Whether you’re visiting Uganda or East Africa for a few days or a few months, getting started with the planning is always hard. At Self Drive Uganda we try and give you ideas to help you plan your African self drive adventure.

Take a look at these inspirational insights for the East Africa including Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania to guide you on safari planning on self-drive adventure. Choose trips to suit your interests and how much time you have.Here are some insights:

Planning a significant visit to East Africa is complicated, no doubt about it. There are so many choices to make about when, where, and how long to visit because East Africa has such an astounding variety of natural, cultural, and primates to choose from. Nowhere else in the world will you find such a variety of must-see natural features clustered into such a small land area. It’s impossible to make one set of recommendations that will fit all travelers. Everyone is faced with similar “up-front” decisions like when to visit and how long to stay. Then you can get into the fun part of individualizing your own itinerary according to your personal travel desires.

If you have trouble planning your adventure, our specialists are always happy to assist you. Give us a shout and we’re ready to help you out.

NATIONAL PARKS

National parks of Uganda

Uganda counts 10 National Parks to visit: 

  • Rwenzori Mountains National Park 
  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park 
  • Kibale National Park 
  • Kidepo Valley National Park 
  • Lake Mburo National Park 
  • Mgahinga Gorilla National Park 
  • Mount Elgon National Park 
  • Muchison Falls National Park 
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park 
  • Semuliki National Park 
Park Fees

For the up to date park fee rates you can visit the site of the Uganda Wildlife Authority for more information. 

Activities

For every national park we made a page with info about activities and highlights. You can check it here.

ACCOMMODATION

Lodges

If you book with us, we can help you with your accommodations bookings free of charge! You can find a selection of the park’s accommodations here.

Water

Tap water is generally unsafe in East Africa. But around every corner you can buy bottled drinking water.

GORILLA & CHIMPANZEE PERMIT

How can I get the permits?

Self Drive Uganda is offering free Gorilla and Chimpanzee permit booking. Gorilla permits are on the basis of first come first serve. Availability of gorilla permits for a required date is not guaranteed. There is a lot of competition for the gorilla permits, which makes it hard to get one yourself. Any delay in confirmation and or payment may mean that you will be unable to obtain the permit on your preferred date. So pick your dates asap and let us know if we can help out!

Where to see the gorillas

There are two National Parks in Uganda where you can see the Mountain gorillas. These are:

-Bwindi Impenetrable Forrest 

-Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Where to see the chimpanzees

There are two National Parks in Uganda where you can see the Chimpanzees. These are:

-Kibale National Park 

-Queen Elizabeth National park 

 

Gardening gloves

One of the best tips for the gorilla trekking is to bring gardening gloves. The rainforest an be a little thorny. Before the trek they will also hand out walking sticks, which can be fairly useful to have.

Porters

UWA offers porters which can help you carrying your backpacks/cameras trough the Impenetrable Forest. You’re not only making it easier for yourself but also helping out the local community.

CAMPING

Campsites

The Uganda Wildlife Authority has public campsites in the majority of the National Parks. But also campsites are also offered by several lodges.

Camping gear

To see with which camp gear the car is outfitted, check out this page.

Bush camping

For those which the public campsites are not adventurous enough, UWA also offers bush camping. A UWA ranger accompanies you in the search for a special campsite in the middle of the bush. Enquiry at the gate or local UWA HQ for more information.

PACKING ESSENTIALS

Passport

This one is quite obvious, never forget this!

Visa

Without a visa you cannot enter Uganda. You can simply apply at the immigration desk at the airport (50USD/Shilling in cash) and make sure you have a Yellow Fever Vaccination. It’s also an option to apply online.

Proof of yellow fever vaccination

Without the proof of a yellow fever vaccination you are egible to apply for a visa.

Creditcard/money

A creditcard can be really useful to pay at fuel stations, lodges and restaurants. But consider taking enough shillings/dollars with you since not all places accept creditcards.

Sunblock + Insect repellant

Make sure to bring plenty of sunblock and insect repellant to minimize the risk of getting sunburned and receiving mosquito bites.

Medicine passport

A yellow fever vaccination is necessary for an entry visa. Make sure to bring proof of the vaccination with you.

CULTURAL

Language

English is widely spoken, especially in Kampala and by those working in tourism.

Of over 50 local languages, Luganda is most common. Swahili is also spoken by many people as a second language.

Children

Don’t hand out things to the kids along the
roads. We try to discourage handouts, it can encourage kids to skip school and start begging. Try and play and talk to them instead. If you wan’t to bring or hand out items, try and contact a local organisation to see what’s the best way to organize this.

LGBT community

Homosexual activity is illegal in Uganda and can result in arrest and imprisonment. Please be very discrete in public.

MONEY

Cash

The Ugandan Shilling is the local currency of Uganda. As Uganda is a cash based economy we advise to withdraw money from an ATM, almost every bigger town has an ATM, Stanbic Bank and Barclays are your most reliable banks accepting MasterCard, Maestro and Visa. We advise to bring some EURO’s or Dollars with you on your travel, you never know where you will need it for. It’s easy to change Dollars and EUROs to Ugandan Shillings at any Forex Bureau in the bigger towns. It’s also recommended to bring extra cards, as the daily uptake with a foreign card is limited at the ATMs.

Creditcard

Stanbic Bank and Barclays are your most reliable banks accepting MasterCard, Maestro and Visa.

VACCINATIONS

Recommended/required vaccinations

The yellow fever vaccine is currently required for travelers visiting Uganda or Rwanda due to yellow fever in neighboring countries. Please check with your gp or travel clinic which vaccinations you need. Anti malaria medication is also a necessity since malaria is present throughout Uganda.

CLIMATE

Best time to visit

Uganda is sunny most of the year with an average annual temperature of about 26 degrees Celsius (78° Fahrenheit). The temperatures rarely rise above 29 degrees (84° degrees Fahrenheit). Uganda has a rainy season from March till May and October till November. During November and December Uganda’s having a light rain season. December to February and June to August are the dry seasons.

PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEO

Photography

Uganda is a photographers heaven! Offering amazing landscapes, tremendous wildlife opportunities and it’s a birders paradise. Get up close and personal with one of the great apes or watch the tree climbing lions snoozing in a fig tree. Uganda has it. All.

Drones

Uganda is very strict about the use of drones. Especially in National Parks since poachers also tend to use them.  You have ask the authorities first for permission for the use of drones. Find more info about it here.

People photography

People are not keen to photographed without permission. We advise to have a chat first and ask if it’s allowed to make a picture.