Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19





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  1. #1

    Default Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Hi all!

    After Botswana last April it's now time to head towards 'The Pearl of Africa'. I've already read tons of information on this forum, especially Wazungu Wawili and of course Stan Weakley helped me enormously planning the current itinerary.

    I will post the plans here and hope you can help me out a bit, tips on the road, shopping, gate entries, camp sites etc.

    The current itinerary is:

    Day 1: Airport - Moroto/Kidepo
    Day 2: Kidepo NP: Kakine
    Day 3: Kidepo NP: Kakine
    Day 4: Kidepo NP: Kakine
    Day 5: Kidepo NP: Kakine
    Gulu Market? (ok for groceries?)
    Day 6: MFNP: Northern Bank Public Campsite #1
    Day 7: MFNP: Northern Bank Public Campsite #1
    Day 8: MFNP: Northern Bank Public Campsite #1
    Day 9: MFNP: Northern Bank Public Campsite #1
    shopping: Andrews & Brothers
    Day 10: Kibale NP:Kanyanchu River Camp
    CHEX: Chimp habituation full day
    Day 11: Nkuruba Community Campsite
    Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary
    Day 12: QENP: Ishasha Bandas (try find the tree climbing lions)
    Day 13: QENP: Ishasha Bandas
    Day 14: QENP: Ishasha Bandas
    (Fit in Kalinzu Forest on the road?)
    Shopping Kabale?
    Day 15: Bwindi NP: ? (depends on family?)
    GORILLA TREK!
    Day 16: Bwindi NP: ? (depends on family?)
    Day 17: head towards Entebbe (will find a campsite when we get bored of driving)

    Hope you can help me out a bit, also game drive loop tips etc etc.

    Btw: as you noticed, we're camping and 'on a budget'

    Have a great day!
    - Stefan
    Last edited by DutchieGoingAfrica; 2018/11/24 at 09:52 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Stefan

    A great trip you are planning to the wonderful Uganda. I have a few comments.

    Day 1: It will not be possible to get from Entebbe airport, through Kampala’s ferocious traffic to Moroto in one day. If you get as far as Jinja, you will be doing well. I would plan to stop and camp at the wonderful Haven on the West Bank of the Nile just north of Jinja. You will then see the other wonder of Uganda which is where the mighty Nile leaves Lake Victoria.

    I also think that even Jinja to Moroto is a seriously long day if you were planning on going up that road past Sipi Falls, Pian Upe, and through Karamoja.

    You could take take a day or so off your stay in Kidepo - even though it is one of the most beautiful parks in Africa.

    Day 6: This is also a long way from Kidepo to Murchison Falls NP, but I think it is probably do-able with an early start. You will be able to get provisions in every Ugandan town and market.

    Day 10: This is another seriously long day and I am not sure that it is possible to go from Murchison Falls north bank to Fort Portal in daylight hours. We did the south side of Murchison Falls NP to Fort Portal in two more relaxed days. The road isn’t (certainly wasn’t) great and a recent report I read said that the road is still not great. Beautiful though.

    Andrews Supermarket is in Fort Portal and there is also a wonderful market.

    Day 17: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to Entebbe is, again, a long way. I think it would be best if you planned exactly where you were going to camp/stay before hand. You don’t have to book, but a plan in mind would be best. Uganda is densely populated and campsites are few and far between. A good place to stop and camp would be Lake Mburo.

    I hope this is helpful. You could do a search in the East African section of this forum for our trip reports - one to Kidepo, and a longer one which included Murchison Falls NP, Fort Portal, Kibale, Semuliki NP, QENP, and Bwindi.

    Safari njema!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Stefan

    A great trip you are planning to the wonderful Uganda. I have a few comments.

    Day 1: It will not be possible to get from Entebbe airport, through Kampala’s ferocious traffic to Moroto in one day. If you get as far as Jinja, you will be doing well. I would plan to stop and camp at the wonderful Haven on the West Bank of the Nile just north of Jinja. You will then see the other wonder of Uganda which is where the mighty Nile leaves Lake Victoria.

    I also think that even Jinja to Moroto is a seriously long day if you were planning on going up that road past Sipi Falls, Pian Upe, and through Karamoja.

    You could take take a day or so off your stay in Kidepo - even though it is one of the most beautiful parks in Africa.

