I came for a contract in Uganda and we were working in Jinja, and I experienced Uganda for over one and half months, after finalizing with the contract I decided to see more of Uganda’s features before I board back home, and I decided to explore Uganda on a self-drive trip and I decided to choose a 10 day trip below. In travel guides and internet you could only find a lot of warnings about self driving in Uganda or Africa in general since it’s all about dishonorable traffic jams and reckless behavior of fellow users of the road and also the issue of bad road condition, but all these could not stop me from hiring a self-drive since I had read stories of travelers before and I had been living in Uganda for over one month I had gained the confidence and I decided it would be the best way to explore the country. Despite all the challenges, good enough my friend agreed to go on a self –drive safari.
During our 10 days safari we travelled for over 1,600 km in our rented 4×4 Rav4 visiting small villages, towns and Uganda’s top national parks. Since most of Uganda incredible wonders are located in remote places we navigated most of the tarmac main roads, but whenever possible we took the marram roads crossing the country side. We interacted with the local people and also spotted a lot of the wildlife species Uganda offers. Our rental car hire company helped us to come up with a good itinerary; the itinerary went like this;
Day 1: Kampala – Kibale Forest National Park
I was ok with driving in all the challenging roads, but not willing to navigate in the early morning traffic jam of Kampala in a car I did not drive before which was too challenging, mbazira a 4x4ugandaselfdrive helped and drive us through and our safari started at one of the exit roads of the capital. Driving on the left side of the road opposite to my home country is easier than I thought and being in Uganda for some time now, I feel comfortable on these roads right away. We bought a Rolex along the load side for lunch and we dove to the south-western part of Uganda covering a great distance on the fairly quite main road with many boda-boda users and children waving us enthusiastically at the two ‘’mzungu’s ‘’ a common word referring to foreigners. We arrived at the park in the evening at our booked lodge and the evening was spent at leisure at the lodge our dinner was well cooked.
Day 2: Kibale Forest National Park chimp tracking– bigodi nature walks
This morning we were very ready to go chimps tracking deep in the forest; our ranger guide took us deep into the forest after a short briefing at the park headquarters. We heard a loud noise somewhere deep into the forest and as we continued with the walk we heard full loud and impressive noise. These close relative of man are so close to human and are fabulous fun to watch when playing in fruitful trees, we tracked for like 5 hours and then ounce we come across these apes we stayed with them for only one hour. We had good zoom lenses and binoculars to observe these apes quite well, since it was wet many could not come down but we finally got their photos well and observed their behaviors. We came a cross one chimp laying on a branch, scratching her belly, slowly raising her to look around, her movements look so very human. In the evening we took another activity and visited the bigodi swamp sanctuary, here, we were so fortunate to view more species of primates and birds that reside here
Day 3: Kibale to – Queen Elizabeth National Park
We got up early with a hearty morning breakfast and then after we drove to the nearby lakes around the park, and also visited the local people of Ruboni community, they explained to us how they survive and how they earn a living, life is tough here, everybody is a farmer to survive, according to our guide, first you need to grow your own food before you can work on other tasks. Carrying heavy sacks of food or fire wood on their heads, the community earn an extra source of income through tourism for the benefit of all, although a few guest visit this place. From here we drove straight to queen Elizabeth national park, we arrived late in the evening, and we saw some games along the way to the park
Day 4: Queen Elizabeth National Park
In the morning after a cup of tea, we drove to the kasenyi area of the park and spotted various species of games that reside at the park, we met large herds of elephant, buffaloes, water buck, Uganda kob, we were lucky that day we were among the few visitor to spot the lions. In the afternoon we went for a boat trip at the kazinga channel which connects lakes George and Edward, here we spotted very many animals just feet from our boat. Hippos and crocodiles where among the animals that reside in the lake while hippos and elephant where seen along the shoreline plus various species of birds. With our boat we can get very close and observe these beautiful animals and their offspring. This is impressive.
Day 5: To – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
From here we drove for like 4-5 hours to reach our next destination Bwindi impenetrable national park, passing through beautiful panoramas and to see the daily life of the Ugandans along the side of the road, we passed through the famous area of the park known as ishasha known for tree climbing lions, it was my first time to spot lions climbing trees it was really a breathtaking moment to spot them sited on fig trees, we drove up-to the park
Day 6: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
This day was our major tourist attraction of Uganda; we first reported to the park headquarters to receive short briefings from the park wardens about gorilla tracking expedition and also get assigned to the gorilla family and ranger guide. After, we followed the ranger guide to the impenetrable forest to look for the mountain gorilla deep in the forest. We were assigned to the gorilla family which is very close to the trailhead. After ten minutes of hiking through the jungle we already face two silverbacks. Our guide reminded us to keep a distance of 7 meters from these impressive animals, who do not seem to bother our presence and just continue feeding on leaves. After like an hour we managed to meet a couple of the rest of the community as well, including two mothers with their babies on their backs. We get even more inspiring when one of the silverbacks gets up on his hind legs and beats his chest. It is really a magnificent encounter to meet these rare apes in their natural habitat. We were only allowed one hour to stay with these apes while studding as well as taking photography, this surely is the climax of our journey
Day 7: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Lake bunyonyi
We drove from Bwindi impenetrable national park to Lake Bunyonyi, a deepest lake in the Africa. The twenty kilometer track is winding and hilly, full of rocks, mud and potholes and takes us almost one and a half hour to complete. Alongside the road people are working the fields or carrying their crops, surprised they look at the two mzungu’s passing by. We took a boat ride to the neighboring island with fantastic views to various species of birds,
Day 8: Lake Bunyonyi -Lake Mburo National Park
We took another long drive to Lake Mburo national park passing through the beautiful scenery and peoples homestead arrived in the afternoon, in the evening we visited the local community and learnt how they survive and their methods of raring the long horned cattle.
Day 9: Lake Mburo national park
On this day we got another chance to spot various species of wildlife. Besides the buffalo’s and warthogs we already saw at Queen Elizabeth National Park, we mainly see zebra’s and impala’s here, and also few giraffes. In the afternoon we went for a game ride along the lake Mburo for more chance to spot crocodiles and hippos that live in the lake and also the buffaloes along the shoreline.
Day 10: Lake Mburo National Park – Entebbe
This day was reserved for transfer to the Entebbe international airport; we had a stopover at the equator crossing for snacks and photography, and later returned on to our journey to Kampala and later to airport to meet our departure flight back home.
A self-drive is the best option to explore Uganda you drive on your own pace, you will meet some challenges on the road, but in the end this is rewarding. Every kilometer we drove brought new experiences and stories, adding to the adventure, much more than when hopping on a bus. I recommend you to hire a self-drive safari ounce in Uganda