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Car Rental Tips And Vacation Destinations For First Time Travelers In Uganda

budget car rental uganda

Visiting Uganda for the first time can be overwhelming as you have a lot to put together to achieve a successful road trip. Achieving a successful safari holiday in a destination such as Uganda involves finding a means of transportation and car hire services have proven to be the easiest, safest, and most affordable options for travelers to connect to their tourist sites on Uganda safaris.

Renting a car in Uganda and embarking on a road trip to your destination comes with its own benefits and disadvantages. When hiring a car in Uganda for the first time or second time, requires some keenness and this article brings to you a list of tips to guide plan a successful road trip while also saving a lot on your vacation –self-drive or guided tours.

Car rental tips and vacation destinations for first-time travelers in Uganda

Book your car rental in advance

If you want to save on the car hire cost, then consider hiring a car in Uganda is advance. Do not wait till the last minute when your trip is starting and start running around looking for a car to use for your road trip. Get in touch with our reservation early enough and have your rental car booked in advance. Booking a car rental should be done at least 2-3 months before the actual date of visiting Uganda for a vacation.

Don’t confine yourself to rental cars at the airport

Hiring a car at the airport may cost you much compared to if you did it with a car rental company outside the airport. Airport car hire service providers do incur surcharges, which are likely to be paid by clients. When you book a rental car or a trip with a car rental company or tour operator outside Entebbe International Airport (EBB), you can even be picked up and dropped off at your hotel in Entebbe City or Kampala at no cost.

Carryout thorough check on the vehicle

Before you hit the road using any rental car, first, you must be certain that the car you are going to use doesn’t have damages. Any issues concerning dents, scratches, bumps and others must be critically checked and taken note of. They should also be reported to the operator to avoid incurring a cost afterward when you aren’t the one who caused them. You can even take pictures and share them with the car hire agency you might have rented a car from.

Rent a car that is insured

Do not rent a car in Uganda without knowledge that it is insured. Insurance policies are observed and when renting a car, inquire from the car hire agency you plan to rent the car from if their vehicles are insured. Choose a company whose rental cars are under comprehensive insurance.

Compare car hire prices

Have adequate time to research the different rates for car hire and make comparisons before you consider dealing with any. Different car rental agencies set different prices for their vehicle and rates differ from one company to another. Comparing different agencies’ car rental services and rates will help you narrow down the best that you can deal with.

Hire a car from a reliable & reputable company

Hundreds of car hire service providers exist all over Kampala and across other cities in Uganda. Consider dealing with a reputable company, recognized in the sense that it is registered by the government and you can also check through the sites, and read through reviews to have an idea of what other travelers have said about the same company you plan to deal with.

Best places to visit in Uganda

If you are visiting Uganda for the first time, then here are some of the must-visit places;

Mountain Biking Around Uganda

Mountain Biking in Uganda

Mountain biking. The sport has been embraced worldwide hitting the mainstream in the past 20 years when bike manufacturers realised the growing popularity of the sport and began producing bicycles specifically suited to rough trails.

What is it? And how does it differ from regular bicycling? True to its name, mountain biking originated with people wanting to take bicycling from the streets to rougher and more challenging trails in the mountains. As the sport developed almost all off-road trail riding is now known as ‘mountain biking’ and now usually relates to the type of bicycle used. Mountain bikes have different tires, frames, breaks and gears which make them more durable and better able to handle rough terrain.

Given Uganda’s beautiful and vast wild places it makes the country a mountain bikers dream. A number of people in Kampala ride trails that are dotted around Lake Victoria, in Entebbe, or in Jinja. Even just a quick jaunt off the main road will often provide mountain bikers with a vast number of roads and trails to explore.

If you’re at all interested in the sport, a perfect introduction to mountain biking is coming up on December 8-9, 2012. The second annual Sipi Falls Mountain Bike Race is open to everyone and is just a few short weeks away.  While entering a race might seem daunting this one is really just for fun with only a few hardcore competitors racing to the end in 1:34 hours.

The race itself follows a course that is 19km long and mostly off-road with a small bit of tarmacked road. It offers a few fast and technical sections but mostly some great climbs and downhills past breathtaking scenery including beautiful vistas and cliffs.

It’s best to take your own mountain bike and helmet (a MUST!) but if you don’t have one contact Sipi River Lodge and they can possibly help arrange something for you. You can find their webpage here: http://www.sipiriverlodge.com/bikerace.htm or their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/419181801461508/.

