Guided safari game drives in Uganda and other African countries entail traveling through a savannah park in a four-by-four safari vehicle while being led by a knowledgeable local guide and observing wild animals. A game drive is the centerpiece of every traditional African safari, taking you deep into the wild and bringing you closer to both large and small animals while keeping you safe within a 4X4 vehicle.
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Travelers to Uganda can go on their own safari game drive. The majority of visitors, however, choose to be guided, which ensures a more relaxing experience in the wilderness because they know that a local expert will take care of locating the animals and positioning you in the ideal location at the ideal moment.
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This guide will discuss what to anticipate during these drives, which parks provide the best opportunities for game drives, and some advice on how to make the most of your time while driving in Uganda’s safari game parks.
What you should expect on a guided safari game drive
The coolest parts of the day, when most animals are most active, are when you can expect the most enjoyable guided game drives to leave. Misty dawn and late in the chilly evenings or at night are examples. No matter where you go on a safari, each game drive is different, which makes animal encounters exciting and unexpected. Different ground operators, though, might have a similar operating structure.
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In Uganda, a regular wildlife drive may last three to four hours. Other game drives last longer than six hours and include brief rest stops that let the passenger stretch, unwind, and eat. For brief rests, the tour guide typically picks a location with stunning views of the plains. For early-morning wildlife drives, some safari camps offer breakfast settings in the wild. The conclusion of afternoon game drives is typically planned to be a well-timed, refreshing sundowner.
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Uganda’s game drive through savannah plains takes travelers to see elephants, leopards, buffalo, different species of antelope, hippo, Rothchild’s giraffe, and tree-climbing lions in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Expect to drive a 4×4 Landcruiser that has been specially modified with wide windows for every seat and a pop-up roof for taking pictures. In some camps, you might discover an open-sided four-by-four cruiser.
Which destinations in Uganda offer game drives?
Uganda has four of the 10 national parks offering the most rewarding safari wildlife drives. There are few opportunities to see wildlife in the nation’s wildlife reserves. Tourists looking for adventure in the primate-rich rainforests of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Kibale Forest frequent Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo National Park in southwest Uganda. On safari itineraries lasting more than a week or two, the vast wilderness of Kidepo National Park in the far northeastern part and Murchison Falls National Park in the northwest along the Victoria Nile are frequently included.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Safari game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park must be on your schedule if seeing lions is a must-do while on safari in Uganda. The majority of lions in the nation are protected at this park. However, locating lions on a safari game drive is always difficult anywhere in the bush and necessitates a skilled local guide, good fortune, and tenacity. It’s not as straightforward as the wildlife television stations make it seem.
A knowledgeable safari guide can locate big cats on the grassy Kasenyi Plains in the northern and southern Ishasha sectors. In addition to the common lion sightings, the park is well known for its tree-climbing lions, which are frequently seen happily lounging in the enormous fig trees that grow in the southern part of the park.
After or before the gorilla trekking adventure in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a typical Uganda safari will often include a few safari game drives, a boat safari, and two nights in Queen Elizabeth National Park. We offer itineraries that include stays of two nights in Bwindi, two nights in Queen, and two nights in the Kibale chimpanzee jungle at the conclusion of the trip.
Lake Mburo National Park
Safari game drives in Lake Mburo National Park will satisfy your safari needs if you’re not very interested in seeing large animals. Significant herds of impala, topi, zebra, buffalo, and waterbuck can be seen during a safari drive. Long journeys to the southwest Uganda safari circuit, where visitors expect to see more wildlife action drama, usually include a stop in Mburo.As a result, visitors frequently prefer the park’s vigorous safari activities, such as equestrian game viewing and the tranquil sunsets.
A typical lake Mburo safaris include one or two nights in the park before continuing on the western safari circuit to track gorillas in Bwindi or explore the Rwenzori Mountains and shrouded savannah plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
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 Uganda’s three sizable safari parks, Murchison, offers superbly narrated safari game drives. 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, elephants, and lions, which are abundant in the park and feed on the plentiful Uganda kob. Several antelope species, including the oribi, Jackson’s hartebeest, grey duiker, Defassa waterbuck, and bushbuck, will also come into view.
On the Murchison Falls safari game drive in the park, you won’t miss seeing the enormous herds of the specialized Rothschild’s giraffes. Although few in number, the 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.
Kidepo Valley National Park
If you want to spend more time in a single savannah park in Uganda, Kidepo National Park is the best option. 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.
A safari game drive at Kidepo frequently yields sightings of the hunting dog, bat-eared fox, striped hyena, cheetah, lesser kudu, caracal, Burchell’s zebras, aardwolves, Beisa oryx, Grant’s gazelle, Orbis, Jackson’s hartebeests, elephants, bush pigs, and cape buffaloes.
When is the best time for game drives in Uganda?
The dry seasons from June to August and December to February offer the finest opportunities for animal watching when on a safari game drive in Uganda’s western savannah parks. In Kidepo Valley National Park, the short dry season from December to February and the days immediately following the rainy season in September, October, and November are the finest times for game drives.