Uganda is among the African countries with great attractions and friendly people where every tourist can visit without any fear, and we driving your own adventure are somehow fun and interesting. That point when you just behind the steering wheel in any wildlife park the country looking around as you spot different animals at your own pace when there is no one to tell yo0u what to do when and why.
Before we go on the reason why self-drive/self-guided safari is a bad idea to a first-time traveler in Uganda, let’s first talk about; what is the difference between self-guided/self-drive safari and guided safaris.
Self-drive safari, this is when a tourists spot a destination he/she want to visit let’s say Uganda and then check online for different safari car rental companies and book with them a safari vehicle for the number of days he/she would love to spend the destination. Then after, on the arrival in Uganda, he/she contact the car rental company to know where he/she can pick the vehicle or where the company can deliver his/her safari vehicle. After getting safari vehicle, he/she gets a map and point at any destination in the country where he/she would love to visit that day and then he/she drive away and even the next day do the same when visiting another destination. Meaning the tourist will have to be in control of everything for example driving and guiding themselves.
Guided safari, this is when a tourist/s who would love to visit Uganda, check online and look for any tour company in the country like; African Jungle Adventures Ltd, Go Gorilla Trekking Ltd, or any other tour company and request for different quotes and book a safari package and leave his/her home country when has a detailed itinerary of the destinations he/she is going to visit when and at what time, where he/she will have dinner and overnight and most of the things will be paid in advance. On the arrival at the airport, he/she will find a tour guide already waiting for him and will be clearly briefed about the safari and last will seat in the comfortable safari vehicle and will drove to the first destination on the itinerary and the tourist main task will be just to seat and enjoy the trip.
This can also be done in another way where the tourist can draft his/her itinerary and then contact the car rental agency and hire a safari car with and tour guide/driver and on the arrival at Entebbe International airport, the guide will be there waiting for him/her and later he/she will be briefed about the tripe and then transfer to the first destination according to the itinerary.
Below we have listed some of the reasons why you need a driver/tour guide on your next road trip to Uganda;
1. Liability in case of an accident
There are many car rental companies in the country who don’t insure their vehicles and if by bad luck you hire a vehicle with such companies you will be responsible for anything that can happen on the vehicle during your rental period. The thing which you can avoid in case you hire a vehicle with and driver. The driver/tour guide will be responsible for anything that happens in the car even if its an accident it will be the company’s responsibility to pay your hospital bills. Despite there are some companies in Uganda like; 4×4 Uganda Ltd, Rental Cars Uganda Ltd, Safari Car Rental Uganda, Self Drive Uganda Ltd, Travel 245.com, and others which insure their vehicles, but still it’s not full insurance. Their car insurance cover for car damages starting from 50$ and above meaning even if the company tell you that the vehicle is insured don’t be surprised when they charge you when you return the vehicle with minor scratches because those scratches can’t be covered by the insurance company because their repair is below 50$.
2. Save time
Since you will have less time to spend in the country yet you have a lot to explore in this small but rich in tourist attractions, you will not need to waste any minute on useless things, like inspecting the vehicle before you drive off, reading, and signing the car rental contract, looking for the car rental company offices to pick the vehicle and other things you need to do before you get the vehicle. All this time can be saved when you book a car with a driver, where after booking your vehicle online, you will find your driver/your tour guide already waiting for you at the airport to pick you and drive you to your next destination. And another thing, you will not waste time looking at maps, asking for direction from locals because the drivers also know every corner of the country and every attraction.
Here is another challenge, tourists going for a self-guided road trip across Uganda always face, when driving is fun too and interesting to some people more especially the youth, but driving in a foreign country can turn in a nightmare, let’s start by driving in Kampala during the morning and evening hours, these hours are the most dangerous hours to drive in Kampala because everyone will be driving to go work in the morning and evening everyone will be driving to return home the thing which causes a heavy traffic jam that can only be handled by a local and experienced driver. And when it comes driving upcountry, there are many roads in the country which are in bad conditions and they will only need an experienced off-road driver and when it comes to locations of the tourist attractions, the drivers/tour guides always know where and which short routes you can use to reach every destination in the country.
Hire a vehicle with a driver for your next road trip to Uganda will never be boring in the way that, you will always have someone to talk to. Just imagine a situation when you on a self-drive safari in a vehicle alone in the middle of nowhere not sure about the time you will reach your next destination even not knowing how good the road you driving because you may reach a certain point when the road is in bad condition the thing which will slow you down, yet in case you have a driver he will always have an alternative route. Since most of the tourist destinations in Uganda are in upcountry and it will need someone to drive for over 3-8hours to reach a tourist attraction. So hiring a vehicle with a driver for your next road trip to Uganda will save you from this long driving and still you will never be bored because you will not be in the car alone and another thing you will always have someone to update you on where you have reached and the time you remaining to reach your next destination.
Since everyone takes his/her life as the first priority, taking a driver on your next road trip to Uganda will keep you safe because your driver will not only be responsible for just driving you to the next destination but also to make sure that you are safe on your safari. He does this by making sure that he keeps a reasonable speed while driving and also manage the time well so that he will not need to rush on the road. Another thing is when you in the national park for game drive, in many cases self-guided tourists do many things in the presences of the wild animals the thing which risks their life and if you with a driver/tour guide, he will guide on the best way to watch animals without risking your life.
6. Trained, skilled, and knowledgeable
Most car rental companies in Uganda employ locals who have enough knowledge about the country and these companies go ahead and train their drivers and even teach them different local and international languages for easy communication with the clients and locals of different parts of the country. So when you book a vehicle with a driver you just know you with someone you can trust and have enough knowledge about the country and different wildlife and a lot of skills in driving on Uganda roads.
7. Wildlife viewing
When it comes to wildlife watching in the national park, having a tour guide with you is an added advantage because in the most national park you a guaranteed to see a lot of wild animals but the guide will be there to explain the characteristics and names of all the animals you will meet in the wild. Still having a tour guide increases the chances of seeing predators hunting because these guides have been in the field for many years meaning they know most territories of animals.
8. Language barrier
A safari becomes more interesting when you return home after learning something from the local people of the destination you visited, this is always possible when you go with a local guide or driver with you on your road trip to Uganda. Taking a self-guided road trip can become boring most especially when you would love to know more about Ugandan culture because you will not be able to communicate with the locals yet when you go with a local driver/tour guide can help you translate for you and even take you to visit some cultural sites even you can attend some cultural ceremonies.
9. Mechanical knowledge
Another advantage of hiring a safari car with a driver for your road trip in Uganda is that you will never be stressed about the car breaking down on the safari because our drivers are trained and have some car mechanical knowledge meaning in case of breakdown, they will have a quick solution for it and in case the damage is big, our drivers have contacts of different garages in all parts of the country meaning you will not waste a lot of time looking for where to fix the car from.
10. Traffic fines
There come traffic officers on roads, as you know at a certain point driving carelessly and over speeding is unavoidable so in case you caught by a traffic officer, you will be fined but you can avoid this by hiring a driver who will be responsible for all traffic fines you will get on the road in case he/she messed up.
All in all, in case you planning a road trip to Uganda, Rental Cars Uganda Ltd has skilled and professional drivers/tour guides who can guide you throughout your trip and still they have all types of vehicles for hire. you can visit their offices in Kampala or book a vehicle and a driver online by visiting their website; www.rentalcarsuganda.com or call them at +256 773 728 141.