Uganda is home to more than half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla’s, over 5000 chimpanzees and the largest number of monkeys and baboons. Uganda has mind-blowing landscapes from gushing waterfalls and crater lakes to rainforests, mountains and the vast African savannahs. It’s where you can find the source of the Nile and 10 national parks to spot lots of birds and big game. Over the last couple years the Traveltomtom team has extensively traveled around the country and as a result they came up with this ultimate Uganda Itinerary that covers all the best places to visit and cool things to do in Uganda.
World’s premier primate destination and more
The gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and chimp habituation experience were definitely among the Uganda highlights, but we also discovered that this beautiful East African country offers a lot more than encounters with these endangered primates. In this Uganda travel blog we will share all the destinations we visited in November 2018, May 2021 and August 2021. This Uganda itinerary includes countless Uganda travel tips to make the most out of your trip.
If you are searching for the most complete Uganda travel guide and itinerary this is a must read!
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Best time of the year to travel to Uganda
The best time of the year for Uganda safaris are during the dry season from June to August and from December to February. The high season is from June to September and it is advised that in this period you book your gorilla permits way ahead. Peak season doesn’t really exist as mass tourism luckily doesn’t apply to Uganda travel. Between March and May is the wet season and then it is a little harder to travel to Uganda as roads and trails can be in poor condition.
How to travel around Uganda
Renting a 4WD with a knowledgeable driver/guide is a great way to explore the country. We traveled in a Toyota Land cruiser with pop-up roof, which is great for game viewing activities and photography. It is recommended to find a comfortable ride if you are planning to travel in Uganda for 3 weeks, because you will also spend a lot of time on the road. Find a motivated and trusted tour operator for your Uganda safaris. A big plus is if you can find a Uganda based tour operator, since they know the country intimately and can give you the best Uganda travel tips.
We explored the country by car, but you can save time by flying to most of the popular places to visit in Uganda. Domestic flights in Uganda are not common, but it is possible. Obviously this is gonna costs you way more money. Personally we loved being on the road on our Uganda trips, getting to know the environment and all the different landscapes; seeing the real Uganda.
Make sure you stay connected when traveling to Uganda. The best, easiest and cheapest way is to buy a local prepaid sim card in Uganda. Click on the link for my complete guide or see the following article for tips about buying a sim card at Entebbe Airport on arrival.
Related: Traveltomtom Group Trip Uganda!
Ultimate 3 week Uganda itinerary
Below you can find the route we created to get to the best places to visit in Uganda, including distances and driving time.
- Day 1: Jinja
- Day 2-3: Sipi Falls
- Day 4-6: Kidepo National Park
- Day 7-9: Murchison Falls National Park
- Day 10: Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
- Day 11-13: Kibale Forest National Park
- Day 14-16:Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Day 17-19: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
- Day 20-21: Lake Bunyonyi
- Day 22: Lake Mburo National Park
- Day 23: Entebbe
Day 1: Entebbe arrival and Jinja
Our trip started (and ended) at Entebbe Airport in Central Uganda. Entebbe sits on the northern shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest (fresh water) lake. The lake reaches up to Jinja, which is about 80 km from Entebbe. From the airport we drove directly to Jinja. The road constructions are getting better and better and without traffic jams around Kampala, it will take you around 4 hours. On your way you will enjoy the views of plenty tea and sugar plantations.
If you decide to stay in Entebbe go check out their most remarkable beach. Visiting Aero Beach and its graveyard for planes and funny statues is worth it. Also make sure you buy a sim card for Uganda. Check out my guide for buying a sim card at Entebbe Airport.
Jinja, the source of the Nile (1 day)
Jinja is one of the upcoming places to visit in Uganda. It’s famous for the historic source of the (White) Nile and also called the adrenaline hotspot of East Africa because of the many white water activities like rafting, kayaking, jet boating and bungee jumping. A private boat tour is a more relaxing way to experience the Nile. You will spot many birds like the kingfisher, heron, stork, ibis and the fish eagle and you’re able to see the (real) source of the Nile. Don’t expect too much of this place, it is not one of the best things to do in Uganda, just a fun place. It’s a very small (touristic) spot on the river where you can jump off the boat and walk over a wooden deck towards the ‘source of the Nile’ sign to make a quick photo.
