in bed or sit on your veranda and drink in the view before the day begins.
The main lodge – with its soaring thatched roof – is where our guests gather round the chunky dining tables or sprawl in the comfy armchairs and sofas telling stories and sharing experiences. Lit by lanterns and open to the elements on one side, at Semliki you really feel like you are touching the wild.
Get out and walk – there are miles of trails cut through the riverine forests that crisscross the savanna. Go for a walk in the magical forest – we helped launch the Semliki Chimpanzee Research Project – and have a chat with the resident chimp researcher and learn about evolution and bipedalism.
Apoka Safari Lodge overlooks the Narus river valley in the South-western sector of Kidepo Valley National Park. In the far North-eastern section of Uganda, bordering Sudan to the North, the Napore Mountains to the West, and the Morungole Mountains to the South. The Kenyan border is just 5 kilometers from the Park’s Eastern boundary. At the crossroads of Kenyan, Sudanese and Ugandan ecosystems, Kidepo provides an amazing wildlife experience in a remote and pristine wilderness.
When you close your eyes and think of Africa, the landscape you imagine – the jagged hills, the golden grasses, the plains dotted with wildlife, the soft glowing light – is likely to be Kidepo. This is Uganda’s most remote park, far away from city life (Kidepo has been voted 3rd best park in Africa by CNN TRAVELLER, 2013 and was nominated for the World Travel Awards as the Leading Park in Africa, 2013).
The vast golden green plains punctuated with craggy, rocky outcrops, reveal an even bigger sky at night. Under a canopy of impossibly bright stars, this is where we are reminded that the earth is round.
Wildlife in Kidepo is abundant. Lions, leopard, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, zebra (this is Uganda’s only park where giraffe and zebra are found together), possibly Africa’s largest herds of buffalo, hartebeest, waterbuck, bushbuck, warthog…the list is endless. Better still, much of it can be seen from the privacy of your veranda or your outdoor bathtub, but the best way to see the wildlife is up close: on foot, or in one of our open-top Landcruisers.
The rooms at Apoka have been built with comfort in mind. Everything is handmade by local craftsmen, everything is large and capacious. 10 expansive rooms with natural canvas walls surround a rocky kopje
with endless views across the savannah. With inside sitting rooms and private verandas there are plenty of places to relax, read and sprawl. Big hand-hewn beds with soft duvets are draped with mosquito nets, hand-woven woolen carpets, oversized dressing gowns…you may be as far away from the city as you’ll ever be, but you won’t miss a thing.
Step outside to a sheltered terrace and slip into your own outdoor stone bathtub, big enough to fit the whole family.
The swimming pool at Apoka Lodge – deep and cool – has been carved out of the big rock. This is the kind of pool that makes you want to jump in, splashing and yelling, feeling like a kid again.
Do you want stride out across the savanna and walk with zebras? Spend time in a Karamojong village learning about their traditional way of life? Enjoy a sundowner in the arms of a massive fig tree? Sit and watch a breeding herd of elephant frolicking in the mud? This is the place for you.
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge is situated in Nkuringo, bordering the South Western Corner of the Bwindi National Park , Situated at 2100M with Panorama Views of the Virunga mountain range and the Great Rift Valley. The Nkuringo Family group of Gorilla’s home range is around 1.5 hours hike from the lodge depending on the movement of the group. Bwindi Forest is rich in Biodiversity with over 26 Endemic Birds in the surrounding area of the lodge and over 560 other bird species.
It is remote. It is beautiful. It is intimate. And at over 2,000 metres above sea level, it is Uganda’s highest lodge.
Since it opened, this small, remote lodge continues to win prizes, awards and accolades both internationally and locally.
Picture this: You are sitting up on a ridge, above the clouds, looking across to the Virunga volcanoes. Behind you is the primordial, mysterious and impenetrable forest that is Bwindi. As you sit there, drinking your chilled wine, or your freshly brewed coffee, or your freshly squeezed juice or your amber coloured whisky you smile. You smile because you know that your personal butler is lighting the fire in your cottage and setting out your freshly laundered clothes. In the kitchen a gorgeous meal is being prepared, and tomorrow after breakfast you will walk from the lodge to the Nkuringo trailhead and track the gorillas.
Guests at Clouds stay in their own cottage. Built of local volcanic stone, every cottage has a large sitting room with fireplace, vast overstuffed armchairs, and hand-woven carpets. Each individual cottage features the work of one of Uganda’s most respected artists (we call them the ‘Clouds 9’) Their work has been so highly regarded by guests that they have commissioned their own pieces and now the work of these artists graces the walls of homes and offices in New York, Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and London.
Tracking gorillas is high on the agenda for many tourists to Uganda. By all means, come to Clouds to track gorillas…but while you’re here, why not stay on a bit and immerse yourself in the relaxed vibe of the lodge, partake in Community activities, indulge in massage and beauty treatments and just enjoy the rarity of being pampered in such a spectacular setting.
