Top 10 Road Trip Destinations In Uganda

Uganda the pearl of Africa; has a long political history that has overshadowed the beauty within its boundaries. Even Ugandans themselves; incline more to the political distress of the land than they tune into the uniqueness and the beauty that this land has to offer. It is no surprise that for the last decade, the tourism industry in Uganda has been depending on foreigners more than Ugandans.

Some people still assume that the main reason that there are few Ugandan tourists in Uganda is that most Ugandans do not have the money to travel. This is not true given the fact that besides the United States of America, Uganda is the second leading source of tourists for Tanzania

To many foreigners, Uganda is a land where one of the world’s most known dictators Idi Amin once reigned. Those who seem to have a more recent view of the state of Uganda, relate to the vote rigging stories as well as human rights discrepancies. But besides these negative stories, there is much more the pearl of Africa has to offer in terms of road-tripping as well as wilderness adventures.

Here are 4x4uganda‘s top ten road-tripping destinations in Uganda:

Source of the Nile

Gorilla trekking is often what comes to the forefront when you do a google search about the destination Uganda. However, there is one unique thing that Uganda has far different from any other country in Africa and that is the source of Africa’s longest river.

The Nile is a stream of life upon which countries like Sudan, South Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia base their survival. The beauty of visiting the source of the Nile is that the trip is not simply about the Nile rather you have a trip featuring both the Nile and Africa’s biggest lake; “Lake Victoria”.

When road tripping in Uganda; Jinja should be among the top destinations on your bucket list. It is one of the places that are not very far from Kampala. Unlike some national parks in Uganda; any type of car can suffice for a road trip to Jinja.

Murchison Falls National Park

Still, about the Nile, the main icon of Murchison falls national park is the world’s strongest waterfall; the Murchison falls. The falls are formed by the continuous attempt by the Nile to force itself through an eight meters wide gorge thus forming a spectacular view whenever the Nile water finds its way through this gorge.

It is often Murchison falls that draws people to Murchison falls national park but besides the spectacularly memorable marvels of these mighty waterfalls lies a diversity of wildlife. It should be noted that Murchison falls national park has the best roads among all national parks in Uganda making it the most recommended road-tripping national park in Uganda.

Murchison Falls

Murchison falls national park is gifted with a diversity of wildlife. Whether you are road-tripping solo, or a couple or family, Murchison falls national park will not disappoint. Its size brings something to the table that no Ugandan national park can match. Though most Murchison falls safaris mainly highlight 3 days safaris; a minimum of 7 days is highly recommended for the best Murchison falls national park experience.

Not many tour operators might give you the liberty to explore all corners of Murchison falls national park. It is for this reason that the self-drive in Murchison falls national park is highly recommended.

Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo national park is the third smallest national park in Uganda. For some reason, many tour operators simply consider it as a stopover on their way to or from Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. However, in its smallness, Lake Mburo national park has been considered by most travelers as the best national park in Uganda regardless of its size.

Courtesy Photo

The giraffes and the Zebras are often the main highlights of Lake Mburo national park. Besides not being disappointing when it comes to wildlife; Lake Mburo national park is the closest national park to Uganda’s capital Kampala. It is the only national park that you can visit over the weekend at ease.

Accommodation in lake Mburo national park is also diverse ranging from camping options to luxury accommodations. Given its accessibility, it is a must-visit destination regardless of how limited or how short your trip is.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is the leading gorilla trekking destination in Uganda. But Mgahinga gorilla national park provides a better road-tripping experience. The road sights and the views in Kisoro are far better than those you will encounter in case you visit Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.

In most cases, those who opt for Bwindi gorilla national park are often misled by the old days when tourists used to fail to spot gorillas in Mgahinga gorilla national park. However, that changed when the Nyakagezi family became permanent residents in Mgahinga gorilla national park.

Golden Monkeys in Bambou Forest of Mgahinga

Mgahinga gorilla national park is the only place where you can encounter golden monkeys in Uganda. This means that on top of the special road-tripping experience, the park offers a lot more activities than Bwindi impenetrable forest national park regardless of its small size.

The road to Mgahinga gorilla national park is well-paved. There is also a variety of accommodations unfortunately most of the accommodation spots are not online.

