Uganda is not a big country, but a small beautiful nation that is endowed with awesome natural wonders. Due to this magical nature, Churchill dubbed Uganda “the Pearl of Africa”. Uganda’s adventurous gems are all scattered in corners of the country.
These gems include; National parks, mountains and hills, lakes, rivers, cultural sites, religious sites, historical sites, archeological sites, urban centers, museums and many others. The location of these different sites in different corners of the country has made the country become one of the best destinations in Africa when it comes to having adventurous road trips.
One of the best road trip in Uganda that a visitor will enjoy is when starting from Entebbe to Kampala and take Masaka road to Igongo cultural center before proceeding to Lake Mburo national park, to Bwindi Forest, Queen Elizabeth national park, to fort portal then to Kibale forest national park, Murchison falls, Kidepo National Park and return to Kampala via Moroto and mount Elgon National Park.
Here are some of the wonders visitors can enjoy while on a Ugandan road trip.
- Entebbe town
Entebbe town is the entry point to Uganda, generally because it is where the international airport is located. Just on the peninsular of Lake Victoria. Entebbe is proving to be an unbeatable urban destination in Uganda for tourism.
Entebbe is a rewarding tour center especially for visitors who are interested in road trip to the countryside. The city offers opportunities for day tours, because it is a small site most tourist attractions are within a walkable distance, one can easily explore on foot to places like; the Botanical gardens for bird watching, primate watching and plant identification.
Explore the Uganda wildlife Education center which is a zoo with activities like wildlife viewing, behind the scenes program, keeper for the day, chimpanzee viewing, among others. When leaving Entebbe, join the roadside markets popularly on days like Tuesday in Kitoro town for some little shopping before proceeding to Kampala.
- Kampala city
Just about 40 kilometers north of Entebbe is Kampala city, the capital city of Uganda which is located in the central region of Uganda. Kampala is a perfect place to have a road trip because the city is absolutely rich when it comes to city tours. The city has variety of sites that any visitor can enjoy during a road trip in Uganda.
These sites are of different categories including religious sites, cultural sites, historical sites, archeological sites, museums, monuments among others. A traveler can explore the entire kabaka trail foundation sites like the Kabaka’s palace, Kabaka’s lake, the underground torture chambers and Buganda’s parliament building.
Among others religious sites are, Namugongo shrine, the Bahai house of worship, Gadafi mosque, Namirembe and Rubaga cathedrals.
Historical sites are the Uganda museum, the Ugandan parliament, and Ndere cultural center. Cultural sites that can be explored are the Entanda cultural site and Sezibwa falls. Also don’t forget to tour the business center to have the best of your shopping adventure.
- Igongo cultural center.
This is a cultural center located in the west of Kampala along Kampala – Masaka road in Mpigi district. This is an awesome spot for travelers to have a stopover for lunch or even for overnight stay. Igongo cultural is the biggest cultural center in the entire west and south western region of Uganda.
This center has a museum that showcases at least most of the traditional aspects of the Banyankole people. These art facts are on display for any interested visitor to have a look at. The center always gives visitors the taste of the Ankole culture through the traditional foods that are served in the restaurant and the displays.
This site is a spot for a perfect overnight stay because it has a hotel and restaurant beside the museum to give traveler the best of the night comfort. For any road trip to western Uganda, don’t miss the Igongo cultural center to make it a complete western Uganda safari.
- Lake Mburo national park
This is a special site where every part is live with variety of natural wonders. For any road trip in Uganda without Lake Mburo national park then count it incomplete.
This national park is small covering only 260 sq kilometers and being a savannah park it harbors several mammals like Buffaloes, Impalas, Zebras and numerous bird species including the shoebill stork which cannot be sighted in any other part of the country.
Lake Mburo national park is generally a beautiful place with sculptured landscapes and rolling grassy hills with and abundant forest galleries, seasonal and permanent swamps. Travelers during road trip can explore the park through different activities like birding encounters to watch about 313 bird species, including the rear ones, the shoebill, grey crowned cranes and the white-winged Warbler.
A forest walk is lively in Rubanga forest with beautiful sounds of over 40 bird species. Boat trips in Lake Mburo are remarkable to see diverse water animals and marine species like crocodile, hippos and the birds.
