The Primate Express

The Primate Express

Southwestern Uganda is known for its rolling hills, lush landscape, chimpanzees and the rare mountain gorillas. Combined with the game drive experience in Lake Mburo and Queen Elizabeth National Park, you'll be surprised by the variety of nature and wildlife you encounter within easy driving distance of each other. This is our most popular route for those that have limited time and still want to see the best the country has to offer. 

Scroll down below to see the day-to-day route with route description and lots of insider travel tips. The price includes car rental, accommodation in three price categories, and gorilla and chimp permits. 

Check the day to day itinerary

Day 1 of 12

Destination: Entebbe
Drive: 10 km | 0.5 hour

Arrival at Entebbe Airport, a lovely, gentle town, situated at Lake Victoria. It is worth spending an extra day in Entebbe. Things to do in this little tropical place: swimming at Lake Victoria Hotel, rent a little Laser sailboat at the Entebbe Sailing Club, visit the Botanical gardens, go to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary or Mabamba Swamp.

Accommodation options:

Budget / Mid-Range: Via Via Guesthouse
Deluxe: The Boma Hotel

Restaurants: the Boma Hotel, or eat fresh fish and great pizza at Gorreti’s, with your feet in the white sands viewing Lake Victoria. Carpe Diem guesthouse has delicious shakes.

Day 2 of 12

Start: Entebbe
Lake Mburo National Park
Drive: 225 km | 6+ hours

Your roadtrip adventure starts today. From Entebbe, take the express highway toward Kampala. At Busega roundabout, you take the last exit to join the Kampala - Masaka, Mbarara road. 

Its a smooth and scenic ride to Lake Mburo National Park.Covered with extensive acacia woodlands, this park is one of the best places in the country to enjoy a walking safari and see the giant eland antelope, zebras and leopards. 

Accommodation options:
Budget: Eagle's Nest
Mid-range / Deluxe: Rwakobo Rock

Day 3 of 12

Enjoy: Lake Mburo National Park

Enjoy a day in the park. With no dangerous predators such as lions, Lake Mburo is the best place to go on a guided safari by foot, bike or horseback. Moreover, this is one of the few national parks in Africa allowing night game drives, which give you the chance to see some of the rare nocturnal animals like the mongoose, hyena, leopard and serval cat.

Day 4 of 12

Start: Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mutanda
Drive: 225 km | 6+ hours

Drive to the Kigezi Highlands, perhaps the most fertile and scenic region of Uganda. A landscape of expansive blue lakes, steep terraced slopes and dormant volcanoes. Lake Bunyonyi and Lake Mutanda are great places to stay. Read more about Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Accommodation options:
Budget / Mid-range / Deluxe: Mutanda Lake Resort


Day 5 of 12

Enjoy: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Rise and shine. You will probably be getting up in the dark for an experience of a lifetime! Today you will be trekking the rare mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi’s mist-covered, forested hills protect an estimated 320 mountain gorillas, roughly half of the global population. This includes 11 habituated groups which can be tracked. You will start from Rushaga or Nkuringo.

Read more about gorilla trekking here.

Day 6 of 12

Enjoy: Lake Mutanda

Plenty of activities can be arranged from Mutanda Lake Resort. You can do a culture walk, visiting a primary school, farm and local medicine man. Enjoy a ride in a dugout canoe as the local fisherman do, master one of the Virunga Volcanoes, go bird spotting (this is a superb birding watching area), or standup paddling and finish off the day with a sunset boat ride on the serene lake.

Check the Mutanda Lake Resort website for more information. 


Day 7 of 12

Start: Lake Mutanda
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Drive: 220 km | 7+ hours

Today you'll drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park. From open savanna to green rainforest, from dense papyrus swamps to the vastness of Lake Edward, it is little wonder that Queen Elizabeth National Park boasts one of the highest biodiversity rates of any game park in Africa.

Accommodation options:
Budget / Mid-range: Bush Lodge
Deluxe: Mweya Safari Lodge

Day 8 of 12

Enjoy: Queen Elizabeth National Park

Enjoy another day in the park. Boat trips on the Kazinga Channel offer great game viewing, as do game drives around Mweya and the Northern Circuit. The Kyambura Gorge harbors habituated chimps, the Maramamgambo Forest is home to many forest monkeys and flamingos abound in the dozens of crater lakes. 


Day 9 of 12

Start: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Kibale National Park
Drive: 125 km |  2½ + hours

Drive to Kibale Forest near the pleasant town of Fort Portal. Kibale is a 800 km2 tropical rainforest, home to 13 primate species and an impressive range of birds.  