It is the point where the longest river in the world begins to flow. All the way from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea through central and northern Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt. Did you know it takes the water about 3 months to complete this journey? For thousands of years the true source of the Nile has been a subject of speculation but for the majority of the people, Lake Victoria is still considered to be the real source. Jinja is a great way to start your Uganda trip. For those wanting more adrenaline based activities Jinja has to be part of your Uganda itinerary, but then reserve a little bit more time.
At the Eastern bank of the River Nile you’ll also find a monument dedicated to Mahatma Ghandi, the world famous apostle of peace and non-violence. After he was murdered in 1948 his ashes were split in portions to be scattered in the main rivers of the world.
Where to stay in Jinja?
Nile Village hotel is a perfect layover for your Nile activities. It’s centrally located in Jinja town and close to the main road to proceed to Sipi Falls. The hotel has a laidback vibe with a nice garden area and an outside bar near the pool where they often offer live music in the evening. Locals visit the place as well. The staff is very friendly and the Wi-Fi and hot water worked well, two things that aren’t usual when you travel to Uganda.
Day 2-3: Sipi Falls
Sipi Falls is a series of three huge waterfalls that lie on the edge of Mount Elgon National Park and the border of Kenya. The unharmed landscapes of the Sipi Falls area are absolutely spectacular; a perfect place to unwind and one of the best places to visit in Uganda. Even the route to Kapchorwa is beautiful. You will drive through small, authentic villages and slowly drive up the mountain road where you’ll get a good impression of this incredible area.
Mbale town is the last bigger town before you will reach Sipi Falls. This is your chance to buy things like a Uganda prepaid sim card, water stocks or medicines. If you fancy a cup of Ugandan (Arabica) coffee, have a short stop at Eco Shamba Café.
Sipi is a hiker's paradise! The actual falls are only accessible by foot and it takes around 3,5 hours to visit all three falls (7-8 km). A local guide will accompany you on your hike. They are all well informed about the historical and geographical background of the area and the fee you pay is a way of supporting the community to benefit from the tourist visiting Uganda.
The guide will also provide you with a walking stick to give you support since you go through some steep spots. Especially when it rains the paths get slippery and muddy. I would also suggest packing a thin raincoat. Not only because it can rain any time but also because you’ll get very close to (and even behind) the falls.
You also have the possibility to expand the hike with a visit to the Sipi River, which gets its name from a local plant (the Sep) which grows around the banks of the river. It is often used for medicinal purposes and looks like a wild banana. I would recommend visiting the river as well. It’s a beautiful and quiet area where you will also find chameleons. If you are a sunset lover like me, make sure to enjoy the sunset at the well-known viewpoint overlooking the falls. Mount Elgon, Lake Kyoga and the plains of Karamoja are places you have to see when you travel to Uganda.
Another highlight of the trip to Sipi was visiting a local village and seeing one of the mud brick houses that have a small coffee plantation plot. This Arabica coffee only grows at an altitude ranging between 1600 and 1900 meters. The local farmer welcomes you to his small plantation and will guide you through the whole process: from picking the coffee berries, to shelling them, grinding them with a traditional mortar & pestle and roasting them on an open fire. You will finish with a fine cup of strong Arabic coffee, straight from the source. Consider things to do in Uganda like this because by booking such coffee tours you will also support the community development. Don’t forget to look for chameleons in the coffee plants! There are many but hard to spot.
For the adventurous traveler there is an abseiling activity next to the 100m high Sipi falls or a rock climbing experience at the foothills of Mt. Elgon. All amazing things to do in Uganda, but there are so many I had to make choices.
Sipi Falls belongs to the most fertile parts of Uganda; it’s an outstanding natural and green beauty with lots of flowers and plants. Sure one of the best places places in Uganda for nature lovers. If you have the opportunity to get to know ‘the real’ Uganda, then you should definitely visit the more unexplored Eastern part of Uganda.
Where to stay in Sipi?
Sipi Falls Lodge is a great - centrally located - community lodge with a spectacular front view on the main waterfall. It’s a small well-maintained resort with hard working local staff. They make you feel welcome from the moment you enter the gate. It’s amazing to see how the team manages to keep local authenticity something that makes traveling to Uganda so special.
