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Uganda Driving Guide

Uganda is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-07-30 · 9 mins

Uganda is known to be one of the most beautiful places in Africa. So beautiful that a British politician, Winston Churchill, gave the country the title of “Pearl of Africa.” This country is located in east-central Africa and is about the size of Great Britain. So if you are a tourist looking for a nature escapade, this country might be the best one for you!

From the great food, culture, and history to its incredible wildlife adventures, encountering different species, and learning about its habitat, you’ll surely learn a lot about mother nature here in Uganda! Thanks to its position in the equator, the country may seem a little hot throughout the whole year, but believe it or not, it’s the perfect weather to see and experience Uganda’s beautiful country.

Because of that, driving around Uganda will give you a wonderful memory that you’ll be treasuring forever. May it be with your friends, family, or your partner, driving around Uganda would be an excellent decision to make.

How Can This Guide Help You?

Traveling around another country for the first time can be overwhelming and at the same time frightening, especially if you have no idea about that particular country. This guide will be your friend in planning out the places to go and things to consider before going there, especially if you are planning to experience the country by driving on your own.

This guide will provide you everything you need to know, from the driving license in Uganda to the rules and etiquette while driving there. So, no need to worry and carry on reading. After you finish the article, you’ll surely be ready to travel to Uganda and experience the trip of a lifetime!

General Information

Uganda is a country located in the east-central part of Africa and is a country with diverse ethnic groups. Sir Winston Churchill said that you’d feel like you are in a fairy tale in the country of Uganda. This is because of the beautiful but hidden natural wonders it posses, you have to sacrifice a long and challenging journey, but it’ll all be worth it in the end.

It was once a protectorate of the British Empire and obtained its formal independence on October 9, 1962. This is the reason why the English language is used as their first language and also the language used for instructions in the country.

Geographic Location

The Democratic Republic of the Congo borders Uganda to the west, South Sudan to the north, Tanzania and Rwanda to the south, and Kenya to the east. Its capital, Kampala, is surrounded by seven hills. Uganda is a country gifted by mother nature, for it has one of the world’s largest wildlife. Its falls came from the longest river, which attracted a lot of species making a road trip experience in the country an unforgettable one.

Uganda is one of the countries that lie in the equator, giving the country a tropical climate. It has one rainy and two dry seasons. The best time to visit and drive around Uganda would be during its dry seasons, which are from December to February and June to August. The rainy season would always make the roads muddy and wet, and it would definitely cause some inconveniences during your trip. It would be best for you to avoid traveling in the country during this season unless needed.

Languages Spoken

Due to the diverse culture that Uganda has, there are many languages used in the country. There are 32 languages used in Uganda. English and Swahili are the official languages, but Ganda is the most commonly used. The English language is often used for instructions by people in authority, education, government, and those who have high power in the community. Swahili, on the other hand, is not very much popular.

Aside from English, French, and Swahili, most people in Uganda can understand several languages depending on their ethnicity. So don’t get confused if ever you hear different languages in this country.

Land Area

Uganda has an area of 236,040 square kilometers or 146,675 square miles, and its total land boundary is 2,698 kilometers or 1,676 miles. Most of Uganda is located on a plateau, and valleys and mountains specify its limits. Uganda’s highest point is the Margherita peak, usually capped by glaciers and snow, rising up to 16,762 feet. The country’s lowest point is Albert Nile at the border with South Sudan and is 614 meters or 2,014 ft.

History

It was the Bantu-speaking people that migrated to Uganda and were the first people who lived there. Traditionally, the people in Uganda were hunters and gatherers. During the 1860s, British people happened to have found Uganda while looking for the source of the Nile River. Following those years, protestants and Catholic missionaries also came to Uganda, and by the year 1894, it became a protectorate of the British Empire but gained its independence from the United Kingdom in the year 1962.

Government

Even though Uganda already gained its independence from the British Empire in 1962, it still maintained its Commonwealth membership. In Uganda, the president yields the highest power both as head of the state and head of the government. The country implements a democratic parliamentary system where the country’s people votes for their elected president to lead the country in a five-year term.

Uganda is one of the heavily populated countries in Africa, and its population is mostly consisting of young people ranging from ages 15 and below. Because of that, this country is known to be the second most youthful country in the world!

Tourism

Fun fact: foreigners/tourists in Uganda are called mzungu, which means wanderer. Cool, right? Because of the gifts obtained from mother nature and how the people of Uganda took care of their wildlife, many tourists added this country to their go-to destinations. With tropical weather, waterfalls, majestic mountains, large lakes, and rivers housing thousands of different species, including the endangered ones, this country is truly a paradise on earth.

Uganda has 10 national parks and is known for its bird-watching and seeing gorilla mountains in its own natural habitat. An estimation of 1.3 million tourists went to Uganda only in the year 2019. People would never want to miss experiencing this paradise!