Accommodation options:
Budget / Mid-range: Kibale Forest Camp.
Deluxe: Papaya Lodge

Day 10 of 12

Enjoy: Kibale National Park

Kibale Forest is a nature lover’s paradise, with its sublime bird watching and chimpanzee trekking. As well as chimps, many other primate species abound in Kibale. Chimpanzee trekking is a half-day activity starting either early in the morning or just after lunch. A field of beautiful crater lakes lies between Fort Portal and the Forest which are perfect for a swim or exploration on foot.

Day 11 of 12

Start: Kibale National Park
Drive: 300 km | 5½ + hours

A smooth paved road passing through lush matoke (banana) plantations brings you to Kampala,  where you will find a thriving dining and nightlife scene with a pleasant vibe. We're happy to recommend some good places to eat and drink before you hand over your car in Kampala.

Want to read more about this Primate Express itineary? Life long traveller and roadtripper Patricija, wrote a detailed travel guide about her 12 day itineary in Uganda. 

Accommodation option:
Budget: Bush Pig 
Mid-range / Deluxe: the Yellow Haven Guesthouse 

Day 12 of 12

Enjoy: Kampala

Depending on your return flight you have time to visit some highlights of Kampala:

  • Explore Kampala on the back of a boda boda (motorbike taxi) and learn about Kampala’s history and scenic places. We recommend 2 Friends Boda Tours.
  • Visit Ghadaffi Mosque located on Old Kampala Hill.
  • Visit the Baháí Temple.
  • Enjoy a traditional cultural dance show at Ndere Centre, Ntinda.
    Shows are on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Highly recommended!
  • Visit the largest secondhand clothing market Uganda: Owino Market.

Primate Express: What to expect on your 4x4 self-drive adventure in Uganda

Travel time and road conditions

12 days / 10 car rental days are recommended for this route, spending two nights at one location. On a travel day, you will drive on average 4-5 hours with a maximum of 7+ hours. Keep in mind that with photo and picnic stops, this can still make a full travel day. Time not on your side? Shorten the roadtrip with a day at Bwindi and/or Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Road conditions are good: asphalt with the occasional pothole and speed bumps. The most adventurous part is to get from Kisoro to Lake Mutanda (volcanic and dirt road) and from Hamurwa to Ishaha (off road). Offline navigation is easy if you download on your smart phone before you go. More travel tips can be found at our on the road section. 

Go to Travel time and road conditions

Best time to visit Uganda?

Uganda is nice to visit year-round; it's always 'summer'! Visit in January or February if you love the heat, as these are the warmest months.

April - May and November is low season. Some lodges will offer low season rates. Be prepared for more rainfall in this part of Uganda. Showers are usually short and heavy, after which the sky quickly returns to bright sunshine.  

June - August and December - February is the dry season. In Queen Elizabeth and Lake Mburo National Parks, vegetation is scarce and animals gather around water sources, making wildlife easier to spot. Rainforests are wet year-round. 

High season is from June to September and around Christmas. Although the parks don’t feel crowded at all, you must still reserve your car, gorilla permits and accommodation well in advance.

Go to Best time to visit Uganda?


Low season | 1st March - 31st May

Price is per person, in Euros. Easy and secure online payment to our Bookings office in the Netherlands. 

Price includes 11 hotel nights, mostly on the basis of Bed & Breakfast, 10-day car rental, airport pick up, gorilla permits and chimpanzee permits.

Ask us for any luxury accommodation options

Prefer a guided road trip? Add € 400 and you can experience The Primate Express with a driver-guide. 

  RAV4 Landcruiser Hilux
  2 pax 4 pax 2 pax 4 pax 2 pax 4 pax
Budget 1,680 1,590 1,880 1,670 1,980 1,720
Mid Range 2,060 1,980 2,260 2,050 2,360 2,100


Rest of the year 

Price is per person, in Euros. Easy and secure online payment to our Bookings office in the Netherlands. 

Price includes 11 hotel nights, mostly on the basis of Bed & Breakfast, 10-day car rental, airport pick up, gorilla permits and chimpanzee permits.

Ask us for any luxury accommodation options

Prefer a guided road trip? Add € 400 and you can experience The Primate Express with a driver-guide. 

  RAV4 Landcruiser Hilux
  2 pax 4 pax 2 pax 4 pax 2 pax 4 pax
Budget 1,830 1,720 2,030 1,790 2,130 1,840
Mid Range 2,210 2,100 2,410 2,180 2,510 2,230

Create & Book

You can book the Primate Express route as a fully accommodated safari road trip with budget, comfort or deluxe accommodation. Or simply book to secure your hire car, and use this suggested route for travel inspiration.

Book your road trip

Included in your tour


  • Gorilla permit $ 700
  • Chimp permit $ 200
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Car delivery to your hotel or airport
  • Comprehensive car insurance
  • Roadmap and Bradt Travel Guide


  • Electrical fridge
  • Driver-Guide