Travel guide

Tips for self-drive

If you are looking for the best the destination to par take a self-drive trip, look no further than Uganda. There are very many car hire companies in Uganda today that one can book a car for self-drive. Driving in a new destination like Uganda is really challenging and there is need to be very careful while on the remotest routes of this landlocked country. Visitors are strongly advised to review their personal safety and security posture, to remain vigilant and to be cautious by lowering their public profile when frequenting public places and landmarks. Below are some of the tips to help you stay safe while on self-drive tours in Uganda.

Check the vehicle thoroughly

Before setting off, it is advisable that you check on the vehicle to be used thoroughly. Take a look at the tyres and find out if they are in better conditions and if there is a spare tyre in its better shape. For longer journeys, you will need at least two tyres and make sure that you have checked the water level, lights, oil, wiper blades and for any linkages.

Driving after dark

We plan our self-drive safaris in Uganda so that you try to avoid driving at night because in the cities, the majority of carjacking take place after dark while rural roads are rarely lit by street lights, making people and free-ranging livestock difficult to spot.  It becomes harder to find the hotel as road signs or landmarks are not so clearly visible. Darker areas are too challenging even when it comes to accessing any kind of help.

Use Road maps and Gps

While transferring to the various safari destinations of your choice ensure to carry a GPS to direct you along the different routes in the country as well as travel road atlas and maps or directions and know exactly where you are going but don’t just reply on the GPS in Uganda. It can be seriously flawed, especially in the safari regions!

Follow traffic Laws while on road

Like any destination, traffic laws are worth following if you are to stay out of dangers on the road. Make sure that you can read road signs, do not drink and drive and at all times, put on your seat belts

Have breaks, eat and fuel the vehicle

Refreshing the mind after a long drive is very important factor when you are on self-drive holiday. Have adequate eats and fuel the vehicle. Never leave a big center without filling your gas tank, otherwise you may not find any fuel station in the next area especially the protected areas in Uganda.

Too much driving

Usually people plan to drive way too far in one day and sometimes they plan a hectic trip which has them driving too far and away too often. If you are feeling tired, it is advisable that you park aside and have a rest or give your colleague to also take up the wheel, provided he or she possess a valid driver’s license.

Close windows and doors

Keep your windows and doors locked when driving through urban areas, and especially when stopped at a traffic light. Never leave valuables in sight when parked, and try to park your car in a well-lit area that’s protected by car guards.

Mind about the rest of other road users

Most of Uganda’s roads are narrow and there can be some pedestrian walks. You need to be attentive and take note of other road users like, students, cyclists and cattle as most of them can be crossing the road.

Driving license

Make sure that your driving license is valid written in English and if not, you’ll need to apply for an International Drivers License ahead of your trip. To stay safe while on your trip, you need to follow the above listed tips and you will enjoy your tour in Uganda.

Speeding

Speed cameras operate in cities, towns and on high ways and if you are caught over speeding on camera, the fine will go straight to the hire car company, who will simply debit your credit card with the amount. A more common speeding trap is on the outskirts of towns, where traffic police wait for the unsuspecting driver to come racing out of the built up area.

If you are caught speeding by traffic police, the correct procedure is to give the traffic officer your details (name, car rental agency details and car registration number) and ask him to issue you with a speeding fine ticket. You also have the option of taking the speeding ticket to a local police station and paying it directly however, this may not be a feasible option as it may involve a long detour and eat into valuable holiday time.

Patrol stations

It is worth noting that none of the petrol stations in Uganda are self-service and when you pull into a petrol station, you will generally be waved to a free petrol pump by an enthusiastic attendant, who are all dressed in smart uniforms and will welcome you with a big smile. Do make sure that he waves you to the correct pump, as you do not want him putting petrol in your diesel car, while the car is being filled up, they will clean your windscreen for you and take great care in making sure even the smallest dirt mark is wiped away

The majority of the larger petrol stations will take overseas credit cards, but some of the smaller ones may not. You will generally find an ATM on site so that you can withdraw cash if necessary, but in the more remote places, even this facility may not be present. You should therefore always ensure that you have sufficient cash whenever you pull in to fill up with petrol just in case!

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