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About Red Chilli Hideaway

Uganda’s premier budget tourism provider

Steve and Debbie Willis first opened Red Chilli’s doors to budget travellers on a derelict building site in Kampala, in January 1999. Back then the facilities consisted of just a little bit of space to pitch your own tent, a couple of showers and a few semi cold drinks – when Ugandan electricity allowed! No hot water, no beds, no wifi…how different things are today! In September 2013 we moved our little Hideaway to our current fabulous site in Butabika. Here we can sleep over 100 guests in dorm beds and private rooms, and we are really proud of the fantastic facilities we provide in a capital city for a truly budget price.

Red Chilli was awarded the concession from Uganda Wildlife Authority to manage the Rest Camp in the heart of Murchison Falls National Park in September 2002. Having inherited a bunch of crumbling mud huts, we have spent the last 17 years developing both camps and also enabling budget tourists to experience the beauty of Murchison and other stunning areas around Uganda. As proud members of AUTO (Association of Ugandan Tour Operators), we remain passionate about safaris and organising them to this day: we currently offer 2 different scheduled Murchison Falls tours and we usually have at least one trip departing every other day, all year around. We also run popular scheduled Queen Elizabeth and Kidepo tours and put together individual packages on request, including gorilla & chimpanzee tracking. Experience breathtaking rift valley scenery and dramatic waterfalls, superb big cat and other game viewing in customised open top safari vehicles, rhino and chimp tracking on foot, river cruises surrounded by hordes of hippos and the mighty Nile crocodile, excellent birding opportunities, guided nature and community walks and authentic cultural experiences. We admit we are ever so slightly biased, but there really is nowhere quite like Uganda!!!

Tragically, Steve was killed in November 2005 but Debbie continues to run the Red Chilli today (with an awful lot of help!)… and so the spirit and the passion for adventure lives on! We are very happy to share our 20 years of experience in tourism in Uganda in order to help you plan your dream trip. Please drop us a line – we look forward to hearing from you and hopefully welcoming you soon!!

Ecotourism Strategies and Policies

At Red Chilli we are always working on becoming more environmentally friendly and trying to do our bit for the world and our community. Here are just some of the things that we get up to….please feel free to get in touch with any more practical suggestions!

Environment:

  • Solar hot water in Kampala and Murchison camps, electric back up in Kampala is on a timer switch. Solar fans & charging points in Murchison.
  • Use of energy saving light bulbs throughout both camps wherever possible, security lights on a timer switch
  • Rain water harvesting for use in laundry, car washing and cleaning
  • Landscaping involving planting of trees and shrubs. Growing our own fruit and herbs in Kampala, planting only indigenous trees and plants in Murchison. No use of pesticides.
  • Washing sheets and towels only on request or checkout (rather than daily) to preserve water and energy
  • Polystyrene takeaway cups and plastic straws withdrawn and replaced with paper alternatives
  • Kampala camp has 1.5 acres of land which has been kept naturally wild as it borders the wetland. We have plans to build a bird-hide here as there are so many different species. Policy against clearing of bush in Murchison. Using only dead and fallen firewood at the camp fire in Murchison.
  • Recycling plastics in Kampala and Murchison camps, in particular plastic water bottles
  • Use of recyclable kegs and bottles (glass soda and beer bottles) in bars rather than plastic, where possible.

Community:

  • Run our own fund, The Steve Willis Memorial Fund which has so far established 24 boreholes in needy areas surrounding Murchison Falls National park, providing the sole source of clean drinking water for over 30,000 people. A percentage of all revenue goes into the fund and conduct regular fund raising activities
  • Community based tourism such as a Salt Lake tour in Queen Elizabeth which employs and trains local people in tourism and educates tourists on the local industry and culture
  • Partner with and donate to conservation NGO’s such as Rhino Fund and Uganda Conservation Fund. Work with Bead for Life in Kampala to sell crafts produced by trained local women and to benefit them
  • Employ over 70 staff from local communities in Kampala and Murchison. Undergo regular training in cooking, housekeeping, computers, customer service and accounting. Train local driver guides in customer service, conservation and 4x4 driving techniques.
  • Source local food produce wherever possible – fresh, local fruit, veg and fish in both camps
  • Participate in local tourism stakeholder engagement meetings to minimise impact of oil activities in Murchison Falls National Park
  • Collect travellers’ cast offs – toiletries and clothes plus other donations for the local mental hospital in Kampala just 500m away.
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