Uganda Northern Circuit including Kidepo Valley (12 days)

Our 12-day trip brings you the Northern Circuit of Uganda: This remote area is seldom visited by tourists. Expect to see the animals of the savannahs (lion, elephant, buffalo, giraffe and, leopard) in a beautiful and unspoiled and unique landscape.

This trip specifically includes the most important places of Northern Uganda: Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Sipi Falls, Jinja the source of the Nile, and the Karamojong.

Highlights

Highlights

  • Game drives (safaris) on the savannahs of Murchison Falls National Park, seeing the wildlife from close quarters
  • Boat trip on the Nile to the Murchison Falls, where the Nile is forced through a gorge and drops 60 meters
  • Spectacular wildlife viewing from the boat on the Nile where it reaches the delta into Lake Albert
  • Game drives (safaris) on the savannahs of Kidepo Valley National Park, there are more lions than tourists in this remote national park!
  • Visit the Karamojong and experience their local way of living.
    The Karamojong are the 'Maasai' of Uganda.
  • Visit the spectacular Sipi Falls, the highest waterfall in East Africa
  • See the source of the Nile in Jinja and do some kayaking or rafting
Photos

Photos

Route

Route

Day 1
Entebbe - Kampala
Day 2
Kampala - Jinja
Day 3
Jinja - Sipi Falls
Day 4
Sipi Falls - Lira
Day 5
Lira- Kidepo Valley National Park
Day 6
Kidepo Valley National Park
Day 7
Kidepo Valley National Park
Day 8
Kidepo Valley National Park - Kitgum
Day 9
Kitgum - Murchison Falls National Park
Day 10
Murchison Falls National Park
Day 11
Murchison Fals National Park - Budongo Forest
Day 12
Budongo Forest - Entebbe Airport
Map Uganda Northern Circuit including Kidepo Valley (12 days)
Day to day program

Day to day program

Day 1

Entebbe - Kampala

Arrive at Entebbe Airport. Your guide will be there waiting for you. Pick up and proceed to Kampala city.

Day 2

Kampala - Jinja

After breakfast we drive to Jinja, where we make a walk along the Nile and visit the source of the Nile. We visit local communities to see their rural and local way of living. It is also possible to go for White water-rafting, kayaking, quad biking or horse riding (optional activities).

Please let us know if you want to go for rafting. This must be booked in advance (certainly in high season).

Day 3

Jinja - Sipi Falls

Today we drive to Sipi Falls, a beautiful crater landscape on the slopes of Mount Elgon (4321 m). Make a beautiful walk to the 3 huge waterfalls in the afternoon. This area is known for its stunning panoramas of the Karamoja plains below and nice hanging villages.

Sipi Falls is the highest Waterfall in Uganda, the water falls down for 100 meters.

Day 4

Sipi Falls - Lira

After a relaxing morning we drive to Lira. We make a stop at the Nyero Rock Paintings dating back to the iron age. Lira is a nice town with many markets, cafes etc. On our way we make some stops to meet the local people.

Day 5

Lira- Kidepo Valley National Park

Transfer to Kidepo Valley National Park. Evening relaxation over the fire place.

Kidepo Valley National Park is one of the best national parks in Uganda with high chances to see lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes and large numbers of buffalo. Kidepo is also home to the Somali Ostrich.

Day 6

Kidepo Valley National Park

Early morning and afternoon game drive in Kidepo Valley National Park.

Day 7

Kidepo Valley National Park

Early morning game drive in Kidepo Valley National Park. In the afternoon we visit a Karamajong village, a unique cultural experience!

Day 8

Kidepo Valley National Park - Kitgum

Early morning game drive as you transfer to Kitgum afterwards.

Day 9

Kitgum - Murchison Falls National Park

Today we drive to Murchison Falls through the countryside entering the park from the northern part. Sunset relaxation.

Murchison Falls is one of the most beautiful national parks of Uganda. One of the main attractions is the Nile, with the spectacular Murchison Falls, where the whole Nile is forced through a narrow gorge and falls 60 meters. Expect to see elephants, giraffes, lions, hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes and maybe leopards.

Day 10

Murchison Falls National Park

Early morning game drive. Afternoon boat ride on the Victoria Nile up to the bottom of the falls.

The boat is an ideal platform to see birds and animals coming for a drink or a plunge.

Day 11

Murchison Fals National Park - Budongo Forest

After breakfast we drive south to Budongo Forest. This forest is an interesting jungle with many bird species, primates and chimpanzees.

Chimpanzee tracking in the afternoon. Chimps are our closest relatives. This is an experience you will never forget!

Day 12

Budongo Forest - Entebbe Airport

After breakfast and relaxation, proceed to the Airport.

Optional visit to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary on our way if time allows. This is the only place in Uganda where you can see the white Rhino.

