Masindi Hotel, Uganda’s oldest hotel, is celebrating its centennial year in 2023.
This hotel has outlasted its founders, the East African Railways and Harbours Company, which is now several decades defunct. Opened in 1923, the hotel is named after the district in which it is located—along the now-defunct railway line in Masindi and 21 kilometers from the famed Murchison Falls on the Nile River.
Photo: Masindi Hotel/Facebook page)
At its inception, Masindi Hotel’s location was chosen for very practical reasons. “Masindi was the gateway to the ‘hinterland of Africa,’ the hotel website states, ‘where goods from the Northern Congo and Southern Sudan found their way to European markets.”
The hotel was strategically located between Butiaba Port on Lake Albert and the district Port on Lake Kyoga, making it “a transit stop and a haven for travelers passing through the area.”
The Nile River, hours from the hotel too, “squeezes through a 7-meter (23-foot) gorge, falling 45 meters below to what is known as ‘The Devil’s Cauldron’, making a thunderous sound and an all-day rainbow, ” the Murchison Falls National Park blog states.
Yes, the falls are surrounded by Uganda’s largest national game park, which is home to “over 76 mammal species and 450 bird species.” Nature travelers and birdwatchers are in luck with this nearby vintage facility.
Photo: Masindi Hotel/Facebook
The prestige of Masindi Hotel is reflected not only in its longevity, but also in its guest list. It has hosted Ernest Hemmingway, the prolific American writer, poet, and novelist, who, with his fourth wife, survived two plane crashes in the space of a week within the duration of his stay at the hotel in January 1954. The hotel has also hosted American actors Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn, who filmed the 1951 blockbuster “African Queen” at Masindi Port.
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