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The Best 9-Day Uganda Safari Itinerary: On the Road with Matoke Tours

Experience what it's like to go on a Uganda safari featuring gorillas, chimps, birds, and hippos. Read our day-by-day Uganda itinerary complete with detailed reviews of the hotels and lodges where we stayed.
Note: We visited Uganda in December 2016 and these posts are a reflection on the trip at that time. It is now 2024 and the political situation in the region has evolved. Please check the U.S. State Department website or information provided by other governmental organizations around the world for up to date information to determine whether it is considered safe to travel to Uganda.

A once-in-a-lifetime Uganda safari was the perfect way to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. A hidden gem in the heart of East Africa, Uganda features over 1,000 bird species and the chance to track endangered mountain gorillas and chimpanzees (our closest relatives in the animal kingdom). 

You can see the Big 5 safari animals on a trip to Uganda and don't have to compete with throngs of tourists. Plus Uganda is an adventurous yet safe top-rated destination. 

We embarked on a custom 9-day Uganda safari tour in December which included a private car and guide/driver. 

As you'll see from our day-by-day road trip itinerary around the southern part of Uganda, we experienced a ridiculous variety of wildlife, constantly changing landscapes, and some of the friendliest people in Africa.

On safari with Matoke Tours in Uganda

Meet Geoffrey Katende - Our Matoke Tours Guide

Uganda Safari - Geoffrey Katende and our Matoke Tours vehicle
My top Uganda travel tip is to hire a car and driver for your safety and peace of mind. After much online research we booked our safari with Matoke Tours who are locally based in Kampala. 

We were met at our lodge in Entebbe (near the airport) by Geoffrey, one of Matoke's most experienced guides. Geoffrey has more than 15 years of experience showing off Uganda to eager tourists. We'd spend the next 9 days traveling in Geoffrey's capable hands. 

We loaded our bags into our 4-wheel drive safari vehicle and got an early start on our Uganda road trip. Here is a day-by-day itinerary of beautiful places to see and things to do in Uganda. 

We experienced national parks, scenic lakes, wildlife reserves, and volcanic vistas on our Uganda road trip. 

Day 1: The Drive from Entebbe Airport to Fort Portal, Uganda

Geoffrey Katende, our Matoke Tours guide driving on a red dirt road in Uganda
The first day of our Uganda safari was mainly spent on the road. It takes about 7 hours to drive from Entebbe to the Kibale Forest Park with a break for lunch in Fort Portal, and that's with a shortcut on a red dirt road to avoid the traffic jams on the road between Entebbe and Kampala.

Spotting Ugandan Wildlife by the Roadside

Birdwatching at the side of the road in Uganda
We soon learned that Geoffrey has an eagle eye for spotting birds and other Ugandan wildlife. He frequently pulled over to the side of the road to show off a rare specimen. 

There was so little traffic once we left Entebbe that it was super easy to stop and take our time getting some great photos.

We spotted black and white colobus monkeys, long-crested eagles, a black-shouldered kite and countless other birds.
Uganda Safari - Black and white colobus monkeys in Kibale National Forest
long crested eagle in Uganda
We normally don't relish long drives but in this case, the exciting new surroundings and frequent wildlife stops made the journey from Entebbe to Fort Portal fly by.

Our First Taste of Matoke, a Ugandan Staple

Plate of Ugandan cuisine including matoke and beans
Matoke is a staple food in Uganda. Green bananas that aren't edible in raw form are steamed and served as a heavy, starchy side dish. 

We enjoyed an African buffet lunch at the Garden Restaurant in Fort Portal featuring hearty meat-based stews, ground nut sauces, and plenty of beans.
Patio of the Garden Restaurant in Fort Portal, Uganda

A Forest Walk with Colobus Monkeys at Kibale Forest Camp

We arrived at the remote Kibale Forest Camp in the late afternoon. After checking into the lodge, we were encouraged to take a walk on the loop path surrounding the property. 

Forged through a heavily wooded area, the highlight of the walk was seeing black and white colobus monkeys playing in the trees. 
Black and white colobus monkey at Kibale Forest Camp in Western Uganda
We also saw some cool and colorful butterflies.
Butterfly at Kibale Forest Camp in Western Uganda

Day 2: Full Day Chimpanzee Trekking and Habituation in Kibale Forest Park

Uganda safari - Chimpanzee in Kibale Forest in Western Uganda
We awoke early the next morning and suited up for our day-long chimpanzee habituation trek. It's important to dress appropriately for the intense hike through the dense forest. 