How to get there? Take the Kampala-Jinja Road through Jinja toward Mbale. Turn left 5km after you pass through Iganga. Drive time is about 4.5 hours on good roads with the only bad patch being right outside Mbale.  You’ll want to make a weekend of it if you go to the race as it’s on beautiful Mt. Elgon and there there’s also plenty to do besides mountain biking and Sipi River Lodge is offering a 50% discount on rock climbing or abseiling that weekend. Rooms at the Lodge book quickly but they are also offering a camping special for that weekend only at $10 USD per night. Contact the Lodge for more details: http://www.sipiriverlodge.com/contact.htm

If you can’t make the race or would prefer something closer to home, Nile River Explorers offers mountain biking tours in/around Jinja and through Mabira Forest. Find out more here: http://raftafrica.com/site/other-activities/mountain-biking.html.

When mountain biking it is important to remember that you will often be far from civilisation so bring durable clothes, sunscreen, a hat, water, and a first aid kit. A helmet is also a must as bumps and spills are inevitable. If you aren’t travelling with a guide a GPS, map, or GPS app on your phone could prove helpful if you lose your way.

The last piece of advice is to have fun – a prerequisite for any adventure lover!

5 Tips For Short Drivers On A Road Trip Uganda

Short Driver Tips Road Tripping Uganda

Travelers are now shifting from guided safaris to self-driven trips, since it gives them full control of the trip as they are exploring the gems of Uganda.

Yes, guided safaris give travelers all the comfort of the trip, all the planning and implementation is done by the selected tour operator, so your role is to only enjoy and have fun on a Uganda safari. But what about self-driven safaris in Uganda? Having to explore the wonders of the pearl of Africa at your own convenience gives more lifelong memories than expected.

In the developing tourism era, travelers are now opting to control the steering wheel on safaris in Uganda because they present all the powers to run all the trip activities. Short travelers have faced a number of challenges while driving in Uganda, However, this shouldn’t hold you back from grabbing a self-drive in Uganda with these simple tips below.

For any short traveler on a self-driven tour in Uganda, regardless of the destination, whether to see the gorillas in Bwindi or to explore the only true African wilderness in Kidepo Valley national park, one should know the most suitable car for both their height and the safari itself. The 4×4 Toyota land cruisers are the most appropriate cars for short people because of the higher than average ride height. The height of the body offers great visibility on all sides while seated in the driver’s seat. Also the super adjustable seats in the land cruisers make it possible for short drivers to adjust to their best positions of reach.

Sit high with a cushion; to enjoy self-drive safari in Uganda doesn’t matter how shorter your height is, putting a cushion on the driving seat helps shorter travelers to have a better view ahead. However select the correct cushion since the wrong material and size of cushion is prone to slip away and you might end up with injuries. Therefore choosing the correct cushion is the perfect thing to do. Shorter travelers should ensure that the cushion doesn’t slip away with the movements so that they get the perfect vision. A perfect or correct cushions allows shorter travelers to have a comfortable and exciting safe drive during the self-driven safari in Uganda.

Tilt the steering wheel. Short trotters should always tilt the car steering wheels to their best position of fit. The fact that seeing forward and reaching the steering wheel at the same time would be so hard for a person with a defaulted height. So it is always advisable that they first tilt the steering wheels to the best position where they can properly control the steering as well as seeing forward where they are going.

Pedal extenders. People with limited heights find it hard to reach the brakes and other narrow places, however this shouldn’t be a turn off from a self-driven safari in Uganda. Pedal extenders are cheap but helpful especially in bringing the vehicle higher and closer to the short driver. These pedal extensions limit on the space between the steering wheel and the driver, making it easier to control the brakes as well as the wheels. This is one thing that short people should not hesitate to invest in while on a safari trip in Uganda.

Wearing a visor cap. It irritates the drivers especially the shorter people while driving like in the morning or evening when the sun visor cannot block the sun rays and you get obstructed, that should not stop you from enjoying a self-driven safari in Uganda so the solution is to wear a visor cap and the good thing with it is adjustable, allowing you to block the sun rays from any angle.

In any way, being short can never limit any traveler from discovering the striking wonders hidden in the pearl of Africa. If the above tips are mastered well, self-drives in Uganda can become interesting even for short people that are thought of being incapable of driving.

10 Geeky Things to Do in Kampala

Kampala Tourist Guide

Kampala is located in central Uganda on the shores of Lake Victoria and is the capital and business center of this countries.  Kampala is sometimes called the sleepless city of East Africa and it is a major host of east Africa’s largest street carnival, the Kampala city festival among other popular music and food festivals. Partying and having fun is a kind of tradition in Kampala due to lots of tours and sighting, activities and entertainment and leisure atmosphere.

