When: July 2015 Duration: 16 days Distance covered: 1800 km
This trip was something special – after quite some time, we were accompanied by our daughter. So, the three of us, a small car, and a wonderful country with some unique animal species, usually not to be found in other southern and eastern African countries.
We started in Entebbe, and then slowly toured through central and south-western Uganda. We visited some of their prime national parks: Murchison Falls, Queen Elisabeth, and Lake Mburo – all known for their typical savanna ecosystems; Kibale, known for their chimpanzees and Bwindi, known for mountain gorillas.
People are extremely nice and friendly, and the soil must be exceptionally fertile – we have never seen so large portions of land being cultivated in Africa. And this also shows in large quantities of excellent fruit and vegetables being available on every step.
We didn’t do any prior reservation, except for our first night in Entebbe and for the gorilla permits, which were bought half a year in advance. And as it turned out, there actually were no reasons to make advance reservations for camps – surprisingly, despite this being their high tourist season, we were more or less alone in all campsites.
We rented a Toyota RAV4 from Roadtrip Uganda and the car was perfect for this trip. Well, actually, it would have been perfect, if there were only two of us. But for three, it was a little too small, with our personal luggage and complete camping equipment. But in time we got used to it, and after few days were able to pack everything inside in just a few minutes.
It is a norm for foreign tourists in Uganda (or in East Africa in general?) to rent a car together with a driver/guide. But if we were to do it again, we would certainly do it again as a self-drive trip. I understand there are some pros to have a knowledgeable local drive/guide, but doing it all by yourself raises the whole experience to much higher level.
Our rough itinerary was:
Upon landing at Entebbe airport early in the afternoon, pick up the car, do a major shopping and spend a night at a guesthouse in Entebbe.
Drive through Kampala to the north, to Murchison Falls National Park. Spend three days there, exploring the park. Camp at one of the camps on the south side of the Nile.
Day 5, 6:
Drive from Murchison Falls to Fort Portal and camp somewhere in the outskirt of Kibale NP for the next two nights. Next day try to find chimpanzees in the park.
Continue southwest, to Queen Elisabeth National park. Spend three days there, camping at Mweya public campsite.
Move to the southern sector of the QENP, to Ishasha, spend a night at the campsite there.
Continue to Bwindi national park, spend a night in the village of Ruhija. Next morning, go to gorilla tracking in the park.
After finding gorillas, continue to Lake Bunyoni. Spend a night at Bunyoni Overland Resort camp.
Day 13, 14:
Explore Lake Mburo national park. Camp inside the park near the lake.
Day 15, 16:
On the way back to Entebbe, visit Mabamba swamp, in search for an elusive Shoebill. Continue to Entebbe, overnight there in one of the guesthouses, explore the town of Entebbe and catch a flight back home in the evening.
Check a detailed description of each part of the trip by clicking on the following links.