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Tips for Driving in Uganda on your Self-Drive safari

Are you planning a self-drive Safari in Uganda? This handbook contains critical information for self-driving tourists. So read it carefully. Check out the most important facts regarding driving in Uganda. From driving safety recommendations to car rental insurance and backup support. At Labe Africa, we’ve got you covered.

1. Is it safe to visit Uganda?

Yes, the answer is yes! Uganda is regarded as one of the safest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with a welcoming population. Most Ugandans speak excellent English and armed conflicts with tourists are unheard of. We would not have entered the self-drive car rental business in a dangerous country. As you are driving in Uganda, its indeed considered rude if you don’t shout out a greeting to the local people.  

Nonetheless, we trust you to travel prudently. This includes adopting the following precautions while driving in Uganda. 

  • Always travel with cash, a fully charged phone with airtime, plenty of water, and food.
  • Know where the nearest gas station is when you fill up your automobile.
  • Always park your automobile in a private lot.
  • Do not go wild camping.
  • Do not travel after dark (7 p.m.) Because fellow road users in Uganda frequently have no lights or turn on their high beam lights, making it impossible to see anything.
  • The most common mistake that travelers make is attempting to cover too much distance in a single trip. Travel is slower than you are usually used to, and driving in Uganda can be far more exhausting.
Driving in Uganda

How are the roads in Uganda?

Uganda’s road conditions are excellent by African standards. The main roadways spreading from Kampala to the four regions of the country are all smooth asphalt.

However, there will be numerous speed bumps and the occasional pothole.

Typically, the final leg of your daily journey entails some gravel road driving to get to your hotel or park entrance. Off-road driving on dirt roads is permitted within the parks. The state of these gravel and dirt roads varies from season to season and is particularly tough during the rainy season.

Although the tarmac roads are in good shape, you rarely exceed 60 km/h due to the numerous speed bumps, the need to slow down when going through villages, and the fact that you will most likely want to take a lot of pictures! Even from the roadway, the vista is breathtaking. On dirt and gravel roads, you should travel at a speed of 25 km/h.

The Toyota Hilux is our most comfortable vehicle for driving on tarmac roads which accounts for 80% of your a.

Driving in Uganda

Which side of the road should I be driving on?

In Uganda, the driving side is on the left side of the road.

Tips for Driving in Uganda

Speed restrictions

  • Highway speed limit is 80 km/h. This may appear to be a limitation, but keep in mind that a Land cruiser or Hilux loaded with luggage and camping gear is a big vehicle. Because of the longer braking distance, the police classified safari vehicles as trucks.
  • When driving through towns, maintain a speed of 50 km/h. Keep in mind that major highways also run through towns. So keep your speed down.
  • 30-40 km/h within the national park, depending on the tracks. Our vehicles are fitted with car trackers, and we receive fast information when our vehicles exceed the speed limit for your protection.
  • Always drive defensively. Minibus drivers are known for overtaking on blind bends and large coaches feel like they’re at the top of the food chain. Keep a close eye on your rear-view mirror and if required, get off the road ahead of the coach.
  • Be wary of unmarked speed bumps. These are common in many regions of the nation, particularly near town entrances.
  • Be cautious of potholes. If you hit them, they will cause damage to your vehicle and may result in a flat tire.
  • When driving in cities and larger towns, always use your central lock. Never leave valuables unattended in your car.
  • Always park in a secure location. If you’re staying at a small hostel in town, ensure sure they have a safe parking lot on their premises.
  • Do not drive at night. Potholes are hard to see and oncoming traffic utilizes dazzling high beams.
  • Always keep some cash, water, and a fully charged mobile phone on hand in case of an emergency.

Are there any regions where self-driving is prohibited?

When driving in Uganda, there are no no-go zones. Travel to k and Karamoja however, necessitates the use of a Hilux or Land cruiser. The RAV4 is not designed for the roads in these places.

Can I drive my rented vehicle across the border in Uganda?

Yes, no, and possibly.

  • With our vehicles at Laba Africa you can cross the border into Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda.
  • If you want to visit Malawi, Zambia, or Zimbabwe, it is also feasible, but please keep in mind that we cannot give roadside help.
  • You are not permitted to enter Ethiopia, South Sudan, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo on your own. You will need the services of a driver.