One of the most significant features of Kampala is the Buganda kingdom that has preserved its history and culture from the 13th century to this very day. On a Uganda tour you should not miss some of its historical sites, the Kasubi tombs is recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site. The national museum with over 1 million collections and interesting exhibits is found in the city. Kampala is among the beautiful East African capitals for people who love culture and fun.  Due to its location on the shores of Lake Victoria, above sea level 1223 meters, the city is spread across 21 hills and you can expect breathtaking views on top of its highest hill Naguru. If you are planning a trip to Kampala, here are some of the things that you should not miss

Uganda National Museum

Uganda national museum is the oldest in east Africa founded in 1908. It houses more than 1 million specimens and objects that form important exhibits of natural and human history over the last 8 million years or so. For example among the animal specimens, there are fossil remains of Nepak Rhino an endangered species that become extinct 8 million year ago.

On the tour of the museum, there are various sections to go through where you can learn everything from the earliest human communities to the current political boundaries of Uganda.

They include the music gallery collections where you can discover and play different music instruments such as drum, percussion which makes it culturally important. The temporary exhibitions can help visitors on research tour with exhibits that play a vital role to understand of climate change, conservation. It also includes artistic archives, books and art works of Ugandans.

The early history of Uganda provides a snapshot of the earliest human communities from the Stone Age, to the Iron Age to the current political boundaries of Uganda. The section of traditional life introduces you to culture of more than 55 tribes of Uganda.

Kasubi Royal Tombs

Kasubi are the tombs of the former four royal kings of Buganda kingdom. They were recognized as UNESCO world heritage site due to its cultural significance.

It is a place to learn about the Buganda kingdom traditions and rituals that are proudly still being practiced in today’s modern world. Tombs are sheltered inside the thatch roofed African hut and various traditional tools and instruments are kept in there including the royal drums.

The Royal Mile Walk in Mengo

This guided walk shows you the Lubiri, Royal Mengo Palace and Bulange, the parliament of Buganda kingdom.  Similar to the US Capitol Hill Walk, the royal mile connects to and from Lubiri to Bulange and entrance gates are directly positioned at each other. It is a not a long walk and features wonderful monuments that represent the important Buganda clans and their totems including lion, leopard, and mud fish, monkeys.

You will learn about Buganda cultural norms as you walk or drive to and from Bulange or Lubiri. Bulange is really impressive and most important building in Buganda kingdom. It is where the King meets his ministers to discuss and solve issues. A guided walk inside Bulange reveals the dark history of 1970’s as part of it was turned into a torture chamber during the Idi Amin leadership and at the same time, the Luburi was turned into a barracks for army. However today, the Lubiri and bulange are functional as they are home to the Kabaak and the Buganda government.

Ndere Cultural Center

Ndere is a one a stop center for all the cultures of 55 indigenous tribes in Uganda and each one of is at least represent. They have their creative troupe that does the performances and can be hired or your function. Visit this center to be fully immersed into the cultural and entertainment of Uganda.

Whether you an individual, group or family and friends, visitors can enjoy barbecue, live traditional dance classes and performances, food cooking lessons, music happening thrice a week. Various artists have created their collection of art pieces of any color and material. There are fun traditional board and modern games to play as well as gardens to walk around. There’s accommodation, be sure to spend overnight and enjoy everything the center has to offer. It is located in kisasi, 10 km from Kampala city.

Bahai Temple

Bahai is the only temple on the African continent for the bahai a distinguished religion faith. It is a house of worship built in 1958 located on Kikaaya hill five kilometers from Kampala city. The architecture of temple is designed with 9 sides and dome shape on top which represent oneness of the bahai religious followers.

Visitors can visit temple to attend mass service or for birding and photography. The temple is also surrounded by beautiful gardens with trees making it a sanctuary for more than 100 birds. You can appreciate that people just come here to have a moment and walk in the gardens to look at trees and birds.

Kabaka’s Lake

Kabaaka’s lake is a place of beauty and serenity. It was excavated in 1880 by Mwanga the king of Buganda kingdom. He’s intention was to make water channel connecting to Lake Victoria.

It is an example of what the King was capable of doing to create escape routes in times of war. It is found in Ndeba along the ring road. Visitors can walk by the side of the lake, view sunset and paddling a canoe when you have permission is a pleasant experience.

Gaddafi Mosque

Gaddafi mosque is also known as old Kampala national mosque. The outstanding feature of this mosque is its 50 meters tall minaret (tower). Visitors can climb up to enjoy breathtaking 360 degrees views and take photos of Kampala without having to use a drone.

It is one of the largest mosques in Africa and can accommodate up to 35000 people who usually congregate during Muslim holidays like Ramadan. It is located on old Kampala hill.

Uganda National Theatre and the Craft Village

The Uganda national cultural center also known as national theatre is an architectural and cultural site attraction.  Built in 1952, by the British colonial government, the theatre is beautiful outside and inside has a sitting capacity of 500 visitors. The national theatre hosts live performance concerts such as stage and theatre plays like betrayal in the city as well as concerts and movies. If you are in Kampala, you should visit the national theatre especially on Mondays it is a jazz night featuring local artists.