There are some trails but you will go off-trail to follow the chimps. Wear long sleeves and long trousers and tuck your pants into your hiking socks to protect yourself against fire ants. 

Sturdy hiking boots are a must and gaiters are a plus to keep your trousers from getting muddy.

Our guide, Benson, sought out the chimpanzee night nests and from there we tracked the chimps to a grove of trees. They spent almost two hours feeding and resting in the treetops before coming down for a brief period. 

The chimpanzee habituation trek is very much a hurry up and wait affair. Once the chimps descended from the trees, we crashed through the brush in an attempt to keep up with them.
Chimpanzee in Kibale Forest in Western Uganda

Day 3: Drive From Kibale Forest Park to Queen Elizabeth National Park

A Guided Walk in Bigodi Swamp with KAFRED

Bigodi Wetlands Sign in Uganda
We started the third day of our road trip safari tour of Western Uganda with a guided walk through Bigodi Swamp, a community led project run by KAFRED, the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development. 

Designed to protect the nature and wildlife of the region while improving lives in the local community, KAFRED's Bigodi Wetlands is a treasure-trove of birds and wildlife. 

Our guide, Rodgers, was a 24 year old self-taught naturalist. He spotted and identified countless birds for us and even mimicked their calls to get them to come closer.
Rogers, our Bigodi Wetlands Guide in Western Uganda
Thanks to Rodgers, we got to see Uganda's famous blue turacos.
Blue turaco spotted at Bigodi Wetlands in Western Uganda
We also spotted the elusive L'Hoest's monkey.
Uganda Safari - L'Hoest's monkey spotted at Bigodi Wetlands in Western Uganda
We spent 2 hours traveling a circuit of the Bigodi Wetlands and it felt great knowing that the fee for the tour was going to help local community projects like building schools.

Nearly Stuck in the Mud

Muddy road in Western Uganda
After our nature walk in Bigodi Swamp, we embarked on another long drive from Kibale Forest Camp to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Geoffrey opted to take a scenic shortcut to avoid back-tracking through Fort Portal. 

We nearly regretted that decision as the road got muddier and muddier due to heavy rains in the vicinity the previous evening. As we drove on, various locals shook their heads and spoke to Geoffrey in the local language. 

They seemed to be saying "you should turn back". However, Geoffrey pressed fearlessly on. 

After fishtailing back and forth up a steep stretch of road, we were dismayed to see that a truck had jack-knifed and was currently blocking our path. Geoffrey carefully picked his way through the mud on foot to see what was up. 

Fortunately, within 15 minutes, the truck was cleared from the road and we made it, just barely, over the ridge. I was so thankful when we finally reemerged onto a tarmac (paved) road. 

Such an adventure! We were super-grateful to have Geoffrey's expert driving skills at our disposal on our Uganda road trip.

Afternoon Uganda Safari Game Drive in QENP

Matoke Tours safari vehicle in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
We arrived in Queen Elizabeth National Park in the late afternoon. We picked up Ruth, a guide who works for the Uganda Wildlife Authority, popped the top of our vehicle and set out to discover the wonders of the park. We spotted Ugandan kob in abundance.
Uganda Safari - Ugandan kob in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Warthogs stared at us curiously in the tall grass.
Warthog in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda
Did you know that Uganda is known for tree climbing lions? We spotted two lions on our Uganda safari: one in a tree and one in the grass. 
Tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda
Uganda Safari - Lion in Queen Elizabeth National Park
We only saw two other cars at any point on our afternoon game drive. Magnificent!

Mango and Pineapple Sundowner in Uganda

It's not officially a safari without a sundowner. The previous day, Geoffrey had picked up some fresh pineapple and mangos from a roadside vendor. Geoffrey expertly carved the pineapple and cut it into 4 long strips for everyone to share.
Geoffrey Katende from Matoke tours cutting a pineapple in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Geoffrey Katende from Matoke tours cutting a pineapple in Queen Elizabeth National Park
As pineapple juice sluiced down my chin, I was aware that this was the freshest and most delicious pineapple I'd ever tasted. 

