5 Best Activities to Do on a Self-drive Safari in Uganda’s National Park
Uganda’s national parks are one of the best natural habitats you can ever visit on your holiday. These amazing natural places are endowed with lots of fauna. The experience becomes more enthralling when you make the exploration on your own in what is commonly known as a self drive safari. Self drive safaris are trailblazing because of the liberty they offer to travel around the pearl of Africa at your pace.
You simply have to rent a car in Uganda from a renowned company and hit the road to the countryside without the guidance of the driver. The rental companies are doing such a great job of providing well-conditioned 4×4 vehicles that are making it easy for tourists to have a safe and triumphant road trip. There are minor car issues faced while driving but the supporting and mechanical teams of the rental agencies swiftly solve them and the travelers can continue with their road trip.
Away from the fear of the car getting issues, there are lots of beauties to experience on the road. Before you reach the national parks, you are amazed by the outstanding landscapes, organic foods, fruits, and friendly people.
As you escape Kampala, you witness interesting landforms fleeced with sheer greenery which is food for the eyes, the soothing fresh air coming from all angle corners is something to cherish. During a road drive, there are busy trading centers along the highways that act as stopovers for buying refreshments and body stretching.
The opportunity avails to mix and mingle with the cordial people of Uganda while buying refreshments and craft items at the stopover points. The popular refreshments and foods to enjoy are the Muchomo (roasted meat or chicken), gonja (roasted plantain), maize, pineapple, sweet bananas, mangoes, mineral water, and ice-cold coca cola.
With the attractions experienced on the way, travelers reach the national parks without feeling the long-distance lag and boredom. At the national park, there are lots of activities to do to epitomize the self drive safari in Uganda. Most of these activities are nature-based and adventurous, they require one to be well prepared both mentally and physically and also have the right safari gear. The items in the safari gear should include trekking shoes, safari clothes, rain jacket, binoculars, camera, insect repellent, hat/cap, sunglasses, sun jelly, toilettes, and first aid kitty.
Back to the main motive of this article, let’s look at the 5 best activities to do on a self drive safari in Uganda;
Safari game drive
Viewing wild animals in their default setting is the most popular activity done by tourists in Uganda. It involves moving by 4×4 vehicle around the savannah park on demarcated tracks searching and watching common mammals such as lions, elephants, giraffes, elands, leopards, buffaloes, warthogs, zebras, oribis, reedbucks, and bushbucks to mention but a few. The safari game drives in Uganda are conducted at Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park. These savannah parks sit on loads of acres of land, it takes about 3 days to comprehensively explore any of them. However, game drives take 4-5 hours and tourists are taken to the high animals breeding places to get the best out of the experience. There are two options for safari game drive, the guided game drive where a game ranger is hired to lead the search for the animals, and the self-game drive which involves searching the animals in the savannah grasslands on your own as a tourist. Although you might be on a self drive safari in Uganda, we advise hiring a park ranger to lead you through your game drive expedition. Park rangers provide insightful, informative, and guaranteed game viewing experiences since they know the park inside out.
Uganda is home to numerous primate species and this is one of the reasons why the country is making big strides in the tourism world. A mammoth of travelers visits different forest parks to observe and enjoy the primates in their natural settings. Uganda has over 15 types of primates but the standout ones are the mountain gorillas and the chimpanzees. Both gorillas and chimpanzees belong to the same classification as man, they have a more advanced brain compared to other animals. They show compassion for one another and also have the ability to use the surrounding environment as tools to help them in their daily routine. Tourists come to Uganda to meet these intriguing and shrewd apes and hang out with them at close range, a rare experience to get in other parts of the world. The gorillas are tracked in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mghahiga national parks while the chimpanzees are observed in Kibale National Park, Kyambura gorge, Budongo forest, and Kaniyo Pabidi. Of the two trekking experiences, the gorilla trekking is the most captivating one because gorillas are slow and terrestrial animals. Travelers get more intimate with them compared to the chimpanzees which are arboreal and agile.
Uganda’s national parks can be explored on foot and this is the best way to explore these natural habitats beyond the common wildlife. nature walks are majorly done in eco forest areas such as Bwindi impenetrable forest, Kibale forest, Mabira forest, Maramagambo forest, Mgahinga forest, Budongo forest, Kyambura gorge, and many more. They are rarely conducted in open savannah grasslands. Nature walks offers that feel of being close to nature as you can touch and feel the flora, and encounter water streams, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and insects. Within these forests, there are established trails that are taken by tourists to experience the different attractions the eco area has to offer on foot.
