Explore southwestern Uganda - 12 day roadtrip

Southwestern Uganda is known for its rolling hills, lush landscape, chimpanzees and the rare mountain gorillas. Discover the highlights of southwestern Uganda on this express safari, a great 12-day self-drive adventure. 

  • Trek the gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
  • Spot chimpanzees in Kibale tropical rainforest.
  • Enjoy plenty of wildlife spotting on your self-drive safaris in Lake Mburo and Queen Elizabeth National Park

Scroll down below to see the day-to-day itinerary with route descriptions and travel tips Uganda. The trip includes car rental, accommodation (available in four price categories), gorilla and chimp permits.

Day-to-day itinerary | The Primate Express

Day 1

Day 1 of 12

Destination: Entebbe

Drive: 10 km | 0.5 hour

Welcome to Uganda! As soon as you enter the airport you will be embraced with a pleasant temperature and the charming smile of a Ugandan immigration officer. Take this day to relax from your trip. Entebbe is a small town, with a pleasant lakeside, some good restaurants and large swimming pool at Laiko Hotel.

A glimpse of our lodge selection: 

Budget / Comfort: Via Via Guesthouse

Semi-Luxury: The Boma Hotel

Day 2

Day 2 of 12

Start: Entebbe

Destination: Lake Mburo National Park

Drive: 244 km | 6+ hours

Time to hit the road and start your adventure! The journey from Entebbe to Lake Mburo in Uganda is a unique experience marked by the crossing of the equator.

A glimpse of our lodge selection:

Budget / Comfort: Hyena Hill Lodge

Semi-Luxury: Rwakobo Rock 

Day 3

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 place to go for walking, biking, or horseback Safari. 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

Day 4 of 12

Start: Lake Mburo National Park

Destination: Lake Mutanda

Drive: 313 km | 7+ hours

Drive to the Kigezi Highlands, perhaps the most fertile and scenic region of Uganda: a landscape of expansive blue lakes and steep terraced slopes bordering the rainforest of Bwindi National Park.

A glimpse of our lodge selection:

Comfort / Semi-Luxury: Mutanda Lake Resort

Day 5

Day 5 of 12

Enjoy: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Ready for the experience of a lifetime? Today you will be tracking the rare mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi’s dense forest protect an estimated 320 mountain gorillas, roughly half of the global population. This includes 11 habituated groups which can be tracked by limited groups of people. You will be departing from either Rushaga or Nkuringo.

Read more about gorilla trekking here.

Day 6

Day 6 of 12

Enjoy: Lake Mutanda

Lake Mutanda is a great place to stick a round for a few days. Plenty of activities can be arranged at Lake Mutanda Resort. The fresh water lake is safe to swim in. Go SUP boarding, enjoy a ride in a dugout canoe as the local fishermen do, go on a birding trip, nature hike, or cultural village walk, and finish off the day with a sunset boat cruise. Decide what to do then and there, or contact us in advance for reservations.

Are you a bird-lover? Consult our Birding in Uganda blog for more info and tips about the best birding destinations. 

Day 7

Day 7 of 12

Start: Lake Mutanda

Destination: Queen Elizabeth National Park

Drive: 277 km | 7+ hours

Drive to Queen Elizabeth N.P., Uganda’s oldest national park. From open savannas to green rainforests, from dense papyrus swamps and crater lakes to the vastness of Lake Edward, it is little wonder that Queen Elizabeth N.P. boasts one of the highest rates of biodiversity of any game park in Africa.

A glimpse of our lodge selection:

Budget / Comfort: The Bush Lodge

Semi-Luxury: Marafiki Safari Lodge 

Day 8

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 the crater lakes are often filled with beautiful pink flamingos.

Day 9

Day 9 of 12

Start: Queen Elizabeth National Park

Destination: Kibale National Park

Drive: 103 km | 3 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. 

A glimpse of our lodge selection:

Budget / Comfort: Kibale Forest Camp

Semi-Luxury: Turaco Treetops

Day 10

Day 10 of 12

Enjoy: Kibale National Park

Kibale Forest is a nature lover’s paradise, with its sublime bird watching and chimpanzee tracking, as well as opportunities for viewing a wide range of other primates. Chimpanzee trekking is a half-day activity starting either early in the morning or just after lunch and needs to be reserved in advance. A field of beautiful crater lakes lies between Fort Portal and the forest, which are perfect for a swim or hike.