For our second course, Geoffrey treated us to wild mangos cut into sections and served in the rind. I've never tasted mangos so sweet and ripe.
Cut Ugandan mango

Day 4: In and Around Uganda's Queen Elizabeth National Park

Sunrise Safari with Elephants Galore

Driving track in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda
We returned to QENP the next morning at sunrise and picked up Ruth for a second safari game drive. We had the narrow driving tracks through the park all to ourselves. 

We spotted crested cranes, Uganda's national bird. Ruth smiled as she told us how crested cranes mate for life, just like the two of us. She was genuinely thrilled to be a part of our 20th anniversary trip.
Crested cranes in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda
The grass was high but we managed to spot another lion nonetheless.
Lion in the grass in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda
It was hard to see at first, but these Egyptian Geese are standing on a hippo in a pond covered with green slime.
Egyptian geese on a hippo in Uganda
We were also excited to see elephants in abundance in Queen Elizabeth National Park. 
Elephant in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda

A Kazinga Channel Boat Cruise

Mother and baby hippo on the Kazinga Channel in Uganda
We spent the afternoon on the Kazinga Channel, linking Lake Edward and Lake Albert. Filled with hippos, buffalo, hungry crocodiles, elephants, and plenty of birds, Uganda's Kazinga Channel quickly became one of our favorite Uganda safari destinations of our road trip. 

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Day 5: A Bumpy Road to Lake Mutanda

We embarked on another long drive from Queen Elizabeth National Park to Lake Mutanda in the southwest of Uganda. 

Road quality varies considerably throughout the country. While the road was paved most of the way, the final 90 minutes or so was spent climbing up a narrow muddy road just feet away from a steep cliff.

Getting Psyched (or Psyched Out?) to Go Mountain Gorilla Tracking

View of the Virungas and Lake Mutanda in Uganda
We arrived in the early evening at Lake Mutanda Resort. Situated in the shadow of the stunning Virunga volcanos, it was an idyllic setting to prepare for our upcoming hike to track Uganda's mountain gorillas. 
View from the Lake Mutanda Resort in Western Uganda
Talking to another couple visiting from Germany, we mentioned that we were signed up to track the Nkuringo gorilla family. The woman looked at us in awe and said something like "that's supposed to be the hardest hike with lots of scrambling through the brush and fjording of rivers. 

I'd never sign up to do that!" She was going to continue in that vein until I asked her to please stop since she was starting to scare us :-D We were hoping to get psyched for the trip but ended up feeling a little psyched out in the end. 

Day 6: Tracking the Nkuringo Family of Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Black back gorilla from the Nkuringo Family in Bwindi National Park
It was with some trepidation that we departed before dawn for the trail head where we would begin tracking the mountain gorillas. 

After an hour bouncing around on the steep muddy roads winding upward toward Bwindi Impenetrable National Park from Lake Mutanda, we finally arrived. 

We checked in by showing our passports and gorilla tracking permits which had been arranged by Matoke Tours ($600 USD at the time of writing). 

Our entourage included two armed rangers (in case of encounters with forest elephants or rogue gorillas), a UWA guide, and two porters to carry our bags and lend a helping hand as we negotiated the trail. 

We did our trek on the day of our 20th anniversary and were simply thrilled when we learned that we were the only two tracking the mountain gorillas that day. Apparently, the intimidating reputation that is associated with the Nkuringo hike scared others away.
Hiking into the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda
We asked our guide for an estimated range of times that it would take to track the gorillas. He told us that the fastest he'd ever found the Nkuringo Family was 2 hours and the longest was four hours. 

We got lucky and it took about two and a half hours to find them that day. We spent a magical hour in the presence of these awe-inspiring primates.
Face to face with a silverback from the Nkuringo family in Uganda
I'll admit, the return hike (mostly uphill) nearly killed me: you need to be in good shape to attempt the Nkuringo trek but I'm proud to say that we made it out under our own power albeit with plenty of short breaks and huffing and puffing. 

The high altitude definitely doesn't help. What an amazing, once in a lifetime way to spend our wedding anniversary!

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Day 7: A Day of Rest and Recovery at Lake Bunyonyi

We drove from Lake Mutanda Resort to the Birdnest Lodge on picturesque Lake Bunyonyi. Matoke Tours had wisely scheduled a light day for us involving a later departure and only a three hour drive. 

