Masindi Hotel – a Hotel in Uganda with a lot of History

Posted by on December 4, 2016

Masindi Hotel a Hotel in Uganda with a lot of History  since 1923

Masindi Hotel –  Uganda’s Oldest Hotel – a Gateway Hotel to Murchison Falls Park – Budongo Forest – Lake Albert and the Western Rift Valley Escarpment


 The Masindi Hotel – just outside of what was once one of busiest towns in Uganda – Masindi.  A town and area that the British explorers Sir Samuel and Lady Florence Baker passed through, a town that Sir Winston Churchill visited on his way to Murchison Falls, a once bustling town of commerce and trade with the Congo and beyond.  It was home to an International airport in nearby Butiaba where planes that traversed the continent landed, refueled and passengers stayed overnight at the Masindi Hotel. 

Today, Masindi and the Masindi Hotel are at the Gateway to Murchison Falls ParkBundongo Forest and the scenic route along Lake Albert and the Western Rift Valley Escarpment and Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.


There was a time when you had to make reservations a year ahead of time – The Masindi Hotel, built in 192 3 by the Ugandan Railways and Harbor Company and at that time Masindi was the gateway to the heart of Africa and the rest of the world.  .

The port of Butiaba was and is nearby and it was not only a place of commerce but of tourism.  Those who wanted to see the abundant wildlife of Murchison Falls Park took a boat from Butiaba and took traveled through Lake Albert with the Blue Mountains of the Congo in distance then up the Nile to the Paraa area and beyond.  Just maybe someone will revive that grand idea of old and offer the opportunity once  again to travel to the Paraa area of Murchison Falls by boat.

Masindi was the gateway to  Central Africa and the Sudan, where goods and produce from the Northern Congo and Southern Sudan found their way to European markets and beyond.

Cargo was shipped across Lake Albert, and then trucked from Butiaba up to Masindi Customs Area. From Masindi, goods were trucked on to Masindi Port on Lake Kyoga where it was shipped down to the town of Soroti and then by railway to Mombasa. Masindi Hotel became a transit stop and a  haven for travelers passing through the area as it is today

When portions of the movie “The African Queen” were made near here, the cast stayed nowhere else but the Masindi Hotel – a Hotel in Uganda with a lot of History – Katherine Hepburn enjoyed the location, the setting (at times), whereas Humphrey Bogart did not like this place far from home and sat with Director John Huston and consumed vast amounts of liquor killing the time.

Masindi Hotel – a Hotel in Uganda with a lot of History  – was also home to Ernest Hemingway and wife when his airplane crashed after hitting an old telephone wire at Murchison Falls – he like the explorer Samuel Baker and his wife Florence  had to spend some time along the shores of the Nile. When he was rescued and taken to Butiaba and as the second plane took off, it also crashed.  The world-press declared Hemingway dead – but he was sipping his favorite liquor at the Masindi  Hotel recovering from burns, bruises and some serious injuries and read his obituary in the International Newspaper when he reached “the Old Stanley Hotel” in Nairobi.

Besides the above, luminaries such as Lauren Bacall and the Travel Writer Michael Palin stayed at the Masindi Hotel.  Even I have stayed there before they remodeled back in the 1990’s reaching there  around 10 pm after traversing almost impossible roads.  Thank goodness it is a lot easier now.

Today the Masindi Hotel provides a moderately priced hotel, a favorite of birders, those on the way to Murchison Falls Park or back to Kampala.  Their Indian food is a delight, you can also order Continental and some traditional dishes.

Masindi Hotel – a Hotel in Uganda with a lot of History, a list of famous former guests, providing quiet comfort and good food to clients from far and wide.  The Masindi Hotel has made it into the 21st Century and is still the best accommodation in Masindi, clean rooms, renovated, and Indian, Ugandan and Continental Meals


If you like to stay at the Masindi Hotel – a Hotel in Uganda with a lot of History – please let us know.