Safari Guide

Camping Around Uganda: Best National Parks to Visit

Camping is when people decide to leave town to spend time living in the outdoors and sleeping in tents. Some people choose to go camping since this is an affordable option and others have a zeal for it. Those looking to experience the most on a budget, Uganda’s National Parks and reserves offer one of the cheapest and easiest ways to connect with nature. It’s not for the faint of heart, but bush camping can leave you with memories that last a lifetime.

Essentials of Camping

Fire is so essential in camping because it makes bush camping safe to people carrying out camping reason being that animals are instinctively afraid of fire. Animals know that fire is death and destruction so they will avoid coming near it. Therefore set up camp during the day and arrange the fire pit so that it will be ready by night time. If an animal approaches you or you hear anything, be calm and back away slowly. Seek shelter in your car or another closed structure.

Camping in national parks is so exciting but do not forget and start moving anywhere you feel like going. Wild animals cannot read signs that show the campsite and are more likely to wonder through both day and night. Make sure you look round constantly and be aware of what is around you. At night make sure you have a sufficient flashlight and extra batteries so that you can check what is around you before moving very far from the vehicle.

Best Places Where to Go Camping

There are many camping grounds all over the country catering for all levels of adventure. Some are privately owned and others owned by the Uganda Wildlife Authority within the National parks and game reserves. Camping facilities vary in amenities so it better to first inquire and get to know what you are supposed to pack.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority offers bush camping inside Murchison Falls National Park on the Nile Delta. Here, you need to bring everything since you are in the bush including all the water you need a shovel for a bush toilet. The sun sets over the delta are so incredible and are followed by a star filled sky and plenty of animal noises. Camping at delta makes you get close to nature as you are in the middle of the Park.

At Murchison River lodge, the campsite is a large flat area with plenty of shade, a couple of camp kitchens, running water, a very spacious shower and a toilet block. Meals and drinks are available since the camp is part of the lodge.

There is Mweya Peninsular campsite located in the northern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is a large open campsite that is so active with wildlife. For those people who want to sit in one place to enjoy camp experiences, you will not be disappointed with the wildlife that passes through this site. Flushing toilets, cold shower water and fire wood are provided at this camp site.

There are other campsites like the Haven found in Jinja, Ishasha River campsite owned by the Uganda Wildlife Authority in Queen Elizabeth National Park are really good places for camping where interesting and unique creatures will keep you entertained for hours. Camping costs will vary by location but rarely exceed 15,000 UGX a night. If you are at a campsite that requires an armed guard, the cost for the guard’s time (they will spend the night at the campsite with you) is around 100,000 UGX.

It is too bad to arrive at the campsite to find a mess being left behind by previous campers. It is better to make use of trash cans positively if you don’t have any, pack out your garbage than leaving it there. When camping near other people, try to be respectful of their space and control your noise levels.

Besides your camping essentials, there are some things you shouldn’t leave home without. Bring what you think will make you comfortable during your safari. For example, plenty of drinking water, toilet paper, mosquito repellent and binoculars.

Are you a foreign tourist looking to going camping in Uganda’s national parks? You can arrange a great camping experience if you hire a car in Uganda from one of the local car rental agencies. The car hire agency will take care of the essentials that you need for your trip. There are also modern car rentals with rooftop tents that you can use for an amazing bush experience.

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Getting Ready for a Safari in Uganda

With Kenya in the East, DR Congo in the West, South Sudan in the North, Rwanda in the south west and Tanzania in the South, Uganda is hard to omit from a remarkable wildlife safaris. It captivates visitors with its abundant draws, favorable conditions, yummy cuisine and hospitable locals.

Thousands of travelers enjoy the drives from Entebbe airport up to any point of interest in the country per year. One may wish to be part of the list, but not sure of how to make it, below is the highlight.

Inquire about the offered Safaris;

A Safari without a plan or ones interest is hardly successful. Therefore it is better you first know what your interest is. Later you are free to inquire or search about the major Safaris offered in Uganda, with this you are able to choose what best suits you. Several tour operators offer a wide range of Safaris like primate safaris, Gorilla, cultural tours, adventure tours and big game safaris.