International Driver’s Permit FAQs

Self-drive could be a perfect way to get around Uganda wherever and whenever you like. But the question is, are there any requirements before driving, and what about driving licenses in Uganda, are they required? Worry no more! You will know the answers to these questions in this section.

Is a Local Driver's License Valid in Uganda?

For you to travel and drive around Uganda, a driver’s license is required. But, if you are from a foreign country, you must have a driver’s license written in English or an international driver’s permit, which translates your local driver’s license to the country’s language. Your IDP must be brought whenever and wherever you go in Uganda to avoid any unnecessary inconveniences during your journey.

Is an International Driver’s Permit Required in Uganda?

While your local license will give you permission to drive a car in your country, your international driver’s permit will translate your local license to Uganda’s authorities for them to understand that you are allowed and able to drive on your own in the country. Having an international driver’s permit will save you a lot of hassles during your road trip in Uganda.

How Do I Get an International Driving Permit in Uganda?

An international driving permit is a translation of your own local driver’s license to numerous languages that will be very helpful for your journey in Uganda. Although the country’s national language is English, the most commonly used language is still Ganda, so bringing an international driver’s permit around the country will lessen your hassle throughout your journey.

To get an international driving permit, simply go to this page to directly apply and provide your driver details. Make sure that all encoded information is deemed correct and proceed with the process. This IDP will be valid for 1 to 3 years and can be used for over 150 countries.

How Long is an International Driver’s Permit Valid in Uganda?

With an international driver’s permit, you can drive within the country for as long as three months. After that, you must obtain a Ugandan driving license. If ever you’re wondering how to get a driving license in Uganda - first, get the application form from TLB branch offices, Banks, Face Technologies Offices and or download it from the URA Portal. Where to get a driving permit in Uganda?

After applying, you can get the new permit from Face Technologies. The cost of a new driving permit in Uganda for foreign exchange will be UGX 60,000 and valid for up to three years.

Does an IDP Replace Your Native Driver’s License?

No. An International Driver’s Permit only serves as the translation of your local driver’s license to different languages so that if you decided to travel and drive around Uganda, the locals wouldn’t have a hard time understanding your driver’s details. Be mindful and always bring your IDP with you in Uganda.

Renting a Car in Uganda

Driving a car around Uganda as a tourist can be a bit overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time in the country. But due to the freedom that you can obtain with self-driving, it is still one of the best things to consider. And if you have no car in Uganda, worry not! Driving in the country has been made possible by Ugandan car rental companies for a hassle-free trip around Uganda.

Car Rental Companies

There are numerous car rental companies in Uganda that can provide you the car you need while you are on your trip in the country. Although the vehicles that each company has maybe the same depending on the number of people you are bringing, prices and services may still vary. Car Rental Uganda and Roadtrip Uganda are just some of the car rental companies you can go to whenever you need a vehicle to drive around the country.

Car rental Uganda vehicles vary from a Toyota Rav 4 that can fit up to 4 passengers and is perfect for traveling around, including the National parks, up to an airconditioned bus that can fit 12-28 persons. If you want to take a rest between your travels, they can also provide you cars with rooftop tents.

Roadtrip Uganda is the first car rental company that provides self-drive cars in the country. This car rental company also allows you to travel anywhere in Uganda, including the national parks, and their prices depend on the days you will rent the car. They also offer cars with tents in case you need to rest in between your journey.

Documents Required

In order to rent a car easily in Uganda, you must present your government ID and an international driver’s permit if you are a tourist. If you plan to drive long-term, you must have a local driving license in Uganda, and if you haven’t yet, visit your local Face Technologies Offices regarding how to get a driving license in Uganda. If your driving license has expired, renewal of your driving license in Uganda is a must.

Vehicle Types

Road trips in Uganda can be a majestic and challenging experience at the same time. The roads there vary from good to bad as the country is still a developing one. So the car rental companies can and will provide you cars like Toyota Hilux and Landcruiser that can easily drive around different kinds of roads in Uganda. They can also provide you cars with a rooftop tent for a more hassle-free trip, especially if you are going outside the city and are heading to the national parks.

If ever you’ll just be driving around the city, they can also provide the cars that’ll suit your trip. You can rent air-conditioned family cars or corporate cars that can fit up to 5 people and busses that can fit up to 28 people. The vehicle type you can rent will always depend on your destination and the number of people you’ll bring with you.

Car Rental Cost

Car rental in Uganda depends on the type of car, the season in the country, the number of days you’ll be renting it, and the included insurance. Note that it is essential to have insurance when driving around Uganda, especially when going outside the city for the roads there can be challenging.

