Planning Guided Safari Game Drives In Uganda : Experience the thrill of a guided safari game drive and get up close to Uganda’s magnificent wildlife. A knowledgeable local guide will accompany you as you travel through a savannah park in a four-by-four safari vehicle while you go on a guided safari game drive in Uganda or any other African country. This authentic African safari experience transports you far into the wild, allowing you to interact closely with both large and tiny animals while being safe in a 44-foot vehicle.
In Uganda, you can embark on a safari drive by yourself, but most visitors prefer to have a local expert guide them. Knowing that you’ll be in good hands with someone who knows where to find the animals and how to position you for the best view ensures a more relaxing experience in the environment.
In this blog post, we’ll give you an outline of what to anticipate on these wildlife drives, highlight the top national parks for wildlife watching drives, and provide advice on how to get the most out of your safari vehicle experience in the wild.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON UGANDA GUIDED SAFARI GAME DRIVES
Take a guided game drive at a foggy daybreak, late in the chilly evenings, or at night when most animals are most active for the best wildlife viewing opportunities. Regardless of the safari site, each safari drive is distinct, guaranteeing unanticipated and spectacular wildlife encounters. Various ground operators offer various experiences, even though the operating model may change.
In Uganda, game drives normally run 3–4 hours, while some can continue up to 6 hours. During these drives, travelers can take short breaks to stretch, unwind, and eat. For these breaks, guides typically pick beautiful locations that provide stunning views of the plains. For early morning wildlife excursions, some safari camps even have breakfast settings in the bush, while afternoon drives are often planned to conclude with a cooling sundowner.
Your local guide, who is probably also your driver, is in charge of identifying wildlife, leading you through unexpected game viewing areas, and telling you amusing tales about your interactions with the wild. A guided safari game drive in Uganda is significantly more rewarding, even though the wildlife density in its safari parks may not compare to that of eastern destinations. The game parks offer a more private experience because there are far fewer tourist cars there than in more established locations. On a good day, seeing a lion, elephant, or leopard is a rare opportunity, and you won’t often share it with hordes of cars.
On Uganda’s savannah plains, famous safari drive sightings include tree-climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Ishasha sector, elephants, buffalo, leopards, different antelope species, hippo, and the regional Rothchild’s giraffe. Expect to ride in a 44-foot Land Cruiser that has been specially modified with wide windows for each passenger and a pop-up canopy for taking pictures. In Uganda, where safaris run in quick cruisers to avoid long, winding drives from the airport to the safari area, open-sided four-by-four cruisers are unlikely to be used by lodges.
NUMBER OF SAFARI DRIVES PER DAY
In a game reserve, Uganda safari vacations typically last one or two days and include at least two game drives each day—one in the cool morning hours and the other in the evening heat. The average length of a safari drive is three to five hours, allowing you plenty of time to explore and take in the breathtaking wildlife.
On the afternoon of your arrival, you’ll most likely go on your very first safari game drive. Your local guide might include an additional safari game drive as you depart from the park on your final day. Driving through the southern Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park may even give you the opportunity to engage in tree climbing if you’re on a gorilla hike in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
You may schedule six brief safari drives if you spend roughly three nights at the safari park or resort. If photographic safaris appeal to you, you’ll probably go on one safari drive per day, which lasts roughly 6 to 10 hours and includes a picnic lunch. A single drive each day can be arranged for those who prefer a slower pace, leaving time in the afternoon for other pursuits like taking walks, having conversations, swimming, reading, or going to local cultural events.
Your native driver-guide is often compensated daily to drive, manage, and lead your safari in Uganda. The number of drives per day will be decided by them. To establish how many drives you’ll have or when the next one will be, it’s always a good idea to talk with your guide or tour manager in the morning or at the conclusion of the day.
WHICH DESTINATIONS IN UGANDA OFFER GAME DRIVES?
There are 10 national parks in Uganda, but just four of them offer the most enjoyable African safari game drives. While some wildlife reserves only provide a few opportunities for viewing, tourists who want to visit the primate-rich rainforests of Bwindi and Kibale frequently visit Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo National Park in southwest Uganda.
