Driving in Uganda is interesting, a bit more challenging than other East Africa and Southern Africa countries. By East African standards, Uganda major roads are generally in good condition. Surfaced roads radiate out from Kampala, running east to bigger towns like Jinja, Busia, Mbarara Tororo, Mbale and Soroti, south to Entebbe, southwest to Masaka, northwest.
Despite the above, Uganda’s unsurfaced roads tend to be very variable from one season to the next, with conditions likely to be most tricky during the rains.Even in this generalization, an isolated downpour can do major damage to a road that was in perfectly good condition a day earlier.
- You definitely need to be a defensive driver in circumstances 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 do not mind of speed limits.
- You will be overtaken by big buses carrying over 70 passengers travelling at excessive speeds, oncoming traffic appears to be heading straight at you.
- Keep an eye in the rear-view driving mirror and if necessary pull off the road in advance to let the closing loony pass.
- Most roads encounter a lot of traffic jam especially in the rash hours so balance your driving time to do away with this.
- Driving at night can drive you mad because some Ugandans have this habit of driving without lights. The reality is you can buy a license here.
- 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. In Uganda, driving in the city is much more intense than in the rural areas which do not experience a lot of congestion and traffic jam.
- If you rent a car from a reputable car rental company, you probably won’t have any breakdown problems, fuel is available all around the country and there might be an occasional roadblock but you will probably be waved straight through if you have the required and necessary documents though they might ask what you have in the back.
- 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.
- You must have the following documents when driving in Uganda.This will make you have a soft and smooth drive while on the Ugandan roads. – The vehicle registration book (a photocopy is acceptable; ensure it’s a recent one with the most recent vehicle license entry recorded on the back page); -A minimum statutory Third Party Insurance Coverage Certificate – sticker and a driving licence – most reputable agencies hire out fully comprehensive insurance for cars taken on self drive in Uganda.
- License – Your own domestic license is acceptable for up to three months. After three months of your stay in Uganda, you should get Ugandan license.
- Speed Limits: The speed of 80k/h in the open road would be comfortable without being over cautious, and it’s not a bad idea to slow down and cover the brake in the face of oncoming traffic.
- Keep Enough Distance – In town especially Kampala, you are just centimeters from other vehicles, traffic laws exist. Please be aware that on busy streets, people and Boda Boda (motor cycles) come from any direction of the road. These can pose a big challenge to new drivers on the road.