Fishing and nature trails are some of the best alternatives in Lake Mburo national park. The park has accommodation for night stays like Mantana luxury tented camp and Mihingo lodge. From here you can proceed to Queen Elizabeth National park
- Queen Elizabeth National park
Located in the south west of Uganda is Queen Elizabeth national park. This is the best next destination after Lake Mburo national park during a road trip in Uganda.
This park offers the best wildlife safaris in Uganda due to its diversity with wildlife. Visitors having a road trip can visit Queen Elizabeth national for some of the amazing safari activities like game viewing. Animals include, elephants, lions, and buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, among others.
The launch cruise allows travelers to float along the 40 kilo meter Kazinga channel while watching the abundance of bird species flying over, the water thirsty animals like the crocodiles, hippos, and monitor lizards, Buffaloes on the channel.
Later, join the Ishasha sector for the tree climbing lions. The most amazing secrets of this park are the multiple crater lakes like Lake Katwe where salt is mined traditionally.
Queen Elizabeth is the park to watch for with no worries when it comes to accommodation because there are varieties of accommodation facilities ranging from luxury, midrange and budget like Mweya safari lodge, Ihamba lodge, katara lodge, mazike safari lodge, Kyambura game lodge, Bush Lodge, Simba safari Camp and various camp sites at Mweya peninsular.
- Fort portal
Fort portal is located in the western part of Uganda, greatly famous for its cultural, scenic and primates. For a road trip in Uganda, Fort portal is a right place to explore while encountering sites like the crater fields, namely the Ndali- Kasenda crater in the north west of fort portal town. These crater fields are impressive with beautiful scenery and also offer rewarding hiking experiences. Best of all is the cultural and heritage sites like the Karambi tombs where the Tooro kings are buried, Tooro Royal palace with its magnificent building and the Amabere g’ Nnyinamwiru caves that shows the Chwezi era making the road trip culturally rewarding.
The adventure tea cycling is also another experience, ride in the famous Mpanga tea plantation while viewing the beautiful lush tea estates. One can even enjoy the festivities and ceremonies like name giving ceremony, Empango ritual and the king’s coronation to add value to the experience of a Ugandan safari. After the fort portal tour the visitor can proceed to Kibale forest national park.
- Kibale forest national park
It is one of the most attractive national parks of Uganda. It also doubles as one of the rewarding destinations that one can explore on foot. Found in the outskirts of Fort Portal, this park is the capital of primates in the entire world with up to 13 species of primates including the Chimpanzees, Black and white Colubus Monkeys, Red Colubus and L’Hoest monkeys. The major attractions in Kibale forest national park are the Chimpanzee and over 300 bird species. The park is best for activities like chimp trekking, day and night nature walks and birding in the Bigodi wetlands with variety of bird species.
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
This is a home to half of the world’s last remaining population of the endangered mountain gorillas in the World. Today, the park has over 15 habituated gorilla group available for tracking. Gorilla Tracking and habituation experience is the main tourist activities to this park. Other tour attractions include bird watching, batwa community tour and Forest walks.
Gorilla tracking permits are on high demand throughout the year, and each costs US$600, and US$1500 for gorilla habituation experience! You must book and secure your permit in advance through Travel Agents and tour operators. No more selling of gorilla permits at the park headquarters!
Among the popular safari lodges and campsites in Bwindi Forest include Clouds Mountain gorilla lodge, Nkuringo gorilla camp, Lake Mutanda resort, Rushaga gorilla Camp, Gorilla Mist Camp, Havens Gorilla Lodge, Bakiga Lodge, Buhoma Community Rest Camp and many others.
- Murchison Falls National Park
This is Uganda’s biggest and oldest National Park, located in north western Uganda. The park derives its name from the magnificent Murchison falls. The main tour activities here include game viewing, fantastic boat cruise to the bottom of the falls, hiking to the top of the falls, nature walks, night game drives, birding, chimpanzee tracking and habituation experience in Kaniyo Pabidi forest reserve among others. Next to Murchison Falls is Ziwa Rhino sanctuary, the only place for Rhino tracking in Uganda.