Some cars have their own rooftop tent included in case some people wanted to rest while on their journey. Some prices of the most common rented vehicles are:

  • Toyota Rav 4 - 45 USD to 70 USD per day
  • Family cars and corporate cars - 50 USD to 250 USD per day
  • Landcruiser - 70 USD to 150 USD per day
  • Landcruiser with rooftop tent - 90 USD to 150 USD per day
  • Landcruiser with Two Roof Top Tent - 140 USD per day
  • Toyota Hilux Double Cab - 150 USD per day
  • Bus and Van Rentals - 80 USD to 130 USD per day

In case you wanted to rent a car for long-term use, there are also companies that provide such services. You must understand that an international driver’s license will only be valid in Uganda for three months. More than that, you already have to inquire on how to get a driving licence in Uganda. If you already have one and it will expire, renewal of a driving permit in Uganda is a must.

Age Requirements

For driving and the required age on how to get a driving licence in Uganda, you must be at least 18 years old and above. But, if you are planning to rent a car, you are required to be at least 23 years of age and must obtain a driver’s license valid for about two years.

Car Insurance Cost

Having car insurance while driving around Uganda, especially outside of the city, is essential. Most car rental companies already include car insurance in their packages, so make sure to ask the company you’ll be renting with and choose a package that already includes one. This will save you a lot of hassles during your trip.

Road Rules in Uganda

Each country has its own rules when it comes to driving on its roads. Rules are essential to maintain order and safety for everyone within the country’s roads, especially with so many cars passing every day. As someone who is new to driving around Uganda, getting familiarized with its road rules must be on the top of your mind to avoid accidents and inconveniences during the whole trip there.

Important Regulations

Keep in mind that rules are there for you and your passenger’s safety. Failure to obey the country’s rules and regulations will cost you fines, penalties, and for worse case scenarios, injuries, and death. These will only extend the duration of your trip to process the fines and fees instead of enjoying what the country has to offer. Here are the rules that one must follow within the roads of Uganda:

Do Not Drive Without A Driver’s License in Uganda

A driver’s license is your permission from the authorities to allow you to drive around the country of Uganda. Whether you are driving for sightseeing or as a driver for new driving jobs in Uganda this week, you are required to have it. It is very important to have it everywhere you go because it is illegal in Uganda to drive without a license. If you still don’t have a driver’s license or your license in Uganda has already expired, you can visit any local Face Technologies Offices in Uganda to inquire regarding how to renew your driving permit in Uganda.

Driving without a driver’s license and failure to renew an expired license and using it for driving within the roads of Uganda will cost you a fine of 600,000 Ugandan Shilling to 1,000,000 Ugandan Shilling. You can also be imprisoned for six months. Make sure to follow these laws to avoid getting penalties.

Apply For A Ugandan Driver’s License If Driving For More Than 3 Months

In such cases that you have decided to stay longer than three months, you are already required to get a Ugandan driver’s license. Know where to get a driving permit in Uganda, and if you don’t know how to drive yet, you can look for the list of driving schools in Uganda. They will also tell you how much it costs to learn driving in Uganda.

You might also wonder, how long does it take to learn driving in Uganda? Don’t worry! Your chosen school will give you the information about this. You can also try asking the locals what is the best driving school in Uganda for the best driving experience.

The cost of a new driving permit in Uganda is UGX 60,000 for foreign exchange. If you are applying or planning to apply for a new driving job in Uganda this week, you must be mindful of the classes of driving permits in Uganda as it will be essential for your job.

Do Not Text and Drive

Texting while driving is illegal in the country. This wrong practice has been causing a lot of accidents that injuries or even death to the people involved. Causing accidents on the Ugandan roads will cost you a fine of 2,000,000 Ugandan Shilling, and you can also be imprisoned for up to one year or both. Make sure to be disciplined enough to follow this law to avoid getting a fine because of driving recklessly.

Have a 3rd Party Insurance

Having third-party insurance in Uganda is necessary. Some roads in the country, especially outside the city, are still being developed, and having third-party insurance will be very helpful for your trip in case you needed it. It is better to be prepared than to be sorry.

Wear Seat Belts At All Times

Wearing seatbelts is also mandatory whenever you are hitting the roads of Uganda. Seatbelt rules are not mandatory for no reason. Your safety should be on the top of your mind, and wearing this will make your journey throughout the country a safer one. Safety must always be ensured to avoid accidents, and wearing a seatbelt, just like in any country, is a must.

Do Not Use An Unlicensed Vehicle

This law seemed to be one of the most disobeyed laws in the country, so you have to make sure that the car you are driving is a licensed one. Violating this will get you a fine costing between UGX 200,000 and UGX 600,000 or imprisonment of between one and two years.

Bringing A Baby On Board

For a family trip, even within the city, always remember that a rear-facing baby seat must not be fitted into a seat protected by a frontal airbag. In the case of an accident, this will cause child restraints as the frontal airbag will push the child’s back, causing restraints.

Driving a DMC

Driving a DMC or car that is in a dangerous mechanical condition will also cause you serious penalties. It is a traffic regulation that is commonly violated by vehicles in Uganda currently. Another offense related to this is overloading. Make sure not to overload the car you are driving, for this can cause accidents on the road. Failure to obey this law will cause you a penalty of UGX 300,000 to UGX 1,200,000 or imprisonment.

