A self-drive safari is the ultimate in African exploration. This kind of tour has the effect of sharpening the senses you’re a participant in Africa’s drama, not merely an observer.
You’re the one who controls the speed, and who decides which fork in the road to take and how long to linger. Every time you get out of your vehicle there’s nothing between you and the wild lands you’ve come to see.
It would certainly be easier to let someone else take control and make the decisions, but the self-drive tour journey is a remarkable experience especially when you visit Uganda’s Kidepo Valley National Park.
More remote is Kidepo Valley National Park. This park offers a true wilderness experience and is home to many species that don’t occur elsewhere in the country, including the graceful cheetah.
A self-drive with rooftop tent car to Kidepo Valley National Park gives you an opportunity to enjoy the isolated wilderness dominated by the 2,750m Mount Morungole and transected by the Kidepo and great Narus rivers. But the perennial rains may make Kidepo an oasis in the semi-desert, but its tract of rugged Savannah is home to77 mammal species and almost 500 birds.
There are 4 routes by road: The 705km journey from Kampala via Lira, Kotido, Kaabong and then to Kidepo: The 740km journey from Kampala via Mbale, Soroti, Moroto, Kotido, Kaabong and then Kidepo: the 780km journey from Kampala via Mbale, Soroti, Matany, Kotido, Kaabong and on to Kidepo and the 571km journey from Kampala through Gulu, Kitgum and to Kidepo. Driving through the wilderness is an exciting experience as one vehicle especially during the rainy season.
Game viewing is exciting all year round and game drives can be done along Narus Valley as the park’s wildlife congregates here much of the year. This area has adequate track circuits enabling visitors view the animals at cross the valley towards Morungole mountain range.
As a general rule, self-drive safaris tend to be cheaper than other kinds of safaris. The cost of vehicle rental is expensive, but if you are on a self-drive camping safari you will save greatly on accommodation costs.”
Other activities include the Nature walks, they can be done along the Narus valley as the park’s wildlife congregates here much of the years. Community walks, they are one of the ways you can get to know more about the Karamojong lifestyle, cultures, dressing style, dancing and the tools used. Mountain hiking, a trip to Kidepo valley is needed to get a good view of Morungole Mountain the highest peak in Kidepo. Sand along River Kidepo, Kidepo River is an intermittent sand river found in the northern part of the park. The sand bed experienced on river Kidepo can be very fascinating especially during the dry season. Bird watching, this activity can be either in the morning or afternoon and the park has got a variety of birds. The experienced guides will show you around.
Self-drive safari also takes you to explore Murchison Falls National Park Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area hosting 76 species of mammals and 451 birds. Murchison Falls is bisected by the Victoria Nile which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centerpiece of the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids.
The mighty cascade drains the last of the river’s energy, transforming it into a broad, placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor into Lake Albert. At Murchison Falls National Park, the Nile squeezes through an 8m wide gorge and plunges with a thunderous roar into the “Devil’s Cauldron”, creating a trademark rainbow.
This stretch of river provides one of Uganda’s most remarkable wildlife spectacles. Regular visitors to the riverbanks include elephants, giraffes and buffaloes, while hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic birds are permanent residents.
Therefore, road trip safaris with 4×4 rooftop tent car to Murchison Falls National Park, you will explore a number of routes that can be used to reach the Nile Paraa at the heart of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area. The river is crossed here using a vehicle ferry which runs at roughly hourly intervals throughout the day.
Southern entrance gates, two approaches to Paraa lead out Masindi town, which is a 4-hour drive 305km from Kampala. Along the way to Masindi is the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, home to the only wild rhinos in Uganda. You can track them on foot and support this important initiative to reintroduce rhinos to protected areas. But a longer but more scenic alternative runs for 135km from Masindi to the park’s Bugungu gate. The route includes a passage through Budongo Forest and a memorable descent of the rift valley escarpment with views across Lake Albert towards the mountains of the Congo.
Northern entrance gates, can also be entered via the Chobe Wankwar, Mubako and Tangi gates north of the Nile. These are reached from the Kampala – Pakwach Road which crosses the Nile at Karuma Falls Bridge in the northeastern corner of the park, 260km from Kampala. These gates are convenient for visitors traveling to or from Gulu town and Kidepo Valley National Park.
Activities include: Birding, Game drives, Hiking and Nature walks, Launch trips, Sport fishing, Culture encounters.
From Murchison Falls you can self-drive to Kibale Forest National Park the most splendid of Uganda’s tropical rain forests and one of the most rewarding areas to explore. Kibale boasts of 13 species of primates including the localized Red Colobus, L’Hoest’s monkeys and the endemic Uganda Mangabay.
Kibale’s major attraction is the chimpanzee, the delightful apes, closest to humans than to any other living creature. These can be seen swinging in tree branches as one treks through the forest trails. While you enjoy your tour in this sunny side of nature, you have life opportunity to sight over 300 bird species.
The 180km long migration corridor for wildlife also habits mammals like the elusive forest elephants, buffaloes, giant forest hogs and half a dozen antelope species, thereby making it one of the most stunning parks in Uganda.
Ideally, Kibale is in the heart of the Toro Kingdom in western Uganda, near Fort portal, the park lies close to the tranquil Ndali – Kasenda crater area and is within a half day’s drive of Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori Mountains and Semliki National Parks.
With self-driving to Kibale National Park, the 795 sq km park can be accessed from Uganda’s capital. Kampala, along a newly surfaced road via Kasese near Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park can also be reached from Kampala via Mubende and Fort Portal or through Mbarara and Kamwenge. There is daily public transport between Kampala and Fort portal by bus.
Activities include Chimpanzee Habituation Experience, Primate Walk (Chimpanzee Tracking), Day Hikes/Nature Walks, Bird watching and Night Nature Walk, Children’s Activities, Cultural Heritage and Nature Trail.