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 is the one for you. Trek gorillas and chimps in Bwindi Impenentrabe Forest and Kibale rainforest, go on a self drive safari in Lake Mburo and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Discover why Rwanda is the land of a thousand hills and be moved by its captivating history.

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 they are the places we like to stay when we want accommodation in Uganda; 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

Gyebalo Ko, and Welcome to Uganda! As soon as you enter the airport you will be welcomed by a pleasant temperature, slight chaos, and hopefully a charming smile from the immigration officer. Take this day to relax from your flight in Entebbe. Entebbe is a peaceful lakeside 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 National Park
Drive: 225 km | 6+ hours


Take the ferry across 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 zebras, with plenty of activities to engage in.

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

Day 3 of 16

Enjoy: Lake Mburo National park

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 even horseback riding. Moreover, this is one of the few national parks in Africa allowing night game drives, which gives you the chance to see some rare nocturnal animals like the mongoose, hyena, leopard and serval cat.

Read everything you need to know about self-driving your safaris here.

Day 4 of 16

Start: Lake Mburo National Park
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 using the (newer and less busy) Kayonza border, close to the Tanzanian Border. Just branch south onto the newly asphalted road in Ntungamo, 80km west of Mbarara. Once in Rwanda, kindly adjust your speed limit to 60km/h on the highway. You will immediately notice the difference from Uganda - first of all, it’s much cleaner, as Rwanda is very progressive with its environmental waste laws. In the afternoon, you’ll reach the capital of the ‘land of a thousand hills’.

Accommodation options:
Budget / Mid-range: Viavia Guesthouse Kigali

Day 5 of 16

Enjoy: Kigali

Kigali is a pleasant and relaxed city, especially in comparison to the chaotic Kampala. Although the scars of the horrifying 1994 genocide still run deep, Rwanda has done a remarkable job of healing its wounds and turning towards an optimistic future. The genocide memorial shows an impressive recollection of the events that unfolded, memorizes the victims of the genocide and leaves a deep impact on you. A stroll to downtown Kigali is a pleasant way to bring your mind back 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 Lake Gisenyi are both scenic spots to wander and hike. On the other hand, it's just as pleasant to dip your toes in the lake and relax for a bit.

Accommodation options:
Budget / 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, crossing at Kisoro into Uganda, to the Kigezi Highlands, also dubbed 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 as its backdrop.

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

Day 9 of 16

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 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 dense papyrus swamps and crater lakes to the vastness of Lake Edward, it is little wonder that Queen Elizabeth National Park boasts one of the highest rates of biodiversity of any game park in Africa.

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 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 (banana) plantations. Kibale Forest National Park is a 800 km2 tropical rainforest, home to 13 primate species and an impressive range of birds. Besides Kibale Forest National Park, 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 chimp trekking, 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. 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 speed bumps, 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/Entebbe

Departure to Entebbe. Depending on the time of your return flight, there are a number of things to do in either Kampala or Entebbe. Shopping for souvenirs, a 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!

Uganda & Rwanda: What to expect on this self-drive safari road trip

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 makes a full travel day. 

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 Ishasha (off road). Take note that the maximum speed in Rwanda is 60km/h

Offline navigation is easier if you download Maps.me on your smart phone before you go. More travel tips can be found in our 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 Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo) and Rwanda is at higher altitude. The hottest months to visit Uganda and Rwanda are January and February. 

April - May and November is low season. Be prepared for more rainfall. Some lodges will offer low season rates. Peak season is June to September and around Christmas. Although the parks don’t feel crowded, you must still 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 becomes scarce and animals gather around water sources, making wildlife easier to spot on safari. Rainforests 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 Euros. 

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.

Ask us for any upper- mid range accommodation options.

Want to explore Uganda & Rwanda with a driver-guide? Add €490 to your total trip amount.

  RAV4 Landcruiser Hilux
  2 pax 4 pax 2 pax 4 pax 2 pax 4 pax
Budget 2,090 1,960 2,370 2,070 2,510 2,140
Mid Range 2,480 2,340 2,760 2,450 2,900 2,520

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 Euros. 

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.

Ask us for any upper- mid range accommodation options.

Like to explore Uganda & Rwanda with a driver - guide? Add €490 to your total trip amount.

  RAV4 Landcruiser Hilux
  2 pax 4 pax 2 pax 4 pax 2 pax 4 pax
Budget 2,300 2,140 2,580 2,240 2,720 2,310
Mid Range 2,690 2,520 2,970 2,620 3,110 2,690

Create & Book

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