© Phillip Gill

Highland Lakes Tour

5 Day Uganda Tour - Budget Option

Explore the idyllic highland lakes of south-western Uganda. Paddle canoes around the ‘place of many little birds’ to discover the islands and history of Lake Bunyonyi. Then relax at Lake Mutanda with its volcano panorama of the Virunga Mountains including Mt. Muhavura, Mt. Gahinga and Mt. Sabiynyo.

From $470 PP

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- Island hopping with dugout canoes at Lake Bunyonyi.
- Unwind with panoramic views of the Virunga Volcanoes.
- Relax, swim and canoe at Uganda's idyllic highland lakes.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 – Drive to the highlands and the ‘place of many little birds'
Day 2 – Discover Lake Bunyonyi by in dug out canoes.
Day 3 – Drive through terraced hillsides to Lake Mutanda.
Day 4 – Relax and canoe at with a backdrop of the Virunga Volcanoes.
Day 5 – Make the return journey from Uganda's highlands to Kampala.
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Day 1 - The 'place of many little birds'

You’ll be collected early in the morning from Kampala (or Entebbe) so you can make the seven-hour drive down to Lake Bunyonyi. It’s a long drive but you’ll be stopping off along the way in some great spots so have your cameras ready. You’ll cross over the equator into the southern hemisphere before passing the edge of Lake Mburo NP. Around midday you’ll reach the Igongo Cultural Centre where you can relax and enjoy your lunch in their gardens. This afternoon continue driving into the highlands of southwest Uganda to reach Lake Bunyonyi or ‘place of many little birds’. Your accommodation is on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi where you’ll have a couple of hours to relax, swim, hire canoes to paddle around the lake (*for an additional cost) or head up the hillside to enjoy a drink overlooking the many inlets, terraced hillsides and islands dotted around the lake and watch the sunset.

Lake Bunyonyi islands and inlets. Image © Marcus Westburg, Gorilla Highlands
Canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi. Image © Georg Schaumberger, Gorilla Highlands

Day 2 - Island hopping

Today you’ll be off to explore the lake with a knowledgeable guide. At 9am you’ll take a dugout canoe ride to the Kyabahinga Peninsula to visit to Edirisa Nursery School before moving on to taste the local beer, if you choose, called Obushera that has been drunk here for generations. It’s then a hike to the top of the peninsula (30 minutes) for a session with a traditional healer who will share his secrets of tropical highland flora. Lunch will be provided courtesy of Mrs. Anna, a craft maker who will show you the tricks of her trade and provide a tasty local meal of beans, sweet and ‘Irish’ potatoes, ground nuts and dodo – local spinach. Then take to the water to canoe around Akampene or Punishment Island, Bwama Island, a former leper colony, with a secondary school and medical center to learn more about the history of the local area. By 5pm you’ll have built up a healthy appetite so you’ll be off for dinner including the lake specialty – freshly caught crayfish. Then it’s just a peaceful, short canoe ride back to your accommodation on the lakeshore.

Day 3 - Highland lakes

This morning you’ll have time to relax by the lake and swim until you depart for you next lake. You’ll drive along the winding edge of Lake Bunyonyi and pass through Echuya Forest. Then turn off onto a winding murram road with great views across the forest, terraced hillsides and Lake Mulehe. When you reach Lake Mutanda you’ll be able to spend the afternoon at the lakeshore where if it’s clear you’ll be able to see the Virunga Volcano mountain range dominating the skyline. You can relax by the waters edge, watch the vast array of birdlife along the lakes shore or jump into the water for a swim. Lake Mutanda is safe for swimming as it is free from hippos, crocodiles and bilharzia so make sure you bring your swimming gear!

Canoeing on Lake Mutanda as the sun sets. Image © Rachel Landman
Volcano panorama from the shores of Lake Mutanda. Image © Rachel Landman

Day 4 - Volcano panorama

You’ll be spending the day at Lake Mutanda with a choice of activities to explore the lake surroundings or your can simply read a good book, bird watch and swim. Activities available around the lake include village walks, a visit to the near by Lake Mulehe, Lake Mutanda island trip, Lake Mutanda boat sundowner and of course if you still have the energy you can track the mountain gorillas in near by Bwindi Impenetrable NP (*for an additional cost). However you spend your time here, you will enjoy the splendid beauty of Lake Mutanda with its volcano panorama. On a clear day you will get great views of Mt. Muhavura, Mt. Gahinga and Mt. Sabyinyo, three extinct volcanoes running along the Rwanda – Uganda border.

Day 5 - Heading home

Today you’ll be making the long drive back to Kampala (or Entebbe) from Uganda’s southwestern highlands. You’ll be passing through Echuya Forest and driving north to Mbarara town for lunch en route before you then continue past Lake Mburo National Park. Here there’s a good chance of spotting zebras by the roadside as we pass, between Mbarara and Masaka so keep your eyes open! It’s then north over the equator and on to Kampala (or Entebbe) where you’ll be arriving either in the early evening.

Zebras at Lake Mburo National Park. Image Kombi Nation Tours
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Canoe Hire

Explore the beautiful lake shores and islands with your own traditional dugout canoe. This is an excellent way for your explore at your own pace as well as being ideal for quietly bird watching, taking in fantastic scenery including pristine terraced hillsides and checking out different swimming spots.