With a third of the total species of birds in the world, Uganda is truly a bird haven. Birds are always hovering in the clear heavens of Uganda everywhere but there are some gazetted places to enjoy a comprehensive bird sighting. The birds in Uganda are mainly found in wetlands and forests such as Mabamba swamps, botanical gardens, Kyambura gorge, Bwindi impenetrable forest, Kibale forest, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, and many more. The iconic bird to find in the aforementioned areas include shoebills, crown cranes, great blue turaco, regal sunbird, egrets, handsome francolin, and so on. birding is such an extensive activity; tourists spend over 3 days in a certain destination to get the best out of the experience. Hiring a bird guide is advised and a good camera and binoculars should come in handy.
The national parks of Uganda consist of a plethora of physical features, some of these are the waterbodies making boat riding a viable activity. The popular national parks offering exhilarating launch trips are queen Elizabeth national with the Kazinga channel, Lake Mburo National Park with Lake Mburo, and Murchison Falls national park with the River Nile. A boat ride on one of the water bodies in the parks exposes tourists to countless marine species including birds, hippos, crocodiles, waterbucks, and fish species.
If you wish to take a self drive in Uganda on your next holiday, ensure to put one or more of the above-mentioned activities on your bucket list. You will have a great time, an experience you will always remember for a lifetime!Read More
Car Rental Shortage and How to Avoid Them
Car Rentals are slowly becoming the new trend during Uganda road trips and when it comes to the peak travel season, getting a perfect car for your safari sometimes seems to be a challenge. In some circumstances, the demand for Uganda car rental services is higher than expected hence causing shortage in several places in the country.
Each year, the car hire agencies become busiest during the months of January, February, June, July, August, September and December but most travelers don’t expect demand to be so high. Surprisingly, the Car Rental sector sometimes fails to meet this demand.
For some reason, the demand for Car Rental services leads to increase in prices, especially in Cities/Towns. Therefore, this article brings you some of the easiest ways to avoid Car Rental shortage.
Book for your Car Rental in advance
While it sometimes looks obvious, booking for your Car rental in advance is important to get your perfect ride. Most travelers make the mistake of booking Car Rentals on the day of use and if your wish to enjoy discounted rates, then you might want to book early enough. Booking your perfect car some days in advance is viable and you stand a higher chance of getting a perfect ride and a nice deal.
Opt for the car-sharing option
With the increased demand for Car Rental services in Uganda, most travelers are now opting for car sharing as a way of avoiding Car Rental shortage. For instance, if you wish to use the Car for half a day and someone you know also needs a car by sunset, you can just hire the car for a full day and share. The good news is that you will just have to pay for part of the Car Rental and in so doing, the cost of renting it is divided, in addition to increasing accessibility of the Car.
Rent the Car during off-season
Another way to avoid Shortage while renting a Car for your road trip or Uganda safari is by opting for off-season. Rental Cars tend to be scarce during peak seasons yet their demand is also high hence to avoid being disappointed, it is advisable to rent during off-season. We always advise our travelers to rent cars during low/off season, especially the ones that wish to enjoy discounted rates.
Ensure flexibility with when and where you rent the Car
You can save more money during your trip by planning a number of activities close to the accommodation facility and instead of opting for Car Rentals close to the Airport, you can decide to try those in the suburbs that might offer wide range of options at reasonable rates.
Compare Car rental options and rates between companies
Car Rental Companies offer different options and it pays a lot to check them out before making the final decision because you don’t know what you could be missing. You will be amazed and surprised by how prices significantly vary across different Companies and another thing that you might not know is that Companies use these differences to control you. For this reason, first searching for different Company options and comparing their rates will be crucial in avoiding shortages as well as resultant price increases.
Extend Car Rental period to several days, weeks or months
You can avoid Car Rental shortage by choosing to rent for extended period of time-days, weeks or time and in so doing, you will be able to complete all your tasks or touring places you had planned to. Look at it this way; you can opt for rent the Car for a week or month instead of visiting the Company on different days in a week.Read More
6 Popular Kinds of Accommodation in Uganda
Due to the growing number of tourists inflow in Uganda, there is rapid accommodation facility development going on to match up the number of visitors and also make their stay comfortable and magical. One can hardly move a kilometer in the urban areas of Uganda minus finding an accommodation establishment. There is also a wealth of them in different tourist sites. The accommodation facilities differ in the purposes they serve to their guests and also in the classes of people they host. This is done to meet all the demands and needs of different people with different travel purposes and walks of life. All that the visitor has to do is to seek a booking agent and advise him/her on the best accommodation facility to stay at while on a safari in Uganda.
