Tips for self drive Safaris in Uganda

Over and over again, Uganda is getting more popular as a self guided safari destination in East Africa. Home to all the Africa’s big five (Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Rhinoceros and Buffaloes).

Several coast to coast adventures have been considered including but not limited to Kampala, through Jinja (Eastern route) to Kidepo, Bwindi and back to Kampala. While some people opt for the western route via Lake Mburo national park, to Bwindi impenetrable national park; Kidepo and back to Kampala via Mbale.

Park Entrance Fees

The park entrance fees are fared in two ways; on a 24 hour basis and annual pass. This implies that in case you are spending 3 days in a park; you will have to pay triple the daily fare on 24 hour basis while an Annual pass grants access to all parks in Uganda though without activities.


One of the basic items you need when planning for a self drive safari anywhere in Africa is how much you are willing to spend on fuel. This will determine the type of car you will choose for your self drive in Uganda.

The issue is never about how much you are going to spend on hiring a car daily rather how much do you have to spend in case you are to get a particular car even on the least rate there is.

For instance, you might stumble on a half price company promotion which will grant you a V8 at the rate of a Rav4. However the amount of fuel that a Rav4 might use for 500kms might give you 250kms mileage in a V8.

For the above reason, you have to know how much each car might cost you in terms of fuel not simply the company daily car hire rate.

On the other hand, there are also benefits of driving a diesel car against a petrol car. This also has to be put in consideration when choosing a specific car for car hire.


Mileage is still the king when it comes to car hire. Not all car hire companies in East Africa give unlimited mileage, for this reason; go for the company which offers unlimited mileage.

However, unlike mileage might imply that the company cars are relatively old (good mechanical condition but not new). You might need to be keen on detail when you are hiring a car with unlimited mileage.

The beauty with countries like Uganda and Rwanda, most of the car hire companies in those two countries offer unlimited mileage.

Comprehensive Insurance

Accidents are undesired but still inevitable. For this reason you have to have a clear statement regarding whether the car has comprehensive insurance, and how much excess you might have to pay in case of an accident.  Failure to look into this might land into high non expected compensation bills.

Therefore always ask the car hire company to share with you their comprehensive insurance policy; that is a specific section in the contract detailing the terms and conditions of the comprehensive insurance for the car.

Camping Sites

The best way to safe on a self drive safari is camping out. However even camping sites require you to pay a certain amount of money. This ranges from US$5-US$15; saving you over US$25 every day.

Local people are not usually familiar with camping sites because it is not usually there thing. (They rarely camp) but most of the national park if not all; have camping sites. However you can chip in some extra cash in case you wish to camp deep in the park (That is for a wilderness experience though you will need a ranger for this)

Camping gear

Camping gear is one of the essentials on a self drive tour, though to most people camping is simply a tent; in Uganda camping gear comes with a gas cylinder, kitchen ware, cutlery, plates, tent, mattress, sleeping bags among several other items.

In case you are the kind that loves cooking, the camp sites would be the best place to try out your chef skills more so regarding local cuisines. These include but not limited to Rolex (An omelet rolled in a chapatti), Rice and beef, fruit salad among several other options.