The remote wilderness of Kidepo National Park in the far northeastern corner of Uganda is ideal for those looking for a longer safari experience lasting more than a week or two, while Murchison Falls National Park along the Victoria Nile offers breathtaking views for those seeking an adventure in the northwest.
You can get up close and personal with lions, elephants, and hippos on a safari at Queen Elizabeth National Park, or you can take a trip through Lake Mburo National Park’s lush landscapes to see zebras, elands, and impalas. While Kidepo National Park offers stunning views and the possibility to witness cheetahs, ostriches, and other uncommon wildlife, Murchison Falls National Park is home to impressive waterfalls that are a must-see. Our knowledgeable guides can assist you in selecting the ideal safari package to fit your interests and financial constraints. Each game reserve offers a distinctive and fascinating experience.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
You must put safari game drives at Queen Elizabeth National Park on your agenda if you’re planning a safari vacation in Uganda and want to see lions. The largest population of lions in the nation resides in this park. However, it’s never easy to see lions on an African safari trip. It requires persistence, a lucky break, and an experienced local guide. Unlike what you see on natural television networks, it is more difficult.
Big cats can be found in the grassy Kasenyi Plains in the northern and southern Ishasha sectors if you have a good safari guide. The park is renowned for its tree-climbing lions, who frequently relax in the enormous fig trees that thrive in the southern Ishasha region, in addition to the usual lion sightings.
Large herds of elephants and buffalo are frequently seen by tourists as they travel through the Queen Elizabeth Savannah grasslands. Countless intriguing antelope species, like the Uganda kob, topi, and bushbuck, will also be visible. The enormous forest hog is likewise rather simple to find. Try looking through the Kasenyi tracks if you’re seeking the elusive leopard. But the best times to look for these elusive animals are during night game drives.
A typical safari in Uganda often consists of a couple safari drives, a boat safari, and two nights in Queen Elizabeth National Park before or after the gorilla trekking adventure in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Focus East Africa Tours offers two nights in Queen Elizabeth, two nights in Bwindi, and two nights in the Kibale chimpanzee jungle to cap off the adventure.
Lake Mburo National Park
Africa drives in Lake Mburo National Park will fulfill your safari objectives if you’re not very interested in seeing large amounts of wildlife. Significant herds of impala, zebra, waterbuck, topi, and buffalo can be seen during a safari drive.
Long journeys to the southwest Uganda safari circuit, where visitors anticipate seeing more wildlife action dramas, typically stop in Mburo for a break. Therefore, visitors often favor the park’s vigorous safari activities, such as equestrian game viewing and relaxed sunsets.
A typical Lake Mburo safari includes one or two nights in the park before traveling farther into the western safari circuit to chase gorillas in Bwindi or discover Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Rwenzori Mountains-shrouded savannah plains.
Murchison Falls National Park
Uganda’s largest savannah park, Murchison Falls National Park, is located up the Nile at the edge of the Albertine Rift. One of the three sizable safari parks in Uganda that offers top-notch accompanied safari drives is Murchison.
Four of Africa’s Big Five can be found on a successful safari drive along Murchison’s game trails; rhinos are not present. On wildlife drives, it’s especially common to see buffalo and elephants. Lions are abundant in the park and feed on the plentiful Uganda kob. Several antelope species, including the Oribi, Jackson’s hartebeest, Defassa waterbuck, grey duiker, and bushbuck, will also come into view.
On any safari game drive in the park, you won’t miss seeing the enormous herds of the specialized Rothschild’s giraffes. Although few in number, introverted leopards are most likely to be seen in the Pakuba area. On the grassy plains, keep an eye out for groups of the endangered Pata’s monkey.
With a distance of at least 200 kilometers from Kibale National Park, the closest park, Murchison Falls National Park is somewhat cut off from the well-known western circuit. So, on the greatest Uganda gorilla tours, it’s typically either the first or last destination. However, the only route that ensures you’ll see one of Africa’s BIG FIVE animals is the Murchison Falls route via Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
We advise you to stay in Murchison for at least two nights and to take your passion for the African savannah to the immense wildness of Kidepo Valley in the far northeast for an additional two nights.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo National Park is the best option if you’re going to spend more time at a single safari park destination in Uganda. The park serves as a refuge for several predators, including the cheetah and black-backed jackal, which cannot be found in any other park in Uganda.
