News, Culture & Society

Uganda Out of the Red Zone; What About Self Drive Safaris?

Uganda has been one of the countries that had been in the UK’s Red zone for quite some time. Even though those who were nut-headed still found their way to Uganda; their journey could not be insured. Now that Uganda is out of the red zone; it means you can have an insured trip to Uganda.

Many safaris to Uganda had been canceled due to the 2020 global lockdown. Others simply postponed their Uganda safaris in hope that the world will be open. Now that Uganda is out of the red zone and now that almost all countries are open for travel, what about self-drive safaris in Uganda?

Self Drive Safaris In Uganda

Self-drive safaris are the kind of safaris where with a help of a tour operator or by yourself, you design a safari itinerary which you execute by driving yourself around without any help of a tour guide. To execute this kind of safaris in Uganda; you will need to hire a car for self-drive or a motorcycle for a self-drive safari in Uganda.

The basic skill necessary for executing a self-drive safari in Uganda is map reading. But even with limited or no mapping skills; you can use apps such as google maps or maps to find your way around the country. Many travelers have found Mapsme more updated but lacking when it comes to predicting the amount of time between the places.

Can I self-drive in Uganda Now?

In mid-2021; Uganda underwent a second total lockdown banning vehicles from crossing from one district to another. Many travels have not received the update on all cars being free now to move all around the country.

Therefore it should be made clear that as long as you have a driving license, and you can afford to hire fare; you are free to execute yourself driving safari in Uganda.

Uganda is fully open to self-drive safaris now. With the help of a reliable car rental agency in Uganda; you can hire an offroad SUV according to your budget and the travel agency’s recommendation depending on your itinerary.

What You Can See And Do During Your Self Drive Safari To Uganda

There are relatively many activities you can do in Uganda. Besides being overshadowed by Kenya and Tanzania; Uganda remains the hidden gem of East Africa.

While Tanzania rides upon Serengeti and Kilimanjaro; Uganda equally has parks to rival these experiences; while Kenya rides on Masai Mara and Mount Kenya; Uganda is equally gifted.

We can break down the things to do and see into four categories; Cultural encounters, Community tours; Hikes, and Game drives.

Cultural Encounters

Depending on the time, you have at your disposal; the heart of Uganda’s cultural safaris is Karamoja around mount Moroto. Kara Tunga is the most popular tour operator in that area. But besides the Karamojong experience; you can also visit the IK tribe in the locality of Kidepo valley national park, the Batwa in the locality of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, and Mgahinga national park.

You can also visit a few kingdoms that have continued even to have independence. However due to the sacredness of the kingdoms; you might not find the visit to the kingdoms so interesting because most of the areas are restricted. These include; Buganda Kingdom, Toro Kingdom, Bunyoro Kingdom, Busoga Kingdom among several other kingdoms and chiefdoms.

Community Tours

Among the community tours, you can execute during your self-drive safari to Uganda include a drive around Kampala, drive around Entebbe, visiting Jinja Town as well as the local markets.  However; to best execute community tours, you might need the help of a local tour guide.

Some people who wish to adventure around communities more town centers often use Motorcycles also known as Boda Bodas. These are motorcycle taxis that can take you anywhere in the town. However due to reckless driving; they might not be recommended for Kampala.

Hikes During Your Self Drive Safari To Uganda

In case all you know about Uganda is gorilla trekking; you might have already been wondering why I am not mentioning it. I must appreciate your patience to this point but also let you know that there is more to Uganda than gorilla trekking. Though it is the icon of all hikes in Uganda; there are more hikes you can consider during your self-drive safari to Uganda.

Rwenzori mountains are the nemesis for Kilimanjaro mountains in Tanzania. The mountains of the moon have the highest sum of the highest mountain ranges on the African continent. Though Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya seem to be higher summits than the Rwenzoris; the Snow at the equator mountain is one of the hidden gems of Uganda.

Climbing the Rwenzoris offers a wide variety of treks that you can execute depending on the time you have at your disposal. Besides the Rwenzoris, you can encounter chimpanzees also depending on your budget.

The slopes of Mount Elgon have also been made popular by Sipi falls, Sisiyi falls among several other waterfalls in Eastern Uganda.

Game Drives During Your Self Drive Safari To Uganda

Game drives are the main highlight of Uganda safaris. Unlike gorilla trekking; there is no cap on how many people can visit the savannah national parks per day. Murchison falls national park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Lake Mburo National park are the most popular savannah national parks in Uganda.

However much, there are game reserves such as Pian Upe, Similiki game reserve, Katonga among several other reserves. Though they are overshadowed by the popular savannah national parks, they are worth venturing on your self drive in Uganda.

A self-drive game drive in Uganda parks offers stunning views of tree climbing lions, Leopards, African Elephants, Cape Buffaloes, Statungas, Impalas, Kobs, among several other wildlife species.

Uganda is truly gifted by nature. Anyone that considers exploring this beautiful pearl might have to either choose a self-guided tour which is a self-drive safari or choose to use the services of a registered tour operator in Uganda.