A stay in an African safari lodge provides the ambience of being close to wildlife and immersed in the natural world, but the Apoka Safari Lodge in particular goes above and beyond to give guests a much more in-depth and sustainable experience.
Located within Uganda’s Kidepo Valley National Park, the eco-lux lodge’s operations emphasize day-to-day sustainability through energy conservation, pre-planned meal services and local cultural interactions.
Opened in 2006, the 10-cottage property is situated on a picturesque kopje (small hill) overlooking the Narus River Valley. Upon entering the lodge’s main area, guests are briefed about amenities and introduced to staff members. This reception space holds a small boutique selling Ugandan crafts and other goods such as park maps, books and greeting cards.
Each of the thatched cottages has an indoor shower and an outdoor bathtub, a large canopied bed, a lounge area, a writing desk, and a veranda where guests can sit back and enjoy an armchair safari.
From a variety of renewable materials from bamboo and grass thatching to purpose-grown eucalyptus trees for the supports , each cottage is constructed for sustainability. The canvas walls are made from loom state, undyed canvas to give that authentic safari feel.
The classic safari atmosphere continues in the naming of each lodging. Words chosen specifically for their meaning and symbolism in Uganda and neighboring Sudan enrich the experience.
And if being built with sustainable supplies wasn’t impressive enough, power is administered through conservation methods. The cottages’ hot water boilers are heated by solar power. During certain times in the afternoon and overnight, the overall property’s grid is shut down. Guests are also given refillable water bottles to keep and use during their stay and far after.
Within the main dining hall, guests can unwind and dine while taking in views of the savannah. This facility also overlooks a man made watering hole below that attracts wildlife for a dip or a drink. You could see warthogs, birds, zebras and elephants at any given time.
Neighboring Kidepo Valley National Park is home to 86 mammal species and 460 species of birds, and with no fencing surrounding the Apoka Safari Lodge, wild animals roam freely around the property. All of The Big Five—except for rhinos—reside here, too. While on a game drive, it’s not uncommon to spot plenty of park residents, ranging from giraffes, elephants and herds of buffalo.
At the lodge, personal safety is kept in mind. At night, the lodge staff escorts guests back to their lodges. When guests have to leave to or from their cottages and the main area, especially when it’s still dark, they can seek a staff member to come to their lodge and walk with them by flashing the light right outside their front door. Monitoring guards are based within a central viewing tower, where they will be able to see this display of light.
Led by their resident guides, morning and late afternoon game drives run from the Apoka Safari Lodge into Kidepo Valley National Park daily, with some mornings switching to a guided safari walk. The lodge is also involved in the support of the Lorukul community that is based near Kidepo, and provides their residents with employment, sponsorship and other support.
Get lost in more of Uganda’s wilderness here: From Rwanda to Uganda: Exploring East Africa’s Natural Offerings