While planning self drive holiday in Uganda, Nature Adventure Africa Safaris specialize in organizing self-drive itineraries. They will book your accommodation for you, and usually you will have a choice as to what type of accommodation you would like. They meet and greet at the airport and facilitate you getting your rental car, they will provide route maps and other useful information. This is a good option if you don’t have the time to research your itinerary yourself. It’s also a good idea to book your accommodation in advance especially during the months of December and January.
Tips for Driving in Uganda
Driving is on the left hand side of the road in Uganda (so cars are right hand drive), Seatbelts must be worn by front seat passengers, No cell phone use is allowed while driving, Average speeds are 35mph (60km/h) in built up areas, 75 mph (120 km/h) on the open roads, All road signs are in English, All distances are in km’s, A traffic light is called a “robot” , Always lock your car when you park it and never leave valuables in the car, “Car guards” will pop up to help keep your parked car safe, a tip of a few rand is expected, Keep your windows up and doors locked when you stop at a traffic light, especially in towns and cities, You’ll need a valid driver’s license (if your license is not in English, you will need to get an International drivers license), Avoid driving at night if you can.
If you have plans to take holiday that involves driving around in Uganda before, there are some rules of the road you will need to bear in mind –because things are going to get pretty hectic around that time.
The first thing about driving in Uganda is, of course, having driving permits and of age of above 18 years old, we drive on the left. When I say ‘we’, this does not necessarily apply Ugandans but also international travelers on self drive expeditions. With a very limited inner-city public transport system in most places other than Uganda, everyone drives. And they usually drive between 10 and 20 kilometers an hour faster than the speed limit. They slow down just for the speed cameras.
Follow the traffic lights on road as you may do in your mother country, red traffic lights indicate a stop for everyone except … you’ve got it. They stop an extra two or three seconds turn across on-coming traffic, or just shoot through. In some areas it is considered cool to slip through behind, as long as you keep really close. If five cars can stick close enough, they can all go through. But you are allowed to be rude to those people.
If you’re planning on visiting Uganda during the X-Mas holiday, one thing that could make getting around that much easier is traveling by self drive Rav4 4×4. After you’ve descended from your lodgings, getting around town is done fastest and cheapest by using Toyota Rav4 x4. That’s because the country, generally, does not have a very good inner-city transport infrastructure.
Rav4 4×4 are typically white Toyota 4×4 made with bright livery, and sometimes with thumping loud hip-hop (local black) music playing. They are mostly used by daily travelers in Uganda. But for surviving a Rav4 4×4 ride there are a few things worth knowing: first is that there is a complex set of hand and finger signs to indicate to a taxi driver either your specific destination or the distance you with to travel. Some are universal, while others are very local. For example, hold your index finger up and it means you wish to go to town (the centre). Point it down and it means you want a local taxi to go somewhere close. This applies all over the country.
However, for the foreign international traveler, the drivers will be much more tolerant. Just wave one down, anywhere (there are few designated stopping places, but traffic lights are best), and they are sure to stop for you.
Cheap, Quick and Easy
While regular commuters are charged a set fee of around $$ 10, depending on the distance, casual travelers can be charged randomly – and tourists are always targets, even white South Africans, for making a quick extra buck. Knowing the going rate is a good starting point for negotiating. But irrespective of the fare, it’s still going to the cheapest and fastest way to get somewhere.
Mzungu – black people always give white people names, often a pun or joke. ‘Mzungu’ is the generic terms for whites and means sea foam. It is not derogatory, even though another sense of the meaning is “the white scum that comes from the sea”.
Robot – what we call traffic lights, in that early ones were probably the first robotically operated gadgets people had seen.
Uganda self drive during X-Mas is much interesting while visiting the endangered mountain gorillas in their mist; Uganda has now 10 families for Uganda gorilla trekking expeditions, wildlife photographic safari, Uganda vacations to Lake Bunyonyi the deepest Crater Lake with terrain land forms and beautiful dotted small islands in Lake Bunyonyi.
Uganda has excellent large vehicle hire fleets run by local Uganda rental self drive, great weather and plenty of stunning scenery – which combines to make self-driving a viable and enjoyable option. If you’re thinking of taking the long way round, here are a few tips to enhance your trip.
Most car rental is represented at Uganda’s main airports and in most city centres. Vehicles may generally be picked up at one centre and dropped off at a branch in another centre, subject to a fee.
It is advisable to take out the insured car offered by the Uganda self drive, unless you have specific cover in place. All visa credit cards are accepted.
Any valid international driver’s licence is accepted in Uganda, provided it bears the photograph and signature of the holder and is printed or authenticated in English.
However, Uganda self drive vehicle hire may also require an international driver’s licence. It is worth confirming requirements with your travel agent or the vehicle hire company when making your booking.
This holds for additional drivers as well, who must be identified when you hire your vehicle. Remember to carry all your documentation with you when you travel as traffic officers will expect to see it if they stop you for any reason. Keep left, belt up, think kilometers
Keep left, pass right. Uganda self drive on the left-hand side of the road, and our cars – rental cars included – are therefore right-hand drive vehicles, the gear shift being operated with the left hand). All distances, speed limits (and speedometers) are marked in kilometers.
