Bush Camping or Just ‘Camping’ if you may; is one of the things everyone should try out at some point. Going on an adventure, exploring Uganda’s virgin beauty and raw nature is as exhilarating as it sounds, a getaway from the chaos of the city and to busk in the tranquility and relaxation of the wild. Bush camping is most favorable for people on a budget and those who want to truly connect with nature.
Most parks have specific spots where you can set up tents. One key thing to remember is that, this is animal territory and have to take extra precaution. You are only allowed to stay in the predestined areas because they have been vetted by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and considered a safe zone from the predators. Some of the less risky animals like baboons and vervet monkey will always roam around even close to the tents and Park Lodges. After a while it becomes quite natural to see them nearby.
You will be assigned a Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger to keep you company and guide you through out this whole process. These rangers are highly trained and experienced in handling anything that may arise. You get to tell stories and learn more about the park and a rangers’ lives while enjoying an early evening by the campfire.
What are the guidelines of Camping in the Wild?
- Do not walk alone at night
- Keep a fire going all time through the night
- Do not run when you see an animal (gives them the impression that you are prey)
- Carry insect repellent spray
- Find/get to shelter before sunset
- Maintain Hygiene
- Be prepared for anything
- Carry/Pack bottled/fresh water
- Don’t feed the animals
Where can you bush camp in Uganda?
The Nile Delta in Murchison Falls National park
This area has been nominated for bush camping by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The nearest tourist lodge from this camp site is 30km away which leaves you, nature and the wild a world away.
The delta is a place where thousands of wildlife like elephants, buffalos, giraffes, Ugandan Kobs, bushbucks and others come to drink water at dusk and dawn. It is quite a site with the horizon blazing a golden red and the animals lined up on the edge of the river for a drink.
Camping at the Nile Delta requires you to have an armed park ranger for security. This can be organized by your selected tour guide and prepared in advance before you set on this wild adventure. This ranger will help in coordinating your stay and ensuring you are aware of the guidelines, the do’s and don’ts of bush camping and running the campfire all night to keep the animals away.
There are no facilities provided at this site. Be sure to carry equipment to set up a few rough shades for bathrooms and that shovel for the loo. The infamous ‘drop and cover’ style. You are in charge of your own comfort and accommodation so, consider this in your planning.
You will be camping right on the Nile delta, giving you an incredible view of the sun kissed early evening, an advantage for early morning drive since this is at the heart of the park and a star filled sky and distant animal sounds that make you feel close to nature.
Mweya Peninsula Campsite
This is located in the Northern section of Queen Elizabeth National park. Mweya camping ground is part of the Mweya Safari lodge. It is exclusive, private and a safe walking distance from the main Lodge thus providing you that unique outdoorsy feeling that you are looking for.
However, this site offers you facilities; Showers, flushing toilets, running water and firewood which makes life fairly easier. For those of you who do not want to go full ‘early-man’ this is the best option. Basically, you will enjoy the same treatment as someone staying at the Lodge apart from the bedding arrangement. Food and drinks are served from Mweya Safari Lodge so there is no need for you to fend for yourself.
Mweya Camping ground experiences several animal ‘drive-throughs’ at all times during day or night. Around the campsite, you are able to see animal figures as they trek past to find sleeping area for the night too. Want to experience a little bit of both, this is the perfect place for bush camping.
The Haven in Jinja
Rated as one of the best accommodation in Jinja, The Haven is a place of relaxation, tranquility and sheer serene beauty. It is located on the West bank of the River Nile. You will be able to lounge over watching the rafting at the waterfall, the different bird species on the river banks and lots of monkeys.
The Haven provides quite a number of accommodation options like the Luxury bandas, Family bungalows and ‘honey-mooners’ but the highlight of the place is the very affordable ‘Lazy Camping’ option. You will be provided with the tent, mattresses, beddings, towels, soap and two chairs.
The tents are pithed right at the shores of the River Nile in the Lodges large compound, walkable distance to the water and back if you want to. There are bathroom facilities available with hot water, flushing toilets and running water.
Single (full board- breakfast, lunch & dinner) is at $75 while Twin or double (full Board) is $130. At the Haven, you will go fishing, bird washing, Mountain biking, go on a sun set cruise, Swimming at the Lodge swimming pool, take a canoe on other external activities that start from this location like Kayaking, Speed boat riding, bungee jumping, Quad biking and Stand Up Paddle boarding. Please note that all these activities are charged separately.
Jinja is only 81km from kampala making it roughly 2.5 hours drive from the city. The haven is advantaged for being close and thus a great weekend get away for you and your loved ones.
Lake Mburo Campsite
Leopard rest camp is located on the Northside of lake Mburo national park just a few minutes from the Nshara entrance gates. They pride themselves in offering Eco friendly, budget and family friendly services.
There are four options;
- Bush camping: You can carry your own tent and pitch it at your preferred best spot view. There are shared bathroom facilities and cooking area if you prefer to cook for yourself or you can eat from the restaurant.
- Lazy Camping: If you do not wish to go through the hustle of selecting and pitching the tent, there are slightly modified options. An elevated tent with grass thatched roof.
- Safari Tents: These are far more excluded and permanent. With your own bathroom and lounging area, you’ll have a bit more privacy. They are available in Single, double and triple options.
- Luxury Safari tent: Ready to go all out? This is far more spacious, private and well, luxurious! Self-contained and outdoor bathing facilities and 2 large double beds. They are elevated enough for the lounging area to offer a great panoramic view of the Park and beautiful sunset.
Other Campsites in Mburo National Park include Mantana’s Lake Mburo Camp with a great view of Lake Mburo, Rwoyo rest Camp that is operated by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Lake Mburo luxury tented camp.