We listed down some of the 6 popular kinds of accommodation facilities a visitor is like to stay while in Uganda
A hotel is normally an accommodation establishment with more than 10 stay rooms with a restaurant, bar, gym, and a swimming pool. In most cases, a hotel must be a stoled building. Uganda has more than 300 hotels across the country and these are normally located in major cities like Kampala, Jinja, Mbale, Mbarara, Wakiso, Gulu, and Masaka. Uganda has all classes of hotels from five stars to one-star hotels. The five-star hotels include Serena hotel Kampala, Sheraton Hotel Kampala, Pearl of Africa hotel, Protea hotel Kampala, and Muyonyo Speke resort hotel. The hotels in Uganda offer both continental and African dishes and most of the personnel that work in the hotels speak English. The payment at the hotel is done by cash or electronic transfer. The currencies popularly accepted are Uganda shillings and US dollars.
Lodges are more of rural hotels that have fewer rooms and also offer fewer services to the hotel. The lodges in Uganda are popularly located in the national park regions. These are also classified into three categories that are to say the high-end lodges, mid-range lodges, and budget lodges. These lodges vary in their appearances and the services they offer to their clients. Most lodges in Uganda are eco-lodges- meaning that their structures are nature-based and also their operations adhere to conservation and preservation of the natural environment. The lodges in Uganda are evenly established around the different national parks of Uganda. Most of these lodges have a bar and restaurant and most of the time, they offer rates with the meals also attached. These are some of the popular lodges in Uganda; Mweya Safari Lodge, Paraa safari lodge, Ishasha Wilderness Camp, Red Chilli, Pakuba lodge, Gorilla mist camp, Mahogany springs, Gorilla safari lodge, Bakiga Lodge, Silverback lodge, Ndali lodge, Bush lodge, Simba safari lodge and so forth.
The motels are accommodation structures normally found along highways. These accommodation facilities target long-distance travelers. There are some destinations that are so far and require people to make a night stop somewhere to have a rest. The motel is always a lifesaver for long-distance travellers. The motels only offer bedding services to their clients nothing else. They are established for travelers to get rid of the long-distance travel fatigue and probably take a shower and then get back to the road. A traveler is more likely to find these establishments on the highways from one city to another.
Apartments are away from homes. They are more of a set-up home, fully furnished with all the equipment one may need in a home. Normally in the apartments, there is a living room, kitchen, and bedrooms. The apartment is meant for a long stay and family travel. At the apartment, the visitors do the cooking for themselves. It might have a bar and a swimming pool on a rare occasion. The apartments in Uganda are usually found in modernized towns that could host upscale people for a long time.
Guesthouses are private homes turned into sleeping establishments for visitors. Guesthouses are located in hideouts and a passerby may not know that it is an accommodation establishment. The guesthouses offer bed and breakfast to their visitors. The guesthouses are found in tourist compelling areas like Entebbe, Kampala, Jinja, Ntinda, Bukoto, Muyenga, and also in town centers of different districts across Uganda that host tourists like kabala, Mbarara, Fort Portal, Gulu, Lira, Masindi, Kisoro to mention but a few.
These are some new accommodation facilities. Due to the changing trends of the world, people are trying to come up with something new on the market to make the traveler’s life easy. Some people hire out their homes to visitors for a stay. The visitor owns the home for a reserved period of time. The rental homes are mainly booked online. There is a world popular online booking agent called “Airbnb”. This makes a visitor rent a home in the different parts of the world and Uganda is one of their area of jurisdiction. People put up their homes for rent on this site. The onus is always on the visitor to choose the home that suits his/her needs and budget.Read More
What to Note When Hiring a Car in Uganda?
The trends of hiring a car in Uganda for a road trip has become so admirable by many travelers, this traveling style suggest a comfortable a privacy way of enjoying an adventure or even a business trip at a tensionless pace of drive. Though sometimes self-drive Road trip trails seems to be complicated, we are tips to comprehend its complicity. But don’t hesitate renting a car to let you through the busy towns and the remote countryside of the pearl of Africa.
When decided to rent a car for the privacy admired safari, can decide to either rent a car a self-drive or renting a car with a driver. Have you made your car rental choice? There is nothing which empowers a traveler liking seating behind the wheels of the car rental and dictate on where to go, which time to drive, where to make a stopover. There’re varieties of car rental fleets that one can choice from. All car rental agencies around the country can suggest that reliable model of the vehicle to make your trip colorful. The fleet arrangements go with questions of how people are traveling. Where to go? And the purpose of your traveling, but should know that besides advice by car hire agencies the first priority is the customer desires.
