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 Kampalaís 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 isnít (certainly wasnít) 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 donít 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 Kampalaís 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 isnít (certainly wasnít) 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 donít 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!

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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 donít ďhang aboutĒ.

    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 donít ďhang aboutĒ.

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

    Undoubtedly our Dutch friend is underestimating the driving distances and timings.

    Stefan: you need to get Tracks4Africa which is a dataset collected from travellers like us. Unlike Google maps and maps.me - which are made up from data from governments etc and show what roads are officially designated. The fact that some officially designated roads might now be little more than motorbike or bicycle tracks does not stop them from being designated as A, B or C roads and google takes the timings from presuming that an A road is similar to those found in Western countries. All I can say is OMG...

    T4A shows tracks and roads that have been driven in recent memory by people like us, and, with the assistance of Garmin basecamp, will give you more realistic timings.

    However, with all that said above, T4A is a South African company and therefore their data is better in the southern African countries. But we (and others) have sent our East African GPS tracks to T4A and all the routes you are asking about are in the Ugandan T4A dataset as we (and others) have put them on T4A.

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  9. #9

    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Thanks for all the extremely useful information! After I watched the TopGear episode about Uganda it already learned me something about the roads in Uganda. Botswana seems like a piece of cake compared to that haha.

    New itinireray setup:

    Day 1: Karuma/Gulu depends on time which one we can make. (Entebbe - Karuma - Gulu - Kitgum - Kidepo)
    Day 2: Kidepo NP: Kakine (Karuma/Gulu/Kitgum/Kidepo)
    Day 3: Kidepo NP: Kakine
    Day 4: Kidepo NP: Kakine
    Day 5: Gulu/Karuma
    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: Masindi Hotel/Campsite / Busingiro Lodge Campsite Boomu Women's Group Day
    Day 10: Kibale NP: Kanyanchu River Camp / Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse
    Day 11: Nkuruba Community Campsite
    Day 12: QENP: Mweya Campsite
    Day 13: QENP: Mweya / Ishasha Bandas
    Day 14: QENP: Ishasha Bandas
    Day 15: Bwindi NP
    Day 16: Bwindi NP
    Day 17: Lake Mburo / Masaka Backpackers & Campsite
    Day 18: Entebbe Airport (Flight at 03:00 so full day to get there)


    Day 1: good way to get to Kidepo? Got it from UWA doesn't take the harder East side..

    Day 9
    Modified the days in MFNP & QENP as well, so maybe 2 nights in Mweya and 1 in Ishasha (depends on the sightings, we would love to see the tree climbing lions). Slowdonkey made it easily in 5 hours from Ruhija Bwindi to QENP so the other way around in a full day would be good.

    Also didn't note before that we have a 18th day which we can travel fully.
    So we have 2 full days to get from Bwindi back to Entebbe. (sorry for the confusion)

    Before I ever read about Kidepo I had an itinerary going from Kampala -> Mburo -> Bunyonyi -> Mutanda -> Bwindi-> Kibale -> QENP -> MFNP - Kampala. But reading about that, what it seems magical park called Kidepo NP changed the whole plan.
    I understand there's a big difference in scenery but I think our whole party agrees we can't miss out on Kidepo.

    I will also get my hands on T4A. I used it before in Bots and worked great indeed. Especially the planning in BaseCamp was really useful.
    Last edited by DutchieGoingAfrica; 2018/11/25 at 02:48 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    That looks much better, Stefan.

    The main roads in Uganda are quite good really, but oneís average speed is low. I think you ought to be able to get to Karuma from Entebbe in a day so long as you donít get snarled up in Kampalaís fearsome traffic jams. We drove from Entebbe to the northern bank campsite in Murchison Falls NP in a day and got to the ferry over the Nile about 1600.

    Of course, the Top Gear team find the worst possible tracks in order to make over-the-top TV footage! I know for sure that when they filmed near Fort Portal that the team all stayed in the top of the range hotel there. There also was no need whatsoever to built a raft as there are bridges over those rivers!

    For QENP Mweya section, camp at the special campsite overlooking the Kazinga Channel. No facilities and effectively wild camping, but much nicer than the rather dismal looking public campsite near the park HQ at Mweya. Also, take the road through the craters - really beautiful - so long as the park authorities arenít doing controlled burning in that area (we drove through a wall of fire which was a bit alarming).

  11. #11

    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    =)

    Anyone familiar with Aruu Falls Campsite? Or something else in the vicinity of Gulu/Karuma?

    Recommendations for any specific gorilla area in Bwindi? Ruhija?

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    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    The Bwindi Park HQ is at Buhoma. Please see this excellent brochure from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. It explains where the gorilla groups are located. I think you will have a great time whichever area you decide on/are able to get permits for.

    http://ugandawildlife.org/download/c...indi-cc-2018-2

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

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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

  16. #16

    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19


  17. #17
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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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  18. #18

    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Thanks Ortelius. I also asked my friend where he found it, he said people asked permission from UWA and got accompanied by a ranger to camp there. Any reccomendations on epic campspots at north side of MFNP (deeper the delta the better) and Ishasha? (thinking about UWA sites now)
    Last edited by DutchieGoingAfrica; 2019/02/11 at 12:27 AM.

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

    There is only one public campsite north of the Nile in Murchison Falls NP. However, there are special campsites north of the Nile - predominately in the Delta area - which require a ranger overnight. Ask when you arrive at the gate or at the ferry crossing at Paraa. Special campsites cost more and are just pieces of Africa where camping is allowed and official.

    The Delta area is where you want to be (the bit between the Victoria Nile, Lake Albert and where the White Nile flows out of Lake Albert). That is where the game is concentrated, and also where there is an extensive network of game viewing tracks which all have British royal names. This area is also easily reached from the public campsite (where ortelius camped and where we have camped in the past).

    There is no need to book campsites in Ugandan National Parks.

    At Ishasha in Queen Elizabeth National Park there are two public campsites - called, inevitably, No 1 and No 2. They are near each other and you can make your own choice when you arrive. Both are on the Ishasha River with the DRC on the opposite bank.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Uganda Selfdrive Trip '19

    Iím flying to Uganda tomorrow!

    So excited for this adventure!!!!

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