This lodge probably has the best view on the main fall because the place used to be the lodge of one of the most memorable Governors of Uganda, Andrew Cohen. They recently reclaimed the building, which was built in 1951 and since 2018 it’s the biggest detached (family) room you are able to book at Sipi Falls Lodge. The architectural design, stone work and the colour of the paint are still in tact.
Day 4-6: Kidepo National Park (2-3 days)
Being named the 3rd best national park in Africa, Kidepo National Park is definitely a must visit in Uganda. It’s the country’s most isolated park and one of the country’s best treasures where you will find true African wilderness. It’s a long and rugged journey up to the northeast along the border with Southern Sudan, but you will not regret it! Kidepo is one of the best places to visit in Uganda and offers spectacular Savannah landscapes that end in rocky horizons. Also it is the best place for wildlife viewing in the country. Compared to other national parks this park hosts a great variety of animal species and a safari up here should be part of your Uganda trip.
Here are some important travel tips before you vistit Kidepo:
- Contact UWA Headquarters to obtain up-to-date advice about the road conditions and identify the preferred route, especially if you consider an approach through Karamoja (like I did). Some roads can be very bad after heavy rains. In that case it’s better to take an alternative route. They also keep working at (new) roads, so you might want to use a newer road to save some time;
- Make sure you have enough fuel for your long journey up North (including your game drive activities in the national park) since there is no gas station in Kidepo. The last gas station where you’re able to top up fuel is in Kaabong and the first possibility to stock up fuel after leaving Kidepo is Kitgum;
- Leave as early as possible and take a packed breakfast and lunch for on the road. I left Sipi Falls before sunrise at 5.00am and it took me 8 hours to reach Kidepo.
After leaving Sipi you will cross the Pain Upe Wildlife Reserve, which is situated along the Mbale-Moroto road. This reserve is one of the most remarkable protected areas in the Karamoja region. Locals say it’s another great wildlife paradise that you should visit while in the Northeastern part of Uganda. I only drove past it, but sadly didn’t have the time to visit. Keep it in mind when you plan your trip to Uganda.
Where to stay in Kidepo?
There are only a few options to stay in Kidepo, from the budget Apoka Rest Camp to the most expensive and luxury Apoka Lodge. I stayed in Kidepo Savannah Lodge, a luxury (both self contained and non-self contained) tented camp on a small rocky hill, overlooking the Savannah. It’s an open space with no boundaries, so it’s common to have Zebra’s or Bush bocks grazing next to your tent. A week before I visited this place even lions came to visit the dining area of the camp, because it used to be part of their territory. How exciting is that? Isn’t that what we are looking for when we travel to Uganda!
Day 7-9: Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls has a lot to offer and is Uganda’s oldest (1926) and largest wildlife reserve is home to four of the Big Five. Because of the poaching crisis there are no rhinos left anymore. Luckily you are able to see them in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. On our first game drive we saw many Ugandan Kobs, elephants, giraffes and buffaloes. The other days we saw even more animals such as the leopard, lions, hippos and many birds. If you’re lucky the park gives you the ability to see plenty of wildlife on a short safari. Especially for those who have limited time when visiting Uganda the Murchison Falls national park is a great Uganda travel tip.
Visiting the actual (Murchison) fall was one of the highlights of my Uganda trip. I highly recommend a boat tour (half day activity) to the bottom of the falls, where you will enjoy bird- and wildlife along the banks of the world’s longest river. After seeing the bottom of the falls in the distance, you will leave the boat for a heavy hike to the top of the falls. To be honest I wasn’t that impressed by seeing the bottom of the falls (it was quiet far and after seeing Iguaçu Falls in Argentina and Victoria Falls in Zambia I might be a bit spoiled), but once I saw the top I was amazed by the sight and sound of the raging Nile that forces its way through the narrow rocky gap before crashing 43 metres down. If you don’t feel like hiking to the top, it’s also possible to get there by car. When you go there in the early morning (around sunrise) you might be the only one around, but the chance of seeing a rainbow that early is quiet small.
Where to stay in Murchison?
