Avoid Self-Drive Safari in Uganda – a Bad Idea?

Posted by on April 17, 2019

Why a Self-Drive Safari in Uganda will drive you insane

Top Reasons why a Self-Drive Safari in Uganda – is like swimming with the Crocodiles

Self-Drive Safari in Uganda – a Bad Idea?  Ugandans are some of the gentlest people in the world.  They are soft-spoken, courteous, very friendly and have lots of patience, that is, until that kind, courteous, patient  person gets behind the wheel of a car, and then a transformation takes place and now there is this impatient, pedal to the medal, in a hurry, insensitive, rude and ruthless person who acts if the road was created just for them.

Uganda has great Traffic Laws, however, the normal rules of the road do not exist in Uganda– you are passed and overtaken even on a blind curve – traffic laws exist but often are not enforced and neither are they obeyed.

Uganda has the Distinction of having one of the highest road accident and fatality rates on the continent and in the world and it certainly is not the country for a relaxing Wildlife Self-Drive Road Safari and it just might drive you insane. For many, driving in Uganda is like swimming with crocodiles.

Yes, you can rent a good vehicle, GPS Navigation equipped 4×4, but you do not know Uganda, you do not have a plan B in your head if plan A does not work out for you. Renting your own vehicle?  Something that is easily done in Europe, North America and other parts of the world.  The Road Conditions are unlike what they are in Uganda and unless you like risk-taking, raw adventure in the Spirit of Indiana Jones, it is not something for first time Visitors Uganda, something that the Uganda Wildlife so aptly points out. “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.”


Reasons why a Self-Drive Safari in Uganda – a Bad Idea

 Safety and Security in Uganda on a Self-Drive:

Uganda is one of the safest countries to visit in Africa. Every country has some rotten apples as does Uganda on April 2 – 2019 Kimberly Sue Endicott was on a late afternoon game drive in the Isahasha area of Queen Elizabeth, She along with her driver.  They did not have an armed Ranger in the vehicle with them something that should be avoided.  They were safely released 5-days later.  The US state department has put Uganda on the list of countries where kidnappings of tourists could occur.  We, in turn, have invited President Trump to visit Uganda to see for himself how safe it is.

The above may cause you to reexamine whether a self-drive safari is such a good idea

 Terrible Road Conditions in Places:

The Roads of Uganda have vastly improved, even President Museveni has stated that he enjoys most roads, however, he probably has not been on the ones that you will encounter on a self-drive safari.

Pot-Holes the size of a potential Tilapia Fish-Farm, dusty, bumpy with those obnoxious speed bumps in every hamlet, called sleeping policemen.

The road conditions often lead to accidents and that is one statistic where Uganda excels in, even though improvements have been made over the last few years.

During the Rainy Seasons of the year self-drive in the rented vehicle becomes even more difficult for most.

Tour Company Drivers are well prepared as to how to deal with adverse road conditions.

 Obstacles on the Road:

On your self-drive Safari, you will come across all kinds of obstacles, near National Parks they might be even Elephants, antelopes, and other wildlife.

In the countryside, there are cows, goats, chicken and people in villages.  Should you inadvertently hit something, do not stop, but go to the nearest police station and report the incident, if you stop you might be attacked by villagers which could be harmful to you and those with you.

A situation that is quite different than anything you would encounter in your home country.

If you do have an accident, you are advised to head for the nearest police station and report what happened.  Remaining on the scene can be hazardous and bodily harm by angry citizens could become a reality.

 Might Makes it Right:

Uganda has great traffic laws, however, the laws do not apply when the might, the size of a vehicle is applied.  Might make it right, buses barreling down what may seem like a one lane road straight at you.

Trucks and buses are one thing, there is also the position and power caravans, several government vehicles passing you at insane speeds with some kind of VIP passenger in the main vehicle.

It is not supposed to take place, however, it does.  Position and Power is the ultimate and it often results in major figures involved in road accidents, some ending in death.

Buses barrel down the road at excessive Speeds, over take others on turns and Hills.

 Police Traffic Stops – what to do:

Police standing on the side of the road flagging you down.  What do you do, something that might not have been covered in your self-drive orientation, it is routine here and happens every day.

You on a self-drive have no clue about a little something, how to talk to the police – person and continue on your journey whereas a seasoned driver-guide such as we employ does.

Such traffic stops are part of everyday life, police do not make much money and traffic stops become income enhancers, something foreign to most westerners.

Tour Company often have “Tourism Vehicle” on them and are less likely to face a traffic Stop by Police.

 Dangers of Driving at Night:

The rules of the road change at night in Uganda.  Quite a few drivers will drive without headlights.  Drunk Driving is common, Ugandans consume more alcohol in Africa with the exception of Nigerians.

Headlights coming at you with brights on and out of adjustment, maddening to most of us.

We avoid driving at night except for the route between Entebbe and Kampala but no night driving in the countryside, there is also the extra reason for the potential for roadside holdups. That has is a very rare occurrence.

Alcohol, is the probably the main reason you should not drive during nighttime hours in Uganda.  It is best to stay save.

 Leave the Driving to us and enjoy the journey:

We know Uganda, we know Rwanda, we how to drive here, we live here. You just landed, know nothing about the many idiosyncrasies of Ugandan driving, like the incessant flashing of lights, blinking of left or right turn signals and the significance of each.

Should we break down, plan B is on the way, we know what to do and we have more than drivers, we have driver-guides that give you that extra that you do not get on self-drive safari in Uganda.

A Safari – is a journey, and we will do our best to make it safe, sound and enjoyable.

Self-Drive – Self Planner – a Recipe for Disaster

Self-Drive Rental companies do their best to make your time on safari enjoyable, we go one step further..we remove  the Reasons why a Self-Drive Safari in Uganda – a Bad Idea – We remove the unpleasant by taking you on a Safari that you can enjoy the Pearl of Africa, instead of worrying about where the next fuel Station is.  We use real Safari Vehicles with pop-up roof for best wildlife viewing as you are driven instead of worrying about the next turn in the road.

Self-Drive Safari in Uganda – a Bad Idea? – any questions about a safari with us – please contact us.