Entebbe Zoo

Entebbe zoo also known as Uganda wildlife education center is the national zoo of Uganda located in Entebbe town on the shores of Lake Victoria. The zoo is contains natural habitats such as swamp, forest woodlands where wildlife is being protected in captivity including big cats, elephants, rhinos, zebras, buffalo, zebra, reptiles such as python, crocodiles, and over 200 species of birds. Visitors to the zoo have a range of activities to participate in such as behind the scenes, feeding animals with the care takers of the zoo. Animals such as rhinos, lions, leopard ostrich, can be observed from the fence. The zoo also offers accommodation and children facilities and playing castles.

Namugongo Martyrs Shrine

Namugongo martyrs shrine is a catholic faith based basilica that was built to honor the 22 martyrs who were persecuted for failure to denounce Christianity in 1885 and 1887 by the kabaka Mwanga who did not want Christianity to influence his traditional culture in Buganda kingdom.

An important pilgrim called Uganda martyrs is held every 3rd June attracting over 1 million people who go to the shrine by walking long distances to pray and attain spiritual revival and transformation. The shrine is also built in modern architecture resembling an African hut beautified by the water pool and pavilions its front.

Where to Eat Food in Fort Portal

Fort Portal City

Fort Portal Town is found in Western Uganda and the main town of Kabarole District. It is approximately 320 Km from Kampala City and 180km from Mbarara town. Fort Portal is popular for its cleanness and ambiance not found in any other town in Uganda.

The town is dotted with numerous places of historical and cultural significance including the Kingdom palace / headquarters of the Omukama of Toro, Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru, the royal tombs and several museums that depict typical culture of the Batoro.

The town was named after Sir Gerald Portal, a British Special Commissioner for Uganda, whose statue graces the main roundabout in the mid of the town.

This dynamic, bustling, tidy and scenic town is definitely still a great haven to numerous places of special interest to travelers offering sublime scenery, amazing nature and genuine adventure. The town is a perfect gate way where one can explore the scenic crater lakes, visit the amazing caves – “amabeere Ganyinamwiru”, track chimpanzees in Kibale Rain Forest or head out to Semuliki National Park with its famous hot springs and geysers, while all the time having the pleasant hotels of Fort Portal to return to afterward the successful adventure.

In the midst of verdant tea and forest plantations, Fortportal boasts a pleasant and friendly climate all year round while its central location in the heart of western Uganda makes it a perfect starting pointfrom which to explore other attractions in this region including the Rwenzoris, Queen Elizabeth national park, Semuliki national park and a myriad of other natural and cultural destinations.

Fortportal town has been for several years a hub of first class hospitality facilities where her abundant population and unique visitors find where to stay and eat all year round.

As part of the local norms, hospitality is synonymous with the Batooro culture, so visitors are always assured of pleasant stay, friendly people of great humor and positivity. They know anything service provision.

Some of the centrally located restaurants, boutique hotels, take ways and other places of hangout offer a variety of local cuisine, fast foods and multi – continental dishes.

Gardens restaurant.

This cozy restaurant in the heart of the town is one the best providers of unique African cuisine and special selection of international dishes that will quench your hunger. Located along Lugard Avenue, the Gardens restaurant is quite expensive but still affordable and the best value for money option.

Gardens restaurant has good ambiance for relaxation and popular with a rich menu of foreign and local dishes including pizza, curries, burgers and African fare such as firinda (mashed skinless beans) and lots of barbecued meat (muchomo). There’s a good liquor list, a large African lunch buffet and excellent local coffee too.

Dutchess restaurant and hotel

 width=Dutchess is a boutique hotel & restaurant in Fort Portal located just in the outskirts of the main town centre. The restaurant is a tranquil and culinary oasis that offers anything ranging from local to international cuisines.

Craved by travelers, this elegant cafe is a perfect stop for those looking for anything cozy and homely. It has a well-crafted menu containing crocodile burgers, Flemish beef stew with Guinness and mash, and a wide selection of up to 46 excellent wood-fired pizzas and a superb calzone.

Fort motel

 width=Fort Motel is a boutique hotel facility in Fort Portal, located in the town centre along Lugard Road just close to Tooro golf club.

It is a good hotel for enroute stop overs, business clients and also for the leisure travellers, Fort Motel is perfectly located in the prime residential Fort Portal town area.

The Terrace restaurant serves continental cuisine in a serene environment by the pool side and provides a beautiful atmospheric setting for breakfast, lunch and evening meals. Breakfast is served in buffet-style while lunch and dinner are served in a la carte style.

The onsite bar has a wide selection of both local and international liquor, including wines, local beers and spirits.

