Uganda undoubtedly has numerous mind-boggling drives that wind through hilly slopes, verdant forests, sweeping savannah plains and magnificent countrysides. With all the liberty to make occasional stops for photography, leg stretching, snacking or having meals, discovering the beauty of this country through a self-drive is undeniably the best way to do it. Additionally, with the competitive daily rates, undertaking a self-drive is a wonderful way to explore this spectacular safari destination, especially if you have more than one place to visit.
If the thought of buying vehicle insurance or processing border crossing makes you almost give up, this is the best place to find solace and Car rental solutions. While some cunning Car Rental Agencies might hide some clauses or rules from the final print-out of Rental Agreements, there are also genuine and open Rental Agencies. Therefore if you have plans to hire a car for your self-drive trip in Uganda, the following are the things to consider;
What Car to hire in Uganda?
The kind of car you hire for a self-drive trip in Uganda will depend on a number of things that include the terrain of the destination, number of travellers and size of luggage as well as the overall budget. For this reason, you can hire campervans for wilderness camping experiences, 4WD safari vans, coasters, Toyota Landcruisers and many others.
Some Car Rental Companies/Agencies in Uganda have limits on daily mileages, whereby an extra fee is added for every extra distance travelled/driven. Make sure that you cross every T and dot every I of the Rental Agreement as you will come across initial quotes that encompass only 62 miles or 124 miles per day, which are unfortunately not even sufficient to take you to most National Parks in the country that are over 185 to 310 miles from the Capital. With experience, you will discover that most 3rd party Agencies seldom provide information on mileage limits for the Agencies that they market.
Fuel prices in Uganda
Fuel prices in Uganda are considered high at the time of writing with about 4200 Uganda shillings (about $1.17) per liter for diesel and about 4700 Uganda Shillings ($1.31) per liter for petrol. Knowing the fuel prices in advance helps you in making proper estimation and planning ahead of time.
Inspection of Rental Car before leaving Company Premises
In most cases, staff of Car Rental Companies/Agencies will inquire whether you would be interested in personally inspecting/checking the Car or they would do it on your behalf. Accept and don’t be shy to check the vehicle by yourself and later take photos, while noting any damages to avoid taking responsibility for anything you didn’t cause. Start from the exterior of the vehicle while pointing out and noting any scratches or bumps, operation of headlights, hazard lights and indicator lights as well as functionality of windscreen wipers and car horns among others. This is one of the ways of guaranteeing you of the vehicle’s roadworthiness.
Watch out for crossing animals in remote places
It is common to suddenly be stopped by crossing animals (especially goats, cows, sheep, pigs and chicken) when driving in Uganda, especially in rural areas. Therefore be careful and watch-out for these road-users. So before you even go ahead to hire a car for the self-drive trip, be prepared to encounter animals on the road.
Be prepared to drive through different kinds of roads
Travellers planning to hire cars for self-drives in Uganda have to keep in mind that the country is comprised of different kinds of roads-tarred/tarmacked, murram and pothole-filled roads. Therefore don’t because surprised to see a pothole as large as the size of the car tyre.
Many Car rental Companies/Agencies in Uganda offer multi-country self-drive trips that also cover Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Tanzania although a number of procedures have to be followed. First, make sure that you have a letter of Authority issued by the Rental Company/Agency providing permission to cross the border of another country with the car, most Companies don’t provide roadside assistance outside Uganda and driver must possess valid drivers’ license to cross the Border.
Take caution when driving at dark
Try as much as possible, not to drive at night but if you must, do it with great caution. Cases of carjackings as well as mugging are common hence keep windows properly closed. Also, be alert in some infamous crime hot spots in the country in addition to learning your surroundings. Your valuables should also be kept in safe places when the vehicle is parked.
Arrange cash for toll roads
You might consider using some routes for convenience or to avoid heavy traffic but some of these might actually be toll roads. There is only one toll road in Uganda, the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway and therefore make sure that you have some extra cash to be paid at the toll gate.
Driving in this country is on the left-hand side
Based on your country of origin, you might be caught driving on the wrong side of the Road in Uganda. For this country, the recommended side is left-hand instead of right-hand side as it is in over 163 countries and territories of the World.