We were tired and our legs were burning from tracking the gorillas the previous day.  We spent a leisurely afternoon on Lake Bunyonyi and arranged for a boat cruise around Uganda's deepest lake.
Boat cruise on Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda

Punishment Island and a Bird Restaurant

Punishment Island on Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda
Lake Bunyonyi features Punishment Island. In the past, women who got pregnant out of wedlock were sent here. They were faced with certain death unless a man who couldn't afford the dowry for an 'untainted' wife rowed out to the island and rescued the woman.
Bird restaurant at Bushara Island Camp on Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda
We also stopped at Bushara Island Camp on Lake Bunyonyi which features a bird restaurant. The resort puts out food which attracts a wide range of birds to the area. I especially enjoyed watching speckled mousebirds revel in the feast.

Day 8: On the Road to Lake Mburo National Park

Matoke and Fruit Markets in Uganda

Matoke market in Uganda
We really appreciated having a private car and local guide on our Ugandan safari trip. Geoffrey gave context to all the things that we passed at the roadside and was patient with our frequent questions. 

On the road between Lake Bunyonyi and Lake Mburo we witnessed a large scale market where locals buy and sell matoke. 
Matoke market in Uganda
We were also impressed by the sheer volume of pineapples that industrious Ugandans could fit on the back of their motorcycles.
Pineapples on a motorcycle in Uganda
The stretch of road we traveled featured countless stands selling a wide range of produce grown in Uganda's fertile soil. Over 90% of Ugandans are subsistence farmers and live off the fruit of the land.
Roadside produce stands in Uganda

A Private Game Drive in Lake Mburo National Park 

Animal skulls at Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda
We arrived at Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda's smallest protected savanna, in the late afternoon. I stared in wonder at the skulls picked clean stacked at the entrance gate to the park. 

Once again, the birdwatching opportunities were amazing. I especially enjoyed watching pairs of woodland kingfishers call and display for one another.
A pair of woodland kingfishers in Lake Mburo national park in Uganda
Lake Mburo National Park has a few predators (mainly leopards) but they are elusive and so the main attraction was herds of Burchell's zebra. 
Burchell's Zebra in Lake Mburo national park in Uganda
Rothschild's giraffe was also recently reintroduced to the park with animals relocated from Murchison Falls. 
Watching a Rothschild giraffe in Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda
Rothschild giraffe sticking its tongue out in Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda
The giraffes were introduced because the park was experiencing a proliferation of acacia trees and there was a risk that the savanna would become a thick forest. Thorny acacia trees are the preferred food for giraffes.
Thorns of an acacia tree in Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda
Thorns of an acacia tree in Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda
We were simply excited to see the giraffes without having to take a two day detour to Murchison Falls. Our final night on safari was spent at Rwakobo Rock Lodge overlooking the park.

Day 9: Our Final Day on a Private Safari in Uganda

Walking Safari with Elands, Topi, and Zebras

We arose at dawn on the final day of our Ugandan safari road trip and met up with a UWA guide for a walking safari in Lake Mburo National Park. My first question was "Is a walking safari safe given that there are leopards in the park?" 

Our guide reassured us that leopards hunt at night so their bellies would be full and they'd be resting during the day. As a back-up, our UWA ranger was armed so that was comforting.
A topi in Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda
We were excited to see topi with their hyena like gait.
herd of topi in Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda
Of course, we saw plenty of zebras with an entourage of cattle egrets on our walking safari.
Zebras and cattle egrets in Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda
We also spotted the normally shy eland in the distance. Elands are the largest antelopes in Africa.
Watching an eland on a walking safari in Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda
eland on a walking safari in Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda
Near the tail end of our walk, we even spotted a mongoose! I'd never seen one before.
Mongoose on a walking safari in Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda

Tangling with Uganda's Ankole Cattle

We also enjoyed getting up-close to a herd of impressive Ankole cattle (back in the safety of our car) on the way back to our lodge. Cattle ranchers live nearby and their herds often get very close to the road.
Ankole cattle in Uganda

Crossing the Equator and Return to the Northern Hemisphere

On our return drive to Entebbe we crossed the equator. Geoffrey arranged for a demonstration of the Coriolis effect where water swirls in opposite directions depending on whether you are in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere. How cool is that?!
Water draining in the northern hemisphere in Uganda
Water draining in the southern hemisphere in Uganda
In our demonstration, a flower placed in a bowl of water didn't swirl at all when draining at the equator.
Water draining on the equator in Uganda

Lunch at Flamingoz Joint (on the Equator!)

