This is the 7 day ultimate itinerary in Uganda. This 7 Day Uganda Itinerary really scratches the surface but it shows the best this beautiful country has to offer. I have visited Uganda 3 times so far and spent over 3 months there in my longest trip.
Uganda is a big country so to see the best bits naturally you will spend a lot of time driving, I have optimised this itinerary to maximise fun and minimise unnecessary travel time! This itinerary walks you through day by day of what to do, how long the travel times and top tips for each location. As well as this, I have recommended places to stay for each budget.
Spending more time in Uganda? I have a 10 day itinerary here.
Introduction to Uganda
Uganda ‘The Pearl of Africa’ has so much to offer from incredible scenery to a huge variety of wild Animals. Uganda is most known on the tourist trail for the Gorillas. Gorilla Tracking is of course amazing but Uganda is a lot more than just that and this itinerary allows you to experience the best experiences.
How to Get Around Uganda
The most practical way to get around during this 7 Day Uganda Itinerary is by car. You can choose to rent a car and drink yourself or hire a car with a driver. Each has positives and negatives but your budget will probably make that choice for you. As well as this, there are public buses on almost all major roads, these are very cheap but take a while as they stop a lot. If you are unsure of which way to travel, I have written a whole post on how to travel Uganda for all budgets so check it out here.
Ugandan National Park Permits
There are 2 activities in this 7 Day Uganda Itinerary that require permits from the Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA). This is the Gorilla tracking and Chimpanzee tracking permits. To avoid disappointment, make sure you book these in advance before you go.
Medical Considerations Before You Leave
Before going to Uganda, make sure you check with your travel doctor to make sure you are up to date with your vaccines. Check the up-to-date rules, but when I visited a yellow fever vaccine certificate was need to enter the country. As well as this, I took anti malaria tablets I am not a medical professional so check this information with your medical practitioner. In general, try to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.
Uganda uses the Ugandan Shilling but also USD in tourist places. Cash is widely accepted in both currencies as well as cards in tourist places. ATMs can sometimes be difficult so come by so to avoid carrying large sums of cash I highly recommend buying a Ugandan sim card and using mobile money. Most Ugandans use their phones to transfer money and withdraw cash and there are people to withdraw money from on the side of the road very very frequently. I walk you through how to do this in this post.
7 Day Uganda Itinerary
For info: this itinerary is written assuming you will be using your own transport. Lengths of journey may be longer if you are using public transport.
Day 1: Entebbe to Kampala
Drive time: 1 hour
This 10 Day Uganda Itinerary begins after landing in Entebbe airport. From Entebbe, head to Kampala. Entebbe is home to Uganda’s main airport but the capital city Kampala. Prepare to embrace the chaos of Kampala. To experience Kampala like a true local, jump on a Boda Boda (motorbike taxi) using the SafeBoda app.
Visit some of the craft markets to buy some gifts and lovely souvenirs. Kampala is filled with street food so it is the perfect place to find some great local food. If you are looking to learn more about Uganda, try visiting the National Museum.
Where to stay in Kampala
Looking for somewhere to stay in Kampala?
Day 2: Drive to Lake Bunyonyi then take in Sunset Over the Lake
Drive time: 8.5 hours
From Kampala, drive up the hills to the magnificent Lake Bunyonyi. This journey will take you across the Equator. At the equator there are some food stops as well as some shops to buy some souvenirs. Of course, you should take a photo at the equator signs!
One of the coolest things at the equator is the display of how water drains in the northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere as well as on the equator itself. The water drains in different directions depending on the hemisphere and its super fun to watch. This display and explanation is for a small fee but you get an equator certificate with it which is always fun!
Lake Bunyonyi is one of my favourite spots in Uganda simply because it is like no place in the world! It is the estimated to be the 2nd deepest lake in Africa and has distinctive small islands across it.
Take a walk to the lakeside villages and take in the surroundings of the lake. There are local markets which has lots of stalls to buy food and souvenirs. Sample one of the local drinks called Bushera. It has a very distinctive taste and is locally fermented so can have a deceptive amount of alcohol in it.
Make sure to find a view point on the hills to see a beautiful sunset overlooking the lake. I stayed at Arcadia Lodge in Lake Bunyonyi and the view from the lodge was truly stunning.
Where to Stay in Lake Bunyonyi
Here are some options of where to stay in Lake Bunyonyi:
Day 3: Boat trip on Lake Bunyonyi and walk in among amazing scenery drive to Bwindi Impenetrable forest National
Drive time : 2.5 hours
What better way to see a lake than to get a boat on it? And Lake Bunyonyi is no different. There are many boat trips offered than show the lake from different perspectives as well as the island. This is also the place to learn about the horrific punishment island.
