Uganda & Rwanda

Uganda & Rwanda

Explore both Uganda and Rwanda on this 16 day round trip. If you're interested in nature and culture alike, this road trip will be right for you. Trek the gorillas and chimps in Bwindi and Kibale rainforest, go on a self drive safari in Lake Mburo and Queen Elizabeth. Discover why Rwanda is the land of thousand hills and be moved by its captivating, recent past.

Scroll down below to see the day-to-day route with route description and lots of insider travel tips. The price includes car rental and accommodation in budget or mid-range lodges, and gorilla and chimp permits. The selected lodges are hand picked by us and the places we like to stay when we are roadtripping ourselves; small-scale, good price-quality ratio and owner-managed when possible.

Check the day to day itinerary

Day 1 of 16

Destination: Entebbe
Drive: 10 km | 0.5 hour

Yebalo Ko – You are welcome. As soon as you enter the airport you will be welcomed with a pleasant temperature, slight chaos, and hopefully a charming smile of the immigration officer. Take this day to relax from your flight in Entebbe. Entebbe is a charming and relaxed town, an hour and a half away from the busy capital Kampala.

Accommodation options:
Budget / Mid-range: Viavia Guesthouse

Day 2 of 16

Start: Entebbe
Destination:
Lake Mburo NP
Drive: 225 km | 6+ hours


Take the ferry to cross Waiya Bay in Lake Victoria, and connect via lovely back roads to Mpigi. Here you take the main highway going to Lake Mburo National Park. Covered with extensive acacia woodlands, this park is the best place in Uganda to see the giant eland and zebra’s. and besides there are plenty of activities to engage in.

Accommodation options:
Budget: Eagle’s Nest
Mid-range: Rwakobo Rock

Day 3 of 16

Enjoy: Lake Mburo NP

Enjoy a day in Lake Mburo National Park. With no dangerous predators such as lions, Lake Mburo is the best place to go on a guided safari either walking, mountain biking or on horseback riding. 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.

Read everything about self-driving your safari's here.

Day 4 of 16

Start: Lake Mburo NP
Destination:
Kigali
Drive: 307 km | 6+ hours

Driving day ahead! Leave with an early morning Game Drive and follow your way to the Uganda / Rwandan border. We recommend to use the (newer and less busy) Kayonza border, close to the Tanzanian Border. Just branch south onto the newly asphalted road in Ntungamo, 80 KM west of Mbarrara. Once in Rwanda, kindly adjust your speed limit to 60km/h on the highway. You will immediately notice the differences with Uganda. First of all… It’s much cleaner, as Rwanda is very progressive with its environment waste laws. In the afternoon, you’ll reach the capital of the ‘land of thousand hills’.

Accommodation options:
Budget: Discover Rwanda YH
Mid-range: Iris Guesthouse

Day 5 of 16

Enjoy: Kigali

Kigali is a pleasant and relaxed city, especially in comparison to the chaotic Kampala. As the scars of the horrifying 1994 genocide still run deep, Rwanda has done a remarkable job of healing its wounds and turn towards an optimistic future. The genocide memorial shows an impressive recollection of the events that unfolded, memorizes the victims of the genocide and leaves you with a deep impact. A stroll down-town Kigali is a pleasant way to set your mind to the present and enjoy Kigali’s colourful city life.

Day 6 of 16

Start: Kigali
Destination:
Lake Gisenyi
Drive: 160 km | 4+ hours

Although Rwanda is a long way from the ocean, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a beach holiday! Lake Kivu is one of the Great Lakes of the Albertine Rift Valley, and is one of the 20 deepest and most voluminous lakes in the world. Lake Kivu and Gisenyi are scenic spots to wander, or go for hikes. On another note, it will surely be as pleasant to just dip your toes in the lake and relax for a bit.

Accommodation options:
Budget: Inzu Ludge
Mid-range: Paradise Malahide

Day 7 of 16

Destination: Lake Gisenyi

Spend a lovely day at your resort, or go for a nice stroll around Gisenyi. Pamper yourself with a massage or go on a boat cruise on the lake.

Day 8 of 16

Start: Lake Gisenyi
Destination:
Lake Mutanda
Drive: 115 km | 4+ hours

Today you’ll drive back to the Ugandan border, and cross at Kisoro into Uganda. to the Kigezi Highlands, also dubbed as the ‘Gorilla Highlands’. Similar to Rwanda: a landscape scattered with blue lakes and steep terraced slopes. You’ll drive to Lake Mutanda, a stunning lake with the Virunga volcanoes at its back drop.

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

Day 9 of 16

Enjoy: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP.

Ready for the experience of a life time? Today you will be tracking the rare mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Bwindi’s mist-covered, forested hillsides and dense forest cover protect an estimated 350 mountain gorillas, roughly half of the global population. This includes 11 habituated groups which can be tracked by limited groups of people.

Day 10 of 16

Enjoy: Lake Mutanda

We could not say it better than the Bradt Travel Guide: ''Mutanda Lake Resort enjoys a stupendous southerly outlook. You could cross continents without finding a panorama to compare with the view across these peaceful, island-studded waters towards the Virunga Mountains''.

