If you asked me the best place that will definitely offer that unforgettable and rewarding experience, Uganda will come first without hesitating. This might be the reason as to why Winston Churchill in his 1908 book ‘My African Journey’ dubbed Uganda the “Pearl Of Africa” because of its beauty, abundant wildlife and diversity.
If you are looking for an affordable African destination with so much to offer, our iconic best 2 week itinerary for a self drive in Uganda will reward you with so much of Uganda’s culture, scenic views and abundant wildlife.
First and foremost, to go for a self drive in this east African country, you will need to rent a car from any trusted car rental agency depending on your budget and we will recommend hiring a bigger SUV like a Land Cruiser TX which is perfect to take you to take you anywhere within the country. Its important to book your accommodation, park permits you’re likely to visit, or you can request the company you will rent the car from, to help you with acquiring the necessary documents to ease your movement.
Also note that you have to purchase a local sim card to help you communicate easily with the car rental service provider incase you need help with the car or inquiring about a given destination
Our two-week self drive Uganda itinerary
This trip will start from Kampala which doubles as the capital city of the country where we will connect to the north western part of the country then drive close to the border of democratic Republic of Congo. Our 2-week self drive itinerary will majorly cover the north western, western and then back to the central- Kampala which is our starting point.
Let’s now get into it.
Day 1; Lake Victoria and Kampala
Upon your arrival the day prior to the trip, the car rental agency’s driver will pick you up from Entebbe International Airport to a nearby hotel where you will rest and prepare for an fun packed two-week self drive in Uganda. Before leaving you, the driver/guide will equip you with the necessary information concerning Uganda, the do’s and don’ts. While with him/her, you can ask any question regarding your safari and they will politely give you that information.
Our day one will start with exploring lake Victoria which is also situated in Entebbe, a few kilometres from Kampala. Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and when you head to its shores, you will be able to have a snack on fresh grilled fish, go for a short boat ride as you capture these memorable photos of you on the lake.
From here, you will drive to Old Kampala National Mosque where you will have iconic views of the city, its people, boda bodas- motorbikes and also you will be told about its unique background. You will then check out and proceed to the Uganda National Museum where you will be able to the country’s ancient pieces of art, culture and so much more. In the evening, you can go for a brief Kampala nightlife experience where you will witness how lively people are.
You will then head to a hotel in Kampala to rest and prepare for a Murchison Falls in the early morning hours of the next day.
Day 2; Drive from Kampala to Murchison Falls National Park – Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
After having breakfast from your hotel, you will embark on a journey to Uganda’s oldest and largest national park- Murchison Falls National Park using the Kampala- Masindi route then proceed with a stop over at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary which is the only place in Uganda where you will be able to spot the endangered species of Rhinos in their natural habitat.
From here, you will head out for lunch and later proceed to Murchison Falls National Park that is 1-2hrs away from Ziwa. Upon reaching, you will go for a hike to the top of the falls and get to see how the Nile River as it forces its way through a narrow gorge making a thunderous sound. Murchison Falls are also the most powerful in the world.
After here, you will head to your arranged accommodation option for dinner and then rest.
Day 3; Murchison Falls National Park
Wake up early in the morning excited for yet another rewarding fun-packed day. You will leave your lodge with packed breakfast for an early morning game drive to watch a number of wildlife species that reside within the park’s boundaries. Murchison is home to over 450 species of birds, over 75 mammal species that do include lions, leopards, hyenas, buffaloes, antelopes, elephants and so much more.
You will then head back to your lodge for lunch. After a few minutes of resting, you will then go for a 3hour afternoon boat cruise on the Nile River. This will introduce you to some wildlife on the shores of the river like buffaloes, Nile crocodile, antelopes, birds and more. As the boat sails upstream, you will be able to see the bottom of the Murchison falls and definitely you will need to capture the moment onto your camera.
You will then head back to your lodge for dinner and rest after a long day.
Day 4; Drive to Kibale National Park
You will need to wake up early in the morning as well, take breakfast and then embark on a journey to Kibale Forest National Park– home to over 13 primate species. A road trip to this part of the country will introduce you to the green rolling hills, beautiful scenic views and so much more. Upon reaching Fort Portal, you will have to stop over for lunch and then proceed to Kibale.
While here, check in at the hotel you booked and later go for an evening walk designed to freshen your mind after a long trip from Murchison. You will get a chance to interact with the local community and see how they associate with and live their lives.
Head back to your lodge for dinner and rest as well to prepare yourself for a fairly long day the next day.
Day 5; Chimpanzee tracking and a visit to Bigodi swamp
The highlight of your safari to Kibale Forest National Park is to see chimpanzee species right in their natural habitat. You will need to wake up early and head to the park head quarters where you will be briefed on the guidelines to follow during the tracking and close to the primates.
Upon spotting the chimpanzees, you will be allowed to take photos and allowed to be around them for an hour (unless if you are on a chimpanzee habituation experience). From here, you will be led back to the park headquarters by rangers or guides.
Head back to your lodge for a lunch break, a few minutes of resting and in the afternoon, you can go for a Bigodi swamp walk. Bigodi is home to over 200 bird species and the best place to do birding in Uganda. Some of the birds you will find here include; purple breasted sunbird, Abyssinia, the African pitta, collared apal, ground thrush and so much more. Other wildlife species that you will be able to see here do include; antelopes, wild pigs, mongooses, monkeys among others.
After this fun packed activity, you will head back to your to rest and prepare for the next day.