The main lodge feels like someplace else – soaring ceilings, massive exposed wooden beams, big picture windows with endless views of treetops, volcanoes and mountains. It feels like a ski chalet in the alps. Or a stone palace in the Rocky Mountains. But with the gentle and warm welcome, the quiet dedication of the personal butlers and the smiles on the faces of virtually all the staff, this can only be in Uganda.
Pineapple Bay on Bulago Island, with almost 10kms of shore line on 500acares, is a small paradise away from the hustle of urban life. Surrounded by Lake Victoria its shoreline is made up of rocky outcrops and low cliffs. Around the shore the soil is highly fertile and tree covered. The north-east tip of the island contains a small portion of rainforest. The interior of the island is less fertile and is covered with savannah-like grassland.
Pineapple Bay. Where you can lounge on a Lamu bed, looking out to the sparkling waters of Lake Victoria. Where you can charter a fishing-boat and head off with rod and tackle to fish for the legendary Nile Perch. Where you can arm yourself with binoculars and roam for kilometers over this unspoiled island paradise in search of hundreds of birds who make this their home. And then come back and plunge into the dark blue pool or go with the chef to the organic gardens and choose your own pineapple, your own avocado, your own greens to have for lunch.
Pineapple Bay. Where you can take your shoes off and keep them off until you get back to the mainland. Where you can climb to a breezy hilltop and enjoy an ice-cold sundowner with a 360 degree view, or lie in your bed with your morning tea and in your view is nothing but Lake Victoria and all her glory. Pineapple Bay. Where you can sidle on up to the boat bar and devise your own cocktail. (but it should probably have pineapple in it, as we grow the sweetest juiciest ones around).
Pineapple Bay. The only full service lodge on Bulago Island. This 500 acre island has it all: rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, tropical forests, sweeping grasslands.
Where we operate
- Bird Watching
- Mountain Climbing
- Riding Safaris
- Safaris - Fixed Camp
Our Commitment to Responsible Tourism
The Uganda Safari Company (TUSC) began its conservation efforts in 1992 in the Semliki Valley Wildlife Reserve – an area that suffered badly from poachers during Uganda’s troubled years. Husband and wife team Jonathan and Pamela Wright have worked tirelessly to heal, reintroduce and preserve the diverse wildlife of this area. A key aspect of the conservation effort is promoting tourism. With this in mind, the company established Wildplaces Africa; and low-impact, environmentally sensitive lodges were developed to provide further services and to aid continued preservation. A full-service safari company, TUSC, takes visitors on guided trips throughout Uganda.
We hire and train almost exclusively from local communities at our Lodges and are active in building community projects. Everything we do has conservation at its heart.
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge as a prime example is owned by the local community. Beingan initiative of The Uganda Safari Company’s holding company: Wildplaces Africa (www.wildplacesafrica.com), it was built in partnership with NCCDF (Nkuringo Community Conservation Development Foundation), Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) and The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). The Nkuringo community benefit directly from the lodge in a multitude of ways (employment | training | sponsorships | community initiatives) as well as receiving a bed night fee equating to more than 10% of rack / published rates in order to develop their own projects.
16 November 2012
The population of mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Park has increased from 340 in 2006 to 400 in 2012. This follows a 3 week Gorilla census that was carried out in the park in September and October last year. This means Uganda hosts more than half of the world’s mountain Gorillas, There are 880 Gorillas worldwide. The Uganda Safari Company arranges safaris to the Gorillas, please take advantage of the low season Gorilla permits that are now going for US$350 each in Novembe…Read More
02 August 2012
This is Strange but true when I write to you about a female Uganda Kob with horns in Semliki Wildlife Reserve. It all started some two months back when I and our Semliki Safari Lodge manager Keith took some clients for an evening game drive. As we drove between the lodge and the main road which is about 2.8kms, we came across a herd of Uganda kobs with one dominant male who was in charge of that herd. This herd comprised of a nursery herd (a group of young Uganda kobs of up to 5 months) togeth…Read More
05 December 2011
The Uganda Safari Company and Wildplaces Africa wish to announce the opening of Pineapple Bay Resort on Bulago Island, Lake Victoria to visitors, on 15th December 2011. Pineapple Bay is the latest addition to the Wild Places portfolio which includes Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park, Apoka Safari Lodge in Kidepo National Park, and Semliki Safari Lodge in Semiliki Wildlife Reserve. The Uganda Safari Company and Wildplaces Africa also wish to let yo…Read More
19 May 2011
Uganda Wildlife Authority(UWA) introduces low season/ promotional rates for Gorilla Permits as follows: Foreign Non Residents US$350 i. e for low months of March, April, May, October and November. At Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, and indeed at our other properties,Semliki and Apoka Safari Lodges, we will also be running discounted rates for these months. Please book now at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.comRead More
17 May 2011
A few things has happend at Semliki since our last newsletter. We have found a young buffalo with a white blaze on it's face. This is very strange and a first for all of us working here. The only conclusion we could make is that is probally a birth mark. The little one is very healty and active. We also saved a Kob from a snare not too long ago. The UWA rangers called us to come and help them remove the snare. It was a fully grown male, Keith took him down by the horns and we blindfolded h…Read More