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Book or not to book??

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Book or not to book??

Hi there,

My husband and I will be visiting Uganda between 2 - 17 January

I just need a little bit of help planning the trip...

Below are the activities that we want to do but just need advice as to whether to book the activities before we go or try and organise it once we get there...

Gorilla trekking - visit QE Park

Visit Murchison Falls

Fort Portal

Sesse island - stay 3 nights at the end of trip

The thing that I am confused with is how easy it is it travel independently in Uganda? Do we need a driver? Should we book everything in advance do you think we could plan & book it all when we get to Kampala?

Alo how long should we stay at each place?

Not sure what the best thing to do is...

Any help much appreciated!!



Isle of Man, United...
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1. Re: Book or not to book??

Well for Gorillas you do need to book as permits can be very restricted. Independent travel is possible but it can slow you down and it is perceived wisdom to arrange a car and driver as the roads are not that good and sign posts few and far between.

similarly accommodation can be full especially around the holiday times. Your first choices may not be available. With Gorilla permits you need to tie up the sleeping arrangements to suit.

My advice would be to make contact with a few Ground Agents in Kampala and send them your requirements. See what each says and take it from there.

Leaving it until you are in country will waste time if nothing else.

Good luck.

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2. Re: Book or not to book??

Welcome to the forum

Bear in mind, with the post-NY date you have - you might find accommodation a bit tighter than other times. You definitely need to secure that in advance.

Places like Fort Portal/Jinja etc, can definitely be booked and visited spontanously. Gorillas *must* be secured in advance.

Ssese you can book and travel to independently, but book in advance.

MFNP - well I'd want to have the accommodation of my choice - but you could probably do it once here - bit risky though! Yes you can obtain private hire/private drivers at quite short notice.

Red Chilli do a good trip up there on more of a budget. All the accommodation there is good news.

As to how long, it depends what you want to do in the places. I wouldn't stay any less than 2 nights at Murchison, possibly 1 in FP, but if you are doing Kibale chimp trek, you might want 2. I'd consider Jinja as well, as there's so much to see and do that side.

QE, at least 2 nights. Bwindi is a long and tiring drive - think how you will beak up the journey from place to place. Consider break en route back to Kampala at Lake Mburo.

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3. Re: Book or not to book??

Hi Mfuwe & Shelly,

Thank you for you replies both really helpful.

I should have mentioned that we are actually going to be in Tanzania before we head out to Uganda. We're going to climb Kili and then do a safari, so plently of game viewing in Ngorongo and Serenti.

So taking this into consideration I thought the following itinerary might work:

Arrive 2nd Jan - 2 nights in Kampala

2 nights in Jinja

3 nights in QE

3 nights Bwindi Forest - Gorilla Trekking

2 nights in Lake Bunyonyi

3 nights in Sesse Island

leave on the 17th from Entebbe

I've read that we could get the bus to Jinja but I'm not sure how we would get from Jinja all the way down to QE and continue from there....

Do you know if the hotels have drivers? Do you think it'd be possible for the hotels to arrange pick ups from each point rather than hiring a driver for the whole period (I think that would be way out of our budget)!!

Thanks again,


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Isle of Man, United...
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4. Re: Book or not to book??


You are going to see rather a lot of sunny downtown Kampala.

I think you should put into sections.

Out and return to Jinja.

Out and return to Murchison. (Red chile trip) although it is possible to go from Jinja direct to Murchison.

Out and return to Ssese (you can go via Masaka or from Entebbe.

Bus to Kabale, (NOT Kibale make sure you get the right one)

Side trip to Lake Bunyoni. (Why?)

You may now get a private hire over to Gorilla site BUT get your permits FIRST. The trail heads are many miles and hours apart. You need to know this before booking lodges.

If you are OD on Safari animals I would forget QENP especially as not now going to Fort Portal.

As to lodges having cars, I don't think you fully understand the logistics. when you get to Lodge A, how do you intend to get around? then Lodge B.

Then there is the transfer to Gorilla Trail head and HQ.

I do not wish to appear rude but I think you need to look at this problem carefully.

This is not like a Safari in TZ where you will have a Car/Driver to Safari and Game drive with. (Talk to your TZ agent.)

Good luck.

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5. Re: Book or not to book??

Hi Mfuwe,

What I was thinking is that we could get a bus to Jinja. From Jinja get a driver to take us to Fort Portal.

From Fort Portal arrange a transfer to Bwindi and then onto Lake Bunyonyi. If we can use public transport / shared taxi then great.

I'm just trying to guauge how we are going to get around in the most cost effective manner...

Once at each of the stops I was hoping that we could use a local guide / tour company to do some of the activities.

Thanks for the tips they are all very useful.

Many thanks,


Isle of Man, United...
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6. Re: Book or not to book??

I see Fort Portal is back on the list. Is there a reason for this?

Also Murchison no longer features.

Jinja to Fort Portal is doable on a bus (usually via Kampala).

What will you do there?

FP down to QENP by bus to the Gate. Stay at one of the budget place in Katwe or Katanguru. They may arrange a local driver to take you into the NP.

Getting from there to your Gorilla site will not be easy. Even to Park HQ in Buhoma is a four hour ride. And you should only go there IF your permits are for Buhoma based groups. You CAN walk from Buhoma to the southern groups around Nkuringo in about 4-7 hours but you will need a guide and escort. Otherwise it is a six hour drive round the mountain.

Lake Bunyoni is not problem from Kabale.

I say again, I do not think you have thought the logistics of this through.

Budget? You do know that permits cost $500 a tot? And you need to get those before you get started.

7. Re: Book or not to book??

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