Uganda’s adventurous gems are all scattered throughout the country. These gems include; National parks, mountains, and hills, lakes, rivers, cultural sites, religious sites, historical sites, urban centers, and museums among others. The location of these different sites in different corners of the country makes the country one of the best destinations in Africa for road trips.
Some of the best places you shouldn’t miss on a Self-drive Ugandan road trip include the following.
Entebbe town is the entry point to Uganda as it is where the international airport is found. Entebbe is proving to be a matchless urban destination in Uganda for tourism. Entebbe is a rewarding tour center especially for visitors who are interested in a road trip to the countryside. The city offers opportunities for day tours because it is a small site most tourist attractions are within a walkable distance, one can easily explore on foot places like; the Botanical gardens for bird watching, primate watching, and plant identification.
The Uganda wildlife education center is a zoo with activities like wildlife viewing, behind-the-scenes program, keeper for the day, chimpanzee viewing, among others. When leaving Entebbe, join the roadside markets popularly on days like Tuesday in Kitoro town for some little shopping or watching the daily lives of Ugandan people in the local markets before proceeding to Kampala.
Kampala capital is about 40km from Entebbe town, it is a perfect place to have a road trip because the city is absolutely rich when it comes to city tours. The city has a variety of sites that any visitor can enjoy during a road trip in Uganda including religious sites cultural sites like Ndere cultural center, historical sites, archeological sites, museums, and monuments among others. Religious sites to visit include; the Namugongo shrine, Bahai temple, Gadafi mosque, Namirembe, and Rubaga cathedrals.
Historical sites include the Uganda museum, the parliament of Uganda, and the Ndere cultural center. Cultural sites to explore include Entanda cultural sites and Sezibwa falls. All these make the capital Kampala one of the best places for a self-drive road trip.
Igongo cultural center
This is a cultural center located in the western Uganda area along Masaka-Mbarara road in Mbarara district. This is an awesome spot for travelers to have a stopover for lunch or even for an overnight stay. Igongo culture is currently the major cultural center in the entire west and southwestern region of Uganda. This center has a museum that showcases at least most of the traditional aspects of the Ankole people. Visitors have a taste of the Ankole culture through the traditional foods that are served in the restaurant and on the displays. A road trip to western Uganda must never miss the Igongo cultural center for a great cultural experience.
Lake Mburo National Park
This is a special site where every part is lively with a variety of natural wonders. This park is one of Uganda’s smallest protected areas covering only 260 sq. km and being a savannah park it harbors several mammals like Buffaloes, Impalas, Zebras, and numerous bird species including the rare shoebill stork which can be sighted in particular parts of the country.
The Park is generally a beautiful place with sculptured landscapes and rolling grassy hills with abundant forest galleries, seasonal and permanent swamps. Road trip travelers can explore the park through different activities like birding for over 313 bird species in the park, boat trips in Lake Mburo are remarkable to see diverse water animals and marine species like crocodiles, hippos, and the birds, a forest walk in Rubanga forest with beautiful sounds of over 40 bird species. Fishing and nature trails are some of the best alternatives in Lake Mburo Park. Accommodation for night stays like Mantana luxury tented camp and Mihingo lodge is available around the park. From here you can proceed to Queen Elizabeth National park.
Queen Elizabeth National park
Also situated on the western side of Uganda is Queen Elizabeth National Park. This is the best next and closest destination to Lake Mburo national park during a road trip in Uganda. It offers the best wildlife safaris in Uganda due to its diversity with wildlife. Incredible safari activities like game viewing for large herds of elephants, lions, buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, wild dogs, and lions among others.
The launch cruise allows travelers to float along the 40-kilometer Kazinga channel while watching the abundance of bird species flying over, the crocodiles, hippos, and monitor lizards, Buffaloes on the channel cooling off the hot weather.
You will later join the Ishasha sector for the rare tree-climbing lions and the park’s multiple crater lakes like Lake Katwe where salt is mined traditionally. Accommodation in the park is available with a variety of facilities ranging from luxury, mid-range, and budgets like Mweya safari lodge, Ihamba lodge, Katara lodge, mazike safari lodge, Kyambura game lodge, Bush Lodge, Simba Safari Camp, and various campsites at Mweya peninsular.
Fort portal is a town located in western Uganda greatly famous for its cultural heritage of the Tooro people. Fort portal is the right place to explore while encountering sites like the crater fields, like the Ndali- Kasenda crater in the northwest of Fort portal town. These crater fields are impressive with beautiful scenery and also offer beautiful hiking experiences. Best of all is the cultural and heritage sites like the Karambi tombs where the Tooro kings are buried, the Tooro Royal palace with its magnificent building, and the Amabere ganyinamwiru caves that showing the Chwezi era that make the road trip culturally rewarding.
Tea cycling is also another experience as you ride in the famous Mpanga tea plantation while viewing the beautiful lush tea estates. After the fort portal tour, the visitor can proceed to Kibale forest national park.