After knowing all the above statement, it fixes the suitable and comfortable vehicle. When renting a car in Uganda there are ranges of fleets of 4×4 including the cheapest RAV4 fitting for 3 people, 4×4 (safari land cruiser TX and V8, Nisan patron, land cruiser JX) are all fit for a group of 4 travelers, lands cruiser hard top and Toyota hiace (Omni bus) fit for 5 to 9 people, and for the larger group consider hiring the coaster.
Thing to note when hiring a car in Uganda
Terms and condition
An interesting part to consider when opt to hiring a car in Uganda is looking at the terms and conditions agreement which dictate on everything concerning the car hire. This is always signed at the hour of picking up the vehicle but it elaborates everything to follow when seated in the car rental. It’s important you first read through not to follow in traps of innocence, actually at the time of booking can ask to know the terms and conditions of a car hire agency before wiring you money to secure a car. Whatever happens on the car rental in your hands is well prescribed in the agreement and signing on it, this discloses the actual gist of the agreement.
Eligibility to hiring a car
First and foremost one must be at the age of 18 and above to kick on the roads of Uganda and drive. In additional it’s important to keep your valid driving license at hand whenever asked for it, in actual sense it also difficult for any car rental company to hire out their vehicle to a person who is not legible to drive according to Uganda traffic laws. Whenever on an adventurous self-drive in Uganda expect to encounter road blocks where you can be stopped and asked to present both identification documents and driving license which must always be at hand to avoid uncalled for circumstances which can include impounding your car or even arrest you if you don’t have them.
Safety and security
Is Uganda a safe country for one opting to hiring a car and take on a self-drive road trip adventure to the remotest part of the country? Yes, with no hesitations I remain firm to write that Uganda is a safe country for a private road trip even to the remotest part of the country. Though the previous civil wars and drops of political unrests, this is not scarily many traveler both on private self-drive trips and those on guided trips have experience a successful moment when explore the fabulous beauty of this tiny east African interior. The long stories of Kony rebels, and ADF has vanished, so deciding to go for comfortable self-drive road trip is safe in Uganda. However, when driving in Uganda should not go beyond the recommended hours from 6am to 6pm to avoid possible night robbers, and driving through the streets of Kampala should keep your door mirror raised.
Traffic guide line
In Uganda we drive on the left, if you’re not used to this rent a car with a driver, adhere to the road signs across the country. Also should know this, when driving within the city center be careful with other drivers, most of the taxi drivers and bodaboda bikers in the city center drive recklessly and whenever driving should be alert of them to avoid uncalled for situations including misfortunes.Read More
Guide to Choosing Best Self Drive Car in Uganda
Choosing the right Uganda self-drive car rental for your road trip can save you a lot. Hiring a rental car for a self-drive Uganda is the wisest choice to make. Not only does come with the most flexible road trip, making stopovers at your own wish and choosing which tourist sites to visit but also assures you of total privacy while on road trip. Today, self-drive trips have become more famous than ever before and undoubtedly, exceptional option discover Uganda your way.
However, driving yourself in unfamiliar routes on self-drive tour is something that is so intimidating if you are a first-time traveler on Uganda safari. But with introduction of the Global Positioning System (GPS), there is no need to worry about venturing into unfamiliar routes. It is a matter of you setting your current location and destination point then you keep following the routing as your GPS directs you.
Before you set off on your self-drive Uganda, here are some significant tips to guide you choose the best self-drive car rental.
Before you set off for your Uganda self-drive trip, first, conduct adequate research on various routes to your destinations. Higher chances are that you can easily go off-road routes and you can encounter tough terrains, steep slopes, muddy slopes and you need a good rental car in its better mechanical conditions.
The size of the rental car
The number of people you plan to get on the road with and luggage size should be put into consideration. This should guide you when deciding which self-drive car rental to book. A Toyota Rav4 is ideal for a group of 5pax on self-drive Uganda or you can hire a Mini Van or slightly larger rental depending on the number of people and cargo.
Car rental category
Rental cars come in different categories and each does serve best a specific purpose when it comes to road trips in Uganda. They range from 4×4 rental cars, luxury vehicles, SUVs, Mini buses, Sedan cars and many others. If you plan to go for game viewing safari then a 4×4 Land Cruiser with pop-up roof, Nissan Patrol or Safari Van is the best choice.