Punishment island gets its name from a tradition that stopped over 100 years ago. Unmarried pregnant women were left on the island to set an example to other women in the region. Sadly, most of the women starved to death as they could not swim to the mainland.
Fun fact: The Ugandan Wildlife Authority tried to introduce Hippos to Lake Bunyonyi but the attempts failed. It turns out that the lake was too deep for the hippos because hippos actually walk on the bottom of a lake rather than swim.
In the afternoon, drive to the accommodation close to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Be careful as permits are granted to specific entrance points of the park. Make sure to choose a lodge that is the best spot for the permits you have.
Where to Stay in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Here are some options of where to stay near Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park:
Day 4: The big day: Gorillas!
Drive time: To the park entrance from local accommodation then 6 hours in the afternoon to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Only found in the wild in 3 countries in the world (Uganda, DRC and Rwanda), seeing gorillas in the wild is a truly incredible experience. It is the real highlight of a trip to Uganda. Because of this, the permits are both expensive and sought after. Pre-Covid, the permits were sold out over 6 months in advance. Post-Covid, the waiting list is not yet at this point but make sure to book in advance to avoid any disappointment.
The trek to see the Gorillas can be as long as 4 hours each way or as short as 15 mins each way. It really depends where the gorillas are and how close they are to the visitors centre. So prepare for a long day out just in case! With a regular permit, you can only spend 1 hour with the gorilla family to prevent them getting too stressed out by visitors.
Want to know more about Gorilla tracking? I have a post about it here.
After the excitement of the Gorillas, get on the road headed to Queen Elizabeth National Park. This is a very picturesque drive and you will notice the temperatures get hotter as you get to Queen Elizabeth National Park. This is because Queen Elizabeth is lowest point in Uganda so gets very warm. Most lodges in Queen Elizabeth have swimming pools because of this, this is the perfect way to refresh after the drive!
Tip: if you are driving to the Ishasha sector for a game drive in the morning, stay at a lodge near the Ishasha Sector. Queen Elizabeth National Park is very large and this could mean quite a drive in the morning.
Where to stay Near Queen Elizabeth National Park
Day 5: Sunrise Game Drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park to see Tree Climbing Lions
Drive time: game drive then 1.5 hours to Fort Portal
Take a game drive in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National to find the world famous tree climbing lions. The phrase the early bird catches the worm is key here! Wake up before sunrise to see the beautiful morning light over the plains of the park as well as the animals waking up in search of breakfast. As morning is the coolest time of day, this is when the lazy lions are the most active. Opt for a full day game drive for maximum animal time or take a morning drive only and use the afternoon to relax by the pool.
Want to know more about Queen Elizabeth National Park? I have a post about it here.
After the game drive, drive 1.5 hours to Fort Portal. Fort portal is a tourist hot spot town on the foot hills of the Rwenzori mountains. There are many surrounding hills which have tea plantations which are beautiful.
Where to Stay in Fort Portal
Here are some options of where to stay in Fort Portal:
Day 6: Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale National Park
Drive time: 30 mins each way to Kibale National Park
Kibale Forest National Park is the centre of primate activity in Uganda. It is home to many species of primates including Chimpanzees. You must buy permits to track the Chimpanzees. Similar to the gorilla permits, these permits book up in advance so make sure to book. Chimpanzee tracking is on foot although the hike is less difficult than the Gorilla tracking. The paths tend to be more marked out and also flatter.
Even driving through the park you can see primates from the road that goes through the middle of the park. Often Baboon families will hang out on the side of the road. They know that cars can have tasty snacks in them so keep your windows closed if you have food around (and definitely don’t feed them!). For simplicity, sleep in the same hotel in Fort Portal that evening.
Fun story: when I drove through Kibale National park a Baboon jumped on the car! I think he saw the bananas in the front seat. It was quite an experience to have a Baboon looking at you through the front windscreen!
Want to learn more about Chimpanzee tracking? I have a post about it here.
Day 7: Drive Back to Entebbe and Spend Time in Entebbe Before Your Flight
Drive time: 5.5 hours
As with all great trips, all good things must come to an end. Depending on the time of your flight, spend some time around Entebbe town. One of the most wacky restaurants is the Aero Beach which has many old planes and plane parts around which is really interesting.
Conclusion of 7 Day Uganda Itinerary
That is the end of the Ultimate 7 Day Uganda Itinerary. I hope you found this useful and enjoy your time. Please let me know how you go on in the comments section!