    Thanks, good tip! We actually want to go towards Kidepo asap my findings were that trough Moroto would be the quickest route. Might kill a day in MFNP instead of Kidepo.

    Day 6: This is also a long way from Kidepo to Murchison Falls NP, but I think it is probably do-able with an early start. You will be able to get provisions in every Ugandan town and market.

    Good, we are with 3 guys so we can all drive and go as efficient as possible, although we have to enjoy as well of course!

    Day 10: This is another seriously long day and I am not sure that it is possible to go from Murchison Falls north bank to Fort Portal in daylight hours. We did the south side of Murchison Falls NP to Fort Portal in two more relaxed days. The road isn’t (certainly wasn’t) great and a recent report I read said that the road is still not great. Beautiful though.

    Let's make the 4th night in MFNP Red Chili or maybe Budongo a good alternative? Tips?

    Andrews Supermarket is in Fort Portal and there is also a wonderful market.

    Day 17: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to Entebbe is, again, a long way. I think it would be best if you planned exactly where you were going to camp/stay before hand. You don’t have to book, but a plan in mind would be best. Uganda is densely populated and campsites are few and far between. A good place to stop and camp would be Lake Mburo.

    Will check it out! Any tips? Rwonyo?
    For every day we will try and reach it and otherwise have alternatives in mind.


    I hope this is helpful. You could do a search in the East African section of this forum for our trip reports - one to Kidepo, and a longer one which included Murchison Falls NP, Fort Portal, Kibale, Semuliki NP, QENP, and Bwindi.

    Awesome, will check them out!

    Anyone recommendations on gorilla treks? Specific region?
    And tips regarding chimp treks in Bodungo/Kalinzu? (Kibale will be CHEX)

    Last one for now: Kanyanchu River Camp still available? Can't find much on google...

    THANKS A LOT!!!!!!!!!!!


    Safari njema!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Stefan

    If you want to get to Kidepo NP as quickly as possible, the route through Moroto is definitely not the quickest or the easiest. Up through Karamoja is the road less travelled. What map are you using? My advice would be Jinja-Mbale-Soroti-Lira-Kitgum-Kidepo NP. We have driven from Mbale to Kidepo NP on that route and some of it was good tar. It took us about 7 hours from Kumi to Kitgum (where we stopped for the night) and then another 4 or so hours from Kitgum to Kidepo NP. We also don’t “hang about”.

    As far as gorilla treks are concerned, it depends on which family you get the permits for. You will need to book them well in advance.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Stefan

    If you want to get to Kidepo NP as quickly as possible, the route through Moroto is definitely not the quickest or the easiest. Up through Karamoja is the road less travelled. What map are you using? My advice would be Jinja-Mbale-Soroti-Lira-Kitgum-Kidepo NP. We have driven from Mbale to Kidepo NP on that route and some of it was good tar. It took us about 7 hours from Kumi to Kitgum (where we stopped for the night) and then another 4 or so hours from Kitgum to Kidepo NP. We also don’t “hang about”.

    As far as gorilla treks are concerned, it depends on which family you get the permits for. You will need to book them well in advance.
    I've checked Maps.Me on the phone and checked Google Maps (time wise really bad).
    I've just bin checking out some alternatives in the southern part of MFNP, Busingiro Lodge or camping at 'Masinda hotel' (THANKS MR WEAKLEY) Than we are way closer to Fort Portal already.

    Btw, the departure day we will fly at 03:00 so we have all day to get back to Entebbe. When we enter Uganda it will also be midnight so I'm trying to get the car close to the airport so we can make most of the daylight.

    We will leave for Uganda on the 26th of September.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Hi Stephen,

    I also think you are underestimating driving times for some of your legs, as WW has already pointed out. We are returning to Uganda in a month and a half, will be in country for 15 days and are only covering the eastern part of your itinerary (Murchison Falls - Kidepo - Sipi Falls - Jinja). Will let you know our experiences when we return.

    But for your plans, to cover all that, it will not be enough to cut a day from MFNP, imho you will have to shorten your stay in Kidepo for a day as well, to have enough time for your transfers between the parks. I would also reconsider your three nights stay in Isahasha sector of QENP. It is a fantastic part of the QENP, but relatively small, so one full day is more than enough to cover all the game drives there. I would rather spend one full day in Mweya part of QENP instead, for a totally different impression of that park. And don't miss boat ride on Kazinga chanel while you are there.