Accommodations

Accommodations

Medium Budget
High Budget
Day 1
Entebbe - Kampala
Medium Budget: Forest Cottages (BB) or Nanjing Motel (BB)
High Budget: Cassia Lodge (FB)
Day 2
Kampala - Jinja
Medium Budget: Nile Porch (BB)
High Budget: The Haven (FB)
Day 3
Jinja - Sipi Falls
Medium Budget: Lacam Lodge (BB)
High Budget: Sipi River Lodge (FB)
Day 4
Sipi Falls - Lira
Medium Budget: Lira Hotel (BB) or Margaritha Palace Hotel (BB)
High Budget: Lilian Towers (FB)
Day 5
Lira- Kidepo Valley National Park
Medium Budget: UWA Bandas (RO) (from June 2017: Kidepo Savannah Lodge)
High Budget: Apoka Lodge (FB)
Day 6
Kidepo Valley National Park
Medium Budget: UWA Bandas (RO) (from June 2017: Kidepo Savannah Lodge)
High Budget: Apoka Lodge (FB)
Day 7
Kidepo Valley National Park
Medium Budget: UWA Bandas (RO) (from June 2017: Kidepo Savannah Lodge)
High Budget: Apoka Lodge (FB)
Day 8
Kidepo Valley National Park - Kitgum
Medium Budget: Bohma Hotel (BB)
High Budget: Bohma Hotel (FB)
Day 9
Kitgum - Murchison Falls National Park
Medium Budget: Pakuba Safari Lodge (HB)
High Budget: Kabalega Wilderness Lodge (FB)
Day 10
Murchison Falls National Park
Medium Budget: Pakuba Safari Lodge (HB)
High Budget: Kabalega Wilderness Lodge (FB)
Day 11
Murchison Fals National Park - Budongo Forest
Medium Budget: Budongo Forest Eco Lodge (BB)
High Budget: Budongo Forest Eco Lodge (FB)
Day 12
Budongo Forest - Entebbe Airport
Medium Budget: Flight (End of service)
High Budget: Flight (End of service)

Legend: RO = Room Only / BB = Bed and Breakfast / HB = Half Board / FB = Full Board

Prices

Prices 2017

Prices per person, in USD, based on double/twin sharing

 

  Medium Budget High Budget
Based on private group of 6 persons 1.680 3.365
Based on private group of 4-5 persons 1.885 3.555
Based on private group of 2-3 persons 2.320 3.975
     
Options Medium Budget High Budget
Single room Supplement 335 675
Upgrade to Full Board per person per day 30 n.a.

 

  • Some lodges may ask for seasonal surcharges for the  Easter and Christmas Holidays

Includes

  • Airport transfers
  • Accommodations with meals mentioned
  • Bottled drinking water
  • 4x4 custom built safari vehicle with knowledgeable driver/guide and fuel
  • Entrance fees to the included National Parks
  • The following activities: bird watching, game drives, visit to the source of the Nile, Sipi Falls, the Nyero Rock Paintings, boat trip on the Nile, visit the top of Murchison Falls, chimpanzee tracking in Budongo Forest, boat trip on the River Nile

Excludes

  • International flights
  • Visa for Uganda
  • All optional activities
  • Insurances
  • Meals not mentioned and beverages
  • Tips and personal expenses such as laundry and communication
Travel info
Health Uganda

The Government of Uganda requires mandatory proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination for travelers 1 year of age and above. Travelers should possess a valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate (vaccine received at least 10 days ago) prior to entry into Uganda. Travelers who do not meet this requirement must be vaccinated at the Airport (with possibility of isolation as determined by the Aiport health authority) prior to entry into Uganda at the travelers own costs.

Furthermore all required inoculations must be recorded by your health practitioner on a valid vaccination certificate. You must carry this document with you throughout the tour. All visitors should take malaria prophylactic drugs. We also advise that you bring a mosquito repellent with you. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist for up to date requirements, inoculations and personal recommendations!

Normally you need the following vaccinations (but please always consult a doctor):

  • Yellow Fever
  • DTP
  • Hepatitis

For Malaria you need to take tablets,  Malarone or Lariam. Malarone is mostly used (please always consult a doctor).

Hygiene is not at the same standard as in your home country, so we advise you to bring a disinfectant cream with you. Always drink bottled water instead of tap water.

On arrival

On arrival on the airport our guide will be there waiting for you. During safari we use custom made safari vehicles, custom made for an optimal view of the wildlife. Safari vehicles (and small aircrafts) provide limited space for luggage. It is therefore recommended to travel with light bags since bulky suitcases will overload and might be difficult to be taken on board.

Visa Uganda

The Government of Uganda has introduced the online visa application system with effect from 01 July 2016.