Conduct thorough check on the car rental
Before you start your road trip in Uganda in self-drive car, cross-checking your rental car is very important. All the dents, the current state of air conditioner, damages of the car should be taken note of and you can inquire even about its past mechanical issues.Read More
Gorilla Trekking Tips For The Elderly
Gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda is not only for youths but also for elderly persons too. Let your age not be a hindering factor because it is very possible for the old to also take part in a trek to see mountain gorillas.
How gorilla safari for the old is planned
Get in touch with our reservation team and we shall arrange for you a gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park, or the Virunga National Park. To enable everyone to have an enjoyable gorilla adventure in Uganda, Rwanda, or the Democratic Republic of Congo regardless of his or her age, there are set guidelines to observe. Very old tourists can embark on a short gorilla trek.
Talk to the tour operator before embarking on the actual trek
When planning a gorilla trip for the elderly, we make sure that if the old person can walk, our guides will explain it to Uganda Wildlife Authority management to ease the process of assigning him or her easier gorilla group to trek and also to enable park ranger guide to move at a pace favorable to him or her. Please do not shy out from telling the park ranger guide that he or she to slow down. You are therefore advised to talk to our reservationist in advance so that we explain it to park authorities earlier.
Hire sedan chairs/porter
In case of need for push or pull, there are porters at the park headquarters to give a hand of help although you need to hire one at $10-$20. Alternatively, you will be carried in sedan chairs for disabled persons. You will be carried by a group of 4 porters and this may cost you about $400.
Exercise before gorilla trek
Before embarking on a gorilla trek, make sure you do some physical fitness. This is to help you familiarize yourself with altitude so that you do not face challenges on the gorilla trek. Remember gorilla trekking is all about hiking through the dense vegetation and steep slope while in search of mountain gorillas. A trek to see mountain gorillas can take you about 2 to 6 hours depending on the location of mountain gorillas, the nature of the habitat, and your physical wellness.
Carry adequate drinking water and energy-giving snacks
Have adequate drinking water and energy-giving snacks to help keep strong and fit to make a complete trek. In your packing list, bottled water and snacks are some of the essential items not to miss out on.
In summary, gorilla trekking can also be perfectly done by elderly tourists on a safari in Uganda, Rwanda, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda is not only for youths but also for elderly persons too. Let your age not be a hindering factor because it is very possible for the old to also take part in a trek to see mountain gorillas.Read More
What are the different Car Rental Services Operating in Uganda?
The transport industry in Uganda has been evolving in the recent years. Different means of transport have cropped out to suit the travellers with different purposes of travel. One of the biggest revelation in the transport sector of Uganda is the car rental services. Car rental services are exclusive and private means of traveling. A person solely hires a vehicle for lone travel. Within the car rental world, there are different types of services offered to serve different reasons or purposes of traveling. The different car rental services are created to reach out to specific niche or market of people. Below are the different types of car rental types offered in Uganda:
Online and Structured Car Rental Services
These have a very well organised working system. They operate both online and on ground in an office establishment. Their main market is well streamlined and planned travel. They have professional personnel right from the reservation team to the drivers. They appeal to people traveling from 3 days and more. They have a big fleet of cars and offer different types of cars from sedan, crossovers to SUVs. They provide services like self drive traveling and car hire with a driver. Travellers who normally use Uganda car rental services are ones who are traveling for long distances or to further places than their usual ones for instance tourist and usually traveling for a number of days. These services come with a higher price compared to other services due to the purpose they serve and this is why the biggest demand comes from foreign travellers. They charge on a per day basis with unlimited mileage, and sometimes long term rental discounts are applied by the operators in case the hirer is going for a reasonable number of days.
App and metered car hire services
They are normally known as online taxis or cabs. They have just graced the transport sector of Uganda due to the technological advancement. Their booking is done through an app which is only compatible to smartphones with ios and android systems. These are normally used for short distance traveling less than 30kms. They are very popular in urban cities like Kampala, Entebbe, Jinja, Gulu and Mbarara. They charge basing on the distance travelled or time. Some of these services include uber, premium taxi, specio hire, quick taxi and bolt. They are popularly known as city cabs.
Local Special hire or Special Taxi
These are cabs that are owned by the local drivers. They are so informal and rudimentary. They were the first car hire services in Uganda. They have no structure; the traveller deals directly with the driver who is in most cases the boss. The traveller negotiates with the driver the fare. More to that, there is no specific or fixed fees for their services, the fare entirely depends on the traveller’s bargaining power and the mood of the driver. There are no protocols followed in this business, the driver sets his/her rules. Most of the cars used by special hire are old and not in very sound mechanical conditions. They operate in urban areas of Uganda.
