Self Drive For Lone Travelers in Uganda
Uganda seems to be an underdog when it comes to African safaris. Though it is still the most green destination amongst the East African countries such as; Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, among others; it has not been fronted by many as a green destination. Apart from the months of July, August, December and January, you are likely to find Uganda green from border to border all year long.
Anyone that has attempted an East African overland, will always appreciate Uganda as a green destination compared to its counterparts. But besides Uganda being a green destination; you have to think about how best to explore “the pearl of Africa”.
There are mainly three options for anyone that desires to explore Uganda; Agent organized trips, semi agent organized trips and self organized trips. Do not worry in case these terms seem unfamiliar; allow me explain.
Agent organized trips are trips where you simply outline your desires, pay the travel agent and let them handle everything regarding your trip. I know you have heard them referred to by several different terms, but allow me use my own term too.
Semi agent organized trips are trips that a client co-organizes with a tour operator. In these kind of trips, the client can design their own itinerary, rent their own car for self drive, book their own lodges, buy their own park permits/tickets among other things. These are also the kind of trips that suit typical lone travelers.
Self Organized trips are trips where the client organizes everything regarding their trip by themselves. They do not seek any help from any tour operator and in case they are to seek help; it is often from the service providers such as a hotel, a car rental agency, and may be their embassy or consulate.
A self drive safari only suits people who are attempting a semi agent organized trip or a self organized trip. It is why self drive safaris are highly recommended for lone travelers. In case you are wondering what safari drive safaris are; they are safaris where you drive yourself. Therefore you will need a GPS, Google maps, or a paper map to locate places.
Some people who find self drive safaris a little harder to execute often opt for renting a car with a driver. The drivers are often professional tour guides that also double as drivers. In case self drive is not your thing, then you can rent a car with a driver however much this will also infringe on your private space as a lone traveler.
So what do you have to know about self drive for lone travelers in Uganda? It is quite a lot that we cannot exhaust in simply one article. But here are some of the things that will be of help for a lone traveler opting for a self drive safari in Uganda.
Type of the car
There are mainly three types of cars that self drive lone travelers in Uganda are fond of; the 3 Door Rav4, the 5 Door Rav4 and the Land cruiser TX/TZ.
The 3 door Rav4 and the 5 door Rav4 are the budget options ranging between US$35 per day and US$50 depending on the service provider. However unlike the Land cruiser Prado TX/TZ; the Rav4s cannot be driven in some of the epic remote areas such as Kidepo valley national park.
The Land cruiser Prado TX/TZ is the most recommended option for the lone travelers intending to visit most of Uganda’s remote areas during their self drive safari in Uganda. It is recommended to be specific when you are hiring a car for self drive in Uganda. There is always an option of diesel or gasoline.
When you hire a diesel car, you will spend less on fuel compared to when you hire a gasoline car. To ensure a smooth and successful self drive safari for a lone traveler in Uganda; the Land cruiser Prado is recommended above a 3 Door Rav4 or 5 Door Rav4
Plan For Extra Activities
Lone travelers are fond of one challenge; completing their itineraries before the set time. Self guided tours do not allow you to spend as much time you would spend exploring a given place with the help of guide. Therefore it is very common of lone travelers to complete their planned visits within a shorter period of time.
We recommend lone travelers to plan for at least two to three detour activities just in case they complete their itineraries before the set time. It is very frustrating to start planning your safari activities during your trip.
Have Emergency Local Contacts
One of the most important things during a self drive safari for a lone traveler in Uganda is having some local contacts who can be contacted during an emergency. Anything can go wrong during your self-drive Uganda safari; without a local contact, you are likely to get stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Having a local contact will also save you from paying services more than triple the market price. Unless you are buying something from the supermarket or grocery store; it is very likely that you will pay over $30 for petty cash services which would have cost at least $2