Planning to self-drive Uganda? Good selection! In 1908 Winston Churchill declared Uganda the “Pearl of Africa” in his 1908 ebook, My African Journey. Greater than a century later, guests nonetheless flock to seek out this pearl. After our street journey to Uganda, I can’t disagree with Mr. Churchill. The nation is crammed with birdlife, huge plains, jungle, rolling hills, and among the friendliest folks in Africa.
We entered Southern Uganda from Rwanda with low expectations for the nation. Positive, they maintain the world’s largest inhabitants of mountain gorillas – however what else would we discover?
A street journey by means of Uganda was a spotlight of our African street journey. In addition to the limitless quantity of velocity bumps, roads are first rate, and site visitors police corruption is low. It’s the right nation to self-drive, with a rental or with your personal car, like us!
Right here is our ultimate self-drive Uganda itinerary.
An Superior Self Drive Uganda Itinerary
Begin your self-drive Uganda journey within the capital.
Most journeys to Uganda will in all probability contain the capital metropolis of Kampala, though it’s price mentioning that the worldwide airport is definitely in Entebbe. It’ll take you at the very least an hour to get to Kampala from Entebbe until the site visitors is horrendous (which it in all probability will probably be).
In case you arrive by aircraft late at evening, I might suggest staying in Entebbe for the evening. We drove by means of Kampala at 6 pm on a Saturday evening, and I’ve to say that it was the worst site visitors I’ve ever been in my life (and we used to reside in NYC), taking us 5 hours in standstill site visitors to achieve our vacation spot.
I believed it could simply have been a fluke evening, however a number of extra drives by means of Kampala proved that improper whereas we have been attempting to promote our truck. The site visitors in Kampala is at all times a nightmare.
I like to recommend hanging out in Entebbe to flee metropolis air pollution and site visitors. We spent a number of days stress-free on the shores of Lake Victoria on the Protea Entebbe and located it to be a pleasant refuge away from the town.
In case you are on the lookout for a number of days to kill within the space, I like to recommend heading to the Mabamba Swamp, the place the well-known Shoebill Storks reside. Alternatively, take a ship trip out on Lake Victoria or chill out within the Entebbe Botanical Gardens.
The place to remain in Entebbe?
We stayed a number of days on the Protea Entebbe Resort proper on Lake Victoria. The lodge is clear, snug, and minutes away from the airport (free airport transport, too!).
Proceed onto Jinja, the capital of journey.
For purpose, Jinja is dubbed “the journey capital of East Africa.” Town of Jinja is positioned on the supply of the Nile River. Sure, the world’s longest river begins proper in Jinja, making it a hotspot for vacationers in Uganda.
We spent a number of days right here stress-free on the nice Nile River and having fun with some scrumptious espresso and cafe treats at The Deli. In fact, the spotlight of our time in Jinja was white water rafting down the Nile.
White water rafting on the Nile is among the hottest issues to do within the nation. We selected to spend our day with Nalubale Rafting and began the journey at 9 am close to the place we stayed – The Haven. Cameron and I have been put in a gaggle with 5 different daring souls from all over the world.
Our native Ugandan information was an skilled rafter and spent a great deal of time instructing us on the fundamentals of paddling and what to do in emergencies.
I’ve been white water rafting 4 occasions now. I believed I may deal with all the things twice in america, as soon as in Bali, and as soon as in Croatia. One tumble out of my raft on class 5 rapids let me know the journey was on. We spent the whole day dodging rapids, flipping rafts, and gulping in recent Nile River water. This isn’t your stroll within the park rafting, of us – the Nile is critical.
Sure, all of us lived because of the skilled guys and ladies of Nalubale who ensured our security each step of the best way. Nevertheless, after simply two flips of the raft, all seven of us in our raft have been pondering the identical factor.
Has anybody ever died doing this?
