Uganda’s adventurous gems are all scattered throughout the country. These gems include; National parks, mountains, 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.
Set off on a once in a lifetime journey into the lush hills of Uganda and Rwanda to encounter chimpanzees and mountain gorillas in the wild. Observe chimpanzees with a primatologist, and trek gorillas in the forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and volcanoes National park. Spend two days tracking chimpanzees, two days tracking gorillas, and one day tracking endangered golden monkeys.Watch the antics of chimpanzees up close at a sanctuary. Go on safari and take a wildlife cruise in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park.Meet with scientists at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center.
Trip Provider: This trip is run by Rwanda Gorilla Safaris, a Kigali based tour operator.
Itinerary of 11 days Uganda and Rwanda
Day 1&2; Entebbe, Uganda/Ngamba Island
Arrive in Entebbe and transfer to our hotel. The next day, visit the Chimpanzee Sanctuary on Ngamba Island, established in association with the Jane Goodall Institute as a habitat for rescued and orphaned chimpanzees. Later, explore the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre. Dinner and Overnight Namirembe guest house.
Day 3&4; Kibale National Park
Drive from Kampala to Kibale National Park with lunch en-route and check in to our lodge, set on a crater lake. Meet with a local researcher and search for chimpanzees, black-and-white colobus, red-tailed, and blue monkeys, as well as the rare L’Hoest’s monkey. Explore the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. Dinner and overnight atKibale forest lodge, mountains of the moon, kyaninga lodge.
Day 5&6; Kibale National Park/Queen Elizabeth National Park
Spend a second morning tracking chimpanzees. Today we get the opportunity to explore Kibale Forest National Park. Kibale Forest is home to 13 primate species and a guided forest trek can be taken in search of one of the most popular primate species in the world the chimpanzee. There are 9 diurnal primates, include, vervet, red-tailed, L’Hoest’s, blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red colobus, black and white colobus, olive baboon and the most famous of all, the chimpanzee.Continue to Queen Elizabeth National Park, and go on safari to look for elephants, lions, and Ugandan kobs before an afternoon wildlife cruise.Dinner and overnightBush lodge, Mweya safari lodge, katala lodge.
Day 7&8; Queen Elizabeth National Park/ Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Travel to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The next morning, head into the park’s forests, home to roughly half the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. Sit among these gentle giants, observing one of the planet’s most endangered creatures up close. Dinner and overnight at Mutanda lakes resort, Buhoma haven lodge, silverback lodge, mahogany springs
Day 9&10; Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Settle into your private villa overlooking the surrounding volcanoes and lakes. Meet experts at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center to learn about ongoing conservation efforts. Spend the next day tracking mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, where National Geographic grantee Dian Fossey conducted research on gorillas for 18 years. Enjoy a traditional dance performance this evening.
Day11;Volcanoes National Park/Kigali
This morning, search for endangered golden monkeys in the park. After lunch, visit a local school. Then transfer to the airport for your flight home.Read More