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Road trip loop Kenya - Uganda - Tanzania. Would love your recs on our route!

Road trip loop Kenya - Uganda - Tanzania. Would love your recs on our route!

Old Apr 18th, 2023, 06:04 PM
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Road trip loop Kenya - Uganda - Tanzania. Would love your recs on our route!

Hi everyone - my fiancé and I are planning a trip to Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania in July for 4 weeks and have decided to rent a 4x4 (with rooftop tent) to explore the country. I've been saving up for this trip for two years and am so excited we're finally doing it! I did an overland trip through Africa 15 years ago (from Namibia to Botswana) and am comfortable roughing it along the way. I'm so excited to be going back to East Africa this time, and am hoping to put an amazing itinerary together for the two of us. With that in mind, I had a few questions:
  • Are there trustworthy 4x4 rental (with rooftop tent) businesses in Nairobi or Kampala that you would recommend we rent from? Are there permitting, visa, or border restrictions we should be aware of driving through Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania?
  • We're interested in exploring the natural beauty of these countries and prefer going to places off-the-beaten-path since we'll be self-driving. Are there any specific places (lakes, mountains, national parks) that you would highly recommend visiting?
  • In Namibia and Botswana, we were able to find many 4x4 campsites with facilities along the road fairly regularly meant for overlanders. Is the same true with Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania?
  • Are there any parks that are worth seeing (that tend to be less crowded)? My favorite campsite I've ever stayed at was in Chobe National Park in Botswana (Ihaha campsite) because it offered solitude (was far from other campsites) and incredible wildlife viewing opportunities and suitable for 4x4 campers. It's beautiful:
    Road trip loop Kenya - Uganda - Tanzania. Would love your recs on our route!-oshana-reservations-ihaha-campsite...jpg
  • Though we plan to camp most of the way, we also have budgeted 1-2 luxury stays as well. Are there any great nice campsites worth considering to take a break from the tent for 2-3 nights somewhere along the way?
  • Mountain gorillas are going to be a highlight of the trip. Is Bwindi an obvious choice to a mountain gorilla trek for first-timers to East Africa?
  • Based on my research of the great migration, it seems the northwest of the Serengeti Park is best to visit during July. Any recommendations on the best entrances to kick off my research?
  • Anything else we should be aware of like permits, road hazards, etc?
Would be so appreciative of any help based on your experiences in any of these countries. Thanks again
E

Last edited by babylonboy; Apr 18th, 2023 at 06:08 PM.
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Old Apr 19th, 2023, 12:19 AM
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You will have a wonderful time. My daughter and son-in-law did a year-long overland trip from London to Cape Town in SIL’s Land Rover (nicknamed Charlie), and part of it covered Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. They were engaged at the time, and are now married with a 6 year old daughter.

During the overland trip they kept a blog, with SIL doing most of the photography and daughter doing the writing. The blog is published online with WordPress. After spending some time in Cape Town with SIL’s family they set off again on a shorter trip including Zimbabwe. The trip was about ten years ago, but the blog contains lots of information you might find useful. I warn you the blog is lengthy, but divided into segments by month and year, so you can home in on the parts where you also will be travelling. It has a section written post-trip in the September 2013 archives with lots of info and tips, including some of the camps where they stayed.

https://charliesoverlandadventure.wordpress.com/

EDIT: the part of the blog covering Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania begins in the January 2013 archive when they were still in Ethiopia. The entries in the blog are with the most recent entries first, so if you want to follow it in the order they were travelling scroll to the end of each archive and work your way back to the top.

Last edited by Heimdall; Apr 19th, 2023 at 12:44 AM.
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Old Apr 19th, 2023, 05:48 AM
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I don't have recommendations for you on specific accommodations since I think we probably have different preferences there, but I would warn you, you are very late to the game in booking in Kenya and Tanzania. It's high season there and many book a year or more out to get their preferred accommodations. You may be left with slim pickings, so I would get on that now.

I don't know that Bwindi is the "obvious" choice for gorilla trekking. It is certainly cheaper than Rwanda now (I trekked in Rwanda) but Rwanda is known for more reliable (and somewhat easier) hikes and a more centralized infrastructure around the whole experience, whereas there are separate, spread out locations for trekking in Uganda. Plus, I thought Rwanda was absolutely gorgeous driving and Kigali was a great city to spend a couple days in.
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Old Apr 19th, 2023, 07:28 AM
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I did my gorilla tracking in Rwanda as well, and it’s worth considering because it has more habituated gorilla groups to choose from, including some much easier to reach than in Bwindi. My daughter and SIL chose Bwindi in Uganda, partly because it is less expensive and they had to budget for a year-long overland trip. Uganda also gave them the opportunity for chimpanzee trekking. If you read that part of their blog you will see they enjoyed seeing chimpanzees more than the gorillas.