Event Car hire services
These are car hire services that reach out to people in need of transport services for wedding, birthday parties, conference events and other events not mentioned above. They normally offer executive cars like Mercedes Benz, Range Rover, Jaguar, limousines and latest land cruiser models. The vehicles are always clean and very classy thus commanding a very high price. Due to the high expenses to start and maintain these kind of services. There are few companies in Uganda that offer such kind of services. They operate both online and on ground.
Before choosing any of the above car rental service, the hirer is tasked with knowing the purpose of travel and then opt for the most suitable means to go for. For instance if going to an expedition around Uganda for quite a number of days, there is need to opt for the structured system, and if you are only wanting to go from point a to point b with a maximum travel time of an hour, then it would make much more sense opting for a special taxi or metered car hire service.Read More
Road Tripping Uganda – Flashing your Headlights While on Safari
“Is this done in the Uganda at all, or will it just confuse other drivers, or worse, insult them in some way? Where I grew up (rural Lyantonde Town) flashing the headlights was a warning that there was a policeman nearby trying to catch people speeding! Or may be a symbol that the road is clear, its normally followed with a sign of the finger to show you how the flow of traffic goes I don’t know if that is true other places in the US, but I would consider someone flashing their lights a warning but in most cases, if you want to allow someone to merge in front of you, slow down and give them the space to do so. If you want another vehicle to turn in front of you at an intersection where everyone stops, you can either just sit and wait for them to do so, or make a polite hand gesture (using all your fingers 🙂 ) for them to do so. As also said above, in many places someone flashing headlights at an oncoming vehicle would be seen to be warning the driver about something.
On another side, here, too– flashing lights to warn of a police car sitting with a radar gun.
Also, people will do it around here — coming up behind you — as a signal to get out of the way, you are going too slow! I am tempted often to do this…. but actually do not. I find it rude, so exercise patience instead behind a slow driver and wait for a place to pass. I will flash lights at the car in front of me when passing in low light just as I begin the pass to let them know I am passing.
Another point with respect to lights……you will see a good number of cars that appear to be driving during the day with their headlights on.. A good number of cars (but not all) on the road in respect to too much rain they will put the lights on and are equipped with DRL (daytime running lights). Basically, it’s the main headlight with just a lower intensity. During the day, it looks like the headlights are actually on. Some people also drive with headlights on as a good measure of safety. I have also seen roads that rand I have the same experience in that a flash is used to alert oncoming drivers of a hazard (wildlife or rocks in the road)/law enforcement. Of course, I am driving mainly on 2 lane roads so if someone is overtaking it is quick and done require headlights to be on if your windshield
I use flashes to signify things are okay, or “you go first” or as thanks. I don’t think there’s a lot of confusion. Repeating the flashes however – flash-flash-flash – pause – flash-flash usually is taken as a warning or a complaint (lower your high beams, etc.)
As to road etiquette, I conventionally flash for truckers wishing to switch to my lane and if I am not in a terrible hurry make room by slowing and subsequently flashing – especially when the trucker needs to get to the right [slow] lane relieving backed up traffic behind him; but also I’m sure to do this if coming to a split and it appears he needs to be in my lane.
For other cars, it’s a little different because you’re as likely to confuse car drivers who might think you are flashing to tell them to stay out of your way. If however, we are merging because of a traffic backup, maybe a creeping stop and go movement, I might blink to tell the guy to move over in front of me especially if he seems timid or confused.
In some states it is the law to turn on headlights when windshield wipers are in use; law or not, it’s probably a good idea; many newer cars do it automatically. On some routes where multi-lane roads merge to one on one against oncoming traffic you may see signs recommending turning on lights – it’s not a bad idea anyhow.
In rural areas it is clearly an extremely helpful thing to flash lights on and off several times to give warning to on-coming traffic about animals near the road, flooding on the road, an accident, or any hazard or risk. Frankly as a visitor I suggest you mind your own business when it comes to police with speed traps; warning others maybe illegal, it isn’t necessary or expected so leave it to the locals to do or not.
Uganda /Africa mostly consider it extremely rude for drivers in fast lanes to flash lights on and off trying to push slower traffic out of the way. It is acceptable to pass on the right in the slow lane. Be aware of this while on a self drive in Uganda, other cars could be overtaking you from the right.