Why Go on Holiday in Kampala, Uganda’s Capital

Kampala City Guide

Tourists visit Uganda for various reasons since she offers a variety of facets that will be of interest for most types of travelers. However, most that come for holidays get limited time to discover the outstanding beauty of the country’s capital, Kampala. Many come with already made travel itineraries that take them direct from the Entebbe International Airport to either Western or Northern Uganda where the country is spectacularly gifted by nature.

Being it that Uganda’s top tourism attractions in Safari Parks are located hundreds of miles away from the only International Airport in the country, if you have enough time for your holiday, you can cool off your flight fatigue by taking a short holiday (1 – 2 days) in the spectacular capital of the ‘Pearl of Africa’. Here is why you should spend some time of your holiday in Kampala.

Easy to Get there

Kampala is just 40 km (about 22 miles) North East of Entebbe International Airport. If you are on a per-arranged travel plan with a travel company, getting to Kampala from the Airport and getting where to stay during your holiday becomes easier. However, if you don’t, you can take a taxi cab from the airport at approximately USD 30.

You can also use public means, the passenger service vans (also locally known as ‘taxis’ or ‘matatus’) at USD 2 – 3. But this can be inconvenient for you if you appear to be a first time user/ visitor. There are also ‘Boda bodas’ (public transport service motorcycles) at around USD 4 – 5 that can deliver you to the exact location of your choice of which some are organized in recommended Companies like Safe Boda, Uber ride e.t.c that you can contact online.

If you feel like driving your self, you can always either pre-book for a self drive Car Hire or an Airport Transfer from as low as USD 35 and USD 40 respectively from any Uganda Car Rental Agency that you can get from the Internet.

Language and Hospitality

Ugandans are ranked among the top hospitable people in Africa

For English speaking tourists, communication is almost no problem in Kampala since English Language is also the official language in the country. Uganda was under the British rule from 1894 till 1962 when she gained her Independence. Kampala being a modern city with at least 8/10 people educated, expect not to worry about language barrier though Luganda is much more widely spoken in the region and is the mother tongue for the vast majority of the Country. Ugandans are also hospitable people, always free to interact with. So you are always assured of a good company.


Although the Uganda shilling is the widely acceptable currency in the region, other international major currencies such as US Dollars, Euro and Pounds can also be received for services like accommodation, car rental, gate entrance at tourist locations and some high end shops & supermarkets. Kampala also has a number of Forex Bureaus such as Unimoni, Umoja, Red Fox among others where you can get change for various currencies.

A lot to see and do

Sports and leisure activities

Are you a fan of sports? Don’t worry about missing your favorite sport be it Golf, Hand Ball, Soccer, Tennis or Snocker among others. You can also catch up with your big matches or events since satellite reception is widely used by a number of pubs alongside plenty of appetizers and beer around to enjoy your favorite sports.

You will not also miss Kampala Events, such as pop concerts and theater shows to provide great entertainment for the whole family.

Kampala has a rich culture and heritage

Buganda Kingdom has a diverse cultural attractions to explore!

The city is strategically positioned in the heart of Buganda, one of the most organized ethnic grouping in Africa. Kampala has seen various traditional rulers of Buganda building palaces in the region that have left behind a stamp the kingdom’s rich culture. As a result, Kampala is soaked in culture and heritage and offers a large number of cultural and historical sites in very short distances from each other making Central Uganda a unique place in the African map of culture and heritage.

These include Kasubi Tombs (the place where Buganda kings remains are kept), King’s Palace (Lubiri), Ndere Centre, Bulange (The Buganda Parliament), Namugongo shrine where Kabaka Mwanga ordered the executing of the popular Uganda Martyrs in the late 1880’s among others.

Quality hotels and accommodation

Hotels and self-catering apartments are widely available in Kampala at very reasonable prices respective of their quality and services. From Five Star Hotels like Serena Hotels, Sheraton to three stars like Protea, Africana alongside other accommodations like Speke resort Munyonyo, Pearl Of Africa Hotel, Kabira Country Club, Mestil Nsambya among others. All these accommodation are recommended for you to enjoy spending your nights going out.

Kampala is an all year round destination

There is no big change in the climatic changes of Kampala year to year. The temperatures are always moderate warm on average of 32C which is excellent for holiday makers from different ends of the world. The weather is always great as it is always neither too wet nor cold.

Alongside that, there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained all year round and for example Slum tours in areas such as Bwaise, Kisenyi, Katanga among others. All cultural and historical hot-spots in the region are open all year round, and so nightlife.

Great Nightlife

Kampala Nightlife offers a great moment to complement your daily activities. Evenings will never be boring when you know where to go. Nights out on the town are a ton of fun, since it hosts a number clubs, bars and lounges. These are situated literally door to door each with themed days such such as carribean nights, Campusers nite, Oldies nites, Lady’s nights among others to suit everyone’s taste of music genres. Warm your nights dancing to the latest club and trance anthems or smooth R&B and hip-hop beats.