Do Not Drink And Drive

Driving under the influence of alcohol will give you a severe penalty in Uganda. You should be responsible for drinking alcohol, especially if you drive a car. The prescribed blood alcohol level is only 0.08%. Having a blood test result that exceeds the allowed blood alcohol level can cost you 6,000,000 Ugandan Shilling or get imprisoned for up to three years. Even the students of driving schools in Uganda are informed about this. So make sure to be responsible with your drinks.

Traffic Signs And Signals

It is important to follow the traffic signs seen on the road of Uganda. They are there for a reason and are usually implemented for your own safety. Since English is the primary language used for instructions in Uganda, it will be easy to understand the road signs, for it will be the same as the other countries.

You just have to be careful not to violate any traffic signs and signals because violating them may cause an accident. It could also cost you a maximum fine of 2,000,000 Ugandan Shilling or get sentenced to imprisonment for up to one year or both.

Regarding Motorcycle Driving

Whether driving a car or a two-wheeled motorcycle, you must be precautious to your own safety on the roads. You still need to follow the road rules in Uganda and must not carry more than one person as this will possibly cause an accident.

Penalties for Disobedience of the Law

Driving rules or laws are there to secure safety on the roads of Uganda and avoid minor to major accidents as much as possible. To maintain such laws, anyone who disobeys it is given penalties to avoid them as much a possible. Now, here is the summary of penalties for violating each road rule in Uganda:

  • Speeding - UGX 300,000 to UGX 1,200,000 and or imprisonment of between six months and two years.
  • Driving under alcohol influence - UGX 6,000,000 or maximum imprisonment of three years or both
  • Driving a DMC - UGX 300,000 to UGX 1,200,000 or imprisonment
  • Using an unlicensed vehicle - UGX 200,000 to UGX 600,000 or imprisonment of between one and two years
  • Reckless driving - UGX 1,200,000 to UGX 1,800,000 or imprisonment of between two and three years
  • Driving without a permit - UGX 600,000 to UGX 3,000,000 or a prison term of between one and five years
  • Driving under the influence of drugs - UGX 6,000,000 or maximum imprisonment of three years or both
  • Reckless driving causing an accident - UGX 2,000,000 or a maximum sentence of one-year imprisonment or both
  • Reckless driving causing injuries - UGX 2,000,000 or a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment or both
  • Reckless driving causing death - imprisonment of a maximum of ten years.

General Standards of Driving

Although you can both use manual and automatic cars in Uganda, each has its own pros and cons depending on the road you’ll be heading. But, do note that most of the rental cars in Uganda are automatic, so if you are used to driving automatic vehicles, renting a car in Uganda won’t be a problem for you.

Speed Limits

In Uganda, speed limits should also be considered to avoid penalties and accidents. On highways, the limit must be 100 km/h (62 mph), outside built-up areas, it should be 80 km/h (50 mph), and in urban built-up areas, the limit is 50 km/h (31 mph).

As mentioned before, the penalty for overspeeding will cost you UGX 300,000 to UGX 1,200,000 and or imprisonment of between six months and two years. Being cautious not to violate this law will save you from a lot of inconveniences and penalties, so make sure to be a responsible driver.

Driving Directions

Vehicles in Uganda drive on the left side of the road. It is important to consider that, especially if you are from a country that drives on the right side of the road. Be mindful also whenever approaching intersections and roundabouts, always open the way for those vehicles coming from the right. These are simple things that are being taught in the driving schools of Uganda, but as foreigners, you don’t have to worry about how much driving school is in Uganda. You just have to take note of these.

Traffic Road Signs

Traffic signs in Uganda will be easy to spot and understand, especially if you use English as your first or second language. Road signs in other countries also have a lot of similarities with Ugandan road signs. Strictly obeying the signs will save you from a lot of hassles and any possible accidents on the road. There are three categories of road signs in Uganda: information signs, regulatory signs, warning signs, and guide signs.

Information signs in Uganda give you the proper information on what to expect on the road you’ll be heading. Those signs are for you to be aware of the road situation and are usually in a blue-colored background.

  • Pedestrian crossing signs
  • Hump signs
  • No through road signs
  • Parking signs
  • Bus stop signs
  • Priority over coming vehicles signs
  • One way road signs
  • Police control signs
  • Start of extra lane signs
  • End of extra lane signs
  • Hospital signs
  • First Aid signs
  • Telephone signs
  • Information signs
  • Filling station signs

Regulatory Signs are the signs that dictate the drivers regarding their road obligations like the entry limits, weight limits, and many more. These are usually circular and uses red colored background.