Where to go in Uganda; Uganda has a plethora of exciting places to see while on a Safari, check out some of these below;

National Parks. One of the must-sees in Uganda are its incredible National Parks. These protected areas are ten in number and scattered in different regions of the country.

Situated in the South western part of Uganda are the two Parks (Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park) that provide lush habitats to the species of Mountain Gorillas. If a reason alone for your Uganda trip are the Gorillas, then you have to visit one of these two protected areas. Of the two, Bwindi dominates with the highest number of habituated Gorilla groups that are trekked in its four sectors (Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija and Nkuringo sector). For a blend of Gorilla and Golden monkey encounters, Mgahinga is the best.

Next on the list is Queen Elizabeth National Park, this stunning protected area in south western Uganda has all that can delight a Wildlife addict. Some of the activities you engage in are game drives, chimpanzee tracking, boat cruise and nature walks.

Don’t miss to check out Murchison Falls National Park. Tucked in the north western part of Uganda, this conserved area is the largest in Uganda and delights travelers with its engaging Wildlife.

Kibale Forest National Park is another spot on the list. It is geographically located in the western part of Uganda and provides habitat to over thirteen primate’s species including the chimps. No any other place in Uganda can offer great primate encounters than it does. Thousands of trippers step in the Park’s boundaries for Chimpanzee tracking sessions, Bigodi walk and bird watching.

Other unmentioned parks to reach for Wildlife include Kidepo in the north eastern part of the country, Lake Mburo National Park and Semliki Valley National Park.Mountain Elgon and Mountain Rwenzori National Park are also feasible for game viewing, but more accessed by those who are after active adventures like mountaineering.

Sanctuaries & Game reserves; Besides National Parks, Sanctuaries and game reserves are worth a visit while on a Uganda Safari. Uganda has only two Sanctuaries (Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary) and over fifteen game reserves. Some of the most prominent reserves are; Budongo forest, Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve and Kalinzu forest reserve. These Sanctuaries & Game reserves offer wildlife, chimpanzees and different bird species.

What to see; you have a lot to see while on a Safari in Uganda, but what limits is the time reserved for your travel. Most visitors to Uganda because of the mountain gorillas. They combine this safari with Chimpanzees Wildlife, culture, culinary adventures and local life encounters. Uganda’s Wildlife is diverse and includes the unique species that are not found in any other African destination. The list consists of Wild animals such as Elephants, Buffaloes, Lions, Zebras, Giraffes, Antelopes, Bush bucks, Heartbeats and more, Primates like Chimpanzees, Golden monkeys, Colobus monkeys, Vervets, Baboons and more. Reptiles, insects and multiple bird species adds to the list.

Apart from Gorillas, chimpanzees and Wildlife, other things to see in Uganda are picturesque landscapes, terraced hills, towering volcanoes, culture, stunning cityscapes, local markets and local life encounters.

Know what is required for entry; for entry permission to Uganda, you must present three required documents (a valid passport, yellow fever vaccination card and tourist Visa). Failure to present one of these documents, you will be denied entry.

Know what is required for your Safari; there are a number of things required for your Safari in Uganda, mostly depending on activities you are to engage in. For a Gorilla trek, Chimp tracking or Mountain hiking, a couple of things need to be including on your safari packing list such as; strong hiking shoes, head shocks, gloves, capes, water proof bags and jackets, shocking and more. A packing lists are always shared by the tour planner / travel agency. A company like Escape To Africa, has customized packing lists suitable for each safari and visitors traveling with them.

Book for a Safari; After all that don’t hesitate to book a Safari in advance and wait for your travel dates. As it’s better to book a safari advance where you don’t run out of accommodation and activity permits for your safari

Pack, Seek medical advice & Board the Plane; Pack light to avoid frustrations during your travel. Before your departing date, see your doctor for medical advice and recommendation on the back up medicine.