Go camping in Uganda
Whether you are travelling on a budget, love the outdoors, or just don't want to book your accommodation ahead of time - road tripping in Uganda with a full set of camp gear in the back of the car gives you lot's of flexibility. Check the camp gear fore hire at Roadtrip Africa, our favourite campsites in Uganda and more things to know when planning your camping trip.
Covered in this section:
10 tips and things to know when camping in Uganda
1. Campsites are widely available in Uganda - ranging from basic campgrounds inside the national parks managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), to private campsites operated by lodge owners, often with great facilities like a restaurant and swimming pool. Moreover, the opportunities to camp are year round thanks to Uganda's warm weather.
2. Camping fees - Staying at a UWA public campsite with pit latrine, water, firewood and ranger security costs USD 5,50 / person, per night. Pitching your tent at a more fancy, privately owned campground costs about USD 10 / person. Camping at a basic campsite outside a national park can costs as little as USD 5/ tent.
3. Wild camping in Uganda - it is uncommon and not allowed.
4. Do I need to reserve my campsite? - Contrary to such countries as Namibia and Botswana, staying at a campsite inside a natural park does not require any advance arrangements. You just arrive at the park entrance gate and mention you want an overnight permit.
5. Bush camping - also known as special campsites, is not common in Uganda. It refers to having a permit from the UWA allowing you to pitch your tent on a private spot in the a national park with no facilities and no other campers. As far as we know, this is only possible in Murchison Falls National Park. A bush camping permit including ranger costs USD 40 / person, per night.
6. Which guidebook covers campgrounds in Uganda - The Bradt Travel Guide that comes with your roadtrip rental car has detailed and updated information about campsites in Uganda.
7. Which apps to use - Download the free apps Maps.me and iOverlander before you travel to Uganda to enjoy driving on GPS. Most campsites are plotted on iOverlander.
8. Camping & hippo's - If you want to set up your 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. Make sure not to get in between the hippos and the water: when hippos get scared they run for water.
9. Where to set up camp - Don’t set up your tent under a thorn tree, they don’t go well with airbeds....
10. Camping & rubbish disposal - 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. 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.
Hiring camp gear for your road trip in Uganda
Our Landcruiser and Hilux can be outfitted with a rooftop tent or ground tent. The RAV4 can only be equipped with a ground tent. Both tents are supplied with a full set of quality camping gear at a cost of € 20 / day for the rooftop tent or € 5 per person / per day for the dome tent.
The ample storage space of the Toyota Hilux makes it the perfect vehicle for bush camping, and the custom canopy with side drawers gives you easier access to your camping equipment and personal luggage.
An electrical fridge costs € 5/ day and is only possible with a Landcruiser or Hilux. Please note that we don’t do field repairs or send a replacement vehicle when there are problems with the fridge. Wiring and piping are sensitive and suffer from bumpy roads and dust. The knowledge and equipment (Frigo gas) to repair fridges are sadly not available in the field. We understand it's unfortunate that your fridge stops working. In the rare case that this does happen, do let us know, and the office in the Netherlands will issue a refund for the fridge rental.
Kindly note that Roadtrip Africa does not provide camping gear rental in Uganda as a standalone service.
A full set of quality camp gear consists of the following items:
- Tent (dome tent or rooftop tent)
- Folding foam mattresses
- Blanket or sleeping bag, pillows and bedsheets
- Chairs and small table
- Cool box (non-electrical)
- Gas tank and burner, BBQ roaster
- RVS cups, plates & bowls
- Cooking pots and frying pans
- Cutlery set with forks, knives, spoons, can opener, cork screw
- Coffee percolator
- Cutting board
- Dish towel, detergent, washing line & pegs
- Headlights and solar table lamp.
NOTE: It can get chilly at night in certain areas, especially when camping at higher altitudes, such as Fort Portal, Sipi Falls, Lake Bunyonyi. The sleeping bags provided are thin. It's advisable to bring an extra fleece blanket.
A rooftop tent is easy to set up. Just watch this instruction video.
Camping in Uganda - rooftop tent or dome tent?
Taking a rooftop tent or a dome tent with your rental car both have advantages and disadvantages and there are a few factors that will determine which one will work best for YOU.
The pro's & con's of a rooftop tent
A rooftop tent is the easiest way to sleep off the ground. This is helpful when your campsite is uneven, the soil is wet or rocky. In wilderness areas, people tend to prefer rooftop tents for putting some distance between themselves and wild animals lurking around at night. However, this is a FALSE sense of security and you will be just as safe in a ground tent that is properly zipped up. Although we understand that perception of safety plays a role here as well….
- You feel safer, which is an argument if you camp inside a game park. Yet, many beautiful campsites are nowadays privately owned sites outside of the safari parks.
- Rooftop tents are quick and easy to set up ( although the ground tents are also set up in a blink of an an eye), just check out this instruction video.
- You need to wrap up your rooftop tent every time you want to use your vehicle.
- Hiring a rooftop tent is more expensive than the ground tent, and requires going with a Toyota Landcruiser.
- How is your mobility? For rather stiff people, getting up and down the stepladder of a rooftop tent can be uneasy.
Best campsites in Uganda
Below is a list of 5 campsites in Uganda we particularly like, although the list is of nice places to stay is endless. Refer to our accommodation page for a complete list of our favourite campsites in Uganda.
5. Bush camping at the UWA special campsite on the Nile Delta near Paraa in Murchison Falls National Park
4. Camping on top of the world viewpoint at the Crater Lakes, Fort Portal area
3. The camping facilities at Enjojo Lodge, Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park
2. Camping with elephants and hippos at UWA Mweya Public Campsite, Queen Elizabeth National Park
1. Roaring lions in the background at Nagusokopire Campsite, Kidepo Valley National Park
Do drop us a line, in case you have discovered a new jewel!