Kidepo Valley National Park

The most hidden gem of Africa is the right description that fits Kidepo valley national park. In the ranks of Serengeti national park, Kruger national park, and Masai Mara of Kenya; Uganda has Kidepo valley national park to offer. For now, it is only the Ugandan side of Kidepo that has been explored but probably in the future, South Sudan’s side of Kidepo will also be a force to reckon with.

Kidepo valley national park is located in northern Uganda. Its location has positioned it in a way that for anyone to visit it, they have to be deliberate. It is one of the places you cannot merely visit on a detour. It is a true African wilderness. The temperatures are relatively high, so acclimatization is often recommended to avoid your experience being marred by the temperature.

Southern Uganda’s temperature is relatively lower than northern Uganda’s temperature. Many tourists who begin their trips from southwestern Uganda often find the northern side too hot. For this reason, we would highly recommend anyone considering a long road trip in Uganda starting from the Kidepo valley side instead of the Bwindi impenetrable forest side.

Lake Bunyonyi

The safari experience of lake Bunyonyi has grown over time. From merely a lake with a beautiful landscape to a place that now has over ten activities to offer for visitors. Lake Bunyonyi is very popular for canoeing, swimming, community, and cultural tours.

Many lovers of the gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park often rap up their safari experience with a short stay at one of the lodges around lake Bunyonyi. To some, it is simply a matter of sitting down and gazing at the landscape while for others mountain biking around the communities. Whichever option you consider, lake Bunyonyi is one of the most accessible safari places in Uganda.

Lake Bunyonyi is also located within a couple of hours’ drive to Rwanda which makes it a go-stop over in case you are road-tripping through Uganda to Rwanda with a day to spare.

Sipi Falls

In the recent past, Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo have been some of Uganda’s leading sports exports. While many think of Kapchorwa as a land where you find the famous Sipi falls, it is a place that these world-record athletes call home.

Kapchorwa is one of the border districts of Uganda. Along the slopes of Mountain Elgon, there are a number of waterfalls with spectacular beauty. Unfortunately, none of them matches Sipi falls popularity. Once you consider a road trip to Sipi falls, you should also be ready to visit several other waterfalls within the locality of Sipi falls.

Among other places to visit during your road trip to Sipi falls include; Sisiyi waterfalls, and Bulambuli waterfalls, among several other waterfalls.

Sipi falls is highly recommended because of the community touch. You will pass through gardens and communities on your way to the bottom or the top of the waterfalls. There are apparently only two waterfalls in Sipi falls that provide the top of experience of the waterfall but with a help of a professional tour guide, you can visit all the tops of Sipi falls.

Ssese Islands

Ssese Islands rarely feature on Uganda’s road trip itineraries due to issues of backtracking but it is worth it. To better connect to Uganda’s most popular honeymoon destination, it is recommended to connect through Bukakata instead of Entebbe. Unlike connecting through Entebbe, Bukakata is less than one hour from Ssese Islands.

You can ferry your car to Ssese Island in order to better explore the Island on a self-drive Ssese Island safari. The culture and the beaches are some of the main reasons people choose to visit these Islands.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth national park is among the most popular national parks in Uganda. It is only in the recent past the Murchison falls national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park have started to fairly compete against Queen Elizabeth national park.

The main icon of Queen Elizabeth national park is the tree-climbing lions. However, to some tourists, it is the co-existence between the people at the steam banks and the wildlife. It is common to find animals drinking water at the banks in the presence of people going about their day washing or collecting water.

Tree Climbing Lions in Uganda

Queen Elizabeth national park is one of the worst destinations for self-drive tourists. In most cases, you might need the help of a local guide to spot wildlife more so the tree-climbing lions in the Ishasha sector. Besides the wildlife spotting challenges,  the road in the Ishasha sector is still under construction, therefore a 4WD car is still a must.

On a positive note, Queen Elizabeth national park offers an amazing landscape. Once coupled with the wildlife, it offers an amazing experience.

Western Uganda Craters

It is hard to recommend one crater lake above another. If you have time, we recommend you consider visiting all the crater lakes your time would allow. Before you are taken away by the views of the craters, it is also worth knowing that the crater lakes provide a special hiking opportunity.

The hiking experience aside, the road trips to the craters also come in handy with amazing roadside landscapes that you would really appreciate if your main focus is not overtaken by simply arriving at your destination. Sometimes all you have to do is stop beside the road and enjoy the breathtaking landscapes.