Wearing of seat belts is compulsory. Using hand-held phones while driving is against the law – use a vehicle phone attachment or hands-free kit if you want to speak on your mobile phone.
Drinking and driving is prohibited, with a maximum allowable alcohol blood content of 0.05%. That’s roughly about one glass of wine for the average woman and perhaps one-and-a-half or two for the average or bigger man.
The general speed limit on Uganda’s national highways, urban freeways and other major routes is 120km/h (75mph). On secondary (rural) roads it is 100km/h (60mph). In built-up areas it is usually 60km/h (35mph), unless otherwise indicated. View the road signs. If you’re in a hire car and get a speeding fine, the Uganda self drive company will not pay the fine.
Various types of petrol (gas) are available in Uganda. Hire cars are more likely to require unleaded petrol, but check before you set off. Fuel is sold per liter.
Uganda petrol stations are not self-help: an attendant will fill the car, ask if you’d like your oil and water and tire pressure checked, and offer to clean your windscreen – a service for which they are generally tipped around $$ 5 dollars as appreciation.
Fuel stations – or garages, as Uganda call them – are found on both the main and country roads, most of them open 24 hours a day, although some keep shorter hours. However, distances between towns (and therefore between petrol stations) are considerable in some parts of the country, so remember to check the fuel gauge before passing up the opportunity to fill up.
When it comes to paying for fuel, you can pay cash. Historically, filling stations used to be cash-only operations so petrol stations do not accept cards. Check with the attendant what payment method they accept before filling up. Petrol stations do not have on-site ATM machines.
Driving around the country
Our road infrastructure is excellent, so driving between cities and towns is a viable option – and, given the stunning scenery in many parts of the country, a highly enjoyable one.
However, Uganda is a huge country not easily traversed in a day, so plan your journeys carefully. If you’re not used to driving long distances, rather break the journey, as fatigue is a major contributing factor in motor vehicle accidents. While most national roads are tarred and in good condition, the more rural the road, the more likely it is to be pot-holed and poorly surfaced.
South Africa has a high rate of traffic accidents so drive defensively and exercise caution when on the roads – especially at night – and keep a wary eye out for pedestrians and cyclists.
Drivers of minibuses and taxis can behave erratically, and often turn a blind eye to rules and road safety considerations.
In many of South Africa’s rural areas, the roads are not fenced, so watch out dogs, chickens, sheep and even horses or cows on the road. These can be particularly hazardous at night.
Large antelope crossing the road can also pose a danger in certain areas – if you see road signs depicting a leaping antelope, take it slowly, especially towards evening.
Never stop to feed wild animals – it is dangerous and you can incur a hefty fine if you do so.
In general, be aware and keep your wits about you. It’s a good idea to drive with your doors locked and windows up, especially in cities and at traffic lights.
Don’t ever stop to pick up hitchhikers. If you are worried about someone on the side of the road, report it to the police station in the next town.
Ensure your car is locked when you park it and do not leave anything in sight. Lock things away in the trunk – known as the boot here – or the glove compartment (cubby- hole).
A self drive safari in Africa is a great way to experience a destination on your own, to visit the places you want to see, at your own pace. Self drive safaris and car hire is easy and hassle free. The countries in southern Africa are diverse and very different. It offers the self-drive traveler the opportunity to experience Africa up close and personal.
The Uganda self drive will help you prepare for yourself drive holiday in Uganda. Our self drive safari trip planner will be of assistance for both those who are planning an adventurous 4×4 safari into Uganda, as well as the easier routes around Uganda and Rwanda. We have three types of self drive safaris in Africa:
Explore Africa with your own 4×4- find helpful advice and tips on 4WD vehicles, choosing an off road Landy and Rav4 4×4, find tasty camp recipes as well as reviews on camping equipment and useful packing lists. Also find places to stay, things to do along the way and suggested routes.
An independent self drive traveler is someone who goes for car rental, Rav4 4×4, Land cruisers, min-bus, and Super custom rental to travel to preplanned destinations. This is the ideal way to see Africa from the comfort of your own vehicle, specifically Uganda and Rwanda as these two countries boast a comprehensive and well maintained road network.
Guided 4×4 self drive safaris where you travel in a 4WD vehicle with a group of like-minded travelers, led by a knowledgeable and experienced guide traveling in his own vehicle. Some parts of certain African countries are not well developed or signposted and this can cause unpleasant and sometimes dangerous situations. Let us show you un-spoilt Africa at its best…! Countries such as Uganda and Rwanda are best explored in this way.
If you are planning a safari in Uganda, we’ll suggest you pre-book all arrangements as there are not always last minute spaces available. The best will be to make use of an Africa travel expert and let them organize your safari vacation of a lifetime. Find the African safari of your choice, be it for a family holiday, a romantic getaway, an adventure camping safari or a road trip in Africa.
A self-drive safari vacation is a great way to experience Africa in its essence as you will meet ordinary people going about their daily chores along the way. Your time is also flexible (slightly less so if you pre-booked a set route) so if you want to stop along the way to take in a wonderful part of Africa, you can choose to do so. But careful planning is needed when venturing into Africa on your own. Our trip planning section will help you to cover all bases and make sure that you are ready for the experience of a lifetime!