Historical Sites

You could say that the top reason for staying in Kampala is a combination of all other reasons listed above, but there are a lot of other places to spend your days.

Visit historical sites such as the Uganda Museum, the only Bahai Temple in Africa, Lubaga Catholic & Namirembe Anglican Cathedrals, Kabaka’s Lake (man made lake) that were built by the first missionaries in Uganda among others.

Modern Dining

There is plenty of choice in Kampala when it comes to dining out, as quality restaurants can be found in most parts of the city. There are also a number of restaurants offering local food pastas such as chinese foods .Wine bars and pubs are also popular providing quality brands from both local and international lagers, beers to various popular brands of liquor.

However, plan your outings after getting information beforehand by reading on the Intenet or contacting travel agents for queries.

Planning Your Trip to Uganda Online

Plan Uganda Trip Online

In the past five years there’s been a radical change globally in how travellers decide and book their travel to Africa. Gone are the days when everyone entrusted everything to a travel agent and tour company. Gone are the days when everyone was happy with a ‘package’ tour. The internet is now allowing people to make their own choices and book independent travel. While this doesn’t mean that the days of the package tour safari are dead it definitely means that people are wanting to create travel options which suit them the best and they’re using the internet to do so.

So, if you’re an independent traveller and looking on the internet to plan your trip to Uganda what are the best sites to go to? We’re here to help!

The first – albeit biased – answer is This is Uganda’s travel section (https://www.thisisuganda.org/travel-guide/) which has hundreds of independent reviews of places to stay, where to go, and what to do while in Uganda. If you want a taster of the array that Uganda has to offer this is the best place to start.

Next, before you decide where you want to go you’ll want to visit the Uganda Tourism Board’s website. This is set up and maintained by an association dedicated to promoting and marketing Uganda’s tourism. Here you can find descriptions of regions and information about Uganda generally: http://www.visituganda.com/.

WikiTravel also has some good, concise and consolidated information when you’re first starting out: http://wikitravel.org/en/Uganda.

As you make decisions about where you want to go check out TripAdvisor. This website is made up of reviews and recommendations/warnings from travellers. While businesses in Uganda are just waking up to the fact that tourists use this site A LOT more are coming online everyday so it’s worth reading reviews of places you’re considering. They also have a number of forums where you can post/read questions:


As your questions become more specific you’ll be surprised to learn that someone else has already wanted to know the same thing so visit Virtual Tourists Uganda Forum and see what others have already asked. If your question still isn’t answered you can leave it for an answer: http://forum.virtualtourist.com/Uganda-4144-2/forum.html.

If it’s a blog that you’re looking for Uganda Blog has one of the best for tourism. If their recent article on National Geographic picking Uganda as one of the best world trips for 2013 doesn’t persuade you to visit, then nothing will: https://www.ugandablog.com/.

Maybe all this online stuff isn’t for you. Want to go offline and sit in a coffee shop with a travel book in hand? A list of travel books is ready for you in our Next Great Read article: https://www.thisisuganda.org/recommended-reads/.

If you want to take the trouble out of planning your own trip then a tour company is for you. There are a number of reputable ones in Uganda and you can read about how to find one here : How to Choose a Tour Company/.

Weekend Getaway to Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls of Uganda

If the question is whether a weekend getaway to Murchison is worthwhile – the answer is a definitive ‘yes’. If the question is if you can see all that Murchison Falls Park has to offer in that weekend – the answer is a definitive ‘no’. This shouldn’t discourage you, however from making the trip and your small taste of Murchison will leave you wanting to go back again for a longer excursion.

Kabalega National Park also known as Murchison Falls National Park, is the largest national park in Uganda and contains some of the most magnificent views and wildlife in the country. Murchison Falls is the other draw often called the ‘most spectacular thing that happens to the Nile’ in its 6,700 km journey’. The entire Nile River is squeezed through a gorge 7m (23 ft) wide and makes a wild and awesome plunge 43m (141 ft) to the base below. The Murchison Falls National Park is one of the best destinations not to miss while on a Uganda safari given its amazing attractions and activities.

But how to make the most of just two days? Here’s an itinerary that will let you see and experience the most in just one weekend.

Saturday, Depart Kampala – 6am:
“What’s that now? Before dawn!?” I can already hear the howls of despair from those craving their Saturday morning lie-in. But Murchison awaits! Get out of bed, grab your coffee and get out of Kampala before the traffic ensnares you! Head northwest out of Kampala and you’ll be feeling more awake in no time. The road is good and the scenery calming and beautiful. It will take you approximately three hours to get to Masindi – the jumping off point for most headed into the park.