    Happy planning!
    24 hours in a day.... 24 beer in a case.... Coincidence?
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    My blog: Our African Ramblings (https://safaribug.wordpress.com/)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Dutchie, this now looks very similar to our first trip in Uganda, with the addition of Kidepo in your itinerary. You can read about our trip here: https://safaribug.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/uganda-2015/

    I think you now have very balanced itinerary. Regarding gorillas, I don't think it is that important from which gorilla centre you do the tracking. It's usually based on what gorilla permits you are able to get at the time of your enquiry. We wanted to go from Buhoma, but were only able to get Ruhija. In Buhoma, there are wider range of lodging available and also the largest number of habituated gorilla families there, but it seems that most of the tourists want to do it from there, so the permits seem to run out faster there. Don't wait too long with your gorilla permits - we were enquiring for ours 6 months in advance, but were too late for Buhoma. But our gorilla experience from Ruhija was fabulous (and not very demanding physicaly), that's why I said it's not that important where you start your gorilla trek.
    24 hours in a day.... 24 beer in a case.... Coincidence?
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Stefan, I cannot improve on the excellent advice from Wazungu and Ortelius. Your trip looks good. Apologies for my slow reply but have been up the coast for a few days. The roads in Uganda are far better than those (off the beaten track) in Botswana.

    To ensure that you do not end up driving after nightfall, make an early morning start so that you have daylight hours to spare in case of any mishaps.
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    everybody tx a lot for the info given!! again much appreciated

    Dutchie Plse inform me of the carrentalcompany you are using, will need one someday

  10. #10

    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Nyamsika Cliffs. Certainly not established campsite. Only wildcamping, which is a big no-no, especially being inside national park.

    From T4A Padkos site (https://tracks4africa.co.za/listings...sika-cliffs/):
    CAMPING ETIQUETTE: This is not an official campsite but was used by a traveller before. Please ensure that you ask permission where applicable to use this site.
    24 hours in a day.... 24 beer in a case.... Coincidence?
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    My blog: Our African Ramblings (https://safaribug.wordpress.com/)

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Dutchie, thank you for this trip report. I'm enjoying it very much. And whow, three leopards, seen together, in Kidepo!? Whow!

    Funny enough, you were saying elephants are scarce in Kidepo. We've seen huge herds of them there, in their hundreds even, on every game drive. But of course, we haven't seen a single leopard. This is just to prove that every visit to the same park is different. And that is the sheer beauty of trips to Africa - they never cease to amaze!
    24 hours in a day.... 24 beer in a case.... Coincidence?
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    My blog: Our African Ramblings (https://safaribug.wordpress.com/)

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Amazing thanks three leopards together!!! I have been to Kidepo what an experience. Will make a plan to go back.

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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Would exchange luggage for three leopards any time...
    Thanks for sharing this amazing trip!

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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Wow! Three leopards! What a thrill for you.

    Our abiding memory of the beautiful Kidepo is also of huge herds of elephant - and the famous huge herds of buffalo.

    Thank you for this excellent report.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Day 6 – Kidepo Valley NP – Kidepo Savannah Lodge