Twiga Safari Lodge is situated along the banks of the Nile on the opposite side of the National Park. It’s a luxury-tented eco-friendly camp that offers outstanding service and quality for their customers. They even offer a free laundry service. A simple but valuable Uganda travel tip. The tents with en suite bathroom and private deck are spacious and very clean. All tents and the dining area overlook the Nile River. During diner (delicious 4-course meal) you’re able to enjoy the sunset and relax at the campfire. In the evening you will even face some hippos grazing around the area; the reason why the staff will guide you safely to your tent. Twiga Safari Lodge was another amazing experience on Uganda trip.
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Day 10: Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
By visiting this rhino re-introduction project you’re able to top off the big five with the white rhino. The sanctuary is set up near Murchison Falls NP (2,5h drive) and it’s the only place in Uganda where you’re able to see rhinos in a heavily protected but wild area. The rhinos are free to move around on 7000 hectares of land. Don’t forget to wear long trousers and closed/waterproof shoes, because you will walk through high grass and wet areas to search for the rhinos, accompanied by a ranger of course. The rhino trekking will take you around 1,5-2,5 hours and will cost you about $45 per person, an amazing thing to do in Uganda. If you want to have more time at Ziwa to do other activities like a Shoebill trek, canoe ride or night- and nature walks, you have the possibility to overnight in a lodge or tent. If I would do another Uganda trip I would stay here one night because here you’ll have the highest chance of seeing the prehistoric Shoebill, an opportunity I missed. Nevertheless I wanted to include Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in this Uganda travel blog to make you aware how bad the rhino situation in the world is.
Day 11-13: Kibale Forest National Park
This lush tropical rainforest is the place to visit in Uganda if you want to see the chimpanzees in their natural habitat! On a chimpanzee trekking you will hike through the forest to look for the chimps and once you find them, you’re allowed to stay with them for maximum one hour. Do you want to spend more time with our closest relatives? No problem. I highly recommend the habituation experience ($200), where you will spend a whole day with the chimps during their daily activities like de-nesting, foraging for food, grooming, playing and making nests for the night. It’s a lifetime experience and one of the best things to do in Uganda for wildlife lovers.
Those who have more time to spend in Kibale will be pleased to discover many other activities in the region. I loved the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary where you can spot many other species of primates and 200 different bird species (like the great blue turaco). This small sanctuary protects the Magombe swamp and its run by the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED). All the money raised is used to fund community projects around Bigodi, like construction of classrooms in some schools. It is one of the best places to visit in Uganda for birdwatching lovers. I would suggest extending the swamp walk with a cultural tour. Do you want to learn traditional weaving techniques? The women have created the inspiring Bigodi Women Group who weave baskets and make bags. They are more than happy to teach you how to weave a great cultural experience on my Uganda trip.
The Kibale area also offers beautiful crater lakes. A three hour hike includes three crater lakes, local villages, tea-plantations and a great view from ‘the top of the world’ overlooking all 3 crater lakes and the Rwenzori Mountains. If you are a fan a hiking this is among the best things to do in Uganda. From Crater Safari Lodge, on the banks of one of the crater lakes, you’re able to start the hike from the lodge. In the local village you have the possibility to visit a homestead, taste banana gin in a local pub or visit a small community school. Try to squeeze this into your Uganda itinerary, you won’t regret it.
In several places – like the route from Murchison to Kibale – you will find many road works. The Chinese are working on the road infrastructure in addition to producing and exporting crude oil. A lot of bad roads are already replaced by new paved roads, which makes traveling through Uganda easier than it used to be. Although the drive to Kibale is pretty long (7 hours), it’s not necessary to add an overnight stop.
Where to stay in Kibale?
We stayed at the Ugandan owned Crater Safari Lodge, which offered a breath-taking view of the Nyinabulitwa Crater. It’s a Luxury award winning eco lodge with good service, nice meals and just a short (15 minutes) drive away from the Chimpanzee trekking. Imagine yourself relaxing in a hammock at the porch of your private cottage enjoying the scenery and birds at the lake. Picture it? It’s a perfect way to recover from your heavy trekking. The lodge also has a pool. I hope by reading this Uganda travel blog I am inspiring you to book your Uganda holiday.