Saturday, Arrive Masindi – 9am:
Masindi’s a sleepy town and you should make a stop here for petrol, ensure that your spare tyre is in good condition, that you’ve got engine fluids topped up and a stop at the bank or mini-markets for snacks. These things aren’t to be found easily in the park. The park’s roads can be hard on vehicles and flats are not uncommon so be prepared!

Saturday, Drive through the Park – 10am-12pm:
You’re going to be spending most of your time along the Nile which can be a two hour drive from Masindi so get moving! You’ll pay your entrance fee at this side of the park which ranges from $20-$50 (depending on your residency) and a vehicle fee of $6-40 (depending on your vehicle). From there, the drive is gorgeous and you should be on the lookout for baboons, monkeys, birds, warthogs, and other wildlife that routinely cross the road. Be careful in the rainy season as the roads can get muddy and slippery.

Saturday, Arrive at your Lodge, 12.30-1:30pm:
Places to stay are plentiful and I suggest you pick a camp or lodge with a Nile view. Prices are generally in the $100 per night range for a tent or banda but this varies greatly and some lodges also offer campsites. Head straight to your chosen accommodation, check-in and have a bit of lunch. In the dry season you’ll welcome a break from the heat and it’s a good time to regroup and take in the beautiful surroundings after your long car journey.

Sunday, Launch Trip – 2pm:
Leave your lodge in time to get to the Paraa ferry crossing for a relaxing launch trip up the Nile to the base of the Falls. The cost is approximately $20 per person. You’ll spend several hours leisurely meandering up the river and see plenty more wildlife along the way. Massive crocodiles lasing on the banks and hippo herds are a-plenty!

Saturday, Evening – 6pm:
Head back to your camp to watch the sunset over the Nile and put your feet up. Spend some time chatting with friends, enjoying a bonfire, or playing card/board games. On clear nights, after dinner, plan to spend some time stargazing. Remember to order your breakfast early as you’ll be up again before dawn.

Sunday, Morning – 5.30am:
Up and at ‘em! Rise and shine for an early breakfast and to get that coffee into your veins. You need to be in the car and to the Paraa ferry at 6.30am to be the first in line for a 7am crossing. Miss it and you’ll miss the best game viewing on the other side of the Nile! Wondering if your car will make it or want a guide – you can rent a vehicle with driver and guide from the Wild Frontiers office at Paraa for $150 for five hours. The sunrise on the ferry ride is a highlight.

Sunday, Game Drive: 7am-11am:
Four of the big five are in the park so you’ll often see elephants, water buffalo and lions. Leopards are there but a bit more elusive. Add to this the hippos, a crocodile or two, giraffe, kobs, warthogs, more birds than can be counted and by 11am you’ll be exhausted. Make sure you return to the ferry for the 11am crossing.

Sunday, Lunch – 12-1.30pm:
Return to your lodge, pack your bags and store them in the car and have a bite to eat.

Saturday, Drive up to the top of Murchison Falls – 2pm:
There a road that takes you directly to the top of the falls where you can have a meander and take some photos. From there can you get a sense of the height, power and majesty of the Falls. Watch your footing though!

Sunday, Depart – 4pm:
It’s time to head home. Sure, you’ll be exhausted when you get there but you’ll be guaranteed to have more to tell your colleagues on Monday!

For official park fees and tariffs go to: http://www.ugandawildlife.org/

Polo: The Sport of Kings in Uganda

Polo in Uganda

Polo is a fast-moving, exciting and sometimes dangerous sport that can be traced back over 2000 years to ancient Persia. Referred to as the sport of kings, as well as the king of sports, polo was first used as a training game for the king’s elite guard.  For warlike tribesman, polo was used as a miniature battle, where over 100 men would play to a side. Today, polo continues to have the reputation of being a royal sport and is often associated with prestige and glamour. But the Madhvani family, who introduced the sport into Uganda, wanted to ensure that it is accessible to all.

Each year, the Madvhani family holds an annual tournament in their backyard with over 500 people coming to enjoy the sport. And the scene is incredible. More than just a polo game, the event provides a great day out from Kampala, in the midst of acres of sugar cane where spectators clad in seersucker suits, and elaborate hats gather around the large green polo pitch sipping Pimms and watching the action on the field.

Polo is exhilarating to watch with each player armed with a long wooden mallet that they use as they gallop furiously, and lean precariously off their horses, to hit the ball through the opposing team’s goal. The horses can run as fast as 35 miles per hour and, due to the pace, the chukker (or period of play) ends at seven and half minutes in order that they can be swapped out.  There are four players to a side and a match lasts around 1 hour. After each goal scored, the ends change sides. Goals are scored when a team manages to get the ball through the opposing team’s goal – much like football. The players come from all over East Africa, India as well as Nigeria and Zambia, to enjoy the game. No matter where they come from, all players have one thing in common—they are hungry to win. That hunger is evident as they battle furiously over the ownership of the small, plastic, ball.

