What You Need to Know Before You Self Drive in Uganda


Africa has remained a mystery for many generations. Outside Africa, many people’s perception of this continent has been built around famines, malnourished children, wars, and a lot more other calamities. However, there have been a few people that have always known Africa as a holiday destination.

While others are considering it insecure and a civil war zone, which is partly true in some countries; there are over 54 countries on the African continent.

48 of these are mainland countries while six of these are Island countries. Among the 48 mainland countries, is where you find popular African safari destinations including, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe not forgetting Rwanda and Uganda the mountain gorilla trekking destinations.

Self-drive safaris tend to differ from one country to another. For the case of Uganda; here are a few things you should know before attempting a self-drive safari to Uganda.

Old Cars

In Uganda, they mostly drive second-hand cars. Even though old is gold at times, the main reason behind this is because they have to pay double the amount most western countries pay for a brand new car.

The taxation rate is around 120%. Therefore, instead of paying $100,000 or $150,000 for a brand-new recent model SUV, they often buy second-hand SUVs.

This means that once you make up your mind to self drive in Uganda, you will likely drive a car with mileage above 100,000km or even 200,000km sometimes. Therefore make show you get your car from a reliable car rental agency in Uganda

However in case you really wish to drive a new car, then you must be ready to part with a minimum of $250 per day and these cars are only available from very car rental agencies.

You Do Not Fuel the Car Yourself

Probably, you are used to fueling the car at the fuel station by yourself! That is not the case in Uganda. At every gas station, you will always find there an attendant who will help fuel the car at no extra cost. All you have to do is state the amount of fuel you need; give them the fuel money or card and let them handle everything else.

You can Fuel with Your Credit Card

You can fuel the car as well as buy some snacks from the gas station grocery store using your Visa/ Credit card. However, this service is not available at every gas station. It is usually available at Shell, Total, and Stabex fuel stations.

Again not all Total, Shell or Stabex fuel stations have this service. Therefore, it is important to carry petty cash that you can use while on your travels through the Pearl of Africa.

TIP: Before you make an order for fuel or snacks at the grocery store; first inquire whether they accept cards. It will save you the hustle of looking for cash when you had planned to use your card.

80% of Highway Roads Are Tarmac

Most of Uganda’s highway roads are tarmac but this does not mean that they are very safe. You have to remain cautious when driving because there are very many people that over speed as well as overtake in blind spots.

The other most important thing to note is; you are likely to find potholes suddenly. In case you are fond of speeding this might be the primary cause of your accident. On the other hand, most of the roads off the main roads are in poor condition. You will need an off-road car to be on the safe side.

Cancellations Terms Vary

Some car rental agencies have not revised their cancellation policies since 2019. With the influx of Covid-19; cancellations are unpredictable. Therefore, the agency needs to be clear about the cancellation policy to fit the ever-changing travel restrictions.

In order to avoid confusion; inquire with the Uganda car rental agency about their cancellation and refund policy before confirming your car rental reservation.