By East African standards, Uganda major roads are generally in good condition. Surfaced roads radiate out from Kampala, running east to Jinja, Busia, Mbarara Tororo, Mbale and Soroti, south to Entebbe, southwest to Masaka, northwest to Gayaza and Kayunga (and on Jinja). As a rule, however, Uganda, un surfaced roads tend to be very variable from one season to the next, with conditions likely to be most tricky during the rains and least so towards the end of the dry season. Even in this generalization, an isolated downpour can do major damage to a road that was in perfectly good condition a day earlier, while the arrival of a grader can transform a potholed 4×4 track into a road navigable by any salon car.
Driving in Uganda is interesting, a bit more challenging than other East Africa and Southern Africa countries. You definitely need to be a defensive driver. During yourself drive, just drive defensively when buses and minibus-taxis are around as their drivers are crazy. These are now the main hazard on Ugandan roads aside from unexpected potholes. Minibus-taxi drivers in particular have long been given to overtaking on blind corners, and speed limits are universally ignored except when enforced by road conditions.
As a big threat as minibus-taxis these days are the spanking new coaches that bully their way along trunk routes at up to 120km/h. You will be overtaken by big buses carrying over 70 passengers traveling at excessive speeds, oncoming traffic appears to be heading straight at you. People pass in curves, on a hillside and each day one reads of accidents that result in loss of lives and sometimes in great numbers. Keep an eye in the rear-view (driving) mirror and if necessary pull of the road in advance to let the closing loony past. Other than them you won’t see much traffic outside of Kampala, except on the road to Jinja and the Kenyan border.
The best thing however is to hire a car and a driver, and not just any but a well maintained vehicle and a safe driver that follows the rules. Not easy to find either one of those. We hire only the best driver guides who have been to almost every corner of East Africa and know the twists and turns of every safari destination, – and feel a concern for the well being of our client. Driving at night can drive you mad and you should avoid the habit of driving without lights. Most Ugandans have this habit of driving without lights. To be more perfect, hire a vehicle and a driver and enjoy your road trip in Uganda and East Africa as a whole.
You will meet lots of very friendly and helpful people. If you are unfortunate enough to have a puncture remember to get out of the way of the rush of local people wanting to help change the wheel for you. Drivers in Uganda are very aggressive and keep you on the edge of your seat. Though I’ve mainly been around Kampala, so of course driving in the city is much more intense than in the rural areas. If you do plan to drive definitely have someone go with you for the first few drives, as driving on the left side, and amidst tons of minibus taxi’s and motor scooters is crazy. Overall the people are welcoming and helpful if you do happen to need help.
If you hire a decent car you probably won’t have any breakdown problems, fuel is available all around the country and there might be an occasional roadblock at Owen Falls Dam, Jinja, and a customs one on the way to the southwest. No one will try and solicit a bribe from you, unlike some other countries. Fuel is expensive in Uganda – the equivalent of around US$1.4 per litre for petrol and slightly less for diesel. If you are arriving overland its worth stocking up before you enter the country.
Contact us for the kind of car of your choice either on line or by directly visiting our offices. All our rates are fully inclusive of insurance, local taxes on unlimited mileage basis. Our company considers value for money and also covers great rates and outstanding customer service.