Rafting the Nile is extraordinarily enjoyable, and I might suggest it to anybody on the lookout for an actual adrenaline-pumping time in Uganda. In case you’re not susceptible to water sports activities, Jinja can be famed for having ATV Quadbike Safaris and bungee leaping over the Nile. Or you possibly can say screw the entire journey factor and go for a brewery tour of the Nile Brewery.
The place to remain in Jinja?
Positively, the highest place to camp is The Haven. This was the most effective campsites we present in all of Africa. The loos are clear, unbelievable view, and so they even have free WiFi.
Murchison Falls Nationwide Park
Head north to Murchison Falls
It’s laborious to imagine that the whole Nile River squeezes itself by means of only a 7-meter vast hole making Murchison Falls. The waterfall is 43 meters excessive and makes for a powerful sight to see.
In addition to the attractive falls, Murchison Nationwide Park is the house of 76 mammals and 451 birds. It additionally holds Uganda’s largest inhabitants of crocodiles, so I wouldn’t suggest sunbathing alongside the river banks. A ship journey to the bottom of the falls runs guests $30 per individual.
The place to remain in Murchison?
The Purple Chili Relaxation Camp is a wonderful place to camp whereas visiting Murchison. They’ve a full restaurant and, extra importantly, a full bar. Purple Chili Relaxation Camp additionally organizes safaris in Murchison.
Kibale Nationwide Park
Proceed to Fort Portal and see the Chimps in Kibale
Bwindi might have the mountain gorillas however head to Kibale Nationwide Forest if you wish to come face-to-face with our closest dwelling relative. Situated about an hour’s drive from Fort Portal, Kibale Nationwide Forest is the world’s primate capital. With 13 totally different species of primates, it’s no surprise the place they get their identify.
Guests flock right here to get an up-close encounter with our closest relative – the chimpanzee. The Ugandan Wildlife Authority can set up chimp permits. AT $200, they arrive in as a less expensive different to gorilla trekking in Uganda.
It’s advisable to rearrange your permits earlier than attending to Uganda; nevertheless, we discovered that individuals organized their journeys the day without work in the course of the off-season. Discovering the chimps took us lower than an hour, and we noticed them at a detailed distance as soon as we noticed the primary troop. Guests are given an hour of remark time with the chimps, throughout which we noticed about 20 totally different chimps.
The male chimps are probably the most habituated to people and are the least shy group. We heard them name and work together with each other and even caught two grooming! We did see feminine chimps, however they tended to hang around excessive within the timber with their younger.
It’s price noting that Cameron and I went chimp trekking within the Nyungwe forest in Rwanda however loved our time in Uganda extra. The forest was simpler to navigate, trekking the chimps took much less time, and we may work together higher with them in Uganda. That’s to not say that the expertise in Rwanda wasn’t memorable, although!
The place to remain when Chimp Trekking?
We determined to park it on the Primate Lodge for a number of days within the lush Ugandan forest. Nestled away from the hustle and bustle of life, The Primate Lodge is a five-minute stroll away from the Kibale forest entrance. Every of the 9 bandas is unfold out to permit full privateness for all visitors.
All meals are absolutely inclusive on the Primate Lodge, and the meals is scrumptious. The native employees is type and attentive to all of our meal requests for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even eating within the consolation of our personal room was no drawback in any respect.
We arrived very late at evening after getting fully misplaced in rural African villages and requested the employees if we may have our dinner in our room – at 10 pm. They fortunately catered to us and understood the lengthy 10-hour drive we needed to attain them. We have been each so grateful for the kindness of the employees, the style of the meals, and the general consolation of the spacious banda.
Store For Journey Insurance coverage
We don’t journey with out journey insurance coverage, and neither must you. You by no means know what can occur abroad, and it’s finest to be ready. HeyMondo gives wonderful brief and long-term journey insurance coverage insurance policies.
Queen Elizabeth Nationwide Park
Go on safari in Queen Elizabeth Nationwide Park.
Queen Elizabeth Nationwide Park is 1978km in measurement. 95 African animals and over 600 totally different species of birds name the park house! Queen Elizabeth is the right place to move earlier than or after you go to Bwindi Impenetrable Nationwide Park.
