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Helpful Tips for Getting Around Safely in Uganda

Posted by on January 8, 2019

A Visitors Guide to Safely Getting Around Uganda

The Best Way Getting Around Safely in Uganda – Use a Tour Operator

Forget Self-Drive, Taxis, Boda-Boda Motorcycle Taxis, Buses, Airlines, For Hire Vehicles, use a Tour Operator

Getting Around Safely in Uganda – For Visitors to Uganda – the Chaotic Traffic a visitor to Uganda Getting Around Safely in Uganda - For Visitorsencounters is overwhelming. Getting around in Uganda, in Kampala can be confusing, a picture of Chaos unleashed., it does not get any better in the countryside.  The Motto that we live by is “Might makes Right.”  Uganda has many great traffic laws, such as the Seatbelt law, the governor on Taxi-Van Buses, Matatus, stop signs, do not pass signs, all ignored, enforcement is limited often is a means of extracting a bit of money from whoever is driving.  Tourist vehicles are supposed to be off-limits.

Ugandans may the friendliest, gentlest people on the African Continent, but that all changes once they are behind the wheel in a Car the often turn into impatient monsters thinking that they are entitled to be “King of the Road.”  

Getting Around Safely in Uganda is a challenge for Tourists, Visitors, those wanting to move around the country from Park to Park.  The Bradt Guide to Uganda has some unrealistic suggestion written for those wanting to do Uganda on a Shoestring Budget such as hopping onto the Back of a service vehicle that is headed for the park.  The Auto-Rental companies paint a glowing picture of the ease of Driving in Uganda.  They too do not tell you about, unfriendly and unyielding Drivers, washed out roads, lake-size potholes, huge sleeping policemen (speed bumps in towns) that will give you a concussion as your head hits the vehicle’s ceiling.

Getting Around Safely in Uganda is an oxymoron, getting around you can, safely that is another question, for one thing, Westerners often lose their, their sanity as the face the daunting challenge of getting around safely in Uganda, just look at the accident statistics and you might attempt to drive yourself to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest on Massacre (Masaka) Road.  

The Safest Way by far is to get around Uganda with licensed Tour Operators such as Kabiza Wilderness Safari- as Greyhound Busline used to advertise in North America – “Leave the Driving to us,”  We know how to safely get you around on Safari in the Pearl of Africa, we know Uganda, w live and work here.

How not to get around  Uganda Safely or Playing Russian Roulette on Uganda’s Roads

Getting Around Safely in Uganda Use Boda Boda Motorcycles Taxis

Boda-Boda Motorcycle Taxis have the unique distinction of being the Number One reason for Emergency Room admissions in Uganda.

On the one, hand, riding on one while in Uganda has been romanticized, on the other hand, they top the list of as to how not get safely around Uganda.  After all – they are the number one Reason for Emergency Room Admission at hospitals,

Some enterprising Boda-Boda Drivers have even started Boda Tour companies that will take you sightseeing in Kampala and beyond.  Some even offer Boda Tours to game parks.

In northern Uganda, you can tour the Karamoja region on a Boda, try that during the Rainy season there.

You are playing Russian Roulette on Uganda’s Roads – odds are you problems

Use a 14-Passenger High-Risk Taxi Van

The 14-Passenger Taxi is the chief mode of transport for many Ugandans.  They are often overloaded, in obvious need of maintenance, the drivers flaunt the rules of the road, all resulting in daily fatal accidents all over Uganda.

Besides, there is the thievery that that takes place within crowded taxis.  What you entered the Taxi with may not be what you exit with.

There is a barrage of stories where Ugandans were robbed while in a Taxi.  Taxis have also been used, real or fake ones to rob tourists that were on holiday and used a taxi as in the case of a publicized robbery of two Dutch Nationals who barely escaped with their life while taking what they thought was a Taxi from Jinja to Kampala.

No such Problems are incurred by Tourists on Safari with a Ugandan Tour operator.

Use a Driver with Vehicle without Track record:

You can always find a driver with a vehicle but does that mean that you will get there.  it is one thing to get a driver and vehicle that can take you to Entebbe Airport, it is another thing for that same driver to take you to Kidepo Valley Park in the remote Karamoja Region.

A Driving permit does not mean you know Uganda, the type of vehicle used is also of great importance, you do not want tinted windows going on game drives, you want a well-maintained vehicle that will get you there and back.

Post that you need a driver to take you somewhere in Uganda and the offers will roll in.  Check carefully as to the qualifications, background of the driver and the kind of vehicle that is being used.

You need and deserve the Best – someone who just does not live in Uganda but knows Uganda.

Use Uganda Speeding Buses:

The Road Hogs of Uganda are the Buses that cover long distances and act like they are driving on a modern Road but are not.  Drivers speed along the roads like there is no tomorrow, they pass on hills, in curves, they are vehicles of privilege, at least its drivers seem to think so.

Bus accidents happen frequently in Uganda and other African countries.  Invariably they are caused by Drivers, mostly it is speeding, but there also other causes such as carelessness.

The type of Buses used, they are normally newer Buses and are imported as such, unlike the Taxi Mini-Buses that come to Uganda having seen better days elsewhere.  Some Buslines are known for giving better service and means of transport.

Bus Cautions – Do not take food or drink from other passengers.  Keep your valuables with you. Be aware that buses travel at high-speed and contribute to the high rate of accidents in Uganda and elsewhere.c

Go for the Self Drive: Option

Something you want to avoid unless you have experience in African – Ugandan Driving.  It is best to avoid death-defying situations and being a risk taker.

You will need a 4-wheel drive vehicle that is road-worthy and checks out thoroughly when renting.  Fuel is expensive about 1.40 USD per liter.  Check for spare tire changing equipment.  You will need an International Driver license or use your country’s license(for up to 6 months). You will need a log book, certificate of insurance.

Uganda has one of the highest accident rates in Africa.

Here is what Uganda Wildlife Authority suggests:  Self-drive options are best left for return visitors to the country and more seasoned travelers who are accustomed to driving in a variety of road conditions. You may find you are more comfortable leaving the driving to a Uganda safari driver guide who will also give you an interpretive commentary while you enjoy the scenic view.

Recommended Way of Getting around Uganda Safely


The Best Way to get around in Uganda:

Leave the Driving to us – let us create an itinerary for you. We can also do this for your Volunteer Group and from Pickup and Drop-Off at Entebbe Airport you are under the care of our Expert Driver-Guide, a kind of guardian angel who will help in making your time in Uganda, a successful one. He does not need a map, it is in his head, he knows all the latest road conditions and more.

You are driven, you are given insight into the country, you are given cultural insights that you would not receive in any other way.

Add on top of that a safe and well-maintained vehicle, a personal driver-guide – Enjoy Uganda the way that it is meant to be enjoyed.

Getting Around Safely in Uganda – For Visitors – the best way is the most reliable one, with a Safari-Tour Operator such as Kabiza Wilderness Safaris who bring over a decade of experience making Uganda real to clients without the hassle of a bus, boda-boda, self-drive or even hitchhiking…

Getting Around Safely in Uganda – For Visitors – if you have any questions – would like us to create an itinerary for you in Uganda, please let us know.


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