In many states, when driving in the far right lane, on multi-lane roads, if coming upon a police car with flashing lights [generally having pulled over some vehicle] it is now a legal requirement to shift to over a lane provided it is safe with little traffic. A ticket is a low risk for this law, but it’s also a wise thing to do.
Always use the flashlights where necessaryRead More
Suggestions for an Eastern Uganda Road Trip
The Eastern region is one of the four regions in the country of Uganda. The region boasts some of the tourists’ jewel in the crown. An intoxicating blend of adrenaline adventures and superb scenery makes eastern Uganda a must on any East African journey. Here the mighty Nile begins its epic journey north. White-water rafting the Nile River is the main draw for adventurers seeking a wild ride, but there’s also the subtler, sweatier pleasure of trekking through Mt Elgon National Park or relaxing with a visit to the stunning Sipi Falls.
The regional capital of Jinja offers a charming and friendly base on the shores of Lake Victoria where travelers can spend a few days or more enjoying the chilled atmosphere and top-notch outdoor activities. Going on a road trip to Uganda in the eastern region? Below are some of the key attractions you should not miss to visit:
Jinja is a city in eastern Uganda and it comprises so many attractions. On your way to the city is the beautiful Mabira Forest which you can visit and engage in so many tourist activities like zip-lining, and so many others. In Jinja, there are also so many tourist activities to be done such as white water rafting (at the source of the Nile), kayaking, visiting the source of the world’s longest River – River Nile, and so much more.
Mount Elgon is an extinct shield volcano on the border of Uganda and Kenya, north of Kisumu and west of Kitale. The mountain’s highest point, named “Wagagai”, is located entirely within Uganda. It is one of Uganda’s major attractions and it is the second-highest mountain in Uganda after the Rwenzori Mountains in western Uganda. Hiking this snow-capped mountain is an experience to remember. The Mountain is protected in the Mountain Elgon National Park that also boasts so many other attractions like wildlife species and bird species which you will also enjoy viewing during your hike.
The Sipi Falls:
Located close to Mountain Elgon National Park, the beautiful and romantic Sipi Falls is another attraction to fond of in eastern Uganda. The Sipi Falls is so beautiful and eye-catching and once you land in this area, there are so many memorable tourist activities waiting for you.
Nyero Rock Painting:
The Nyero rock paintings are located in eastern Uganda in Kumi District, 8 km west of Kumi town, about 250 km from the capital city Kampala. The Nyero rock paintings are among the most important rock art in Uganda. It is another beautiful attraction you should visit in your self-drive car in Eastern Uganda.Read More
Tips for foreigners: Renting a vehicle in Uganda?
Deciding to visit Uganda on a road trip and renting a car there can be one of the best ideas you will ever have and it will transform your vacation into a real adventure! Why is it a great choice to rent a car in Uganda? For starters, renting a vehicle in Uganda offers you the flexibility and freedom to organize your route, to stop along the way whenever you want to, and to take your time to admire the gorgeous landscapes at your own pace. Plus, there are many car rental options out there for all budgets! Meanwhile, below are some of the tips for foreigners wanting to rent a vehicle/car in Uganda.
- Car rental prices in Uganda
As you may know, prices vary from company to company. One possible way of finding a deal is to compare rates individually for your specific dates. So, what are the average prices you should expect to pay when renting a car in Uganda? Remember that the price will highly depend on the type of car you choose, the rental period, and the season you are visiting – during the peak season of dry months, the prices tend to be higher than in the low season of rainy months. The average price for hiring a land cruiser in Uganda is US$ 60 and the average for a Rav4 is US$ 45.
All in all, as I said, it is always best to book as far in advance as possible! There are no cases of car rentals in Uganda being discounted closer to the date of rental. You definitely should not expect the price to drop if you are traveling in the high season – that is anywhere between June to August and December to February. The demand during these months is so high; the suppliers are not going to lower the prices, that’s for sure!
- Things to consider when taking your car rental
Here are some of the questions you should be asking yourself before making a decision about the car type you want and its specifications:
Is your luggage going to fit? Think about how spacious the car is, how many people will be traveling in it, will all of you fit comfortably? Are you going to travel with the kids? Do you need a special kid’s seat? Are you going to bring your own child seat (you can do this and there is usually no extra charge from airlines for the seat)?
Does it have a GPS included? You can also bring your own GPS from home if you want to.
Are you going to travel to any other country as well? If yes, is cross-border travel allowed by your car rental company?