Day 6: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park, mid-morning game drive and boat cruise
You will have to wake up early in the morning, have breakfast and then drive towards Queen Elizabeth National Park. This park is the closest park to Kibale Forest National Park and the two are just 60km apart which will take you between 2-3 hours depending on the road conditions.
As you enter Queen Elizabeth in the mid-morning hours, you can proceed and do a game drive which will introduce you to some of the wildlife species like elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, leopards, lions, different species of birds and so much more.
After your game drive you can proceed to your lodge and check in, have lunch and rest for a few minutes as you prepare for an afternoon boat cruise on the Kazinga channel.
While on the boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, you will be able to see some animals like the crocodiles, the hippos, elephants and buffaloes along the shore line, different bird species, among others.
After the boat cruise, you will have to go back to your lodge for dinner and rest.
Day 7: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
You will wake up early, have breakfast as prepared by your lodge and drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park through the Ishasha sector of the park. It’s through this sector that you will be able to see the tree climbing lions and other wildlife species as they roam in the park.
Bwindi is located approximately 181Km away from Queen Elizabeth National Park and you can cover this distance in 4-5 hrs depending on the road conditions.
You will reach Bwindi in the afternoon, proceed to your lodge for lunch and we fully advise you to rest to prepare for the long day ahead. However, if you want you can go for a simple village walk where you will see different people and see how they relate to each other.
Best Cars for self drive in Uganda
Land Cruiser Prado TX/TZ
Land Cruiser V8
Day 8; Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Batwa community walk
You will need to wake up early in the morning and have breakfast. From here, you will drive to the park headquarters for briefing before you are led into the thick forest in search of man’s closest relative- mountain gorillas. After being briefed on the guidelines you need to follow during and close to the gorillas, a team of armed rangers and guides will group into 8 and lead you into the forest. During this activity you will also see other wildlife that reside within this park like species of birds, butterflies, insects and so much.
Upon seeing the mountain gorillas, you will be allowed to spend an hour taking photos and observing these species as they play and feed. For travelers on a gorilla habituation experience, you can spend more than an hour around the gorillas.
After an hour elapsing, you will be led back to the park headquarters where you will receive certification indicating that you did participate in gorilla trekking in Uganda.
From the park, you can drive back to your lodge to have lunch and rest and then after, you can embark on an evening walk to the Batwa community. The Batwa initially settled within the national park but following its establishment to conserve and protect gorillas, they were resettled in areas around the national park and introduced to farming.
Here you will get an opportunity to see their way of life, and also they will be able to entertain you with folk songs and traditional dance. After here you can proceed to your lodge for dinner and then rest.
Day 9; Transfer from Bwindi to Lake Mburo
You will wake up early in the morning, have breakfast, check out of your lodge and then drive to Lake Mburo National Park situated a few kilometers after Mbarara city. This journey to Uganda’s smallest park will take you between 7-8 hours and while on the road trip you, you will be able to have a look at the different beautiful scenic views of the hills and valleys, the ankole long horned cattle, plantations and more. You can as well stop by along the road side to buy agricultural produce like pineapple, other fruits or even a local snack.
Upon reaching Mbarara, you can stop by in the city and get yourself lunch before you arrive at Lake Mburo National Park.
Upon reaching Lake Mburo, check in to your lodge, rest before you go for an evening natural walk through specific trails in the park that will introduce you to different species of birds and other wildlife species.
You will then head back to your lodge for dinner and then rest.
Day 10; Morning game drive and an evening boat cruise
Lake Mburo might be among the smallest national parks in Uganda but it is rich with so much for you to do. On your 10th day, you will have to wake up early in the morning and go for a game drive where you will be able to wildlife species like the elands, zebras, African buffalo, giraffes, sitatunga, duiker oribi, Klipspringer among others.
You will then head back to your lodge for lunch and rest as you prepare for an evening boat cruise along Lake Mburo National Park where you will be able to see crocodiles, hippos and other wildlife species along the shoreline.
From here, you will head back to your lodge to have dinner and then rest as well.
Day 11; Transfer from Lake Mburo National Park to Jinja
After your early morning breakfast, check out of your lodge and drive towards Kampala. Along this route, you will as well get to enjoy the beautiful scenic views of the rolling hills and valleys. Once you reach Kayabwe, you can choose to stop by the equator sign and take those incredible photos.
You will then proceed to Jinja via Kampala and upon arriving in the evening, you will check in to your lodge, have dinner and rest so that you are fit for the next fun packed day.
Day 12: White water rafting and the source of R. Nile
After your breakfast, you will drive to the Nile River for white water rafting. Whether you are a first timer or usual traveler that does this activity, the experience here is un forgettable. To do this activity, you will be grouped depending on the category of white water rafting you prefer. The categories are grouped according to the difficulty of the route. Individuals who prefer the easier option, will be given an easier option.
You are advised before you go for this activity, to go with dry clothes and leave your valuable items in the car.
After this activity, you will drive back to your lodge for lunch and rest.
Day 13; Source of the Nile and bungee jumping
Jinja is also home to source of the longest river in Africa- River Nile and right after your breakfast, you will head to source to this river. From here, you can proceed and go for yet another rewarding activity – bungee jumping.
Bungee jumping is among the newly introduced activities and while it might be thrilling to do, it’s among the most rewarding activities you definitely have to participate in while in Uganda.
From here, you can drive back to your lodge for dinner and then rest.
Day 14; Transfer to Kampala
On the last day of your trip, right after breakfast you will drive back to Kampala or Entebbe and this will mark the end of your 14 day trip in Uganda.