We have been anticipating an extended drive after our improbable day of gorilla trekking in Uganda, however as an alternative, we drove simply two hours to the southern entrance of Queen Elizabeth. The southern area of the park is named Ishasha. It’s a great place to seek for some well-known tree-climbing lions.
The tree-climbing lions solely hand around in two locations worldwide (Lake Manyara Nationwide Park in Tanzania is the opposite). We went into the park simply earlier than sundown, and low and behold, half-hour in, we noticed her – an actual tree climbing lioness.
The following day we self-drove by means of the park to achieve the Mweya peninsula. You may self-drive on the primary street by means of the park with out paying car or park charges. The entire time you stand an opportunity of recognizing Africa’s well-known wildlife.
It wasn’t till we hit the Mweya park entrance about 100 km from Ishasha that we formally entered the park and offered our park passes. We made our approach to Mweya lodge for some lunch however discovered it overpriced and went subsequent door to Canteen for a extra reasonably priced meal.
From there, we got down to see the crater lakes of Queen Elizabeth. The drive across the crater lakes is one of the vital beautiful in all of Africa. The pockmarked land with dozens of crater lakes made us really feel small. Two hours on the street, we by no means noticed anybody else in a two-hour drive alongside the rim of the craters.
We by no means managed to see a lot wildlife in Queen Elizabeth, however the tree-climbing lions and well-known crater lakes made all of it price it.
The place to remain in Queen Elizabeth Nationwide Park?
We stayed at a campsite and lodge referred to as @ the River. I discovered the value to be too excessive for the lodge itself, nevertheless it is among the cheaper locations to remain in Ishasha. In case you plan to remain at Mweya, the Mweya campsite is enough for an evening or two. A extra luxurious choice is the Mweya Lodge.
Bwindi Impenetrable Nationwide Park
See among the final gorillas in Bwindi.
Bwindi Nationwide Forest is famed for its inhabitants of mountain gorillas. The UWA gives the distinctive expertise of a trek into the forest to catch a glimpse of critically endangered species. It’s a spotlight and attracts many vacationers who come to Uganda, considered one of Africa’s most unbelievable experiences.
Gorilla trekking permits should not low-cost at $700 a allow; nevertheless, the expertise is unforgettable. We trekked excessive into the Bwindi Forest to discover a household of 17 gorillas. Guests are given an hour with the gorillas to look at the group play, eat, and socialize.
In addition to gorilla trekking in Bwindi Nationwide Park, guests are supplied the power to hike to stunning waterfalls within the space and benefit from the dense jungle.
The place to Keep when Gorilla Trekking?
We stayed on the Bwindi Lodge, a ten-minute stroll away from the park headquarters in Buhoma. If you wish to deal with your self, I extremely suggest trying out Volcanoes Safaris. Guests ought to take a look at the Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge or Buhoma Group Campsite for a extra budget-friendly choice.
Proceed all the way down to the Rwanda border and take a look at Lake Bunyoni
It has been mentioned that Lake Bunyoni could also be considered one of Africa’s most stunning lakes. Now that’s debatable, however it’s a beautiful lake that’s good to chill out on for a number of days. Lake Bunyoni was our first cease as we drove up from Rwanda. From the Cyanika border, it took us about three hours by means of rolling hills to achieve our vacation spot by automotive.
Lake Bunyoni is alleged to be the “place of many birds,” so if you’re even barely into birding, I like to recommend stopping right here.
A preferred factor to do on Lake Bunyoni is to take a small boat round to go to the varied islands that occupy the tiny lake. Akampene, Bushara, Kyahugye, Bucuranuka, Bwama, and Njuyeera are among the extra well-liked islands to go to.
Lake Bunyoni is the right place for those who simply don’t wish to do something in any respect. We discovered nice pleasure in simply sitting with a espresso whereas overlooking the peacefulness of our environment.
You may both drive into Rwanda and proceed your overland journey or return to the capital, finishing your self-drive Uganda street journey.