Rwanda has chimpanzees too, but at the other end of that small country from Volcanoes National Park where the mountain gorillas live. Nyungwe National Park has many species of primates including chimpanzees. It is near Cyangugu where I did some volunteering, so we took the opportunity to make a short visit to the forest. We didn’t have time for the chimpanzee trek, but did see a troupe of black and white colobus monkeys. As I recall, amyb had a day of golden monkey spotting along with the gorillas in VNP.

I fell in love with Rwanda during my short stay there, meeting many local people and even being invited to their homes. It was only a few years after the genocide, and there were still scars in Kigali from the war.
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Old Apr 19th, 2023, 09:39 AM
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Heimdall, your memory is good! Yes, I did a day with golden monkeys before 2 days of gorilla trekking. And I agree, the people were the best part of the experience. I've said it before but their capacity for forgiveness after all they'd been through is just awe inspiring.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2023, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by babylonboy
Hi everyone - my fiancé and I are planning a trip to Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania in July for 4 weeks and have decided to rent a 4x4 (with rooftop tent) to explore the country. I've been saving up for this trip for two years and am so excited we're finally doing it! I did an overland trip through Africa 15 years ago (from Namibia to Botswana) and am comfortable roughing it along the way. I'm so excited to be going back to East Africa this time, and am hoping to put an amazing itinerary together for the two of us. With that in mind, I had a few questions:
  • Are there trustworthy 4x4 rental (with rooftop tent) businesses in Nairobi or Kampala that you would recommend we rent from? Are there permitting, visa, or border restrictions we should be aware of driving through Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania?
  • We're interested in exploring the natural beauty of these countries and prefer going to places off-the-beaten-path since we'll be self-driving. Are there any specific places (lakes, mountains, national parks) that you would highly recommend visiting?
  • In Namibia and Botswana, we were able to find many 4x4 campsites with facilities along the road fairly regularly meant for overlanders. Is the same true with Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania?
  • Are there any parks that are worth seeing (that tend to be less crowded)? My favorite campsite I've ever stayed at was in Chobe National Park in Botswana (Ihaha campsite) because it offered solitude (was far from other campsites) and incredible wildlife viewing opportunities and suitable for 4x4 campers. It's beautiful:
    Attachment 8010
  • Though we plan to camp most of the way, we also have budgeted 1-2 luxury stays as well. Are there any great nice campsites worth considering to take a break from the tent for 2-3 nights somewhere along the way?
  • Mountain gorillas are going to be a highlight of the trip. Is Bwindi an obvious choice to a mountain gorilla trek for first-timers to East Africa?
  • Based on my research of the great migration, it seems the northwest of the Serengeti Park is best to visit during July. Any recommendations on the best entrances to kick off my research?
  • Anything else we should be aware of like permits, road hazards, etc?
Would be so appreciative of any help based on your experiences in any of these countries. Thanks again
E
There are good self drive companies in Kenya Uganda and Tanzania but I can say more for Uganda because I live there. Prices will depend on the type of 4x4 vehicle you rent either a safari van or land cruiser. Uganda is less crowded and gives the off the beaten path experience. Kidepo Valley is a great place but be ready to drive long hours to get there or plan overnight stops. Murchison Falls National park is a great place to visit and connect to Kibale National park from there. The scenery is amazing and the crater lakes around Kibale area will blow you away. From Kibale connect to Queen Elizabeth National for a night or 2 and opt to continue to Bwindi Impenetrable forest to track the mountain gorillas and visit Lake Bunyonyi or return to Kampala with overnight stop at Lake Mburo National Park. Note that July is a peak month which means you need to book early to secure a car of your choice with ease/ The other thing is gorilla permits are booked in advance. Be sure you have your gorilla permits secured early
All the best with your journey.
Hilda

Last edited by offroadug; Apr 22nd, 2023 at 06:02 AM. Reason: missed some
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Old Apr 24th, 2023, 07:53 PM
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Thank you for the information Hilda! We are considering booking from 4x4 Car Hire Kampala (with the same website domain) which has good reviews on Google and TripAdvisor, but terrible reviews on Facebook. Do you know of any of the more reputable ones we should be considering? Has anyone here used 4x4 Car Hire Kampala before?

Also, would love recommendations for trustworthy operators to book Gorilla trekking permits for. Volcanoes National Park seems like a great option in Rwanda. Do you know how much the permits are per person? I've seen quotes ranging all over the place so far.

Thank you again for all your help here!
Erik
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Old Jul 29th, 2023, 07:13 PM
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Route

I am looking into going to the same countries in 2024 for a month long 4x4 trip. If you create a route, please share it! I have been to South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Eswatini, Mozambique, Botswana, and Zimbabwe.
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