  • No entry for any vehicle signs
  • No entry for motor vehicles signs
  • No entry for motor vehicles except motorcycles signs
  • No entry for trucks signs
  • No entry for busses and coaches signs
  • No entry for motorcycles signs
  • No entry for tractors or slow-moving vehicles signs
  • No entry for cycles signs
  • No entry for pedestrians signs
  • No entry for animal-drawn vehicles signs
  • Length limit signs
  • Width limit signs
  • Height limit signs
  • Gross weight limit signs
  • Axle weight limit signs

Warning signs are clearly there to warn the drivers of what’s ahead on the road they are taking. These signs should be strictly followed to avoid serious consequences. These are usually triangular in shape with red-colored backgrounds.

  • Sharp curve signs
  • Hairpin curve signs
  • Combined curve signs
  • Crossroads signs
  • Staggered intersection signs
  • Traffic signal signs
  • Road narrows both sides signs
  • Road narrows one side signs
  • Dual carriageway ends signs
  • Dual carriageway ahead signs
  • Two-way traffic signs
  • General Warning signs
  • Height restriction signs
  • Uneven road signs
  • Hump signs
  • Drift signs
  • Narrow bridge signs
  • Loose gravel signs
  • Slippery Road signs
  • Falling rocks signs
  • T-intersections signs
  • Y-intersection signs
  • Roundabouts signs
  • Side road signs
  • Crosswinds signs
  • Pedestrian Crossing signs
  • Dangerous descent signs
  • Steep ascent signs
  • Quay or riverbank signs
  • Low flying aircraft signs
  • Children in the road signs
  • Pedestrians in the road signs
  • Railway crossing with gate or barrier signs
  • Railway crossing without gate or barrier signs
  • Cyclists in the road signs
  • Domestic animals signs
  • Wild animals signs
  • Agricultural vehicles signs

Guidance signs will be your friend whenever you are looking for the direction of your destinations. These signs will guide you on what road to take whenever you are heading to intersections and roundabouts. These signs usually have arrows with names of places that point in the direction of the corresponding location.

  • Map-type advance direction sign - roundabout - Primary roads
  • Map-type advance direction sign - roundabout - Other roads
  • Map-type advance direction sign - crossroads - Primary roads
  • Map-type advance direction sign - crossroads - Other roads
  • Map-type advance direction sign - T-intersections - Primary roads
  • Map-type advance direction sign - T-intersections - Other roads
  • Slack-type advance direction sign - Primary roads
  • Slack-type advance direction sign - Other roads

Right of Way

When reaching roundabouts, make sure to reduce your speed and give way to the vehicles that are already inside, be mindful of the other cars coming from your left and right.

We know that car crashes usually happen at junctions. To avoid these from happening to you, make sure to be in the correct position of the road before entering. Make way for the cars that are already inside before you. You must stop and wait for the car ahead of you before you enter to ensure both of your safety.

In Uganda, you must have at least reached the age of 18 and above before driving. This will ensure that you already have a sense of responsibility in your own driving and those driving on the same road you are on. Regarding age limits and how to renew a driving permit in Uganda, you can renew once expired as long as you have a local driver’s license.

Laws on Overtaking

Overtaking should always be on the right, but before overtaking a vehicle, you must always ask yourself if you really need to do that because even though it is allowed at some point, it is still risky for you to take. If you really need to overtake, always make sure that the road ahead of you is clear, the vehicle behind you is not overtaking, there are spaces enough for your car in front of the vehicle you are about to overtake and make sure that the vehicle ahead of you is not overtaking another vehicle.

You also must be mindful before overtaking stopped vehicles. Some of them might be waiting for people to cross a pedestrian lane, and take note that you should never overtake a vehicle when you cannot see far ahead or when there are no overtaking signs.

Driving Side

Uganda used to be a part of the British Empire, and just like British countries, they also drive on the left side of the road. For those who are also in a country that drives on the road’s left side, driving around Uganda can be easy. But, for those who are used to drive on the right side of the road, it can be a bit challenging. You just really have to be mindful and very careful not to forget which side you must be on and always know when to give way to other vehicles.

Driving Etiquette in Uganda

A lot of things can happen whenever you are driving, and not knowing what to do in different situations can be stressful. To make your journey smooth and hassle-free, we will provide some guides on how to act whenever a possible road scenario happens to you during your drive in Uganda.

Car Breakdown

The possibility of having a car breakdown could always happen, especially if your car is not well-maintained. If this happens to you while driving on the road of Uganda, be responsible and move your car to the side of the road. If you don’t move your car, this may cause traffic to the incoming vehicles. If you cannot get your vehicle from moving, remember to give warning signals for other drivers to see, like using your hazard warning signs and putting your red warning triangle at least 50 m from your car.

You might try asking for some help from the authorities to fix your car as much as possible. Remember to stay on the safe side of the road to avoid getting hit by the vehicles passing by. If there are no authorities available around, you can dial the emergency hotline 999 or 112.