Kibale forest national park
Kibale National Park is found in the borders of Fort Portal and is the capital of primates in the entire world with up to 13 species of primates including Chimpanzees, black and white Colubus Monkeys, Red Colubus, and L’Hoest monkeys. The major attractions in Kibale national park are the Chimpanzee and over 300 bird species that can be explored on foot. The park is best for activities like chimp trekking, nature walks, and birding in the Bigodi wetlands with a variety of bird species.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
This is home to more than half of the world’s last remaining population of endangered mountain gorillas. The park has over 20 habituated gorilla groups available for tracking. Gorilla tracking and habituation experience is the main tourist activity to this park. Other tourist attractions include bird watching, Batwa community tour, and Forest walks.
Gorilla permits are in high demand throughout the year and each costs US$600(to be increased to $700 effective 1st July 2020), and US$1500 for gorilla habituation experience and can be acquired through a trusted travel agency.
Clouds Mountain gorilla lodge, Nkuringo gorilla camp, Lake Mutanda resort, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Gorilla Mist Camp, Havens Gorilla Lodge, Bakiga Lodge, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, and many others are the accommodation facilities available in the park.
Murchison Falls National Park
This is Uganda’s biggest and oldest National Park located on the northwestern side of the country. The park derives its name from the magnificent Murchison falls which is the main tourist attraction to this park. The main tour activities here include game viewing, a fantastic boat cruise to the bottom of the falls, hiking to the top of the falls, nature walks, night game drives, chimpanzee tracking, birding, and habituation experience in Kaniyo Pabidi forest reserve among others. Ziwa Rhino sanctuary is the only place for Rhino tracking in Uganda.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary:
Ziwa Rhino sanctuary is home to Uganda’s wild Rhinos, the sanctuary is located about 176km north of Kampala the capital of Uganda along Kampala- Gulu highway just before Murchison falls national park. Ziwa is a great adventure place for families and groups with children. Imagine walking on foot while tracking with the children is so adventurous with an armed ranger, one can get as close as 30 feet to Rhinos. Guests can also have fun on the boat ride and sighting the ancient Shoebill stork which is one of the rare bird species in entire Africa. Ziwa sanctuary is absolutely one of the best destinations for family safaris with an amazing experience of tracking Rhinos in the sanctuary, plus great meals and accommodation from Amuka Safari lodge.
It’s Important to Understand the places you must never miss in Uganda as you plan your self-drive trip, all the regions in Uganda are uniquely gifted with special tour attractions that can only be discovered in a single self-drive road trip. The best places to visit have been shared to make it easy for you to choose which place to add to your itinerary.
Gorilla trekking is a reason alone for a trip to the Eastern part of Africa. Thousands of travelers from different parts of the world are welcomed to numerous countries like Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo for this remarkable experience.
This great adventure is a must do and grants tourists an opportunity to meet the rarely seen species of Gorillas in the Jungle. It includes treks through the Jungle until you discover the exact location of the Gorilla family you are tracing for. So it is no surprise that every participant is required to be physically fit.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Declared as a National Park, Bwindi is located just at the rim of the great Albertine Rift Valley in the Western part of Uganda. It covers a total area of 331 square kilometers which span three districts including Kisoro, Kabale and Rukungiri. This is the most popular destination for gorilla safaris in Africa.
Part of the park is occupied by the impenetrable Bwindi Forest, a great home to a plethora of Mountain Gorillas. The Park’s altitude range between 1160 meters and 2607 meters up to the Rwamanyonyi peak. It receives heavy rainfall in the months of March, April, September and November, then the rest of months are dry.
Adding to Gorillas, Bwindi is home to a number of 120 mammals including eleven primates, 360 species of birds, 324 tree species and 200 butterflies. After Gorilla trekking in Bwindi, you can partake other activities like bird watching, forest walks and Batwa community visits.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
If not Bwindi, Mgahinga is a perfect alternative for those who would wish to trek Gorillas in Uganda. Located in Kisoro district, south western Uganda, this park is 55 km west of Kabale and 15 km south of Kisoro town.
It was established in 1991 to protect a number of Wildlife species including the Mountain Gorillas. Three volcanic mountains (Muhabura, Gahinga and mount Sabyinyo adds to a number of incredible scenery in the Park’s boundaries.
What’s more, this 33.9 square kilometers park is amongst the three parks that form the Virunga massif. Its bamboo forests, tropical rainforests and Afromontane forests are home not only to Gorillas, but also to other species like Golden monkeys, red tailed monkeys, and red colobus monkeys, birds to name but a few.
Kahuzi Biega National Park
Not like the above four listed parks, Kahuzi Biega National Park differs itself unique with the species of the Eastern Lowland Gorillas. It is tucked far away in the Eastern region of Democratic Republic of Congo.
Its name was derived from the two volcanoes (mount Kahuzi and Biega) that occupy part of its total area. Its ecosystem that consist of grasslands, dry savannah, bamboo forests, swamps and rainforests is inhabited by multiple species including 349 birds, insects and 136 mammals.
