Lake Mutanda

Chameleon Hill Lodge

Overview

Colourful character

Perched high atop a hill, overlooking Lake Mutanda in southwestern Uganda between Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Parks, Chameleon Hill Lodge is a colourful and warmly welcoming place to stay.

Ten vibrant chalets rooms are strung along a ridge with spectacular views across the lake. Each has its own unique charm and character, with its own color scheme, handmade furniture, panoramic windows and verandah.

The main building is the hub of the lodge, with a fire-warmed lounge, sociable bar and dining area where you can look forward to local produce, much of it grown in Chameleon Hill’s organic gardens. As well as being well placed for gorilla treks in both national parks, there are a range of cultural and active experiences to explore the area from the lodge.

Facts

At a glance

  • Ten rooms

  • Dining room

  • Bar

  • Fire-warmed lounge

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Experiences

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    Gorilla trekking

    Meeting these gentle giants deep in the African rainforests can only be described as an emotionally overwhelming and awe-inspiring experience. Gorilla tracking in Uganda is possible in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks and the lodge is ideally located between these two protected areas.

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    Explore the lake

    Take to the water on a traditional canoe, inflatable kayak or the lodge’s powered pontoon boat to spot birdlife, paddle remote waterways, visit islands and meet the local community who call the lake home.

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    Local culture and crafts

    Expand your creativity by joining a talented carver who will guide you through the process of carving a gorilla or learn how to weave traditional baskets. You can also visit a nearby village to learn a little of the native Rukiga language, before arriving at a homestead for a farm tour, picking seasonal produce for a cooking class with a local family.

Community & Culture

Doris Meixner, who designed, built and owns Chameleon Hill Lodge, founded the Lake Mutanda Island Development Project on Mutanda Island with the aim of raising the literacy and health level of the community as well as improve lake transport system and agriculture for an economically empowered and sustainable future. The project aims to establish a health clinic on the island to provide access to primary healthcare and family planning, as well as improve educational facilities and resources.

Conservation

Uganda is losing its forests surprisingly quickly. In a country where 92% of people depend on firewood, entire forests are being cleared and replaced with fast-growing, non-native, eucalyptus trees. Another massive threat to fauna and flora is the draining of swamps, which are then used as farmland.

Chameleon Hill Lodge has made it their mission to make a contribution at Lake Mutanda. In the past seven years they have planted over 15,000 trees around Chameleon Bay and bought the remaining ‘pocket forests’ to save them from deforestation. Bird species that have already disappeared have returned, as well as snakes, bees, butterflies, owls and other small animals.

Alternative land for cultivation was made available to the village communities to replace illegally built fields in the swamps. This meant that the swamps were able to recover and, thanks to their function as natural filters, the lake is no longer overloaded with loamy earth. The fish and otter population is recovering and contributing to a healthy ecosystem.

The bay itself was declared a protection zone in cooperation with the local fishermen. The Lake Mutanda NGO agreed to provide allowances to improve the group's livelihood. The lodge have also set up alternative income training centers that offer apprenticeships in tailoring, carpentry and alternative farming projects.

Having always been a passionate animal lover and being involved in various welfare and rescue organizations, it seemed natural for Doris (the owner of Chameleon Hill) also to welcome local furry friends which include rescue dogs, tortoises (gin and tonic) and cows.

What makes us different

Why Niarra

Niarra Travel is a forward-thinking travel company headquartered in London born out of a passion to do things differently.

In Swahili, a Bantu language spoken by millions in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, the name Niara means "with utmost purpose" and our team are united by a passion for exploration and a belief that the right kind of travel can make the world a better place.

Our Travel Researchers are here to create incredible trips with a positive impact for you.

  • Unforgettable experiences

    Creating your trip is entirely collaborative and our Travel Researchers are here for every step.

  • Positive impact

    Curated sustainable experiences and accommodation that maximize the benefits to local people and place.

  • Fairness and transparency

    An open, competitive pricing structure that ensures more money goes to where it's needed in the destination.

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