    Last night was the first night the lions were quiet, did they move out of the area? Also, we heard that the lions which we heard really close around Savannah Lodge were actually on the veranda of the ranger post at the gate. So they were inside doors locked with some lions roaring all night, too funny! The plan was to sleep at Nagusokopire but heavy rains in the afternoon literally washed those plans away. So last day in Kidepo, after those 3 leopards, what can you wish for? So we picked up Gilbert for the last game drive together and headed towards the waterhole again. You pass straight through Nagusokopire campsite. The campsite itself is surrounded by big rocks, an open rondavel and some ablutions with probably no running water. Great location, so if you are ever traveling to Kidepo. I suggest you try both Kakine and Nagusokopire! Well back to the game drive. We end up at the waterhole, no leopards nor lions, too bad. So we headed back. Meanwhile I got a text from an Aussie couple which we exchanged numbers with that there was a couple of lions at Nagusokopire. We were already en-route so all good. We found out we missed an exit and were taking a long detour around the area but in the direction of Nagusokopire. Well, it is lions we’re talking about, they’re probably there until the late afternoon. So we took the detour and I was looking at this weird big thing. Too big for a warthog, too low for a buffalo calf…..Lion! It was a big male but it was looking down so at first we only saw it’s back. So pretty cool sighting. After enjoying this big boy we turned around and headed towards Nagusokopire Campsite. And yes, the couple was still there. Enjoying the sunshine on the rocks of the campsite. Probably a good to choice to sleep at the lodge after all haha. The festival tents vs curious lions would be very interesting at least. Pretty cool to watch them with the amazing views of Kidepo in the background. Around 11 we drove Gilbert back to UWA Apoka HQ and got a nice meal at the HQ. There’s a lot of bandas, a reception and a small restaurant. For the restaurant you have to order in advance. They served us a great beef stew with rice. 10/10 would recommend. After saying goodbye to our new friend Gilbert we moved back to Kidepo Savannah Lodge, chilled for a while and did one final game drive. Just general game but one ‘special’. There was a buffalo that had a snare around his horns which was already grown into his horns and skull. So it was part of him now. He looked ok and was really relaxed. You would expect him to be dangerous and they are culling these animals sometimes just to avoid any dangers.
    Conclusion; Kidepo Valley NP is an absolute treasure. Amazing views, great sightings (I think it’s hard to miss the lions if you stay around 3-4 days since they spend a lot of time on the rocks) and great people (all the rangers were too nice and also Kidepo Savannah Lodge has great, great staff.)
    Kidepo Valley NP – 10!
    Kakine Campsite; great overview, nicely located on a hill. Ablutions didn’t work, but personally I don’t care. 10/10
    Nagusokopire Campsite; great location amidst a lot of rocks. Possible hideout for lions so can save a lot of fuel looking for them. 10/10
    Kidepo Savannah Lodge – 10! Great food, amazing view from rooms and restaurant and the most friendly staff you can wish for.
    Day 7 – Kidepo Savannah Lodge - Fort Murchison – 0700 / 15:30h 8,5h (2 stops)

    The final sunrise in Kidepo was magical and it was time to say goodbye to this beautiful place. We left around 0700 for Fort Murchison, a lodge located on the shores of the Nile just 10-15 minutes driving from Tanghi Gate (Northern Murchison Falls NP). En-route to Kitgum, the road was ok, even after heavy rains. Between Karenga town and the park gates, they were improving the roads to get it even more accessible. (adding drainage etc.) It took us 3h and 30 minutes to get to Kitgum. We got some money at the bank (you can use Barclays, Stanbic but also others will probably work), filled up the tank at Shell Kitgum and moved towards Fort Murchison near the town of Pakwach. The Aussies also headed to Fort Murchison and they left just before us. We drove from Kitgum straight through Gulu. In the meantime, we passed the Aussies before Gulu. Mrs. Muzungu had no problems with the annoying low speed bumps but the Extended Land Cruiser they used was thinking differently about it. After Gulu according to Maps.Me there was a shortcut. And guess who took it? Yep, we did! A nice sandy route straight through the fields, plantations, and other no man’s land. It was bumpy, sometimes wet and narrow but we made it. From there we had a tar road and we made it to Fort Murchison around 15:30. Guess who was already there? The Aussies of course. They didn’t use the detour (local driver knows best ) and they were already chilling by the pool while we arrived thinking we had the quickest route. Well, we didn’t but it was a nice adventure with a lot of waving, smiling and shouting hellos to the local kids. After a dip in the pool, we met up with our friend Billy from Selfdrive Uganda. He brought our luggage which we were so happy to see. He could probably smell us because he found us at the pool instead of the restaurant. So nice of him to bring it. Fort Murchison is also a part of NatureLodges and has the same meal plan like Kidepo. Also great food and nice staff. They offer rooms and tents. We slept like babies after the long tour and with fresh clothes we were ready for Murchison Falls NP!

    PS: I will add photos of the lions at Nagusokopire and the snared buffalo later!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Thank you for this terrific further instalment on your adventures in Uganda. What luck you had with lions in Kidepo.

    Hallelujah! You were reunited with your luggage.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Great read and adventure to match. Keep it coming! Thank you again for the report.

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