Popular Destinations to Explore in Uganda on Self Drive

Uganda offers a wealth of destinations to discover and enjoy on a self-drive safari adventure. Many of these destinations revolve around the wonders of nature, such as national parks, mountains, lakes, rivers, and pristine eco-forests.

Additionally, there are historical and cultural sites that serve as delightful side attractions, offering travelers a chance for a brief stopover, unwind, and then continue with an epic road trip.

Given that Uganda, often referred to as the “Pearl of Africa,” boasts an abundance of destinations to explore, it’s impossible to cover all these attractions in just a single safari. All the destinations in the country can be explored on a self-drive safari. Below are the must-visit destinations in Uganda that can easily be visited on self-drive.

Murchison Falls National Park

Evidently, the Murchison Falls Conservation Area stands as Uganda’s most visited wildlife reserve. Nestled in the northwest of the nation, it is blessed with amazing natural wonders, mainly the majestic River Nile, which gracefully divides the region, and a myriad of unique wildlife species.

Murchison Falls National Park

With its breathtaking waterways and a profusion of fauna, Murchison Falls National Park delivers unparalleled experiences in boat cruises and game drives within Uganda. Accessibility for tourists is remarkably convenient, with a mere 320-kilometer journey (approximately 6 hours by road) from Kampala and Entebbe, the main departure points for safari adventures in the country.

No need to worry about accommodations within Murchison Falls National Park; it offers a range of safari lodges to suit various budgets, including luxury, mid-range, and budget options. Among the renowned lodges within the park are Paraa Safari Lodge, Murchison River Lodge, Fort Murchison Lodge, Pakuba Safari Lodge, Sambiya River Lodge, Red Chilli Rest Camp, Twiga Safari Lodge, and many more.

For adventurous tourists, many of these lodges within Murchison Falls National Park provide campsite facilities where you can set up your ground tent or park your vehicle and your rooftop tent for an overnight stay.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

While it may have relinquished its claim as the most visited wildlife destination in Uganda to Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park remains an exceptional destination for self-drive safaris.

Situated in the Kasese district, southwest of Kampala, and approximately 360 kilometers away, this park is easily accessible for independent travelers. Queen Elizabeth is renowned for its diverse wildlife, including lions, buffalos, hyenas, kobs, and elephants, all of which can be observed during an amazing game drive across its sprawling savannah plains.

Elephants in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Adding to its allure, the park features a vibrant waterway known as the Kazinga Channel, teeming with numerous bird species and aquatic mammals. Embarking on a boat ride along the Kazinga Channel promises an unforgettable and truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

When night falls, Queen Elizabeth National Park offers a diverse range of accommodation options, catering to various budgets. Among the well-regarded lodgings within the park are Mweya Safari Lodge, Elephant Plains Lodge, Bush Lodge, Kasenyi Safari Camp, Engiri Game Lodge and Campsite, Buffalo Safari Lodge, and numerous others.

Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park, on the other hand, is not meant for vehicle exploration; here, one immerses oneself in the forest on foot. This park is renowned for its population of primates, with the most notable being the chimpanzees. These fascinating animals are known for their dramatic and intelligent behavior, often leaving visitors in awe. Most tourists visit this park to enjoy watching the chimpanzees engage in activities resembling human-like behaviors, such as tool usage and displays of affection and compassion towards one another.

After a long day of chimpanzee tracking in this thick jungle, Kibale National Park offers a variety of lodging choices for an overnight stay, including Ndali Lodge, Primate Safari Lodge, Chimpundu Lodge, Isunga Lodge, Kibale Forest Camp, Kibale Forest Lodge, Kluge Guest House, and more.

Kidepo Valley National Park

Savannah Plain in Kidepo Valley National Park

This expansive savannah plain lies quite a distance away from Kampala, requiring a long drive which is approximately an 8-hour drive. Yet, once you arrive at this amazing park, any weariness from the journey will disappear instantly due to its breathtaking views of its captivating landscapes and the rich variety of wildlife.

The park is blessed with the raw beauty of the African wilderness, and every moment spent on a game drive across its plains is a pure delight. You’ll encounter a diverse array of animals, including lions, elephants, buffaloes, ostriches, kobs, antelopes, cheetahs, zebras, and an array of magnificent bird species.

Kidepo Valley National Park boasts a selection of eco-friendly safari lodges that immerse you in the natural ambiance. Among the well-regarded options are Apoka Safari Lodge, Adere Safari Lodge, Kidepo Savannah Lodge, and Nga Moru Wilderness Camp.

Bwindi Forest National Park

The drive from Kampala the capital of Uganda and the starting port of most of the safari in Uganda to Bwindi Forest takes around 9 hours, offering a scenic road trip to travelers with its captivating landscapes and keeps the lengthy drive exciting and fascinating.

Upon arriving at the park, you’ll step out of your safari vehicle to begin a challenging trek through the steep and densely forested terrain in pursuit of the magnificent mountain gorillas.

These gorillas are among the most treasured species in the world of eco-tourism, owing to their rarity, endangered status, and intriguing behaviors and physical characteristics.