As part of making polo accessible to all, the Kakira Nile Polo Club is holding their annual polo tournament on the 24-25 November 2012 and everyone is welcome.  Tickets are now on sale at Prunes (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Prunes/269221023158025?fref=ts) or by calling +256 (0)752422274 or +256 (0) 757622626, or by emailing info@polo.ug, or by visiting www.polo.ug/. A map to the polo grounds can be found below. Like every year, the aim is to create new interest in the sport and allow people, who may not have previously been introduced to polo, to learn more about it. The KNPC also offers regular workshops to provide individuals who are new to the sport the opportunity to try it out.

If you’re interested in attending the 2012 Nile Gold Polo Invitational get your tickets quickly. They are only sold in advance and not available on the day of at the gate. Tickets are 75,000 UGX. Plan to arrive by 10am to find parking and bring a picnic to make the most of the day out. For more details on ticket purchase, or to learn more about polo in Uganda, visit the KNPC website at: http://www.polo.ug/Polo.ug.html

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Car Rental Road Assistance on Self-drive in Uganda

Car Rental in Uganda

After have reserved your Uganda car rental it’s over from there, a lot you need from your rental company. So from the time of your rental to the pickup of the vehicle driving and drop off you need to remain in contact with your handler. Always when had a car rental for a self-drive, keep in mind to drive around with immediate contact number.

There are many occasion when you need road assistance, and with the rental policy before any road assistance should be acquired, the agency has the responsibility to offer the service. It’s easier to you to get any road assistance across the country, but strangers and local can use this time to exploit you by overcharging and even robbing you in the name of assistance.

Whys should always have a road assistance contact when on a self-drive?

Car rental agencies have contact person across the country and they can recommend these persons to fix anything with the vehicle. The car rental are always kept in a perfect mechanical situation before they’re given out. However, any moving vehicle can get mechanical breakdown and uncertainty challenge and you want to continue with your journey.

We believe that there is nothing which can keep your trip hold no matter what. Should you have any road challenge, then contact your agency for the way forward. Make it a point that whatever happens wrong along the drive with car rental, before continuing should consider first contact your rental agency.

The best way is using a call away number of sending the WhatsApp message. This is as well agreed upon with the rental agreements and it’s for solving road uncertainties.

When do you need the on road car rental assistance services?

When fell into traps of these following, don’t hesitate from contacting for help to ensure that you trip keeps moving.

  • Accidents

In case of any accident and the Vehicle is involved in an accident, is damaged, breaks down or requires repair regardless of cause, you must notify rental agency or handler about the full circumstances immediately.  Then you must not arrange or undertake any repairs or leave the scene of accident before police inspection or without the Operator’s authority. When the vehicle requires repair or replacement, the immediate contact must arrange repairs to the vehicle or arrange a replacement vehicle within a reasonable time frame (24hours), provided that the operator will not be required to repair or replace the vehicle if it was damaged while being operated in a manner which breaches this agreement.

  • Mechanical breakdown

When the vehicle gets a mechanical breakdown, or anything is not functioning well with the vehicle. Let’s the A/C, there is a challenge with breakers, stirring or any mechanical technicality. First contact your road assistance contact and inform about the challenge, some of the challenges are just technical and when communicated can be solved from there and then. But for the case of mechanical breakdown, and you a mechanic, car rental operators always have their own mechanics across the country and it’s just a call away when they have reached you. Don’t arrange any mechanical repair please, contact and get helped.

  • Direction

Sometimes it’s very difficult that you get lost with direction finding and the communication is very poor with the local people. Sometimes the network and online path finders are perfect and giving you wrong directions. Your road assistance though might seem not to be close, but can find a way to help you getting to the right track of driving.

  • Any traffic claims

Road traffic is very disturbing especially with traffic officers who sometimes will stop your car rental and make you responsible for all the faults like receipts with the vehicle. You’re not responsible for solving these challenges, and just get in contacting with your operator to shot this out and let you continue with your drive.

  • You want to make an extension with the rental

You have hired the vehicle for a specified period and during the course of the trip you fill like extending the period of your rental. There is no need to return back, just a message away and continue with your rental drive. Don’t make any extension without notifying your rental agency, there you’re attracting penalties.

  • Car Rental Replacement

In case of mechanical breakdown and the vehicle can’t be repaired in the shortest time to continue on your journey. Then you contact your operator to provide replacement of the car to ensure your trip doesn’t stop. However, for car replacement the rental handler/operator is responsible for the fuel to drop the replacement car and then you also provide the fuel to return the breakdown car. It’s a win-win situation, but the car replacement is processed on within a period of 24 hours from the time the car has been investigated and it can’t be fixed in the shortest time to allow you catch up with your trip.


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