Day 14 - 16: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Located in western Uganda, against the back of the Rwenzori Mountains, you will find Uganda’s most popular national park. It’s named after the royal Queen Elizabeth II of England. However we didn’t see a lot of wildlife, I understand why it’s the most frequently visited park. It’s home to numerous birds and mammal species and has spectacular diverse landscapes. The vast plains of Queen Elizabeth NP are famous for its tree-climbing lions and besides African savannah you will also find lush forests, volcanic cones and beautiful salt crater lakes with large herds of buffaloes. If you are lucky you might see Flamingo’s visiting Lake Munyanyange. So many great places to visit in Uganda!
Boat tour Kazinga Channel
With this great variety of wildlife, you need to take time for several game drives. You will also love exploring the peaceful Kazinga Channel by boat. The channel connects Lake Edward and Lake George and is home to large concentrations of water buffaloes, hippos, Nile crocodiles and exotic birds. If you’re lucky you will even find elephants bathing in the water! Make sure to get a seat on the left side of the boat for the best wildlife viewing, my secret Uganda travel tips for you. This activity will take you around 3 hours.
Ishasha sector and tree-climbing lions
The Ishasha sector is famous for its tree-climbing lions. Because it’s a 2-hour drive from the northern part of Queen Elizabeth NP I recommend staying one night in Ishasha before heading to Bwindi. During the hottest part of the day you have the highest chance of seeing the lions in a tree. In the morning or around sunset they are more active in terms of scanning the area looking for food. I was lucky to see two young cubs chilling in a tree while two other cubs were climbing the opposite tree; the mother was hiding in the bushes. It is supposed that lions climb these huge fig trees as a way of protecting themselves against the numerous biting tsetse flies on ground level and to view their potential preys grazing on the open plains.
On your way from Kibale to Queen you will have nice views on the peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains. Have a short stop at Kasese to take a photo at the Equator sign. It’s a funny experience to stand on both sides of the world. With so many cool things to do in Uganda this became just a fun experience.
Where to stay in Queen Elizabeth?
Katara Lodge is located 16 km from the Kayunhuru gate of Queen Elizabeth NP and it takes around 25 minutes to get to it, but wow what a great luxury lodge! This is the place where I had the best food and one of the best views in Uganda. The cottages are clean and spacious with an ensuite bathroom. What I really liked was the bed on wheels to roll out onto the balcony which gives you the ability to sleep outside, under the stars (of course under a good mosquito net). From the dining area, the pool, your private balcony and even your shower, you will have endless views of the savannah landscape. The Wi-Fi worked well and the staff was super friendly! The Lodge is all worth the 25 minutes drives. I know I have mentioned it several times already in this Uganda travel blog, but on my trip I went from one highlight to another.
Day 17-19: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its ecological uniqueness and natural beauty; the forest is included in any Uganda travel guide. It is home to roughly half of the world’s remaining population of the critically endangered mountain gorillas. The trekking was a great adventure I was finally able to cross off my long bucket list. It’s important that gorilla trekking permits ($600) are secured prior to arrival to avoid disappointment. Although expensive it is one of the best things to do in Uganda. The trekking is available from 4 different areas. I did the trekking from the Rushaga area and I have met the habituated Bweza family, which counts 11 members. The youngest was only 6 months and the oldest Silverback 43. A great Uganda travel tip is that the permits for the Rushaga area tend to run out last and if you’re lucky you will get a group of only 4-5 people in stead of the maximum of eight. This gives you more space to observe and photograph the gorillas during that one hour you’re allowed to stay with them.
Depending on the location of the Gorilla family you visit, the hike can be challenging, especially during Uganda’s two rainy seasons, which are from March to May and from November to December. It requires navigating uphill and downhill through thick tangles of vines, thorns and roots. You will find a ranger with his machete in front of the group and porters next to you carrying your bag or steadying your balance. It’s absolutely amazing to encounter these wild and gentle primates. A gorilla trekking is an unforgettable experience, which more than repays the effort needed to trek through the forest and the money spent. At the end you will even be rewarded with a Gorilla Tracking certificate!
You shouldn’t leave Bwindi without meeting the Batwa tribe; the original inhabitants of the jungles of Bwindi known as the ‘keepers of the forest’. For years they lived in harmony with the forest and survived by hunting small game using bows and arrows. Unfortunately they lost their traditional ways of living, but they are more than willing to share their history. Depending on the tour you book, you will enjoy traditional songs and dances, hear ancient legends, learn about their way of life like food gathering and hunting techniques or how to make a fire. You will even get a chance to share a local meal.