Flamingoz Joint sign on the equator in Uganda
We also enjoyed our last African meal of beef, rice, matoke, and avocado at Flamingoz Joint in the Southern Hemisphere but within sight of the sign marking the equator.
Plate of Ugandan food including beef, rice, matoke, and avocado

Buying Mangos by the Basket

Mangos in Uganda
We really enjoyed all the fresh fruit that we tried on our Ugandan safari so we asked Geoffrey if he could help us buy some mangos to eat in Entebbe after our safari ended. 

He asked us how many we wanted and we said 5 or 6. Geoffrey told us that the roadside vendor was asking 2000 Ugandan shillings (about 50 cents at the time of writing). 

We assumed he mean 2000 schillings per mango. As the woman start rolling full bowls of mangos into a bag, we realized that the price was 2000 schillings per bowl

We definitely ended up with more fruit than we bargained for but somehow managed to eat our way through about 8 delicious mangos before heading back to Ireland.

Saying Goodbye to Geoffrey and Our Matoke Tours Safari

Posing with Geoffrey Katende from Matoke Tours in Uganda
At the end of our road trip tour of Uganda, Geoffrey dropped us off at our guest house in Entebbe and after 9 non-stop days together, it was time to say farewell. We were super-grateful to have him with us. 

He was a wealth of information about Uganda and was patient with our questions. 

Being in Uganda, we were definitely out of our comfort zone and it was reassuring to have Geoffrey with us every step of the way as we visited some of the most rural and off the grid places we've ever traveled to. He was also a confident and very safe driver. 

He really made our 20th anniversary trip truly special. If you are planning to travel to Uganda and need a guide, Geoffrey Katende is your man. We highly recommend both Geoffrey as a tour guide and Matoke Tours for making all the arrangements for an unforgettable road trip in Uganda.

A Road Trip Tour of Uganda - Travel Planning Links

Map of our Road Trip Tour of Uganda

Click on the image below to open up an interactive version in Google Maps to explore the various places visited on our Uganda safari itinerary.
Uganda Safari Itinerary Map

20 Things that Surprised Us About Uganda

1. A Ugandan tourist visa is free if you have an Irish passport.
You'll pay $50 USD a head if you visit Uganda from most countries. However, people traveling on Irish (and some other) passports get their visa gratis.

2. Arrival in Entebbe International Airport was hassle-free

It took us about 10 minutes to clear immigration and pick up our checked bags.

3. Uganda is on the equator but it's not *that* hot

Temperatures stayed solidly in the 20's Celsius (80's Fahrenheit) due to Uganda's higher elevation and even got chilly some nights.

4. The toilet facilities were better than expected

We encountered mostly western toilets complete with toilet paper and only used the bush toilet on days when we were tracking the gorillas and chimps.

5. Biting insects were generally not an issue (outside of Entebbe)

due to Uganda's higher elevation about sea level.

6. Mosquitos can bite through your socks so make sure to apply plenty of DEET
We did encounter mosquitos in Entebbe and found to our dismay that they go for the ankles and can bite through socks.

7. While many of the roads in Uganda were rough, quite a few were luxuriously smooth

Muddy road in UgandaTarmac road viewed from the inside of the car in Uganda

8. It's hard to find unique souvenirs and postcards in Uganda
There were very few places selling crafts and even fewer places that sold postcards. Stock up when you find them.

9. Lodges in Uganda love to serve soup to visitors

The lodges in Uganda cater to a western diet and serve soup with every meal even though Uganda is on the equator.

10. You can be a birdwatcher without leaving your car

Birds are everywhere in Uganda and tend to perch on power lines and in the trees along the highway.

11. Ugandans announce their love of God with pride

We saw tons of prayerful slogans on buildings, vehicles, and more.
Jesus Loved You truck in Uganda"God says yes, no one can say no" sign in Uganda

12. Uganda is incredibly fertile and everyone seems to be a farmer

13. Everything grows in Ugandan soil

Bananas, pineapples, mangos, maize, tea, coffee, rice, and more. We saw it all.
Tea plantation in Uganda

14. It's incredibly dark at night in rural Uganda and don't count on there being electricity

Some lodges turn off the generator overnight. Pack a strong flashlight or lantern to feel more secure at night.

15. Tourist police patrol lodges in an otherwise safe country

We felt incredibly safe in Uganda. This feeling was reinforced when we learned that the tourist police patrol many safari lodges.