If you plan to take a multi-country road trip, you must notify us in advance so that we may acquire a COMESA card, which is an extension of your vehicle’s motor insurance. You are not permitted to cross the border without our permission, and you are not insured for any damage.

Is comprehensive insurance included with my Uganda car rental?

Our cars for rent in Uganda are fully insured against damage caused by an accident or fire, as well as third-party liability for property damage and physical harm in the event of an accident. Personal injury and property damage are not covered and must be covered by your medical and travel insurance.

There is a maximum own risk of €250 that is not covered by insurance. The insurance does not cover tires, underbody covering, or windows. The client is liable for any damage to the rental car and/or third-party property if the following conditions are met:

  • exceeding speed restrictions; 
  • single vehicle incidents or rollovers (these are regarded as reckless driving); 
  • vehicle damage due to lack of appropriate care/maintenance of the vehicle; 
  • driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • driving on restricted roads/locations.

The car rental agreement contains our complete terms and conditions.

Which Sim Card should I purchase?

Uganda has several mobile network operators. MTN and Airtel are the most well-known. The 4G network is supported by both carriers. However, we recommend that you choose MTN because coverage in rural regions is generally higher.

Before you begin your self drive safari in Uganda, purchase a sim card and load it with enough data for phone and internet calls. You can easily obtain any of the sim cards by bringing your Passport to any of the service provider’ service centers.

Please keep in mind that Uganda implemented a social media tax, often known as OTT, in 2018. In addition to purchasing data, you will be required to pay an obligatory tax to use any social media platform such as Whatsapp, Facebook, and Instagram. We felt it would be difficult to figure this out on your own. To make things easier for you, ask the service provider who sold you the Sim Card to pay the OTT for the duration of your stay.

How does it relate to navigation? Driving in Uganda

All of our Uganda car rentals include the most recent Bradt Travel Guide as well as a thorough map of the country. We strongly advise you to download on your device before traveling to Uganda. It’s a completely free app. Download the Uganda maps and experience GPS navigation while driving. has a map of almost every resort and campsite. The most common error that travelers make is hurrying and trying to see too much in one trip. If you’re using Google Maps to plan your trip, increase the recommended travel time by 30%. Check out our suggested routes page to get a realistic idea of how much you can fit into your Uganda Safari.

What happens if there's a breakdown or an accident?

Keep in mind that unanticipated problems can emerge when driving a vehicle in difficult weather. We have a lot of experience troubleshooting along the route, but it takes cooperation, trust, and patience from you as well.

In the event of an emergency, always contact us as soon as possible. Our phone line is available 24 hours a day, and we will do our best to address the problem.

Most mechanical faults encountered on the road are minor, and providing assistance on the spot is the quickest method to get you back on the road. In the event of an issue, we have a network of upcountry mechanics to assist you. We will either guide you to the nearest garage or send a mechanic to assist you immediately. If a car cannot be repaired on the scene within 24 hours, a new vehicle will be delivered from Kampala so you can continue your Uganda Safari.

If you are easily stressed when something unexpected happens, then a self-drive safari is not for you. Because of the uneven and dusty roads, getting trapped in the mud, getting a flat tire, or encountering mechanical trouble along the way are all possible scenarios that can disrupt your travel plans for the day. In the event of an accident, please contact us promptly so that we can guide you through the procedure. You must take photographs of the damaged vehicle and file a police report.

Driving in Uganda

How to Deal with traffic cops in Uganda: Driving in Uganda

Uganda has a large number of traffic cops. Their dazzling grey and white outfit can be seen from a long distance. So, while dealing with any form of government official in Uganda, the best advice is to be respectful, patient, and nice. Greet them politely and you’ve made a new buddy.

Traffic officers may stop you to determine whether your vehicle is insured, whether your tires are in excellent condition, or to inspect your driver’s license. In Uganda, any legal driving permit (even from your own country) is accepted.

In our experience, traffic cops are courteous, curious, and frequently just want to chat.

You must pay the fine if you committed an offense (such as speeding or reckless overtaking). This should be done officially at the bank or using Mobile services. Ugandan traffic cops will usually offer a speedier payment option and suggest that you “give them a Coke.” However, this is not a suggestion you should make. 

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