The 10 National Parks of Uganda
Great news update!
The Ugandan Wildlife Authority UWA offers some big discounts up to March 31st, 2021:
Gorilla tracking permits will go for $400/per person (instead of $700/pp!).
Chimpanzee tracking permits will go for $150/per person (instead of $200/pp!).
Moreover, park permit fees are discounted with 50% up to the 31st of March
In this section, you find all practical information you need for your visit to the National Parks in Uganda.
Information about what to see and do in the Top 10 National Parks of Uganda can be found in the Roadtrip Uganda Destination Guide.
Covered in this Section
- Park entrance fees
- How to organize your game drive
- Camping in the bush
How much are the park fees in Uganda?
The park fees as of 2018, per person / 24 hours are as follows:
- USD 40 for non-residents
- USD 30 for foreign residents
- UGX 15,000 for East African Citizens (in case you go with a driver, that is the rate you will pay for him)
- Entrance fee for your roadtrip rental vehicle is UGX 30,000 per (multiple) day visit.
- Park fees for Kidepo, Semuliki, Mount Elgon and Mount Rwenzori are slightly cheaper at USD 35 / USD 25 and UGX 10,000.
You simply buy your entrance permit at any park gate. You can pay in cash, either US Dollars or Ugandan Shillings. When you go gorilla or chimp trekking in Bwindi or Kibale Forest national parks, the park entrance fee is included in your trekking permit.
Organise your game drive
Some tips to make the most out of your self-drive safari in Uganda:
- Get yourself an UWA Ranger as a guide. You can arrange it on the spot at the park entrance or headquarters. Although you can easily do a game drive by yourself, these rangers know every corner of the parks and can lead you to the best places to spot predators. The costs for a ranger are $20 for a morning or afternoon. A tip of around $10 is highly appreciated though.
- Go bush camping. You can arrange your bush camping permit at the park entrance, and they cover a ranger who will show you the area and accompany you in the night. Murchison Falls National Park is particularly a wonderful place to go bush camping. The price includes night and morning game drives with a knowledgeable ranger.
- The early bird bird catches the worm - wake up early. You will increase your chances of spotting hyenas, lions, leopards and other wildlife if you’re among the first in the park (7 AM).
- Take it slowly, max 25 km/h.
- Respect the animals, especially the buffalo and elephant. Lone buffaloes are aggressive and easily annoyed. Elephants are extremely protective of their young. Always be alert and drive as if you would expect animals around the corner. Never try to drive towards elephants intentionally. Heavy ear flapping, trumping and bluff charging are signs that the elephant is a bit pissed off by your company. When you encounter an elephant on the road, do the following: make sure you have an escape route in mind (reverse), always leave your engine running, stay calm, keep your voices down and most of all - enjoy the experience!
Camping safely in the bush
Camping is a great way to de-stress and reconnect with nature, but you are not camping at the Costa del Sol or Beekse Bergen…The campgrounds inside the National Parks are not fenced, so animals, large and small, will wander through. But that is what we’re going for, right? Even if you camp outside a game reserve, you should be aware of animals, as the parks are not fenced and continue in a protected transition reserve, where the grass is also juicy for the Hippo’s…
So listen carefully and take the appropriate precautions if you are camping in the bush:
- When you have a long day of driving ahead of you, leave early to allow for the unexpected (flat tire, getting lost, or enjoying a longer picnic at a scenic spot) and make sure you arrive at your destination with plenty of daylight left to set up your camp.
- When you arrive at a camp next to a river, look for any animal paths from the river. These are most probably hippo trails. Hippos leave the river at night along these paths to graze and are the most dangerous animals in Africa, being responsible for the highest number of humans killed by wildlife. Make sure not to get in between the hippos and the water: when hippos get scared they run for water.
- Don’t set up your tent under a thorn tree, they don’t go well with airbeds..
- Hard to believe, but keep in mind that animals, yes even lions, elephants and hippo’s, are as afraid of you, as you are of them. They will never do you any harm or even get near to you, if you just let them be. If an elephant approaches you whilst sitting in camp, resist your instinct to flee. Just stay put. Always keep your tent close at all times, and you will be fine.
- To avoid attracting animals, make sure that you do not leave food lying around and never leave food in your tent. Also, do not throw your leftover food in the bush, thinking that you are doing the local animal population a favour. You are not. Any rubbish should be placed in bins provided or if there are no bins in the area where you are camping, you should pack the rubbish and take it away with you in the car.
- When you go out on a game drive, stay inside your vehicle. You now probably think, well duh. But after some days in the bush, some people start to feel at ease and forget the wild animals, are, well, wild. Do not sit on top of the roof.
Bush camping inside a Wildlife National Park is not for the faint-hearted. Yet it is safe and an incredible experience. There’s something amazing about hearing hippo grazing right up to your tent, missing all of the pegs and lines. It's amazing how nimble they can be. It can become quite scary in a ground tent when you have lions and hyena sniffling around. It still amazes me that you are safe in your tent as long as you keep it firmly zipped up. It is as if though the animals don’t realise how thin the tent is. But that’s the thrill of a night you will never forget!
Campsites do not require any advance arrangements. Refer to Roadtrip Africa's accommodation pages, for a list of our favourite campsites in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Madagascar. Also, the Bradt Travel Guide that comes with your Roadtrip Africa rental car has detailed and updated information about most campsites.
Do drop us a line, in case you have discovered a new jewel!