Visiting Bwindi was another highlight on my Uganda itinerary. With so many places to visit and things to do it is hard to point out the best experience, but the mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda hold a special place as it is so unique. Click on the link to read a detailed blog about all the do's and don'ts, including prices and all about my experiences.
Where to stay in Bwindi?
Each of the four different areas have specialized accommodation close to the trekking area. For the Rushaga area I would recommend to stay in Gorilla Safari Lodge, because it’s only a few minutes away from the starting point. This Ugandan-owned full-board eco-lodge offers spacious rooms and excellent service. They provide warm water bottles in bed before you go to sleep, free laundry service and there’s also the opportunity to have a massage after the exhausting trekking (you will need it!). After all these amazing experiences on your Uganda trip it feels absolutely amazing to switch off and take it all in. Gorilla Safari lodge is a small, relaxed lodge with a nice view on the misty hills of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
From there it’s also possible to do a cultural tour by foot. I visited a women-group who taught me how to weave, a local school, the Batwa pygmies and a local pub where I tasted ‘Nsenene’ and learned how to cook ‘Matoke’. Matoke is known as a green cooking banana. These bananas are typically mashed and paired with vegetable sauces, ground peanuts, or meat such as beef and goat, and the full dish is then also called Matoke. Nsenene are fried grasshoppers, a delicacy among many Ugandans who look forward to November-December, when millions of the bugs hatch with the seasonal rains. Eating fried grasshoppers is something you should try when you visit Uganda.
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Day 20 - 21: Lake Bunyonyi
After an exhausting gorilla trekking, you earned some time to relax and chill-out. For that, Lake Bunyonyi, which means place of many little birds is the perfect place to be and it’s only a 2 to 3 hour drive from Bwindi. Because of the green-terraced landscape and the great scenery of hills, valleys and winding roads it’s also called the ‘Switzerland of Africa’. An amazing places to visit in Uganda for landscape photography. Believed to be the second deepest lake in Africa, Lake Bunyonyi is a body of water in South-western Uganda near the Rwandan border, and one of the country’s top natural treasures. Despite the depth (44m-90m), good swimmers have a chance to take a swim in the lake. There are no crocodiles or hippos and it’s bilharzia-free. At 1962m above sea level, the lake enjoys moderate temperatures year round, but cool in the morning and evening.
What makes this an awesome place to visit in Uganda are the 29 islands scattered across the water with each island having their own unique story. Of all these islands, ‘Punishment Island’ stands out the most. It’s an island with a notorious history, where unmarried pregnant girls were abandoned to starve to death. There is only one living survivor (Mauda Kyitaragabirwe) and I was very pleased to meet her and talk to her about what she went through. She’s a tough lady who is still digging in one of the many gardens in the terraced hills!
Arcadia Lodge has the most breath-taking panorama view of Lake Bunyonyi. I visited the lodge for a drink on the terrace to enjoy the view, an Uganda travel tip I recommend you to do as well. Don’t miss out on this lake while exploring Uganda. There’s a good reason it’s on the 5,000 Ugandan shilling note. Besides relaxing or swimming, you can also choose to go for canoeing in a dugout canoe, island hopping, visiting a traditional healer or hiking through the hills and villages!
Where to stay at lake Bunyonyi?
You can choose to stay uphill or directly at the water. Some accommodations are located on one of the (29) Islands, others on the shore. If you want to relax at a quiet and remote location, Rock Resort is a great option! It’s located at the lakeside, so you’re able to go for a swim, relax at one of the sun loungers at the deck or take one of their canoes to enjoy the water and the numerous birds. You will have a great view over the lake and they have one of the best beds I slept in on my Uganda trip; it’s huge and comfy and I loved the spacious bungalows. The food was good and because of the welcoming staff you’ll feel immediately at home.
Day 22: Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo is the smallest national park in Uganda and the closest park to both Kampala and Entebbe. It’s easily accessible by road with about 3 or 3,5 hours’ drive from Kampala/Entebbe and a 5-6 hours’ drive from lake Bunyonyi and therefore a popular place to visit in Uganda. Make sure to add this park on your Uganda itinerary because to me it was a real gem! Mostly because of the endless views over the wide-open savannah interspersed with rocky ridges, forested gorges and a lake full of hippos.
