Apr 19, 2019 - Apr 20, 2019
2 guests - 1 room
This commercial center and hub for NGO activity in northern Uganda is one of the most isolated cities in the country, but has a very busy airport with connections to the rest of the world through Eagle Airlines. There is also a fair amount of tourist traffic, mostly centered on visiting the Ajai Wildlife Reserve, purchasing hand-crafted goods from local merchants and seeing Miriadua Falls.
You'll find about two to three dozen lodging options in Arua, ranging from guest houses to full-service hotels. Budget travelers don't need to bother themselves with hostels in this region, as private rooms can easily be had for as little as $10-15 USD per night.
Though Arua sees some tourist traffic, it usually doesn't see any major annual spikes during a certain period. You can expect relatively low hotel prices at just about any time of year. Price spikes are usually only caused by a large amount of NGO workers coming to the area all at once.
Arua does have two seasons of heavy rain to be aware of. April and May usually bring short but often violent and heavy thunderstorms. From September to November, long sustained periods of rain are not uncommon, and there will often be at least some rain each day for a week or more at a time. The rest of the year is relatively dry, and the temperature stays moderate as compared to the rest of the continent due to Uganda's elevation.
Arua's lodging options are concentrated toward the center of the city, with a handful of options on the northwest and southeast edges. The ones toward the southeast are located within walking distance of Barifa Forest, a mixed-use land that has trails and a track and field center, and the West Nile Golf Club. These include Sanctuary Guesthouse, Smara Guesthouse, Heritage Park, Golden Courts and the Royal Crane Resort Hotel.
If you're headed to the Ajai Reserve, it's best to pick one of these centrally located options, as it's an hour-long drive to the southeast regardless of where you stay.
Arua's nicest options are the Desert Breeze Hotel, the Royal Crane Resort Hotel and Heritage Park. The Desert Breeze is a modern four-story hotel with an in-house restaurant and a serene garden to relax in. The Royal Crane Resort Hotel is located right next to Barifa Forest and provides free WiFi and breakfast as well as an in-house bar. Heritage Park offers air conditioning, a sauna and a steam room. All of these options also have private bathrooms.
Some important things to know about budget lodgings in Arua are that electricity may not be available overnight, hot water may not be available at all times, and guest houses often have shared bathrooms. However, if the city is not slammed with NGO workers, you'll also be enjoying some of the best prices in the world for a clean and safe private room with excellent service from your hosts.