Take into account including on Kidepo Valley Nationwide Park
Kidepo is nearly a 10-hour drive from Kampala, so it’s possible you’ll not have time to drive there. It’s virtually as far north in Uganda as you will get because it borders South Sudan. Nevertheless, it will be an excellent place so as to add on in case you have the time.
We by no means had the possibility to go to Kidepo, however I really feel I ought to give it a particular point out as nearly each Ugandan we spoke to utterly loves the park. Kidepo is about as far north as you will get in Uganda and lies proper subsequent to Sudan and Kenya. It takes about ten hours to get to Kampala, isolating the park.
Its isolation is what many guests dream as they’ll have virtually the whole park to themselves to see among the 77 totally different species of mammals. The park is finest visited in the course of the dry season when animals flock to the few watering holes close to Apoka.
The place to remain in Kidepo?
The Apoka Safari Lodge is an efficient place for these not geared up to camp. For these with their very own provides and who’re on a price range, I might suggest the Apoka Relaxation Camp.
Our Greatest Uganda Journey Suggestions
In case you’re courageous, strive taking a boda boda round Uganda. They’re basically bike taxis finest used for brief distances. We took them a handful of occasions simply to go brief distances, however be warned that they aren’t for the faint of coronary heart. Drivers drive quick and squeeze out and in of site visitors. We noticed three boda-boda crashes in Kampala – nobody was severely harm these occasions.The Nationwide Fowl of Uganda is the crested crane and will be discovered on the nation’s flag.Ensure that to strive a Rolex. A rolex is a rolled-up Chapati with whipped egg and varied greens inside. You will discover this on any Ugandan avenue nook for lower than 5000 Shilling.Visas: People touring to Uganda can count on to pay $50 USD, money solely, for a single entry visa. When you have plans to go to Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya, guests can receive an East Africa a number of entry visa for $100 money on the border. Make sure to apply for this visa three days earlier than entry on-line.The Ugandans are pleasant those who keep away from battle. No surprise Uganda was named one of many friendliest nations on the earth. We by no means felt threatened in Uganda. Even after sitting in standstill site visitors in downtown Kampala at evening. Nevertheless, it’s nonetheless a creating nation so you’ll want to use widespread sense.The nationwide Park Prices for overseas registered vehicles are insanely excessive. Non-residents can count on to pay $40 per day for park entry and $150 per car per day.The Ugandan Shilling is the nationwide forex. ATMs can solely be present in giant cities. At all times be sure that to hold sufficient money on you, as bank cards are not often accepted outdoors of Kampala.We skilled completely no trouble from the police in Uganda. Not like the fixed police encounters we had in Tanzania. Guess what? We bought our automotive in Entebbe! Learn right here to see what that have was like.
Plan Your Journey to Africa
Journey Insurance coverage: We don’t journey with out journey insurance coverage and neither must you. You by no means know what can occur whereas touring so it’s finest to be ready. HeyMondo supplies wonderful short-term and long-term journey insurance coverage. Journey Waterbottle: Once we’re unsure in regards to the water provide we use our Grayl Air purifier. It’s are available exceptionally helpful round Africa. Digicam Gear: Likelihood is you’ll desire a digicam in your journey to Africa. We love the Sony RX100V for a pocket-size digicam and the Fujifilm XT-4 for an expert digicam. Take a look at our favourite cameras for Africa. Safari Garments: Light-weight, beige, and moisture-wicking clothes are nice for touring Africa. See our favourite safari clothes right here. Safari Hat: A great hat is each fashionable and practical.Safari Bag: A sturdy bag is right for touring round Africa. Safari Pants: We suggest neutral-colored pants as they’re nice at hiding dust and may match most shirt colours.Safari Shirt: Shirts like these are light-weight and hold the bugs away!Boots: When you don’t have to put on sturdy footwear day-after-day, at the very least one pair of safari boots will make your journey nicer! Journey Adapter: You’ll want a particular journey adapter for touring Africa. Get one earlier than you get there so that you don’t pay a premium on the bottom.