Day 11

Day 11 of 12

Start: Kibale National Park

Destination: Entebbe

Drive: 337 km | 7 hours

A smooth tarmac road passing through lush tea and matoke (banana) plantations brings you to Entebbe. For those longing for some culture and city life after days in the bush, Kampala might be a fun change of scenery, where you will find a thriving dining and nightlife scene with a pleasant vibe. We would be happy to recommend some especially good places to eat and drink.

A glimpse of our lodge selection: 

Budget / Comfort: Via Via Guesthouse

Semi-Luxury: The Boma Hotel

Day 12

Day 12 of 12

Most international flights depart in the evening. Entebbe is a lovely town to finish off your trip and relax by the shores of Lake Victoria and the pool of your lodge.

Impressions from the Primate Express, a great 12-day Uganda itinerary.

Express Safari in Uganda | This is what you need to know

Travel time and road conditions

We recommend 12 days / 10 car rental days for this southwestern Uganda itinerary, 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 is not on your side? Shorten your Uganda road trip with a day at Bwindi. 

Road conditions are good: asphalt with the occasional pothole and speed bumps. The most adventurous part is driving from Kisoro to Lake Mutanda (volcanic and dirt road), and from Hamurwa to Ishaha (off-road). More driving tips can be found in our driving in Uganda section. 

Like to read more about our Primate Express? Roadtripper Patricija wrote a detailed travel guide about this 12-day Uganda itinerary

Uganda's Primate Express is possible to travel year-round. 

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Find your budget & travel style

Our Primate Express trip can be booked in four price categories:

Budget: Some mid-range lodges offer 'Lazy Camping' (glamping), where you sleep in an already set-up tent. There's a sanitary block that you share with other campers. Adding  'Lazy Camping' nights in your Uganda tour works favourably for your budget, while you can still enjoy the lodge facilities. 

Comfort (mid-range): This is your best option for comfortable, self-contained ('en suite') accommodations set in stunning locations which do not cost a fortune. 

Semi-Luxury: If you opt for luxury, we select barefoot luxury resorts which are intimate, have lots of privacy and high-quality service. Not every stop in Uganda allows for a stay in this segment, therefore we rather call it a semi-luxury trip.

Combo - Campsites & Lodges: Experience the best of both worlds: travel with camp gear and alternate camping in the bush with stays in lovely lodges. 

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Included in your Uganda roadtrip

Included

  • Gorilla trekking permit $ 700
  • Chimp trekking permit $ 200
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Car rental with unlimited mileage. Fuel own expense
  • Car delivery to airport or hotel
  • Car insurance
  • 24/7 roadside assistance
  • Uganda driving manual, Bradt Travel Guide, roadmap

Optional

  • Driver - Guide
  • Electrical fridge

Create & Book your express safari in Uganda

Book Uganda's Primate Express with stays in budget, mid-range or luxury lodges - or adjust it to your liking.

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The Primate Express | Indicative prices

Low season | March - April + Nov - 21 Dec

RAV4

Landcruiser

Hilux

Budget

€ 2,180

€ 2,380

€ 2,480

Comfort

€ 2,420

€ 2,620

€ 2,720

Semi - luxury

€ 3,230

€ 3,430

€ 3,530

Combo

€ 2,190

€ 2,420

€ 2,520

Peak season | July - Sept + 22 Dec - February

RAV4

Landcruiser

Hilux

Budget

€ 2,380

€ 2,680

€ 2,780

Comfort

€ 2,620

€ 2,920

€ 3,020

Semi - luxury

€ 3,430

€ 3,730

€ 3,830

Combo

€ 2,390

€ 2,720

€ 2,820

Rest of year

RAV4

Landcruiser

Hilux

Budget

€ 2,280

€ 2,530

€ 2,630

Comfort

€ 2,520

€ 2,770

€ 2,870

Semi - luxury

€ 3,330

€ 3,580

€ 3,680

Combo

€ 2,290

€ 2,570

€ 2,670

The price is per person based on 2 people sharing a car and includes 11 hotel nights, 10-day car rental, airport pick up, gorilla (USD 800 pp) and chimp (USD 250 pp) permit. 

Easy and secure online payment to our Roadtrip Africa Bookings office in the Netherlands. 

Prefer a guided road trip? Travel with a driver-guide (€40/day). This is an option you can select in the online booking form. 

Planning to visit Uganda during peak season? Book your tour several months in advance!