You may have heard of this place, or at least seen clips from it on TV; where thousands of thousands, sometimes millions, of bright pink flamingos gather in a great spectacle on one single lake. Does it sound familiar? Well, what you have seen on TV is not special effects, it is a real place with real birds and you can go there to see it. The place to go is Lake Nakuru in the Great Rift Valley, KenyaLake Nakuru is conveniently located close to the Masai Mara which makes it a popular destination for safari tourists. And watching flamingos is essentially the only thing you do at this destination. It might not sound like the most thrilling activity, but when the number of birds exceeds a million, sometimes two million, it suddenly becomes more exhilarating!
The sight can only be described as unbelievable, when the blue lake seems to disappear under a massive layer of hungry, pink flamingos. And soon after you might see the sky turn pink, as the entire flock of birds decides to take off at the same time. The only problem for tourists in this matter is the timing. There is no such thing as a good season and bad season for watching flamingos at Lake Nakuru. The seasons only affect the water level, and naturally the water is high during wet season and low during dry season. But the birds are there, on and off, all year around. What matters to the birds are other conditions, like the amount of algae. If there is no algae, the birds will simply fly to another lake. And most people will book their trip long before they know what the algae concentration willlook like. So I can only wish you the best of luck!
Though, if you decide to go, remember that as tourists we have a responsibility to be careful about how we affect the local wildlife. And sometimes it might not be possible to be careful enough, as our bare presence itself might be all it takes to have an undesirable impact. Over recent years the flamingo population has been observed to decline, and one reason can be the large stream of tourists flowing through the Rift Valley. This is not proven, and there are several other causes that may have a much stronger effect on the bird population.
But we should be aware of the possibility and take it into consideration. So as you travel, keep reminding yourself to minimize your impact on the environment!Read More
Africa a continent of the Nile, great beauty, many lakes and rivers, historical sites and outstanding parks is still the best fishing spot in the globe. Back then fishing was daily economic activity for many Africans especially those who stay close to lakes, rivers, swamps, ponds etc. Today fishing has contributed to development of many areas in terms of infrastructure especially those used by fishermen to catch the most desired fish species -Marlin, Sailfish, Tilapia, Nile perch etc. The continent has several inland lakes in good condition despite pollution and over fishing. When taking on a fishing tour to Africa you should be in love with most water sport activities like cruising, boat rides, Rafting among others since they are all done in the same scene. There is plenty of water in most parts of Africa which are home to thousand fish species. Lake Victoria, lake George, lake Albert, Mombasa, Zanzibar, lake kivu, Cape town ,Cape Verde Islands, Lake Kariba, Lake Nassar, Lake kyoga, Luana, Dubai, Mauritius etc are the main fishing grounds in Africa.
The second largest lake in the world Lake Victoria and one of Africa’s great lakes, and offers the best fishing trips to catch Tilapia and Nile Perch no matter the side where you fish from. Although lake Victoria is shared by many countries Uganda & Tanzania takes the largest part hence having several fishing grounds to catch Tilapia and Nile perch. The lake also has several islands and beaches ideal for leisure, beach holidays, honeymoon and relaxation. Islands include Bugala, Bukasa, Ssese, Iroba, Bukerembe, Kalangala etc. The lake islands also offer great bird watching experiences for birders. Fishing gears are normally hired from local fishermen so weather you don’t own any, relax because fishing will be fun during your adventure. Short walks, cycling, trekking are the other activities on Lake Victoria islands since some islands are residents of monkeys and other primates. Since fish accounts for over 40% of the animal protein, the demand for fish in around the world is too high that experts advised fish lovers to start eating chicken for conservation purposes in order to still have some fish available in the next 20 years in lake Victoria though this is debatable.
Another year round fishing spot in Africa is Zanzibar in Tanzania a place where you enjoy Africa’s best deep sea fishing grounds. If you need to catch the big fish just search in the channel between Zanzibar and Pemba a famous point with many opportunities. Barracuda, Wahoo, Kingfish and Giant Travelli are the main channel fish species with other guest fish species-Marlin. Fishing boats and gears can be hired on ground from professional fishing companies in Zanzibar together with a professional guide to guide you to areas where you can’t miss to catch the big fish. It’s said that the Pemba channel is always full of surprises with fish just close year round and the best time to catch the Yellow fin Tuna, Sailfish, and Striped, Blue, and Black Marlin is July-November every year. While November to Match is a Bill fish season. Tourists to Zanzibar do the fishing and diving at the same time.
Still in Africa Cape town fishing grounds offers you a unique opportunity catch your favourite fish species especially the Yellow fin Tuna weighing up to 80 kilogram. Fishing in South Africa is considered to be one of the most exciting recreational activities and many fishing tourists experience both salt water and fresh water fishing in sea, rivers and dams. Being a perfect fishing ground fishers catch several fish species – Galjoen, Hake, Kingklip, Steenbras, stumpnose cape, Thresher Shar during winter, Elf, Leervis Musselcracker White, mussel cracker Black, Red Romans, Red Stumpnose, spotted Grunter in summer and Black tail, Carpenter, Gurnard, karanteen, kob, Santer, Steenbras, Black Stingray, Cat Shark, Cow shark for all year. Above all the fishing experience gives an insight into the tough conditions endured by fishermen all over the world in search for the fish either for domestic or commercial use. If you are planning a fishing trip to Africa select the best fishing grounds especially those with fishing as a key recreational activity.Read More