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Self-drive Uganda Safaris

Self-drive Uganda Safaris

4×4 Self-Drive Uganda Safaris Guide: Best Tips, Tours & Cars:

Explore Uganda with Self-Drive Uganda Safaris Packages. Discover expert tips, top wildlife destinations, road trip itineraries and essential advice for a safe and exciting trip.

There has been an increase in travelers seeking self-drive Uganda safaris getting away from the traditional driver-guided safaris. It started as a way of saving money by cutting off driver guide expenses and now even those who intend to sleep in luxury lodges.

So, one might be wondering, what is so special about self-drive Uganda safaris that interest travelers to self-guide exploration. Well, this guide is going to dissect everything you need to know about self-drive Uganda safaris.

What is a Self-drive Safari?

In simple terms, self-drive safaris are Uganda trips where a tourist drive themselves to the desired destination and explore both wildlife and landscapes on their own in a rented car.

Why self-drive safaris in Uganda?

  • Saves money; Car hire Uganda for Self-driving is more budget-friendly as compared guided tours due to the fact that you don’t have to spend on driver’s daily allowances nor tips.
  • Privacy; You will enjoy your ride carefree as it will not be shared with strangers, only you and your travel companions.
  • No Rush: You will have the freedom to spend as much time as you want at particular sites, without being rushed by tour schedules or following a guide’s preferences.
  • Flexibility and customization; You have the freedom to create your own schedule and itinerary based on your preferences which will allow you to explore at your own pace.
  • Unimagined Exploration; Get lost in the wild to discover what is not included on the standard tour itineraries by following off-the-beaten-path locations.
  • Learning Experience: Gain a deeper understanding of the landscape, wildlife behavior, and local culture through firsthand experiences.

Best Road Trips for Self-Guided Tours in Uganda:

Kampala through Ziwa Rhino sanctuary to Murchison Falls National Park;

Popularly sold as 3-day Murchison Falls Safari Package, this route is not just about scenic drive but wildlife viewing in Murchison falls national park and conservation support at Ziwa rhino sanctuary.

4 Days Murchison Falls Wildlife Safari

The 600+ km road trip takes you to the top of world’s strongest falls. You will also have a great opportunity to spot different wildlife species such as mammals, birds and aquatic animals through game drive.

Sample Detailed Itinerary: 3 Days Murchison Falls National Park Safari.

Kampala to Bwindi via Masaka-Mbarara and Kisoro (over 1,000km Round Trip);

The road to Bwindi is one of the most scenic routes you can self-drive to while on a Uganda safari. You will have the chance to drive by the equator line and do some experiments about the North and South pole plus photography opportunities.

This road trip takes you to the impenetrable and mountainous forests of Bwindi, to see mountain gorillas. While in Bwindi, you can engage in different wildlife activities such as gorilla trekking, birdwatching and other adventures like canoe riding on Lake Bunyonyi or Mutanda and Batwa cultural experience.

The south western Uganda where Bwindi is located is also famously known as the Switzerland of Africa due to the landscape.

Exemplary Trip: 3-Day Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safari.

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi

10 Days Round Trip to Murchison Falls, Kibale, Bwindi and back to Kampala;

This is one of the best self-drive Uganda safaris as it combines the most adventurous wildlife activities you can have in Uganda.

You will start by exploring the big five animals in Ziwa Rhino sanctuary and Murchison falls national park plus visiting the strongest falls in the world, Murchison falls. You will also have a chance to spot other wild animals and birds as you drive around the park and cruising on the boat on the Nile.

Afterwards, drive for over 7 hours to Kibale forest where you will have a close encounter with the most intelligent primates, the chimpanzees. That is not all, Bigodi as part of Kibale is another birder’s haven which is also a habitat to other primates. If the time allows you, the crater lakes is another scenic place you should visit while in Kibale.

Meet the rarest primates in Bwindi. Gorilla trekking will be the highlight of this self-drive Uganda safaris package. This will involve trekking on feet through the thick forest of Bwindi in search of the endangered mountain gorillas of which you will spend an hour observing them and later on in the evening, you can choose to relax at your lodge or go for a community walk.

Finally, drive back to Kampala via the Mbarara – Masaka route. Prepare your eyes for a scenic drive as you will transfer back to Kampala or Entebbe for your flight.