Common sightings on a safari game drive in Kidepo include the hunting dog, bat-eared fox, cheetah, striped hyena, caracal, aardwolf, Beisa Oryx, Lesser Kudu plus Grant’s gazelle, elephant, orbis, Burchell’s zebras, Jackson’s hartebeests, bush pigs, cape buffaloes, bohor reedbuck, warthog, defassa waterbuck, Rothschild giraffes, bush duskier and elands, bushbucks, and zebra.
A qualified local safari guide will identify the side-striped jackal, Kongoni, black-backed jackal, and spotted hyena, in addition to lions, leopards, and other small cats.
Apoka Safari Camp, Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp, or Kidepo Safari Lodge are our top picks in Kidepo National Park for three to four nights, respectively, if you want to experience the Mara-like solitude that so few safari parks can offer.
HOW TO GET THE BEST OUT OF YOUR GUIDED SAFARI GAME DRIVE IN UGANDA
The vast savannah plains of Uganda’s safari game reserves are home to an abundance of wild animals, but finding a concentration of them will require driving over long game routes. Sightings are not guaranteed no matter how much you pay for your safari, especially for the large, elusive species.
It’s advisable to discuss what kinds of animals you might see with your knowledgeable local guide so that you can set realistic expectations. A safari drive in Africa is more difficult than what wildlife television shows portray. Before making your travel arrangements, learn more about the park you’ll be visiting, the creatures that inhabit it, and the caliber of the game drives offered there. In general, it’s ideal to go into a nature drama with as little actual anticipation as possible in order to be pleasantly surprised.
Carry a bag of patience.
On the Savannah Plains, waiting is frequently the best way to watch games. Having patience on a safari game drive is essential to capturing unforgettable nature experiences, whether you’re relaxing by a waterhole or carefully moving through the bush with your eyes peeled.
Bring plenty of patience with you when you go on a safari, since your local guide needs to make sure that the sights you see are as unforgettable as possible. It is preferable to remain with a potential good sighting rather than move from animal to animal. Spending some time will give you the chance to observe some fascinating animal behavior.
Less camera time, more viewing
On a safari, taking pictures should be enjoyable. There is no justification for dominating every wildlife sighting with your camera unless you’re a professional photographer. Giving up the camera, slowing down, and soaking in the sights, sounds, and fragrances of the African bush are all enriching.
A safari drive in Uganda gives fantastic chances to capture wildlife on camera, but perhaps you’ll also get to interact with your local guide in a positive way. It’s likely that you’ll develop a deep relationship with your guide, and in the end, it’s the human interactions that will endure. You’ll find that perfect shot if you put the camera down.
Making the most of your African safari is the main objective of your safari guide. The majority of guides are adept at detecting animals, and they can also provide fascinating details regarding the encounters. They’ll definitely have a ton of incredible tales to share. Engage them in conversation to learn more about your journey, find the finest spots to see uncommon creatures, pose questions, and gather tales to share with family and friends back home. Make sure the at-sightings are off as well; occasionally people get caught up in the moment and fail to remember that you might not be hearing them.
On guided safari game drives, it’s easy to become overly preoccupied with the Big 5 and other huge mammals, in part because the Big Five are highly marketed. Any safari excursion seems to have the primary objective of looking for them. Observing birds and small creatures, however, can also be very rewarding. An image of a vibrant bird or dung beetle is more intriguing than spending 30 minutes staring at a sleeping lion. Driving really slowly on the game tracks is a great way to concentrate on the little things.
BEST TIME TO GO ON A GUIDED SAFARI GAME DRIVES IN UGANDA
The dry seasons, from June to August and December to February, offer the best opportunities for animal watching on safari game drives in Uganda’s western savannah parks. In Kidepo Valley National Park, the short dry season from December to April and the days immediately following the rainy season in September, October, and November are the finest times for game drives. But the start of the rainy season is usually a terrific time to take a safari drive and observe the increasingly verdant surroundings.