Nowadays the park also contains much woodland because there are no elephants to tame the vegetation. The park is home to 350 bird species as well as the eland, oribi, waterbuck, leopard, hyena, topi, reedbuck, buffalo and Rothschild giraffe. It’s also the only place in southern Uganda to see many burchell zebras and the only park in the country with impalas! Lions are rarely sighted. I was told they sometimes hear a lone lion roar, but never see him.
From a controlled hunting area, the park first upgraded to a game reserve and was then granted a national park status in 1983. Together with 13 other lakes, Lake Mburo forms part of a 50km-long wetland system linked by a swamp. If you’re really lucky you are able to spot the prehistoric shoebill in this park as well. Lake Mburo National Park has great opportunities to explore the area on a horse or by bike. Nice fact is that 20% of the park’s entrance fee is used to fund local community projects such as building clinics and schools.
Visiting lake Mburo is the perfect choice to break up a long journey from Lake Bunyonyi or Bwindi back to Kampala or Entebbe. Coming from lake Bunyonyi you’ll pass Mbarara, which is a great lunch stop. We had a stopover at Agip Motel where you can have affordable curries and good Wi-Fi, something hard to find on your Uganda trip.
Where to stay at lake Mburo?
I was impressed by Mantana’s Lake Mburo camp! It’s a very charming and peaceful place with very clean and spacious tents. The lodge has an amazing view overlooking Lake Mburo and the surrounding area. It’s a perfect spot to photograph a beautiful African sunset over the lake. And because it’s located within the national park you’ll feel very close to nature. The tents have an en-suite bathroom with a bush shower, meaning there’s no running water but one of the staff members will fill a bucket with 20 litres of hot water. A showerhead is attached to the bottom of the bucket, so it’s basically like a normal shower. It provides enough warm water to wash your hair and body and it was actually one of the best showers I’ve had during my trip. Traveling in Uganda is not only a wonderful experience it also is one big adventure.
Day 23: Back to Entebbe
On the day you’ll leave Lake Mburo, I suggest watching the sunrise and go for one last early morning game drive before heading back to Entebbe after a late breakfast/early lunch. On your way back to Entebbe you will notice a lot of African cows with incredible long horns; they’re called the Ankole Long-horned cattle. They are an important part of the culture and subsistence of the people of southwestern Uganda. Halfway you also have the possibility to have another stop at the Equator and buy some last souvenirs.
Where to stay in Entebbe?
The Boma is one of the most exclusive hotels in Entebbe; only a few minutes drive from the Airport. The hotel offers airport transfers at any time. The rooms are comfortable and clean and the surrounding gardens are serene. The place even has a swimming pool. To me, the perfect place to start or end your Uganda trip. I also loved their green curry! Another cool place to stay is Muti Entebbe, a hipster coffee place with rooms. How fun is that? And of course great healthy food choices, fresh juices, vegetarian options and delicious breakfast.
What to do in Entebbe? Check out my Aero Beach guide.
Enriched with a lifetime-experience, unforgettable memories and new friends, we said goodbye to our friendly funny and knowledgeable guide Sunday and to the Pearl of Africa. Thank you Uganda, until we meet again…
May you have one or two days spare then consider adding Kampala to your list of places to visit in Uganda. In this Ultimate Uganda Itinerary there was no space left for Kampala, but Traveltomtom experienced the city like no one else and actually quite loved it. In his blog about the best things to do in Kampala you can read why and also find his vlog with his first impressions of Kampala.
This Uganda travel blog is originally written by the very talented Kim Paffen, a member of the Traveltomtom team and a professional and award winning Travel photographer with a deep seated passion for traveling in Africa.
She traveled to Uganda and shared all her tips and incredible photos in this Uganda itinerary. For an answer to all your questions about traveling to Uganda, click on this link for 20 essential things to know before you go, another Uganda travel blog written by Kim. As well as her very detailed blog about gorilla trekking in Uganda.
I sincerely hope that all the above Uganda travel tips were helpful and it made planning your Uganda trip easier. Feel free to help me in return by sharing the link of this article somewhere on the internet. Every tweet on Twitter, pin on Pinterest or share on Facebook is very much appreciated.