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Uganda Day Trips

4.3/5  –  292 Uganda Reviews

Uganda is an ecologically varied safari destination known for its rich biodiversity. Here you will find forests inhabited by gorillas and chimps, savannah reserves roamed by the Big Five, tropical waterways alive with hippos, and an astonishing tally of 1,000 bird species. It goes without saying that a 1-day Uganda safari is not the ideal way to experience this diversity in full. But the good news for those working within this time frame is that the capital Kampala and nearby Entebbe do offer some genuinely exciting day-trip options. These include tracking rhinos on foot, rafting the Nile, visiting a chimp sanctuary on Lake Victoria, and searching for the iconic shoebill and other aquatic birds in Mabamba Swamp.

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1-20 of 30 one day tours and day trips to Uganda

5 Questions About Uganda Day Trips


5 Questions About Uganda Day Trips

Answered by Philip Briggs

Which day trips are available from Kampala or Entebbe?

“Several different 1-day trips can be undertaken from Kampala or Entebbe, depending on your budget and interests. A very popular choice for bird-watchers is Mabamba Swamp, a shallow marshy bay that fringes Lake Victoria 12km/8mi west of Entebbe as the crow flies. Local community projects run dugout canoe trips into Mabamba. You’ll have an excellent chance of spotting the charismatic shoebill and other localized aquatic birds such as African pygmy goose, blue-breasted bee-eater and papyrus gonolek. For more adventurous travelers, an excellent option for a day trip is a white-water rafting excursion on the Nile. There are Grade 5 rapids a short distance downriver of where it exits Lake Victoria near Jinja. For wildlife enthusiasts, a popular 1-day Uganda safari involves tracking white rhinos on foot in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to the north of Kampala. Another popular and highly recommended day trip out of Kampala or Entebbe is to take a motorboat across Lake Victoria to jungle-swathed Ngamba Island. The island has been the site of a highly regarded sanctuary for orphaned chimpanzees since 1998.”


Can I book a gorilla trekking day trip in Uganda?

“In principle, yes, you can book a gorilla safari as a 1-day trip once you’re in Uganda. In practice, however, there are several potential obstacles to doing so. The first is that visiting gorillas at short notice is dependent on the availability of a trekking permit, which cannot be taken for granted, particularly during the peak tourist season (June to September). If no permits are available on a suitable date, then you won’t be able to do a gorilla trekking safari of any duration. Another obstacle is that the main gateway cities of Kampala and Entebbe lie 10 hours’ drive from Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla, the two national parks where gorilla trekking takes place. This means that even if permits are available, the minimum realistic duration of a gorilla trekking tour that starts and ends in Kampala or Entebbe would be 3 days and 2 nights. Having said that, it is perfectly possible to make your own way to Kabale, the closest large town to Bwindi. From there you can book a day visit to track gorillas at the Rushaga or Nkuringo trailheads on the park’s southern boundary. Another option is a gorilla trekking day trip to Mgahinga from the town of Kisoro, which lies very close to the park entrance.”


Is a 1-day safari in Lake Mburo National Park worth it?

“That depends on where the safari starts. Lake Mburo National Park is the closest proper safari destination to Kampala and Entebbe. It’s about 5 hours’ drive to the southwest, and several lodges bordering the park offer day trips into it, which are definitely worthwhile. On one extended game drive and boat trip in Lake Mburo, you stand a chance of spotting a wide selection of wildlife including buffalo, hippo, giraffe, zebra, impala, topi, bushbuck, defassa waterbuck and plenty of birds. However, if the day safari to Lake Mburo starts and ends in Kampala or Entebbe (an option offered by some operators), then that cannot really be recommended. Coming from either city, the round trip to and from the park entrance gate will most likely take around 10 hours, which is a lot of time on the road. And it will limit your wildlife viewing to a few short hours in the middle of the day, which is the hottest time to be out on safari. This is also when animals are least active and the photographic light is harshest. All things considered, a 1-day safari to Lake Mburo out of Kampala or Entebbe will add up to a lot of driving for very little reward. If possible, it would make a lot more sense to aim to spend at least 1 night close to the park.”


How much does a 1-day Uganda safari cost?

“The price of a 1-day safari depends greatly on the destination. A gorilla trekking day trip out of Kabale or Kisoro typically costs in the region of US$850 to US$1,000 per person. A large proportion of this cost is swallowed up by the US$600 gorilla trekking permit. Most other day trips out of Entebbe or Kampala, for instance to Mabamba, Ziwa, Ngamba Island or the Nile, generally cost from US$200 to US$300 per person. In many cases they will work out cheaper if you're part of a larger group, since this reduces transportation costs.”


What is included in a Uganda day trip?

“Most day trips in Uganda will include transport, the services of a driver and/or guide, and all entrance and activity-related fees. Lunch and/or snacks and drinking water will most likely be included too, but check this in advance. You should expect to pay for any alcoholic beverages and other purchases of a personal nature. Guides in Uganda are generally dependent on tips for an income, so you should also allow for this.”


Uganda Reviews

4.3/5 292 Reviews
Mark Eveleigh  –  
United Kingdom UK

Mark is a travel writer who grew up in Africa and has written over 700 titles for CNN Traveller, Travel Africa, BBC Wildlife and others.

Fantastic wildlife and some of the friendliest people in Africa make Uganda unbeatable

I spent a month travelling around Uganda with a self-drive, expedition-prepared Landcruiser and visited almost every national park in the country. Uganda was a revelation! I had not expected such a richness of wildlife or such great...

Full Review

Ariadne van Zandbergen  –  
South Africa ZA

Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.

Gorilla tracking in Uganda

Uganda’s biggest attraction is mountain gorilla tracking. Seeing these gentle giants has been one of my best wildlife experiences ever. With Congo being unstable, Rwanda is the only other country where this is offered. Aside from...

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Ruth Leather  –  
France FR
Reviewed: Mar 15, 2023

I spent 12 days in Uganda as part of my trip with Speke Uganda Holidays and they were without doubt the best days of the trip! Uganda blew me away with its diverse natural beauty. Africa's tallest mountain range, the snowcapped Rwenzori...

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Kaja Toom  –  
Estonia EE
Reviewed: Mar 8, 2023
The gem of African safaris

The absolute best experience of African safaris. We have previously been to Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal, South Africa. We liked how nature and animals are treated with respect. Hotels built in nature parks do not have gardens, because the...

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Carol Potter  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Mar 3, 2023
A happy green place where our fellow creatures are appreciated and respected.

Uganda was my 7th African country. It is the best place to see primates in their natural habitat. The parks are well taken care of and offer excellent opportunities to see abundant wildlife. I used Home to Africa and my guide and driver...

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Jacek  –  
Poland PL
Reviewed: Feb 27, 2023
Presence of primates makes Uganda outstanding!

Having a chance to see mountain gorillas and chimpanzees was an unforgettable experience possible in Uganda. An eight-day trip revealed a lot of animal species, including lions, leopards, giraffes, hyenas and more than fifty bird species....

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