Places to See

Uganda Self Drive Destinations

Uganda has many tourist attractions that one can easily explore on self drive tour or by hiring a 4×4 vehicle with a driver. There are a few things in common among some of the national parks in Uganda, however each national park again offers something distinct that makes it exceptional besides all the other national park.

People tend to travel to known places because they fear the challenges that come along with the journey of discovery. Below are some of the most popular destinations in Uganda to explore on your self drive or guided safari;

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

This park is located in south western Uganda, over 500km from Kampala Capital and about 5 hours drive from Kigali Rwanda. It takes between 8 to 10 hour’s drive to reach Bwindi forest from Kampala or Entebbe Airport. This is a home to 440 mountain gorillas, which is half of the remaining total population in the whole world.

Gorilla trekking is the main attraction in this park with 14 gorilla groups currently habituated for tourism purposes. Gorilla trekking involves long hikes through the thick impenetrable forest, thus it can only be done by someone who can sustain at least a 2 hours walk.

Gorilla Habituation is the process of making gorilla aware of human beings as part of their environment without necessarily having personal relationship like pets. In other words; the animals are kept in their wild form but keeping them aware that though humans are in their environment; they are not a threat.

However threats may arise if you cross over to their more private environment; that is to a mother who has just given birth, or a baby gorilla that may seem threatened thus crying out for help.

There are special trips to experience the gorillas which are still in the process of habituation though it relatively expensive (US$1500 per permit)

Apart from gorilla trekking, the park also hosts about 350 bird species and offers excellent birding experience. Unfortunately, most of the other activities in this forest are less explored because it is mostly known for gorilla trekking.

One of the distinct points of  Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is; it host three primary primates;Gorillas, Chimpanzees and Humans.

The humans offer a great distinct and exceptional cultural experience; The “Batwa Experience”. This experience is always a  great opportunity to learn about the culture and historical ways of life of these people (Pymies). Though to some people they may seem backward and ancient, they grant you a glimpse into what life can be like outside the digital age

You spend full day with these people in the forest. There are also forest walks that offer a memorable wilderness experience. There hunting, fire making skills are some of the most amazing things to experience during your “Batwa Experience”

The roads to Bwindi National Park are in bad state and impassable in rainy seasons. Therefore, a strong 4×4 vehicle is highly recommended!

Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison falls national park is located in north western Uganda, north of Masindi town, about 350km from Kampala, a 4 to 5 hours drive from Kampala.

The major tour activities for tourists include game viewing drive around the park they expose to animals like Giraffes, Elephants, Buffaloes, Antelopes, Warthogs, Leopard, Lions, etc, and fantastic boat cruise from Paraa to the bottom of the falls.

Bird life is prolific with over 350 species. Take a nature walk from bottom to the top of the falls and enjoy fantastic scenery where the Nile perfects its beauty, forcing its self through a narrow gorge of 7 meters wide, flowing down 47 meters.

Also enjoy Chimpanzee tracking or habituation experience in Kanio Pabidi forest / Budongo Forest. On your visit to Murchison Falls Park, you should not miss Zziwa Rhino sanctuary for Rhino tracking experience.

Kibale Forest

Also known as Kibale National Park, located in western Uganda and famously known for Chimpanzee tracking, Chimps Habituation experience, bird watching, local community tours, nature walk through Bigodi swamps and crater lakes region.

The park hosts 13 primate species recorded and they include Red Tailed Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, Grey Checked Mangabeys, Vervet monkeys, L’Hoest’s Monkeys,Black and white colobus monkeys as well as Galago among others. Other attractions nearby include Tooro King’s Palace, Karambi tombs and historical / cultural sites like amabeere ga Nyinamwiru.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Another savanna grassland and woodland park located in western part of Uganda (5 -6 hour’s drive from Kampala). Here tourists enjoy game drives in safari vehicles with pop-up roof for excellent game viewing and photographing, Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura gorge, bird watching with approximately 610 species and boat ride along the Kazinga channel.

The Ishasha sector in southern part of the park hosts the rare tree climbing lions alongside other animals like Elephants and antelopes.

Mgahinga National Park

Another home for mountain gorillas in Uganda! It is located in south western part of the country with only 1 gorilla family habituated for tourism purposes and research. Gorilla trekking is one of the main interests alongside other activities such as golden monkey tracking, Mt. Gahinga hiking, Bird watching and Batwa Trail among others.

Lake Mburo National Park

This is Uganda’s smallest savannah park located along Kampala – Mbarara highway. If you hire a car in Uganda to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for gorilla trekking, you can spend a night in Lake Mburo National Park and enjoy activities like game viewing, nature walk to salt-lick area and boat ride on Lake Mburo.

All the parks have many accommodation options for all levels ranging from budget lodges / camps to mid range / deluxe and luxury accommodation options. Your budget determines where you will stay.