Police Stops

When you’re hitting the roads of Uganda, expect that police stops can happen anytime. Police do this to make sure that you follow the country’s laws and not violate any of them. They will also be checking your type of driving permit in Uganda to see if you are permitted to drive the vehicle you are using. If you are driving for more than three months, make sure to know how to renew your driving permit in Uganda or go to their website to know how to renew a driving permit in Uganda online to avoid having penalties.

If ever police stop you, keep calm and be respectful. A traffic police officer usually wears a white uniform, and a general police officer wears an olive-green uniform. Ask the officer the reason why you’re being stopped and be honest with your answers. Hand over your international driving permit for him to know your driver’s details. This will help him understand your point of view regarding the questions he will be asking.

If ever you violated some laws, be honest to admit and pay for the consequences of your actions. You must always remember that you need to follow the roads’ rules in Uganda to avoid getting stuck in such situations. After paying the penalties or settling down the reason you’re getting stopped by the police, carefully continue to drive towards your destination.

Asking Directions

Most directions of the places in Uganda are available in GPS or maps, but there might be some places or destinations in Uganda that may still not be available. Thus, asking the locals for some help regarding this would be an easy way to know the direction of the place you’re heading.

Ugandan’s primary language of instruction is English, so talking to the locals in this language will not be a problem. When asking the locals, be respectful as much as possible and be friendly to them. Ugandans are friendly people, and they will surely love to help you out with that. Some of the common words in Uganda are:

  • Ssebo/nnyabo: Sir/madam
  • chi kati : How are you?
  • Wasuze otya nno: Good morning
  • Weebale: Thank you
  • Owange: Excuse me
  • Mzungu: wanderer/foreigner

Checkpoints

Checkpoints in Uganda are also common to ensure every motorist is following the laws for everyone’s safety. Expect that they will require you to hand over your driving license in Uganda, so make sure to bring it with you wherever you go. For driving more than three months, make sure to have your driver’s permit in Uganda, or if it has expired already, make sure to renew a driving permit online in Uganda.

You can also go to the Face Technologies Offices to ask about how to renew your driving permit in Uganda. If you don’t have a license yet, you need to apply for one. See the list of driving schools in Uganda that can help with your application.

When approaching a checkpoint, slow down your speed and roll down your windows a little to hear what the officers are trying to say. Follow the officer’s instruction if it applies to you and your way. This will be for your own safety. Remember, do not give your personal belongings or documents to unauthorized persons, be mindful at all times and be respectful when speaking to the people in charge.

Other Tips

While driving on the road, some things are unpredictable, like having an accident and emergency. It can be stressful when you have no idea how to handle such situations in a particular foreign country. Here are some guides to help you on what to do during these events:

How to Handle Accidents and Emergencies?

If ever you get involved in an accident, turn your hazard warning signals to notify the other drivers and ask for the locals’ help in warning the other drivers to avoid worsening the accident. Call the emergency hotlines immediately - dial 999 or 112 and give your exact location, the number of vehicles involved, and the number of people injured in the accident.

If there are serious bodily injuries, be prepared to provide first aid or ask someone to help you with this. Wait for the authorities to come and help you with the accident or emergency.

Driving Conditions in Uganda

For you to fully enjoy the road trip of a lifetime in Uganda, you must also be informed in advance about the road situations you’ll be taking to help you prepare what to expect during your trip. It will also help you plan out the activities and places according to your ideal road trip.

Accident Statistics

Road accidents are one of the most common things that could happen while driving if one does not follow the rules correctly. This can lead to worse things like bodily injury or death.

Even though Uganda is still part of the developing countries, according to World Health Organization, the country ranked 15th worldwide as the country with the highest death rate caused by road traffic accidents. Road traffic accident deaths in Uganda reached 11,730 or 4.52% of total deaths in the year 2018. Most accidents are caused by overspeeding, reckless driving, and overcrowded mini-bus. No wonder the country is becoming strict in implementing its road rules for a safe environment.

Common Vehicles

The roads in Uganda are still underdeveloped, especially outside the city, and because of that, their choices of vehicles could easily adapt to the roads they’ll be taking. The most common that they have for private cars and are usually used by families are sedans and SUVs. For transportations, minibusses and vans are very much popular, especially when driving outside the city. Many tourists consider using Landcruiser as it is perfect for offroad outside the city and going around the national parks.

If you are planning to stay in Uganda for more than three months, make sure to apply for a local driving license. There are different classes of driving permits in Uganda, and it will depend on the vehicle you will be driving. As a local driving license holder, you must be mindful about it because the officers will be looking at what type of driving permit you are using in Uganda.

Toll Roads

The first-ever toll road in Uganda was the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway and was developed and maintained by the Uganda National Road Authority (UNRA). The construction began in July 2012 and was opened in June 2018. The Expressway has two lanes in each direction and is composed of two roads - a 36.94km-long section divided into two roads and a 12.68km-long link road.

