10 Important Tips on Driving in Uganda

We understand that the idea of driving in Uganda may stir a mix of excitement and apprehension, especially for those unaccustomed to the unique conditions. In this guide, we provide the secrets to conquering the roads less traveled in Uganda, providing valuable insights and indispensable tips for those who may be afraid by the idea of driving in Uganda

1. Do I need an International Driving license in Uganda?

No international driver’s license is not required in Uganda; a valid license from your home country is the only requirement and can be used for up to 3 months in Uganda. Keep in mind to drive on the left side of the road.

a tourist camping on lake naivasa on a kenya self drive safari

2. Uganda Road Conditions

Uganda boasts relatively good road conditions, especially on major tourist  routes starting from Entebbe airport. Asphalt roads, while smooth, often have speed bumps and occasional potholes. Optimal driving speed is around 80 km/hour on highways and in towns and national parks keep it 40 km /hour.

3. Stay calm and friendly when police stops you!

While it might be intimidating to be stopped by the white dressed traffic local police, stories of corruption can vary based on your travel destination. Our guests having conducted on numerous road trips across East Africa, including Uganda, they have encountered diverse roadblocks. Maintaining politeness and a friendly smile ensures a smooth interaction between you and the police. In our experience, Ugandan police are generally welcoming to tourists, and female drivers might receive marriage proposals rather than fines. It’s crucial to adhere to speed limits as penalties for exceeding them can be severe 80$, and law enforcement is pervasive.

4. Avoid excessive driving and take it slow.

While covering 200km on a German Autobahn or a European Highway might take less than two hours, the dynamics change significantly on African roads. It’s easy to overestimate the distance you can cover in a day. Allocating more time for your journey not only ensures a more leisurely drive but also allows you the flexibility to appreciate unexpected beautiful spots. It’s crucial to have a sense of direction; map out the attractions you wish to visit and plan a route that aligns with your preferences. This approach ensures a more enjoyable and stress-free road trip experience in Uganda.

5. Safety Tips

Adhere to speed limits (80 km/hour on highways, 50 km/hour in towns, and 30-40 km/hour in national parks). Drive defensively, watch for unmarked speed bumps, and be cautious of unexpected potholes. Lock your car, park in secure areas, and avoid night driving.It can get very dark here!  Carry cash in Ugandan shillings, water, and a charged phone for emergencies.

Self-Drive Safari Costs in Kenya and Tanzania

6. Can I cross the Border with a 4x4 rented in Uganda?

Traveling to neighboring East African countries is allowed, but advance notice is essential for border crossings so that we can prepare the COMESA insurance and daily car rental fees . Laba Africa Expeditions provides comprehensive insurance covering damage and third-party liability, with a maximum deductible of €250.

7. Connectivity and Navigation

Uganda offers reliable mobile network providers like Airtel and MTN, both supporting the 5G network. Obtain a local sim card and load it with data for internet and calls. Navigation apps like Google Maps and, along with a detailed roadmap provided by Laba Africa Expeditions, ensure a smooth driving experience.


8. What happens in the unlikely event of Breakdowns and Accidents

In the event of breakdowns or accidents, Laba Africa Expeditions assures on-the-spot assistance and, if needed, a replacement car within 24 hours. Cooperation, flexibility, and patience are vital during road support. If you’re that nervous person in case of unexpected challenges, Laba Africa recommends considering booking a guided safari tour since self drive might not be the most suitable option for you.

List of fines incase of an accident involving animals in the park

English Swahili Fees
Buffalo Nyati USD 1,900
Elephant Tembo USD 15,000
Giraffe Twiga USD 1,200
Zebra Family Familiya Zebra USD 1,200
Lion Simba USD 4,900
Baboon Nyani USD 110
Impala Swala USD 390
Eland Pofu USD 1,700
Civet Cat Fungo USD 200
Warthog Ngiri USD 450
Bush Buck Pongo USD 600
Dik Dik Gidigi USD 250
Leopard Chui USD 3,500

9. Avoid driving at Night in Uganda

Avoid driving at night after dark for several compelling reasons. Firstly, wildlife becomes more active during the night, increasing the risk of encounters on the road. Navigating unfamiliar terrain in the dark can be exhausting, compounded by the absence of streetlights in most areas, making it challenging to read signs and find your way. Plan your journeys to start in the mornings, ensuring enough time to reach your destination before 6 :30 when the sun goes down. Take note that the transition from light to dark can be rapid in Uganda. Exercise heightened caution when navigating villages and towns, as road crossings may involve pedestrians and livestock.

10. Expect the Unexpected

Always keep a safe distance from taxis / Matatus (shared Mini bus )and expect the unexpected. Taxis stop anywhere regardless of where they are driving. Don’t be frazzled if taxis start tooting their horns – they are indicating that they have room for another passenger.

Few people face any serious concerns driving in Africa but it never hurts to know the rules, have emergency numbers on you and take note of these safety tips on the road while driving in Uganda. It is also advised to let your hotel or resort know if you are travelling to a remote location so someone knows where to look for you.

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John Doe

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