Many travelers describe driving in Uganda as hard and a business not for the nervous. If you are well equipped with tips on how to drive in Africa, you will definitely enjoy your ride. Here is all the information and advice you need to get started before hitting the road with your rental car in Uganda. Please note that it is very important to know that if you have never driven in Africa, you should not consider driving in Uganda.
Driving on the Left
Ugandans drive on the left side and drivers should use the left lane of any given highway unless overtaking. In Uganda “hook turns” are used on many intersections where drivers turning right sit in the left lane across the junction indicating right until the traffic lights change and then turn right.
In most towns the maximum speed limit on freeways and major highways is 100kph and local urban limits range from 50 – 80 kph. All speed limits are clearly marked and all routes operate sophisticated speed detection equipment including mobile and static speed cameras along with Red light cameras. Any fine incurred in Uganda is the responsibility of the driver and should they be a foreign national the fine will be mailed to their home country address. Please take note of that.
Safety Belts and Child Restraints
Wearing a seat belt in Uganda is compulsory. This applies to both front and rear seated vehicle occupants. Drivers please note that you as well as any passenger are liable should that passenger not wear a belt. Child restraints must be used where passengers are too small to make use of regular seat belts. All our suppliers retain a number of Child capsules/booster seaters that are available for a modest fee.
Uganda enforces strict drink driving laws and the Police are entitled to stop drivers on a random basis for breathalyser tests. These operations are often referred to as operation drink driving. We greatly encourage you to do away with any alcoholic drinking if you are to engage in any driving on Ugandan roads.
Outback Road Conditions
Uganda has an extreme of climates in different parts of the country. Minor roads that are passable in the Dry season can disappear beneath a torrent of water during the “Wet” season. Seek local advice should your travels take you off the main highways. Some things to look out for in country areas include potholes and rough surfaces, soft road edges and road surfaces changing without notice. This is common in remote areas of Uganda.
Driving at Night
When driving at night on Uganda roads particularly in areas out the cities, strict care should be taken. This is also applicable to those moving in national parks .You should take keen responsibility to lookout for wildlife that may stray onto the road. Animals are attracted by car lights. Collisions with animals such as the kobs, Impalas can cause substantial damage to your vehicle and to the wildlife as well.
International visitors may drive in Uganda on a valid overseas driver’s license that covers the same vehicle class. Whilst driving ensure that you carry your licence with you and if it is not in English carry a translation.
Petrol and diesel is sold in litres and comes in both unleaded and lead substitute forms. Prices will vary depending upon location and in the major cities you will see price fluctuations during any days, week and national holidays. Please note that rural prices slightly differ from the urban rates.
Travelling with Children
Some journeys in Uganda are longer than those undertaken elsewhere and keeping children occupied can be a challenge. You know your children best and what keeps them happy while on the journey, however you may find something below that can assist.
- To keep children as comfortable as possible use sunscreen blinds or curtains on the windows to reduce glare and heat.
- Have a well stocked first aid kit including medication for common child ailments. Include sun block and insect repellent.
- Stop regularly to break the journey and visits to the toilet
- pack up an activities box for the back seat with notepads, crayons, activity books etc.
- Headphones for tapes of stories and songs will entertain and help send tired children off to sleep.
- Pack snacks and drinks. Ensure that you have a good supply of water on board.
Owing to the distances and conditions of Uganda roads travelled, driver fatigue has been the cause of more than 30% of all traffic accidents. Please rest every 2 hours giving yourself a 15 minute break even when close to your destination. This will help you concentrate and focus on your driving safely.