When you are visiting Uganda you must apply for a visa online:

  • Go to the website https://visas.immigration.go.ug/
  • Please make sure you have the following documents in .pdf, .jpeg, .png or .bmp format: a copy of your passport, copy of recent passport size photograph and a vaccination certificate (Yellow Fever)
  • Fill in the form (normally you need an “ordinary” visa, single entry)
  • When you send the form you will immediately receive a tracking code. This code helps you to keep track of how far your application has progressed. You can check its status from this webpage
  • The Ugandan authorities will send you a letter in the email after they have approved your application (please check you SPAM folder too)
  • Print this letter and bring it with you when you arrive at the overland border or at Entebbe International Airport. You need this letter to be allowed to purchase the entree visa there for USD 50.

Some nationalities do not require a visa, please check this in advance.

Money

In most of the cities it is possible to withdraw money from an ATM. Travelers Cheques are not widely accepted and it is very difficult or impossible to pay by credit card outside the cities. The US dollar is traditionally the hard currency of preference. We advise to bring some Dollars for daily expenses and tips.

Dollar bills should not be older than 10 years.

Currency Uganda

The unit of currency is the Ugandan Shilling. Please check the latest exchange rates before you go to your destination. This will be a guideline. Please note you will get a better exchange rate in the bigger cities.

AMREF Flying Doctors


We advise you to apply for a Flying Doctors membership. The membership provides a quick and reliable air evacuation and medical care if needed.

AMREF Flying Doctors offers 2 covers (Annual and Tourist). You can choose between the Maisha Silver (Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar), Maisha Gold (Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi) or Maisha Platinum (Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Ethiopia).

Please check out the AMREF Flying Doctors website for more information and to become a member.

Language in Uganda

Educated Ugandans are generally fluent in English, which is the official language in Uganda. Next to English there are about 30- plus different indigenous languages.

Climate Uganda

Uganda is a tropical country, with higher temperatures at lower altitudes (Kampala, Murchison Falls, Kidepo and Bundibugyo).

Areas around Bwindi, Mgahinga, and Lake Bunyonyi are generally cooler.

When to visit Uganda

Uganda can be visited at any time throughout the year. But please keep in mind that mountain hikes, gorilla tracking and other forest walks are more challenging during the rainy seasons (March - May and October - November).

For birders the rainy season is considered to be the best time to visit Uganda.

Rainy season means it rains more often, but not every day and not the whole day.

What to wear Uganda

Daytime temperatures are generally warm to hot, so bring lots of light clothing. Evenings are cooler, especially at high altitudes (areas around Bwindi, Mgahinga, Lake Bunyonyi and Kabale) so carry a couple of sweaters too.

Those who intend to do mountain hiking will be exposed to alpine temperatures and should pack accordingly. Do not forget to bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and a waterproof jacket.

During safaris we advise to avoid black and dark blue clothes (because they can attract tsetse flies).

If you are planning on doing a community walk or visit the local people, we advise you to wear appropriate clothing. For example women putting on long skirts and a top that covers the shoulders

What to bring

A valid passport is mandatory (passport must be valid for at least 3 months after re-entry) and visa requirements for all countries you are planning to visit should be checked before you travel.

To make the most of your visit to the game reserves and national parks, we advise you to carry binoculars and field guides.

Photographers will need a zoom lens for wildlife (70-300 or more). Please make sure to carry enough memory cards with you. Toiletries and other essentials can be bought in the cities.

A torch (flashlight) can proof to be very useful

Electricity Uganda

We advise you to take an international adapter with you for your electric equipment. The system used in Uganda is the British system. In most lodges it is possible to charge your batteries.

Driving Uganda

Driving in Uganda is on the left-hand side.

Visitors without experience of African roads are advised to travel with a 4x4 vehicle driven by a knowledgeable driver/guide, rather than self-drive.

Stopover Points

Please mind that washrooms along the road are sometimes not to European standards, for example squatting toilets, no flushing toilets or no toilet paper available. Like the locals say: T.I.A. This Is Africa.

Facilities and accommodations

Bathroom facilities and accommodations can be more basic when traveling on a medium to low budget. In the eco lodges mind that the water reserves are limited and in most cases there are no sockets in the room, but you can always charge your devices at the reception.

Tipping

Tipping will always be appreciated. It is normal to tip 5-10% in hotels and restaurants. Guides, drivers and carriers should always be tipped. Indication: for carriers USD 1-3 and for your driver/guide USD 5-15 per day, depending on the group size, number of days and your satisfaction.

Further information Uganda

The Bradt Travel Guide is the most detailed guidebook for Uganda. The Lonely Planet (East Africa), Footprint Guides and Spectrum Guides produce other guidebooks. For wildlife, the best guidebook is ‘Watching Wildlife East Africa’ from the Lonely Planet. For birding, the best guidebook is ‘birds of East Africa’. It is advisable to get the most updated copy.