16. Lodges don't always provide bottled water or shampoo
Make sure to bring what you need rather than relying on the lodge to provide it.

17. There are no traffic lights in Uganda and many kinds of speed bumps

We didn't see a single traffic light on our entire trip. We did, however, see a myriad of speed bumps ranging from giant humps to a series of small obstacles.

18. Tracking mountain gorillas can take as little as 15 minutes

It took us over 2 hours to track the Nkuringo family of gorillas. Other guests staying at Lake Mutanda Resort and doing the trek out of Rushaga found their gorilla family in 15 minutes!

19. Gorilla trekking permits don't always sell-out

We were the only two on the trek to see the Nkuringo family (we visited Uganda in December 2016 just before Christmas). While it's generally advisable to book gorilla permits several months in advance, there can be last minute availability depending on the season.

20. It's best to leave your hair dryer at home
Hairdryers are expensive to run on generator power and have the ability to use up all the solar power at a lodge in short order. Do everyone a favor and leave your hairdryer at home.

Where to Stay in Uganda - A Review of Our Lodges

We stayed in a variety of mid-range lodges and resorts during our safari road trip in Uganda. All of the lodges offered cabin choices with an en suite toilet (a must-have for us) including a sink and shower. Here's what you can expect from your accommodations in Uganda.

Kibale Forest Camp for a Retreat in the Woods

Kibale Forest Camp sign in Uganda
Kibale Forest Camp, as the name implies, was nestled in a clearing in Kibale Forest National Park. Our accommodation was a permanent tent with a wooden structure built around it. 

Be aware, the camp is very dark at night and a good torch (aka flashlight) is essential. No bottled water was provided and the bed did not have a mosquito net (the tent itself effectively serves as a mosquito net). 
Kibale Forest Camp tent in Uganda
The common area was open air and a nice spot for grabbing a drink. Dinner was served on the upper deck.
Kibale Forest Camp common area in Uganda
The staff start a bonfire each evening. Before it got dark, I watched black and white colobus monkeys as they peered back at me from a nearby tree.
Bonfire at Kibale Forest Camp in Uganda

The Bush Lodge at Queen Elizabeth National Park for a Rustic Eco Experience

Welcome to Bush Lodge sign in Uganda
Bush Lodge was the most rustic but most professionally run place that we stayed at on our safari in Uganda. Bush Lodge is located on hippo trails and you can hear hippos grunting in the night as they come up from the Kazinga Channel to feed. 

The staff will walk you back to your room after dark if you don't have a strong torch (or if you are afraid of hippos!). There are security patrols all night long. 

Bush Lodge sits on a more open plain and there was plenty of ambient light thanks to the full moon outside. Bush Lodge did have mosquito nets but did not provide bottled water for the tent.
Tent at Bush Lodge in Uganda
Inside the Tent at Bush Lodge in Uganda
Classed as an ecolodge, our tent had a drop toilet (just add a scoop of the provided wood chips after each use). The sink and shower were both outside and surrounded by an approximately 5 foot high fence. 

As a city person, I found it unnerving to go outside at night to wash my hands (especially when I could hear hippos grunting nearby). I ended up using lots of hand sanitizer instead. 

You need to order a shower at Bush Lodge in advance and one of the staff members will deliver hot water to your tank in large buckets.
Outdoor shower at Bush Lodge in Uganda

Lake Mutanda Resort for Stunning Views

Mutanda Lake and the Virunga mountains in Uganda
Mutanda Lake Resort had the most spectacular views of all the lodges we stayed in on our safari in Uganda. The lake lapped nearly to the foot of the stairs leading up to our sturdy cabin perched on a hill. We could see the Virungas (and Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo) in the distance.
Mutanda Lake Resort in Uganda
It's not easy to get there. The drive to Mutanda Lake Resort involves bouncing around on a winding dirt track clinging to a cliff face for about 90 minutes. 
Mutanda Lake Resort in Uganda
Lake Mutanda Resort did provide water and mosquito nets and had a modest selection of crafts and postcards in the lodge. The property runs their generator in the evening from about 6:30 - 10:30 pm. 

There is WiFi in the restaurant but it only works when the generator is on. There is solar power to run lights 24/7 if needed. The toilet, sink, and shower were en suite and hot water was available at all times.