Is the car equipped with Spotify or other music options or is it radio only? The road is long, and even if radios are really good in Uganda, you will still want to listen to something different at some point and with no ads.
As for the car models available to rent in Uganda, you can pretty much choose anything you want. There is something for all budgets – from small economy cars to large luxurious models. To take note of, Uganda is a third-world country and don’t expect to find the latest models but the most promising part is that the cars are always in a better condition to finish up your trip successfully and on the other hand, if the car gets a problem, it can easily/quickly be fixed upcountry compared to the latest models which can only be fixed in Kampala.
- Watch out for any possible extra fees!
ATTENTION: You have to be at least 20 years old AND have at least 12 months of driving experience in order to rent a car as a tourist in Uganda! Also, do not forget to make sure your driving license is valid.
Here are some fees you might want to watch out for:
Are there any additional driver fees? If you’re planning to go out on a trip with a driver-guide put it in mind that you will be the one to pay that driver-guide; therefore if you don’t have enough money it’s better to drive your trip yourself.
Any one-way drop-off fees? Some car hire companies allow one-way car rentals with no additional charge, but you should double-check if they charge extra beforehand.
Are there any hidden service taxes that you haven’t noticed? Is the mileage unlimited or is there a per km charge?!
Is there a premium location fee (in airports, for example)?
Most of the time airport rentals are more expensive as they need to pay airport fees for running their business there. It’s always better to rent your car from any of the country’s authorized rental companies, beforehand, rather than booking at the airport.
- Which Car type to choose in Uganda?
Uganda has everything to offer for a car rental, so your choice will only be limited by your budget and will depend on the trip preferences that you have. The saloon cars will be perfect for city tours but if you’re planning to go visit some of the country’s hidden treasures in the National Parks, then you need to hire a powerful 4WD car like Land Cruiser. Most of the country’s national parks are nestled in remote areas where the road network is a little bit poor and needs strong cars.
- Things to check before picking up your rental car
Here are the documents you should have with you to present to the car hire agent:
Yourself– you must be at least 20 years old.
Your driving license. Make sure it is valid with at least one year driving experience.
A child seat in case you are traveling with young kids. Usually, your rental company can provide it for an additional charge, but if you refuse it, then you are obliged to have your own child seat with you.
Rember to come with both the copy of your driving license and that of the passport.
And here are important things to check when you take the car;
After you check the car’s condition and note if it has any scratches, check that you have the car documents and valid car insurance. If there are any scratches – document them, take a picture of them and let the car hire assistant know about them. There is usually a special paper where he should mark all the scratches on the car.
NOTE: Try to get a written confirmation AFTER you return the car where it states that the car has been checked and they confirm there was no damage made. I know that some car rental companies can charge you afterward for some small damages that they did not see before (and that could not have been done by you).
Another to check is the fuel. You talk about the fuel policy that is convenient for you before taking the car for a trip.
- Driving in Uganda
Driving in Uganda is done on the left-hand side of the road. The road signs are pretty similar to the ones that are found all over the world. Here are some general rules that are quite common everywhere in the world, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat them one more time:
Everyone in the car must have a seat belt on.
The use of mobile phones is forbidden for the driver unless he/she has a hands-free device.
Any young child should be secured in a forward-facing child seat.
Below are some rules that not everyone knows;
The speed is measured in km/h and you drive on the left side.
Here are the general speed limits (which can vary insignificantly) – in most cities the limit is 80 km/h and 100 km/h on some highways.
Don’t go off-road – most insurance companies will not cover the damage if you drive on a non-asphalt road. That is a violation of the rental agreement, so they will have the full right to refuse to cover any damage you cause.
7 The best time for a road trip to Uganda
The best time to visit Uganda is anywhere from June to late August and then December to February. This period is great because all the activities are most fascinating during this time as the weather be warm. But this is also the highest season, so prices are the highest too.
Other Important tips on renting a car in Uganda
Do not forget to let your car rental company know you are going to do cross-border travel though, as they need to know this in order to arrange the perfect documents for border crossing.
As already mentioned above, a one-way rental is possible, though not easy and not cheap in most cases. So you should call the office in advance to double-check this!
Meanwhile, beautiful Uganda is any road tripper’s dream – it offers terrific scenery and an overall unforgettable adventure! Even if you are better off using public transportation and walking in cities, there is no way to enjoy this spectacular destination without a car, especially if you are going to visit some remote areas (any National Parks, smaller cities, etc.) And, overall, it is much faster and much more comfortable to have your own means of transportation and to travel at your own pace!
Have a great road trip in Uganda!Read More