Camping tours are a great way to explore the country’s stunning natural beauty. With a wide variety of national parks, forests, and game reserves, Uganda is a paradise for nature lovers. Some of the best places to go camping in Uganda include Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, and Kidepo Valley National Park. These parks offer a range of camping experiences, from remote wilderness sites to more developed campsites with amenities like hot showers and electricity. Whatever your level of comfort, there is sure to be a camping experience in Uganda that suits your needs.
For adventurers, camping in Uganda is a great choice. Facilities are remarkable, places are numerous and it’s secure, easy and pleasant. Even better, not many people recognize that Uganda is such an excellent African camping spot, so you’re sure to get off the beaten track. Camping in Uganda allows you to find places that no other tourists travel to and just enjoy the natural beauty of this incredible country. It’s the ideal way to experience Uganda and we’d urge everyone to give it a shot.
The tips and things to know when camping in Uganda
Campsites are widely available in Uganda: ranging from basic campgrounds inside the national parks managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), to private campsites operated by lodge owners, often with great facilities like a restaurant and swimming pool. Moreover, the opportunities to camp are year round thanks to Uganda’s warm weather. The campsites of Uganda in all the destinations do not need to be booked in advance.
Camping fees: Staying at a UWA public campsite with pit latrine, water, firewood and ranger security costs 5,50USD per person, per night. Pitching your tent at a more fancy, privately owned campground costs about 10USD per person. Camping at a basic campsite outside a national park may cost around 5USD per person per night. Most of the campsites have enough space even if you are camping with a rooftop tent.
Wild camping in Uganda – it is uncommon and not allowed.
Do I need to reserve my campsite: Contrary to such countries as Namibia and Botswana, staying at a campsite inside a natural park does not require any advance arrangements? You just arrive at the park entrance gate and mention you want an overnight permit.
Bush camping: also known as special campsites, is not common in Uganda. It refers to having a permit from the UWA allowing you to pitch your tent on a private spot in the national park with no facilities and no other campers. As far as we know, this is only possible in Murchison Falls National Park. A bush camping permit including ranger costs USD 40 / person, per night.
Which apps to use: Download the free apps Maps.me and iOverlander before you travel to Uganda to enjoy driving on GPS. Most campsites are plotted on iOverlander.
Camping & hippos: If you want to set up your camp next to a river, look for any animal paths from the river. These are most probably hippo trails. Hippos leave the river at night along these paths to graze. Make sure not to get in between the hippos and the water: when hippos get scared they run for water.
Where to set up camp: Don’t set up your tent under a thorn tree, they don’t go well with airbeds.
Camping & rubbish disposal: To avoid attracting animals, make sure that you do not leave food lying around and never leave food in your tent. Also, do not throw your leftover food in the bush, thinking that you are doing the local animal population a favour. If there are no bins in the area where you are camping, you should pack the rubbish and take it away with you in the car.
Hiring camp gear for your Self-drive safari in Uganda
Our Land cruisers can be outfitted with a rooftop tent or ground tent. The RAV4 can only be equipped with a ground tent. Both tents are supplied with a full set of quality camping gear at a cost of 10USD day for the rooftop tent or 5USD per person / per day for the dome tent. The camping gear is at 5USD per person per day.
The ample storage space of the Toyota Land cruiser makes it the perfect vehicle for bush camping, and the custom canopy with side drawer’s gives you easier access to your camping equipment and personal luggage.
An electrical fridge costs 5USD per day and is only possible with a Land cruiser. Please note that we don’t do field repairs or send a replacement vehicle when there are problems with the fridge. Wiring and piping are sensitive and suffer from bumpy roads and dust. The knowledge and equipment (Frigo gas) to repair fridges are sadly not available in the field. We understand it’s unfortunate that your fridge stops working. In the rare case that this does happen, do let us know, and the office in the Kampala will issue a refund for the fridge rental.
NOTE: It can get chilly at night in certain areas, especially when camping at higher altitudes, such as Fort Portal, Sipi Falls, Lake Bunyonyi. The sleeping bags provided are thin. It’s advisable to bring an extra fleece blanket.
Camping in Uganda – rooftop tent or dome tent?
Taking a rooftop tent rental car or a dome tent with your rental car both have advantages and disadvantages and there are a few factors that will determine which one will work best for you.
The pro’s & con’s of a rooftop tent
A rooftop tent is the easiest way to sleep off the ground. This is helpful when your campsite is uneven, the soil is wet or rocky. In wilderness areas, people tend to prefer rooftop tents for putting some distance between themselves and wild animals lurking around at night. However, this is a false sense of security and you will be just as safe in a ground tent that is properly zipped up. Although we understand that perception of safety plays a role here as well.
- You feel safer, which is an argument if you camp inside a game park. Yet, many beautiful campsites are nowadays privately owned sites outside of the safari parks.
- Rooftop tents are quick and easy to set up (although the ground tents are also set up in a blink of an eye).
- You need to wrap up your rooftop tent every time you want to use your vehicle.
- Hiring a rooftop tent is more expensive than the ground tent, and requires going with a Toyota Land cruiser.
- For rather stiff people, getting up and down the stepladder of a rooftop tent can be uneasy.