The toll road highlights 19 overbridges and 18 underpasses to give access to the area around the road. It also has four interchanges at Lwaza, Kajjansi, Mpala, and Busega. The Kampala-Entebbe Expressway will be the first road you’ll be taking from the airport to the city of Uganda, Kampala. There are no fees yet in Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, so you can still enjoy passing through this way.

Road Situation

Roads in Uganda vary depending on the location. City routes and tourist routes are reasonably good to drive in, but the roads outside the city may be challenging. Most of the roads outside Kampala are murram or dirt roads made from hard-packed clay, and the conditions of using those roads depend on the season.

Driving during the wet season may give you a hard time as it will become slippery, and you may have a possibility of getting stuck, so make sure to have the tools prepared in case you encounter this situation. It is highly recommended to use vehicles with better traction in driving through these muddy roads.

Driving Culture

Before Ugandans can drive their cars on the road, they’ll be required to pass the driver’s test. But how long does it take to learn driving in Uganda? It usually takes no more than four weeks, and before applying, they must also know how much do driving schools charge and how much a driving permit is in Uganda for a smooth process.

By those processes in getting a driver’s license, you can say that Ugandans are very knowledgeable about driving, although most of them can drive faster than you can. Regardless, they are still aware and are educated about the road rules and the do’s and dont’s for the safety of everyone.

Other Tips

By knowing about the different conditions of Uganda’s roads, you as a driver must already know what to expect when driving there to have a safe and fun road trip. Before hitting the roads of Uganda, always have a regular safety check. Check the wheels if there’s enough air in them, have a spare tire just in case, is the fuel enough for your journey? Are the lights still working? Check the horn, mirrors, and brakes if they are all functioning properly to ensure a safe journey.

Don’t forget to check the weather forecast to anticipate the condition of the road you’ll be taking. This can save you from any unnecessary inconvenience along the way.

Things To Do in Uganda

Due to the country’s preserved wildlife, tropical climate, and nature adventures, many tourists added Uganda to their must-visit countries in Africa. Because of this, some people chose to stay in the country and actually live there. In this section, we’ll be discussing the things that you can do in Uganda as a tourist and as a resident.

Drive as a Tourist in Uganda

As a tourist in the country, you’ll need an international driving permit in order to drive a car around Uganda. Your international driving permit will serve as the translation of your local driving permit to numerous languages so that Ugandan authorities can easily understand your driver’s details.

Your local driver’s license is also allowed to be used in the country as long as it is in the English language because English is the main language for the instruction of the Ugandans. If your driver’s license is not written in English, an IDP will be required during your travel to the country.

Work as a Driver in Uganda

Is it possible for a foreigner to work as a driver in Uganda? The answer is yes! You can always look and apply for a new driving job in Uganda, whether this week or in the next few weeks, as long as you have a valid visa and a working permit. But remember, having an IDP is not enough if you are planning to apply for a driving job. You must obtain a driving license in Uganda. With that, you must also need to pass the driving tests to obtain it. Know how much is a driving permit in Uganda by visiting their Face Technologies Offices.

Ask the locals what the best driving school is in Uganda for the best learning experience! Note that how much driving schools charge in Uganda varies in each school.

Work as a Travel Guide

If you want to experience the wonders of Uganda and earn some money at the same time, you can apply as a travel guide. Just like in applying as a driver in Uganda, you must also need to obtain a Ugandan driving license. If ever your driving license has already expired, you can always ask how to renew your driving license in Uganda; the process is easy.

Travel guides are a very much popular job, particularly in the national parks of Uganda. Salary ranges from UGX 475,000 to UGX 1,300,000 monthly.

Apply for Residency

If you have really loved Uganda and decided to live there, applying for a residency will the best choice to make for you! Before you apply for residency in Uganda, you must be living in the country for not less than 20 years already, have a good character with no records of crime, and have good knowledge about the languages in the country, such as English and other vernaculars.

You must also give evidence of citizenship of a Commonwealth country, the Republic of Ireland, or a declared African state. Lastly, the applicant must also make a declaration.

Other Things to Do

There are lots of things you can do in Uganda if you are planning to stay there for a long time. Although the country is still a developing one, its nature and wildlife are the things you’ll never want to miss during the duration of your stay in the country.

Is Driver’s License in Uganda Renewable?

Your IDP will expire once you already exceeded your three months stay in Uganda. With that, you already have to apply for a local driver’s license in Uganda and know how much it costs to learn driving in Uganda. Once obtained, your license will have a validity of 1 to 3 years. You can go to any Face Technologies Offices to know how to renew a driving permit in Uganda, especially if you are planning to upgrade the class of your driving permit in Uganda.

The Top Destinations in Uganda

As a country rich in nature’s gift, you will surely fall in love with Uganda. From its diverse cultures to its wildlife, housing thousands of different species of animals, insects, and plants, who would want to miss the beautiful country of Uganda?