Indeed, Mutanda Lake Resort has the most stunning location in Uganda, at the shores of Lake Mutanda with dramatic views on the volcanoes in DRC and Rwanda. Excellent food is served in Swiss mountain chalet ambience. The lodge is conveniently located for tracking the Nkuringo and Rushaga gorilla families.

Day 11 of 16

Start: Lake Mutanda
Destination:
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Drive: 260 km | 6+ hours

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

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

 

Day 12 of 16

Enjoy: Queen Elizabeth National Park

Enjoy a day in the park. Boat launch trips on the Kazinga Channel offer great game viewing, as do game drives around Mweya Lodge and the Northern Circuit. Further southwest, the remote Ishasha plains are famous for their tree climbing lions while the Kyambura Gorge is home to habituated chimps. The nearby Maramagambo Forest has a wide variety of forest monkeys and the dozens of crater lakes scattered across the park are often filled with beautiful pink flamingos.

Day 13 of 16

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

Drive to Kibale Forest National Park near the pleasant colonial town of Fort Portal. Along the way you pass lovely little towns and plenty of matooke plantations. Kibale Forest NP is a 800 km2 tropical rainforest home to 13 primate species and an impressive range of birds. Besides Kibale Forest NP, you will have a splendid region of crater lakes and 4WD dirt tracks at your doorstep.

Accommodation options:
Budget / Mid-range: Kibale Forest Camp

 

 

Day 14 of 16

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 tracking 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  exploration on foot or by bicycle.

Day 15 of 16

Start: Kibale National Park
Destination:
Kampala
Drive: 295 km | 5+ hours

Today you'll hit the road towards the vibrant capital of Uganda; Kampala. The road is good but with lots of speedbumps, so take your time. Along the way you can stop over at a nice little roadside cafe called Village Arts near Kyenjojo.

Accommodation options:
Budget: Bushpig Backpackers
Mid-range: Yellow Haven

Day 16 of 16

Enjoy: Kampala or Entebbe

Departure to Entebbe. Depending on the time of your return flight there are a number of things to do in Kampala or Entebbe. Shopping souvenirs, half-day boda boda tour in downtown Kampala or a visit to the botanical gardens in Entebbe. Or just relax at the swimming pools of some luxurious resorts.

What to expect on this road trip covering Ugunda & Rwanda ?

Road conditions & travel time

16 days / 14 car rental days are recommended for this route, spending two nights at each location. On an average travel day, you drive for 5 hours. Keep in mind that with photo and picnic stops, this still make a full travel day. 

Road conditions are good. It is asphalt with an 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). Take note that the maximum speed in Rwanda is 60km/h

Offline navigation is easy if you download Maps.me on your smart phone before you go. More tips at the on the road section.

Go to Road conditions & travel time

What is the best time to visit Uganda & Rwanda?

Uganda & Rwanda are good to visit year round. Temperatures will be mild and pleasant, as you're exploring the cooler regions of Uganda ( except for Queen and Lake Mburo) and Rwanda is at higher altitude. The hottest months are January and February. 

April - May and November is low season. Be prepared for more rainfall. Some lodges will offer low season rates. June to September and around Christmas is peak season. Although the parks don’t feel crowded, you have to reserve your car, gorilla permits and accommodation well in advance.

June to August and December to February is dry season. In Queen Elizabeth and Lake Mburo National Park, vegetation has become less and animals gather around water sources, making wildlife easier to spot. Rain forests are wet year-round. 

Go to What is the best time to visit Uganda & Rwanda?

Prices

Low season | 1st March - 31st May

Price is per person, in US Dollars. 

Price includes 15 nights accommodation mostly on the basis of Bed & Breakfast, 14 day car rental, airport pick up, COMESA insurance, gorilla and chimpanzee permits.

Like to explore Uganda & Rwanda with a driver - guide? Add $ 560.

  RAV4 Landcruiser
  2 pax 4 pax 2 pax 4 pax
Budget 2,290 2,110 2,590 2,220
Mid range 2,740 2,560 3,040 2,670

Car hire only?

Follow the route as a guideline and hire a vehicle from $49/day. Check our rates

Rest of the year

Price is per person, in US Dollars. 

Price includes 15 nights accommodation mostly on the basis of Bed & Breakfast, 14 day car rental, airport pick up, COMESA insurance, gorilla and chimpanzee permits.

Like to explore Uganda & Rwanda with a driver - guide? Add $ 560.

  RAV4 Landcruiser
  2 pax 4 pax 2 pax 4 pax
Budget 2,510 2,290 2,810 2,400
Mid range 2,960 2,740 3,260 2,850

Create & Book

Book the Uganda & Rwanda road trip as is, with accommodation in budget or mid-range lodges, or adjust it to you liking.

Make this road trip yours

What's included?

Included

  • Gorilla permit ($ 600 pp)
  • Chimp permit ($ 150 pp)
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Airport transfers
  • Roadmap and Bradt Travel Guide
  • Comprehensive car insurance

Optional

  • Electrical fridge
  • Driver-Guide