Chimpanzees at Kibale Forest
Chimpanzees at Kibale Forest
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2 Weeks Self-Drive Uganda Safari Itinerary;

This trip starts with the day you pick up your car rental and then take you to Jinja for 2 days wher you will participate in white-water rafting in Bujagali, boat cruise to the source of the Nile and zip-lining in Mabira forest.

You will also visit Murchison falls for over 2 days and do a game drive and a boat cruise plus hiking to the top of the falls. Expect to spot wild animals such as the African buffaloes, elephants, lions, and different birds.

From there, you will proceed to Kibale national park, the primate’s capital of the world, popular for chimpanzee trekking experiences. You can involve in a series of activities here from chimpanzee tracking and Chimpanzee habituation to nature walk (Bigodi walk) to visiting crater lakes and local communities.

Proceed to Queen Elizabeth National park and go for another game drive and a boat cruise on Kazinga channel. You can as well choose to visit Katwe salt mines, trek chimps in Kyambura gorge, for a antre walk in Maramagambo forest or lion tracking in Ishasha sector.

Game drive at Queen Elizabeth National Park
Game drive at Queen Elizabeth National Park

Bwindi will be the next destination on this 2 weeks long self-drive Uganda safaris package. Brace for a close encounter with the gentle giants, mountain gorillas in the impenetrable forest where you will also be able to spot variety of bird species.

While still in Bwindi region, you can visit the local communities that host the Batwa pygmies who used to share the forest with the mountain gorillas and enjoy their cultural dances, music and so much more.

Lake Bunyonyi is another awesome place that is tailored on the 14 day self-drive Uganda safari and it is worth your visit. It is a home to different bird species, the infamous “Punishment Island” and is popular for canoe riding and swimming.

From there, you will drive to Mbarara and the lake Mburo national park where you will engage in walking safari, sport fishing and horse-back riding. That is not all, you can opt for bicycle riding, game driving and boat cruise still in lake Mburo national park.

End your trip with a drive back to Kampala city where, if time allows you can engage in a city tour or drive straight to Entebbe and visit the reptile village before finagling the trip.

Kampala – Gulu – Kidepo Valley National Park and Back;

For those who fancy remote travels, this road trip is designed for you. Kidepo valley national park is the furthest safari park from Kampala and Entebbe International Airport. Though far from the city, Kideppo is gem in the northern Uganda you should try.

Kidepo is known to be the home to the largest family of African Buffaloes and the African Manyatas – local homesteads for the Karamajong people.

4 days Kidepo Wildlife Tour

The park offers an array of activities such as game viewing, mountain climbing, cultural experience and birdwatching. After the adventures, you can return to Kampala using the Gulu – Kampala route or utilizing the eastern route (Pian Upe – Sipi).

Best 4×4 Cars for Self-Drive Uganda Safaris:

  • Toyota Prado TX with Pop up roof, for budget and moderate explorations.
  • Land Cruiser V8/VX, ideal for luxury travelers, good for all terrains.
  • Land Cruiser 70 Series, for long term car rental, off-road and camping.
  • Land Cruiser GX Manual, ideal for off-road and camping.
  • Toyota HiAce (Drone), for family or group of not more than 14pax.
  • Super Custom Van, ideal for a small group of travelers (5pax).
  • Toyota RAV4, best car for budget travelers for both off-road and city tours.

All Uganda safari tours

FAQs about Self-Drive Uganda Safaris;

  1. Is it safe to self-drive in Uganda? Self-driving in Uganda is safe, but comes with challenges especially for the first time travelers. It’s recommended to research routes, use a reliable GPS, and drive during daylight hours. Following local driving norms and using caution enhances safety.
  2. Is it easy to drive in Uganda? Driving conditions can vary. While major routes are generally well-maintained, rural roads might be rough. Navigation can be tricky and local driving habits may vary.
  3. Can a foreigner drive in Uganda? Yes, foreigners can drive in Uganda. An international driver’s license is usually required or a valid driving license from your home country.
  4. Do you need an international driver’s license in Uganda? Yes, typically, an international driver’s license is required to drive in Uganda. It serves as a translation of your home country’s driving license. Ensure you have both your national license and an international one before driving.

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