If you would like to add this activity to your tour, please contact us for more information.

Full Board Option

Our budget tour options do not include food. This is because some budget travellers prefer to take their own food with them in order to help manage their budgets. We can however add a ‘full board option’ on a per person basis if preferred.

If you would like to add a Full Board option to your tour, please contact us for more information.

Gorilla Tracking

Head into the highland rainforests of Uganda to track the famous rare mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a UNESCO world heritage site. Bwindi is a wildly diverse ancient rainforest and protects around half of the world's population of mountain gorillas right here in Uganda. Trust us, you’ll never forget your experience of meeting our distant relatives!

If you would like to add this activity to your tour, please contact us for more information.

Virunga Volcano Trek

Take a hiking trip to explore one of Uganda’s three extinct Virunga volcanoes on the Uganda/Rwanda/DRC border. You’ll be accompanied by an experienced and qualified guide to summit either Mt. Gahinga ‘Small Pile of Stones’, Mt. Sabyinyo ‘Old Man’s Teeth’ or Mt. Muhavura 'the guide' to reach what feels like the top of the world.

If you would like to add this activity to your tour, please contact us for more information.

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4×4 Supercustom

This tour is based on using a Supercustom. On safari in Uganda, you need vehicles that you can rely on, vehicles with as much comfort as we can provide to make your journey a happy one! The 4x4 Toyota Supercustom is a practical option for group safaris as they offer space, comfort and are reliable vehicles. Each vehicle can comfortably seat eight clients as well as a driver and an extra seat for when we hire additional guides and rangers. They perform well off-road and have pop-top roofs for that intimate experience with nature in the parks. As a conscientious business, we chose this vehicle, as it is kind to the environment; running on diesel with low consumption. This is therefore our standard touring vehicle.

Please note this tour is based on your being collected and dropped off in either Kampala or Entebbe. For other locations please contact us for a quote.

Upgrade Option – Classic VW campervan

The classic Volkswagen Campervan is our signature vehicle. It’s how the company started with its intrepid founders who wanted to test something a little unconventional. It worked! These Campervans were manufactured in Germany and bought to Uganda in the 1970’s. We currently own three Campervans that run trips over a large amount of the country. Clients need to bare in mind that these vehicles were not designed for off-roading. All of our drivers are certified VW mechanics and fix the odd hiccup. We won’t let you miss an activity but we do advise you to appreciate that there may be a few short stops along the way. We added the Toyota’s as some of our clients require speed and air conditioning but if you’re up for an adventure, you might want to consider something a little quirky. Each vehicle seats six around a table and has an MP4 jack (3mm amp) and a subwoofer to blast those 70’s tunes!

For price quote please see "Prices Tab". Please note prices are based per car hired and on pick up and drop in Kampala or Entebbe. For other locations please contact us.

Upgrade Option – Landcruiser with pop top

Some clients simply prefer a Landcruiser on their safari! They are after all the conventional way to travel on safari. Like the Super Custom, they offer comfort and reliability. They offer more intimacy for small groups of two to four clients and are optimal for single travellers. With their pop-up roof hatches, they give you up-close and personal interactions with nature.

For price quote please see "Prices Tab". Please note prices are based per car hired and on pick up and drop in Kampala or Entebbe. For other locations please contact us.

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Based on 6 PeopleBased on 5 PeopleBased on 4 PeopleBased on 3 PeopleBased on 2 People

VW Kombi: +$170 Per Group

Land Cruiser Pop Top: +$300 Per Group

This Tour Includes

We use the following abbreviations our ‘Includes & Excludes’ section.
NP – National Park
NSC – Non Self Contained (communal toilets and showers)
SC – Self Contained (private toilet and shower)
UWA – Uganda Wildlife Authority

Full time use of a private vehicle (as per your itinerary)
A Full-Time Private Driver/Guide
Fuel for your entire journey (with an allowance for any necessary detours)
Accommodation (please view TripAdvisor links in itinerary for impartial ratings)
- 2 nights at Bunyonyi Overland Resort (single / double or twin safari tent, NSC)
- 2 nights at Lake Mutanda Camp (single / double or twin banda, NSC)
Bottled Drinking Water (1.5 liters per person, per day in your vehicle)
Some meals; breakfast on days 2, 3, 4, 5 lunch on day 2, dinner on day 2.
All Activities
- Lake Bunyonyi canoe tour (Edirisa)
Wildlife & Tracking Permits
- N/A
Park & Vehicle Fees
- N/A
Specialist Guides and Rangers
- Lake Bunyonyi guide (Edirisa)
Collection from and drop-off at your desired location (in Kampala or Entebbe)
Lodging & food for your guide/driver (same lodge premises as you, where possible)
A dedicated Tours Manager based in Kampala in daily contact with your Driver/Guide and on call, 24/7 in case of an emergency.

This Tour Excludes

Items marked ‘(*for an additional cost)’
Items marked ‘(*for an additional cost)’
Additional meals (full board option available on request)
Alcohol (unless provided as complimentary by the accommodation)
Laundry (unless provided as complimentary by the accommodation)
Souvenirs & items of a personal nature
Personal Insurance
International or Domestic Flights
Visas (refer to your embassy)
Gratuities/Tips Enquire about this Tour

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