Birdnest Lodge at Lake Bunyonyi for a Day of Rest

Birdnest @ Bunyonyi lodge in Uganda
A three story lodge with a thatched roof, Birdnest @ Bunyonyi was the only traditional hotel that we stayed in on our safari. Our room overlooked the lake with a balcony to take in the views. 

Lake Bunyonyi did not provide bottled water and there were no mosquito nets (the staff claimed that they weren't needed due to the altitude). 
Birdnest @ Bunyonyi lodge in Uganda
The room was quirky with the shower and toilet essentially in the main room (just separated by a partial wall). Don't expect a lot of privacy here. Electricity was nominally available 24/7 (subject to the whims of the local power grid) as was hot water. 

We learned the hard way that the hot water tank is shared between multiple rooms and ended up taking a cold shower because the people we were sharing with used it all up :-/
Donkey at Birdnest @ Bunyonyi lodge in Uganda
Birdnest @ Bunyonyi also had a trio of donkeys on the property and they wandered through the patio at will. A quirky touch.
Knitted gorilla at Birdnest @ Bunyonyi lodge in Uganda
Birdnest Resort also had the best selection of crafts that we found at any of our accommodations in Uganda. 
View of Lake Bunyonyi from Birdnest @ Bunyonyi lodge in Uganda
We enjoyed sipping a bottle of wine as the sun set on the lake. There is not all that much nearby so plan to spend a very chill day relaxing on the lake.

Rwakobo Rock at Lake Mburo for Great Wildlife Viewing

Rwakobo Rock lodge sign in Uganda
Rwakobo Rock sits just outside the entrance gate of Lake Mburo National Park (about a 10 minute drive). The lodge is centered on the restaurant/bar tent with a vaulted thatched roof. After dark, a couple of bats darting about were a bit unnerving.
Restaurant and bar at Rwakobo Rock lodge in Uganda
The bar tent is a great spot to watch the sun rise and set. 
Sunrise from Rwakobo Rock lodge in Uganda
Regular wildlife visitors frequent the area below the restaurant. We saw a herd of zebras and a vervet monkey carrying her baby. Amazing!
Vervet monkey and baby at Rwakobo Lodge in Uganda
It can be a long walk to the cabins at Rwakobo Rock. We stayed in Mongoose which was about a 5 minute walk away from the main lodge.
Signs pointing to the rooms at Rwakobo Lodge in Uganda
The cabins were solid structures with thatched roofs. Purified drinking water was provided and there was a mosquito net over the bed. Hot water and solar-powered lights were available 24 hours a day. There were no sockets in the cabin but devices could be charged at the restaurant/bar.
Cabin at Rwakobo Lodge in Uganda
Rwakobo Rock also features 'Top of the Rock' about a 10 minute hike from our cabin. From here, you get 360 degree views of Lake Mburo National Park and the surrounding savanna. 
View from Top of the Rock at Rwakobo Rock lodge in Uganda

Getting to Uganda from Europe

What's the best way to get to Uganda from Europe? We flew from Dublin to Entebbe Airport on Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Adaba

If you are traveling to Uganda to celebrate a special occasion, why not opt for a more luxurious experience? Consider flying Emirates Business Class if you are really feeling spendy, book the awesome Emirates First Class cabin via Dubai.

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Tracking Uganda's Nkuringo Family of Mountain Gorillas: Hiking the Path Less TraveledIn Search of Shoebill Storks in Mabamba Swamp: Uganda's Ultimate Birdwatching DestinationUganda's Bird Whisperer of Bigodi Wetlands SanctuaryWhat It's Like to Spend the Day On A Chimpanzee Habituation Trek in Uganda's Kibale ForestA Boat Cruise on Uganda's Kazinga Channel: Hippos and Elephants and Crocodiles, Oh MyThings to Do In and Around Entebbe Airport in UgandaThe Birds of East Africa: Why Uganda is a Birdwatchers Paradise10 Packing List Essentials for a Safari in Uganda if You're a City PersonWhy Uganda is the Coolest Safari Destination in East Africa: So Much More Than Just The Big 5


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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: The Best 9-Day Uganda Safari Itinerary: On the Road with Matoke Tours
The Best 9-Day Uganda Safari Itinerary: On the Road with Matoke Tours
Experience what it's like to go on a Uganda safari featuring gorillas, chimps, birds, and hippos. Read our day-by-day Uganda itinerary complete with detailed reviews of the hotels and lodges where we stayed.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog