20 Days Self Drive Uganda Safari, Gorilla & Rwenzori Hike

20 Days Self Drive Uganda Safari: Self-drive through Uganda with this 20 days Self-drive Uganda Safari that includes Rwenzori Mountaineering, Gorilla trekking, Chimpanzee tracking & Wildlife experience.

Self-drive through Uganda with this 20-day self-drive Uganda safari that includes Rwenzori Mountaineering, Gorilla trekking, Chimpanzee tracking, Wildlife safaris and White Water Rafting in Jinja. The safari will take you to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwenzori Mountain National Park, Kibale forest national Park, Semiluki national park, Lake Mburo National Park and Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, not forgetting Jinja for Rafting.


Detailed Itinerary For 20 Days  Self drive Uganda Safari

Day 1: Arrival (Kampala)-City tour

On arrival, you will pick up your car at the airport, you will be briefed about your trip as well as the rental rules and regulations. You can drive around Kampala for a city tour to reach tourist attractions ranging from Cultural, religious, historical and commercial attractions. You will drive to Kabaka;’s palace, then proceed to kabaka’s lake, and Kasumi’s tombs-where kabakas are buried. To visit the religious sector you have the Bahai temple, Namirembe Cathedral, Rubaga Catholic Cathedral and Naumgongo Martyrs shrine. However, you can also visit the only Museum in Uganda located along Kiira road,(The Uganda Museum). Return to your favourite hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 2:Kampala to Bwindi national park

You will drive to Bwindi Impenetrable national park, after breakfast which is found in the southwestern part of Uganda. Along the way, you will have a top over at the equator for photography and also visit the crafts shop to purchase some crafts and souvenirs, then proceed to Mbarara, where you will stop over for a lunch break. Embark on your drive to Bwindi National Park where you will arrive in the late afternoon or evening. You will check-in, relax, have dinner and overnight.

Accommodation options: Buhoma Lodge, Silverback Lodge, Buhoma Community Rest Campgrounds

Day 3: Mountain Gorilla trekking

4x4 self drive uganda safarisDrive to the park headquarters, after early morning breakfast,  and reach early before  8:00 am for the morning briefing. The guides/ranger will take you through the rules and regulations of gorilla trekking and the park as well.  The rangers will then guide you through the forest in search of mountain gorillas. It is not easy to predict the amount of time spent while searching for the gorillas because it is based on the group, the location of these gentle giants and the distance at which they might have moved. Therefore you are advised to carry enough water and snacks. On your encounter, you will be granted an hour to stay in the presence of the gorillas.

On sighting the gorillas, the ranger guides will tell you what to do and how to behave while near the gorillas especially standing 6 meters away from them. After the trek, head back to your lodge for lunch and in the afternoon you could choose to unwind at the lodge or visit the Batwa community and have a great time watching them dance and sing through cultural performances.

After your lunch break,  you will drive to Queen Elizabeth national park through the Isasha route. The drive will last for 2-3 hours to the Isasha region famed for its tree-climbing lions, and you could be able to spot some of these famous tree-climbing lions, as well as other games including antelopes, and buffalos among others. Arrive and check in at your hotel, have dinner, and finally go to bed early, to get enough bed rest from the hectic day’s activity.

Day 5:Game Drive and Boat Cruise

Go for an early morning game drive, after your morning breakfast, so that you can catch up with the morning risers and possibly encounter the cats as they retire from their hunt. You will spot several wild games including Elephants, Lions, buffaloes antelopes, impalas, warthogs hyenas, and waterbucks. Leopards, hyenas, and mongoose Return to your lodge relax, have lunch, and set off for your afternoon boat cruise along the Kazinga channel, which may last 2-3 hours. You will come close to wild game including crocodiles, hippos among other aquatic life and many bird species. Return to the lodge, have dinner and an overnight

Day 6: Transfer to Rwenzori

Today you will have an early morning breakfast,  and drive to Rwenzori National Park, starting with your last time morning game drive, chances are high that you will catch up with morning risers again along your way including climbing lions, buffalos, warthogs, elephants, and different antelopes like waterbucks, kobs, and topi among others. You will then proceed to Nyakalengija. Check-in your lodge. Meal plans on full board.

Day 7:Nyakalengija (1600m)-Nyabitaba hut (2660m)

After breakfast at the camp, you will go to RMS headquarters where you will be briefed about the whole hike. Start the hike from Nyakalengija through the Bakonzo settlements to mount Rwenzori national park gate where you will be registered before entering the park. You will start the central circuit trail trek through the thick tropical with high elephant grass and dense bushes.

This forest is home to various animal species like forest elephants, chimpanzees, hyrax, black-and-white colobus, L’Hoest’s monkeys, duiker, and three-horned chameleon among many more.  Some of the bird species include; the Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Long-eared Owl, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Strange Weaver, Archers’ Robin-chat, Rwenzori Batis among many others as well as various tree and plant species. You will expect to see some of them.

It’s about 8km from Nyakalengija to Nyabitaba hut. Dinner and overnight at Nyabitaba hut.

Day8: Nyabitaba hut (2660m)-John Matte hut (3420m)

Have breakfast at the hut, you will move through thick shrubs and forest for about 30 minutes to the Kurt Shafer bright which is at the confluence of the Mubuku and Bujuku rivers. You will then move through the bamboo mixed with montane forests and slippery moss-covered rocks for a couple of hours. As you hike you will also expect to see various bird species that live in the forest. You will continue to move up to Nyamulejju rock shelter where the first hikers are used at times camp and also spend the night, you will have a stopover here for lunch. At this point, you will have a view of mount Stanley and mount Speke if the weather is clear. You will then continue to move through the alpine forest to John Matte’s hut where you will have dinner and spend the night. The hut is near river Bujuku and most hikers take a bath there, the water is so cold but so refreshing as well. You will also have a view of the Margherita glacier which is on mount Stanley between Alexandra and Margherita peaks.

Nyabitaba to John Matte is about 11km.

Day9: John Matte hut (3420)-Bujuku hut (3930m)

After breakfast at the hut, you will cross river Bujuku and move s through the forest to the lower big bog. This is a swampy area in a valley and is home to the giant lobelias. This area used to be the hardest part of the Rwenzori since the area is so boggy, jumping from one tussock to another was not so easy for most hikers more so for females. Currently, there is a walk board up to the end of the boggy area, making the walk much easier for trekkers. As you move you will expect to see giant lobelias, everlasting flowers and groundsels. You will then take a steep hike along a ridge which will lead you to the start of the upper big bog. There is also a boardwalk up to Lake Bujuku. After the boardwalk, you will try to move through the remaining small boggy area with no walk boards to Bujuku hut. At this point, you will have a view of Lake Bujuku, mount Speke, Mount Baker and mount Stanley. At this point, you can ascend mount Speke and mount Stanley.

The distance from john matte to Bujuku is about 5km. dinner and overnight at Bujuku.

Day10: Bujuku hut (3930m)-Elena hut (4563m)

Have breakfast at Bujuku hut then continue with the hike to Elena hut, which is a 5-7 hour hike. You will move through the sides of the upper Bigo bog. You will then hike through the steep slopes of Lake Bujuku. Elena’s hut is on the rocky part of Mount Stanley and the area is too cold. At this point, you are at the highest mountain of the Rwenzori and you will have a direct view of Mount Baker and Mount Speke. Sometimes it is hard to view these two mountains because they are covered by fog. Have dinner at Elena’s hut then spend the night.

Day 11: Elena hut (4563m) – Kitandara (3979m)

Rwenzori and primate adventureOn this day you will have to wake up as early as 2 am, Have breakfast at Elena hut then hike to the top of mount Stanley, Margherita peak, through the Stanley plateau and Margherita Glaciers. The guide will teach you how to use the equipment while on the ice. At the top, you will have a view of Irene Lake, mount Speke and the surrounding environment. Then descend to Elena Hut for Lunch and later proceed to descend to Kitandara through the Scott Elliot pass, which is the most beautiful point of the Rwenzori. Have dinner at Kitandara then spend the night. If the group is big, you might spend another night at Elena’s hut and continue the following day.

Day 12: Kitandara hut (3979m) – Guy Yeoman hut (3505m)

Have breakfast at Kitandara then move through the base of Mount Baker, which can be slippery so you will need to be so careful. From Kitandara, the trail ascends steeply up the headwall, spreading out from the base of Mount Baker and continuing along the south side of the Rwenzori Mountain to Fresh field pass. From the pass, the long muddy descent continues, passing the rock shelter at Bujangolo, the base camp for the historic expedition by the Duke of Abruzzi in 1906.

This will take you around 4-6 hours then reach Guy Yeoman hut which is located at the banks of river Mubuku, have dinner and spend the night.

Day 13: Guy Yeoman to Nyabitaba to Nyakalengija

From Guy Yeoman, you will descend to Nyabitaba through the bamboo forests. The path down can be slippery and muddy with little to hold on to and requires careful balancing over the vertical mud or steep rock. Dinner and overnight at Nyabitaba. It takes between 4-5 hours.

You will descend for about 3 hours to Nyakalengija, passing through the tropical forests where you will expect to spot the three-horned chameleon, black and white colobus monkeys, as well as bird species.

Day 14:Nyakalengija to semuliki

Leave Nyakalengije and drive to  Semuliki National park, after your morning breaks fast. Upon reach, check in at your hotel. Your meal plan on a full board basis and enough rest in preparation for the next day’s activity. It is always advised that you take enough rest after the Rwenzori hike before taking on an activity. You may opt for an afternoon game drive if you are still physically fit after spending 7 days in mountain Rwenzori.

Day 15:Scenic Drive and Sempaya Hot Springs

Semuliki National ParkAfter your early morning breakfast, head for your morning game drive, at Semuliki National park, one of the parks still treasured due to its existence of wildlife. The park features several wildlife including the most incredible forest and Savannah elephants, forest buffaloes, waterbucks, crocodiles, warthogs, and Uganda kobs. You can also spot leopards, pygmy hippos, and bush babies. Not only will you do the game drive but the hot springs as well. The dual Sempaya hot springs featuring the female and male hot springs of  ‘Nyasimbi’  and Bitende respectively stretch 12 meters apart. Both hot springs are considered powerful with their boiling points reaching up to 1000c. You can prove this by dipping an egg into the boiling water and it will get ready within the shortest time possible.

Day 16:Semuliki To Kibale(visit to Tooro kingdom)

After your early morning breakfast, you will drive to  Kibale National park passing through the king’s palace, called Tooro kingdom. You will have an en-route visit to the Kingdom to see the youngest king in the world, as well as learn more about the Kingdom’s history and culture. You will stop over for lunch and later proceed with your journey to Kibale forest national park, where you will check in at your hotel, for dinner and overnight.

Day 17:Chimp tracking

4x4 seld drive uganda chimp trekkingHead to the chimpanzee information centre for a briefing, after your morning breakfast.  Upon your reach, the rangers/guides will advise you about your chimp tracking preambles, after then they will lead your group in the forest in search of these gentle chimpanzees. The search schedule is unpredictable, but it may last for about 2-6 hours depending on how far the chimps may have moved, or the type of chimp family to be tracked. On your encounter, you will be allowed to spend at most an hour in their presence, as you watch them do their daily chores, such as feeding their young ones, and building nests, among others. The rangers will then lead you back to the base after your encounter so that you can catch up with other safari schedules.

Day 18:Kibale To Kampala to Jinja(jinja tour)

Have your morning breakfast, check out, and set off for Kampala at your freedom. You will have a lunch stop over in Fort Portal, then head to Kampala. Upon your reach, you will proceed to Jinja, with an en-route visit to sezibwa falls, a cultural site where cultural believers visit for spiritual wealth, proper health, and seeking blessings. Proceed to your favourite hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 19: Full-day rafting

4x4 self drive uganda white rafting in JinjaYou will join other rafters and guides with whom you enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with a delicious rafting breakfast. Since rafting is a physical activity, you should have enough breakfast.

You will be briefed and wear your rafting gear including a life jacket, and helmet before heading off down the river to the starting point. Upon reaching the river edge, you will be briefed about the safety measures when rafting and practical instruction will be conducted during the launch.

You will raft over five major rapids and a 6th rapid is surfed on river boards; all selected to maximise your safety and fun.

You will stop before all grade 4 and 5 rapids to explain to you the planned route through. If at any time you feel you would prefer to join the safety boat or where possible, walk around and then rejoin the raft, this is fine. Calm stretches of water separate the rapids – perfect for getting your breath back, taking a swim and enjoying the scenery.

At midday, you will be served with light lunch which includes delicious freshly made ‘build your sub lunch’. Shredded beef, chicken, cheese, avocado, tomato, hummus and pickles make up some of the fillings.  You will also have an opportunity to take a private walkway which allows easy access to and from the river with your river board. Alternatively, take a leap off the boat into clear warm water or just hang out and absorb the raw beauty of the Nile.

Finally, you will say goodbye to Super hole and head down the river for your final rapids of the day, the infamous Grade 5 ‘Bad Place’ and the mighty ‘Vengeance’. Cold beer, soda and snacks are a welcome reward as you pack up the gear for the drive back to  Kampala.

Day 20:Kampala  to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to the Airport

Ziwa White RhinosOn this day, you will leave Kampala at 7:00 am after your early morning breakfast. Head Northwards from Kampala to Gulu highway. You will drive through the Murchison fall route for about 3-4 hours, passing via homestead along the way, and different village settings. It is advisable to always travel early to catch up with the rhinos while they are still active in the search for their food than when it is hot because they keep hiding.

On your arrival, you will be briefed about the Rhino and s, and after then you will be led to the jungle to find the Rhinos. The guides/rangers will give you every detail about the rhinos as you head to the location where the rhinos are found. Upon direct encounter with the Rhinos, you will spend at most an hour in the presence of the rhinos and later return to the information centre.

In case you still have enough time, you can still indulge in other activities such as a canoe ride, which offers a chance to spot the shoebill, return for lunch and embark on a nature walk for another feel of nature.

After your day’s activity, you will drive back to Kampala, and transfer to Entebbe to catch up with your scheduled flight.

The End