Airy, spacious and making full use of the Ugandan aesthetic, Papyrus Guest House Entebbe was the second lodge to be opened by Lydia Nandudu and the late Robert Briery as part of the Nkuringo Safari portfolio. Purpose built as a half way point between the Entebbe International Airport and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the guesthouse serves as a perfect break for travellers who have just arrived at the airport and need some chill-time and a good night’s sleep before starting their primary adventure.
Lydia Nandudu who is the managing director of NKuringo Safaris and the two accommodations, explains that Papyrus Guest House Entebbe was opened as a means to meet the growing demands from clients who were staying in their sister lodge in Bwindi. There is only one major airport into Uganda, and this is a ten hour drive from the jungle and at least five hours from the other major attractions in the country. Guests therefor needed accommodation in Entebbe, near the airport, where they could freshen up prior to or after flying.
“Travelling takes a toll on everyone and long flights followed by long drives do not make happy guests,” Lydia says, “Other safaris struggle with this but with Papyrus we can offer guests the perfect buffer to our exact standards. We can collect and deliver them to the airport with no problem and it puts them in the right frame of mind.”
Operated by twelve locally employed staff members, the guest house offers cosy and airy rooms. Providing charm, comfort and privacy for guests in a quiet city suburb with stunning views of Lake Victoria sunsets only a 15 minute drive away from the airport. Its location gives guests access to Entebbe’s main attractions that give an excellent introduction to Uganda.
The fourteen rooms are divided into two categories, five are the standard rooms in the main-house and nine are on the garden. The lodge is designed and decorated with a classic safari touch while adopting the modern contemporary feel in the interiors. Each room is beautifully decorated using local Ugandan art and other antiques that have been collected from various parts of Africa.
Lydia reveals that almost all travellers that stay at Papyrus are traveling with Nkuringo Safari, which is their main brand, and staying at their sister Lodge in Nkuringo. Meaning that they will be spending most of their time in a natural, safari setting during their journey. Papyrus Guest House Entebbe is perfect for introducing that safari atmosphere in a manageable manner.
“It also allows them to keep the familiar homely comfort they may be used to,” she adds, “The gardens are a collection of beautiful plants found around the country and attract a good number of bird species to calm the guest’s mornings and evenings.”
As is the case with Nkuringo Lodge, the safety precautions during the pandemic are taken very seriously and each guest receives a free face mask, sanitizers and antibacterial wipes for their convenience. Also, common surfaces and touch points within the properties are cleaned at least once every hour.
‘Every single member of our staff has received new COVID-19 training and we continue to refresh, adapt and improve our approach to ensure we are always one step ahead,’ Lydia points out, ‘For the comfort of our guests, we have placed hand sanitizer stations across key areas in all of our properties and actively encourage guests to use these whenever possible.’
Some other measures include temperature checks and medical questionnaires that need to be answered upon arrival. Their own staff undergo daily temperature checks before they begin work and this includes the many team members across their full collection who reside on the properties. They also transfer guests personally to and from the airport to ensure adequate social distancing measures are taken. Obviously, this is unless people are travelling as family or as a large group.
‘Food plays a huge part in any setting,” Lydia says, “So, we have continued to maximise the incredible dining locations across our properties. As part of this, we are increasing the variety of out-door set ups as well as allowing guests to eat in their rooms.”
Relationship building has been a key element to Lydia’s business growth plans over the years. She explains that every client or guest that stays with them becomes a dear friend and this has led to a number of great referrals and return visits.
Keeping in contact with clients is also important and they maintain a hands-on and real-time approach to updating them. This includes regular news-letters and loyalty programmes, opportunities to express opinions on their new projects and to join in on celebrations on birthdays and special events. Enquiries and complaints are handled as soon as possible with a personal touch.
“No business is perfect, but it is often how you solve a problem or answer a question that determines the relationship thereafter,” Lydia explains.
SOME TRIPS TO CONSIDER
Papyrus is located a mere 10 minutes from Entebbe International Airport. This makes the guest house the perfect place for clients to start and end their safari while in Uganda. Added to this are the number of interesting tourist activities that can be done by guests that are just a 15-minute drive away. These include but are no way limited to:
An excursion to the Mabamba Swamp in Lake Victoria provides the best chance in Uganda to spot the highly sought-after and rarely seen shoebill in its natural habitat. To the delight of ornithologists, you can also enjoy spotting the other 260 identified species of bird living in the area.
For those wanting those special moments, what could be better than a relaxing sunset cruise on Lake Victoria in a local fishing boat? Enjoy the authenticity with sundowner cocktails while watching the sun slowly set over the lake. There is nothing quite like a sunset in Uganda.
NGAMBA ISLAND CHIMPANZEE SANCTUARY
Home to 49 orphaned chimps, the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is an excellent opportunity to closely observe our closest cousins in a unique setting. This island, which also plays home for massive monitor lizards and an abundant birdlife, takes 90 minutes to reach by boat and is largely undisturbed except by visitors.
ENTEBBE BOTANICAL GARDENS
A leisurely walk to the Entebbe botanical gardens which were originally laid out on the lake’s northern shores in 1898 and covers an area of 35 hectares, is a treat for any animal lover. Not only boasting excellent birdwatching, with over a hundred and fifteen registered species, but also sightings of the black and white colobus monkeys and tree squirrels! For aspiring botanists, at one time there was a collection of 2,500 species of tropical and sub-tropical plant life.
“Guests arriving to Uganda, need to understand that there is a lot to do from the moment they arrive in our country,” Lydia says, “This is why Uganda is an adventure that does not end.“
TELEPHONE NUMBER: +256 702 4805580
PRICE: $85per person per night sharing