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I'm looking at a overland trip in Uganda, approximately 14 days. I am ok with some amount of camping, but I'm not terribly interested in the "dig your own hole" sort of camping. I'd like to do it somewhat cheaply, and I don't need hotels every night. Is there a certain phrase I'm looking for that is somewhat inbetween these two extremes when looking for operators? There are several that appear to be nice, but I'm not sure that I also want to cook for the whole party.

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One might also want to look at "Guest Houses", which are decent enough if you want a break, an actual bed and possibly a meal cooked by someone else. –  Fomite Sep 20 '11 at 0:14
    
Any post factum feedback? –  pnuts Aug 15 at 3:05

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

If you want to do it cheaply than you would be best off if travelling on your own (with a Lonely Planet guide, probably optimal group size is 4).

I found public transport in Uganda reasonably usable between major cities (not very comfortable though), and in national parks you can always hire a guy with a 4x4 (to get around and do a game drive).

Regarding camping, it is possible to camp in most (I haven't checked all of them) national parks (which is VERY sensible thing to do if you are on a low budget) and in backpacker oriented hostels. Usually its more pleasant than sleeping in a cheap hotel, which are usually run-down and dirty by western standards.

If you want to see the gorillas, you have to get it organized months before your trip (we tried too late).

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Gorilla Tracking is an exhausting activity and one should be physically fit to enjoy gorilla trekking. Skilled guides will accompany groups but no porters are available to carry personal belongings and the minimum age is fifteen years. Anyone with signs of communicable disease like cough or runny nose will not be allowed to trek.

While ownership of a gorilla permit is a guarantee of trekking, it isn’t a guarantee of finding. However the chance of finding is high – 95% or more. Maximum time allowed with the gorillas is one hour at a minimum distance of 7 meters.

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In Uganda, outside of the main urban centres, it's hard to find accommodation that's reasonable value for money. Either it's very expensive (and not too bad), or extremely cheap (and quite bad, if not really bad). Or there's nothing at all.

Camping inside the national parks is not too much of a problem, though you will have to pay park fees, which, for foreigners, are steep, and typically also a nightly fee for pitching a tent. You would want to pitch your tent in a designated area, typically meaning close to a hotel or a park ranger.

I would not advise camping in the wild. That is, somewhere on the side of the road. And I would not at all advise this if you're on your own. One way around this is to find hotels with their own grounds and to ask if you can pitch your tent on their ground. Don't expect to be able to do that for free, though.

Several tour operators in Uganda offer road trips, both self-drive and organised. They are great ways to see Uganda ('the pearl of Africa'), but they're not cheap.

Here are a few that are well regarded (I also have had good personal experience with all three):

http://www.roadtripuganda.com

http://www.walterstours.com

http://www.kombitours.com

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