PACKING LIST FOR A GUIDED SAFARI GAME DRIVES IN UGANDA
If this is your first time going on safari, you may be wondering what to bring or dress for when going on a safari game drive in Uganda. Now that you are aware of your situation, let’s quickly review the steps you should take to come to your aid.
HOW TO DRESS ON A GUIDED SAFARI GAME DRIVES IN UGANDA
Drive early in the morning to start your game, and dress comfortably in layers of safari attire for most of the day. In this manner, you can prepare yourself for the wide variety of temperatures you’ll encounter on an average day. Western Uganda can experience frigid mornings, but by midday it becomes hot, so wearing layers of safari attire can spare you the bother.
Even convertible pants and a lightweight jacket are excellent choices if you’re going on safari during the rainy season because you’ll be spending the most of your time inside a closed safari vehicle. For the cool morning game drives, at the very least, bring a scarf and gloves.
On a safari, sun protection is a major concern. So, to lessen glare, bring a hat, fragrance-free sunscreen, and a pair of polarized sunglasses. Whatever hat you choose, as long as it can shield you from UV radiation and complements your style, wear it. But stay away from vivid hues.
On a safari game drive, you might spend the majority of the time inside the car, but occasionally you might get out for a stretch, a sundowner, or to get a closer look at an interesting tiny animal or plant that your local guide might point out. Put on a pair of comfortable shoes in the situation. A pair of canvas shoes will do; hiking boots are not strictly necessary.
Expect a lot of insects in Uganda. On these occasions, having a facemask, a tiny spray bottle of hand sanitizer, and insect repellent in your handbag is crucial. Using insect repellent is especially crucial when driving at night or in the evening, when mosquitoes are most active.
Gadgets & Tools
If you enjoy nature and wildlife photography, you should have the necessary gear with you, especially a suitable lens to zoom in on any animals that your safari vehicle might not be able to reach. To safeguard the camera equipment, it will be useful to have spare batteries, memory cards, and a waterproof or dustproof bag.
To observe wildlife in the distance, always have a pair of binoculars with at least 830 magnification. The binoculars will be helpful in those situations because most of the animals you see on the safari game drive will be off to the side of the road. To save our tourists time, we typically have a few binoculars in our safari cars.
Bring a wildlife handbook with you on safari if you want to learn more about the African bush. It’s possible that your guide is using a reference book; however, having your own animal handbook would be really daring.
Drinks and snacks
Bring a reusable water bottle so you won’t harm the environment by using disposable ones. During the sweltering safari drives, you can replenish your bottle at your tent to stay hydrated.
On a game drive, nuts, energy bars, and dried fruit are excellent snacks. It’s a good idea to have some snacks on hand because the exhilaration of the woods and the fresh air can make you hungry.
Carry a small first-aid kit with you on lengthy, remote wildlife drives in case anything happens. Essentials like aspirin, plasters, bandages, stomachache remedies, antiseptics, and anti-histamine lotion might be included in the kit.
CONCLUSION: SAFARI WITH FOCUS EAST AFRICA TOURS
We recognize that game drives are the heart of any private African safari; therefore, we make every effort to give our visitors enjoyable experiences with specialized four-by-four safari vehicles and knowledgeable local guides.
The roar of an engine and the promise of adventure are the perfect way to start your morning. In order to keep you on course for your mission to discover the African bush, our well-maintained safari vehicles gently stir up the dust on the plains pathways. These vehicles are specially designed for the arid safari terrain. You won’t miss anything as you travel across the huge savanna plains because of the large windows, high seats, and pop-up roof. To ensure a comfortable wildlife experience, our safari vans are furnished with a fridge, a picnic basket, and binoculars upon request.
Typically, our local, knowledgeable advisors will advise you and customize your trip to Uganda for a Uganda wildlife safari. To make the planning process easier, have lengthy conversations, ask lots of questions, and be clear about your expectations.