In the wake of covid-19 amid July 2022, we had a 2 weeks visit to the Eastern part of Africa where I enjoyed a great time with my fiancée. We had plans of visiting Africa before the pandemic put all the travel plans on a standstill, our plans to be resurrected when the pandemic regulations were a bit put loose. We had 3 countries in question only to choose one as we wanted to make Mountain Gorilla Trekking on our ultimate Wildlife and primate’s tour to East Africa.

Planning our trip

When we were planning our self-drive road trip in Uganda, we had several options to consider. We could have stayed in hotels and rented a car for our commute. Another option was to drive and stay in lodges or permanent tents at established campsites. We also thought about renting a camper van, similar to what we did in South Africa but the fact that Uganda is a bit underdeveloped than the former, it would be hard to find one available for rent. Alternatively, we could have joined group tours that would take us around the country.

However, we preferred the freedom and flexibility of exploring the Pearl of Africa at our own pace. After considering costs and our preferences, we decided to embark on a unique adventure: driving a 4×4 Land cruiser truck through Uganda and sleeping in a roof tent.

Initially, I had some questions in mind about how the experience of rooftop tent camping  in Uganda would turn out. Will it be comfortable and spacious? Always ran through my mind as the roof tent was going to be a different story from a campervan I had used before.

Looking back now, I realize that my concerns were unfounded. Space was not an issue at all. In fact, living in the Land cruiser with a single rooftop tent actually gave us more space since we spent most of our time outdoors. This was an incredible experience because nothing compares to the vastness of the outdoors. I thoroughly enjoyed time with my partner and would do it again without hesitation.

Our Land cruiser

When we contacted our car rental agency, we were given two options of the land cruiser Prado Tx and the Land cruiser V8. We preferred the latter as it seemed to be more comfortable, robust and volatile on the bad roads. However, its fuel consumption was alarming and rental price a little bit more than the Prado.

When our Land cruiser V8 was dropped at our accommodation in Entebbe, I was thrilled to see that it was well maintained though a bit used. Automatic gearbox 4×4 truck with off-road tires and 4 doors, the rear or trunk door being the 5th. Its spacious trunk was equipped with everything we could possibly need for safety during our road trip including jerk & spanner, fire extinguisher, triangles and as well emergency fuel cans.

We had plenty of room two spare tires as we had requested while reserving the car, which came in handy as we saw many people changing blown tires in the challenging terrain of Uganda. We were fortunate to have a new truck with reliable tires, especially considering the demanding conditions we encountered in Uganda.

The V8 also had enough space to store all the linens for the roof tent and our luggage. The tent was well-equipped with camping supplies, including cutlery, serving dishes, cooking gas & pots, tables and chairs and a storage box for groceries. Additionally, there was an electric fridge though this came at an extra cost of $5 per day to keep perishable items like beer and cheese refrigerated.

The roof tent on the truck appeared as a compact box when folded down and covered for transport. Setting it up at each campsite was a breeze, taking only about five minutes or less. We simply removed the protective tarp, unfolded the tent while pulling done the ladder, inserted four metal sticks for support and shade, and it was ready to go. The tent provided more than enough space for the two of us, with a comfortable 2 1/2″ thick mat built in. Sleeping in the tent, surrounded by the cool wilderness nights, the sounds of animals and birds, and the refreshing breeze, led to a level of relaxation that surpassed any camping experience I had before.

During the Trip

After almost 3 years of delay, we finally embarked on our eagerly awaited adventure. Uganda soon turned out to be a completely different destination than the familiar southern Africa. The roads are unpaved and with a little rain they turn into a muddy ice rink that you will definitely get stuck in especially inside the parks.

In ambition to plan a great tour, we started with Lake Mburo National Park that is relatively close to Entebbe (where the trip started from) and therefore a great place to get used to the car and the country a bit and also to test the rooftop tent and the camping equipment. It all worked well. The tent appeared to be leaking first from the sides but it seemed we had forgotten the tent sticks as directed by Lawrence, the car rental guy with whom we reserved the car. The rest of the trip was perfect.

One time during the trip, we weren’t unable to start the vehicle again after parking for some time and we called for assistance. The mechanic reached out to us in 20 minutes and found it was a disconnected battery terminal that got loose while driving in the very dirty and bumpy roads towards Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

All in all, it was a great camping experience in Uganda that will always remain on our memories.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here