Kampala

The city of Uganda, Kampala, is where you’ll experience its history and culture. This is the place for you if you want to enjoy the nightlife of the country where you’ll get to enjoy its live music, watch theaters, jam outdoors, laugh your heart out on comedy nights, or just simply enjoy the food with your friends and family!

Driving Directions:

  1. Head north on Bombo Road
  2. Turn right once you’re onto Haji Musa Kasule Rd
  3. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Yusuf Lule Road
  4. You’ll see another roundabout and take its 3rd exit onto Nile Avenue
  5. At the next roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Said Barre Ave
  6. Finally, Turn left onto De Winton Street, and you’ll reach the Uganda National Cultural Center.

Things to Do

There are many things you can do in the city of Kampala, and some these are:

  1. Visit Uganda National Cultural Centre
    UNCC is Uganda’s center for culture and arts. Experience the country’s culture through joining concerts, workshops, and cultural shows.
  2. Experience Kampala’s Nightlife
    Around UNCC, there are many restaurants and bars that make Kampala alive during the nighttime. Bring your friends with you and enjoy the city’s nightlife!
  3. Stop by the Kasubi Tombs
    Kasubi Royal Tombs is a place where the royal kings of Buganda were buried and a place that will let you glimpse the Buganda kingdom. UNESCO recognized this place for representing the traditions of the African people and the beliefs and spirituality of the Buganda people.
  4. Shop by Craft Market
    Are you looking for goods to bring home with you from Kampala City? Visit the craft market! There are many paintings, arts, and different crafts waiting for you here, and get to know the artists that made them!

Bwindi Impenetrable Forests National Park

This is the perfect place for all nature lovers seeking adventures out there! Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a home for thousands of different species of trees, animals, and insects, including the endangered ones! How cool is that? And all these are because of the people that are helping to conserve this National Park.

Driving Directions:

  1. Head south, then turn left after 2.5 km.
  2. Continue straight and turn right after 9.8 km.
  3. Continue straight, then keep right after 2.85 km.
  4. Keep left after 43 m, keep straight, and turn right after 33.3 km.
  5. You’ll reach your destination after 3.3 km.

Things to Do

Here are some of the most exciting experience you can add to your itinerary for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park:

  1. Experience Gorilla Tracking
    One of the famous animals in Bwindi National park is the mountain gorillas, and people would love to go there to see how these animals behave in their own natural habitat. Only eight people ages 15 and above are allowed per day to see these majestic animals. This activity can last for a few hours up to a whole day.
  2. Bird Watching in Bwindi National Park
    Another popular activity in this park is bird watching. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a home for hundreds of bird species, making this activity one of the best things to do!
  3. Hike Your Way in Bwindi National Park
    Aside from species of animals, birds, and plants, the National Park won’t disappoint you with its beautiful waterfalls and amazing mountain views! Tour companies will help you plan out your hike with different trails depending on where you want to go, making your hike one of the highlights of your trip to Uganda.

Murchison Falls National Park

Murchinson National Park is Uganda’s largest national park and measures up to 3,893 square kilometers. This is a must-go destination for Nature lovers aside from Bwindi Impenetrable Forests National Park. Here, you’ll see animals that live in freshwater habitats as the falls from the park attract them.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Kampala, Head north on Nkrumah Rd and Turn right onto Kisingiri St
  2. Turn left onto Erisa Rd/Kyebando Ring Rd and Sharp right onto Gayaza -Kampala Rd
  3. Turn left onto Kawempe-Tula Road, then turn right onto Ttula Rd
  4. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and Continue onto Kawempe Ttula Rd
  5. Turn right onto Bombo Rd/Kampala - Gulu Hwy/Kampala-Masindi
  6. Turn left onto Kampala-Masindi, then Turn right onto Bobi - Masindi Rd
  7. Turn left after 5.8 km, and another left after 1.6 km
  8. Continue onto Sambiya River Bridge and take the Parra ferry Crossing
  9. Continue straight until you reach Paraa, the southern part of Murchinson National Park

Things to Do

Here are some of the activities you’ll enjoy in Murchinson National Park:

  1. Cruise around Murchison Falls National Park
    Experience the cruise of a lifetime! The boat cruise will start from the Nile river heading to the falls. Along the way, you’ll be seeing different water species like hippopotamuses, buffaloes, crocodiles, and elephants!
  2. See the view of Murchison Falls National Park through a Hot Air Balloon.
    Reach to the sky and see the view of the falls from the top by flying using a hot air balloon! From there, you’ll see different species with a fantastic view from the sky!
  3. See the King of the Jungle During Game Drives
    Game drives bring UWA Ranger, a wildlife protector in Uganda, to let you see and not miss what the Murchison Wildlife Reserve has to offer. You’ll see large herds of different animal species like antelopes, elephants, buffaloes, and lions! These are usually three hours in length and perfect for group activities!

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