Self drive refers to a hired vehicle that is driven by a person who hires the vehicle rather than a professional driver. Are you planning to have a self-drive safari in Uganda, look no further than Self Drives Uganda.

Requirements for self drive in Uganda

  1. First of all, one is required to present the following documents if they are interesting in self drive car hire;

the vehicle registration book (a photocopy is acceptable; ensure it is a recent one with the most recent vehicle license entry recorded on the back page)

-the vehicle certificate of insurance (traffic offices impose heavy fines for driving an uninsured vehicle)

-a valid driving license: your domestic permit is acceptable for up to three months.

  1. On requesting for a self drive car from a car rental company, all the drivers of the car have to be present.
  2. In order to regulate liability and insurance costs, several major car rental companies including Self Drives Uganda first look out for high-risk drivers before the beginning of the hiring process. They usually request for clients’ personal driving records. That said, ensure that you have a good driving record so as to secure a vehicle for self-drive in Uganda.

Self drive adventures

For wildlife enthusiasts, there are the Big 5 animals, primates, mammals and birds in the country’s national parks to satisfy your love for nature. On the other hand, lovers of cultures can view/visit country homes, communities, and villages (untouched by modernity).

More to that, there are stretches of road that pass sweeping plantations and over the gorgeous mountains for those who love driving through the open countryside.

Costs for self drive car hire/rental

On average a rental car in Kampala costs $578 per week ($83 per day) and in Uganda it costs $2,106 per month ($70 per day).

However, this price varies from one company to another due to several factors such as the age of the car, fuel price and engine type, car type, car brand and model and the season.

Factors that determine costs for self drive car hire/rental

  1. The age of the vehicle

The year make of a rental car will greatly affect the price whereby the newer the car, the higher the price and vise versa. Many of the car rental companies in Uganda offer well serviced old model cars (2008 to 2014). However, if you require a model between 2015 to 2019 onwards, you will have to pay more.

  1. Fuel price and engine type

The prices of fuel change from time to time, however diesel cars are known to consume 15 to 20% less fuel than petrol cars. Therefore, making your choice based on fuel consumption can help you save money on your car hire/rental.

  1. Car type

Rental prices are greatly influenced by the category of the car of interest. For instance 4 wheel cars, minivans, buses and luxury cars are more expensive than saloon cars and SUVs.

It is important to note that the number of people you are travelling with plus the amount of cargo will determine which car category you need for your safari/road trip in Uganda.

  1. Car brand and model

The brand and model of the car is another important factor. Most of the imported cars in Uganda are made from Japan and Germany with Toyota and Mercedes Benz taking up a big percentage. These vehicles are more affordable as compared to other brands.

Conversely, travelers looking for luxurious rental cars in Kampala usually prefer German and UK made vehicles which attract a higher cost.

  1. Season

Interestingly, the car rental business in Uganda has always been seasonal with demand for rental cars surging in the dry seasons (December to February and June to September). Notably, the prices of these cars are usually very high. However, you could get a discount if you make your booking before the season begins.

On the other hand, rental cars are cheaper during the rainy season and therefore you can resort to that option as well.

Challenges for drivers on Ugandan roads

  1. The main hazard on Ugandan roads, aside from unexpected pot-holes, is other drivers/motorists. Minibus-taxi drivers, in particular, have long been known to overtake on blind corners. Additionally, these drivers seem to continuously ignore the speed limits except when enforced by road conditions.
  2. Another major road hazard in Uganda is the giant sleeping traffic man or ‘speed bump’ /hump as it’s locally known. A lethal bump might be signposted in advance, it might be painted in black-and-white stripes or it might simply rear like a tarmacked wave a full 30cm or so above the road without warning.
  3. Other regular obstacles include bicycles laden with banana clusters, which can often force traffic to leave its lane, as well as livestock and pedestrians wandering around in the middle of the road. There is also an issue of drivers ignoring traffic lights or even the lights themselves being uncoordinated.
  4. Over speeding, over loading, vehicles in dangerous mechanical conditions, reckless/careless driving and drunken drivers are some of the other challenges faced by drivers on Ugandan roads.

Road network

By East African standards, Uganda’s major roads are generally in good condition. Surfaced roads diverge out from Kampala, running east to Jinja, Busia, Malaba, Tororo, Mbale, and Soroti, south to Entebbe, southwest to Masaka, Mbarara, and Kabale, west to Fort Portal, northwest to Hoima, north to Gulu, northeast to Gayaza and Kayunga (and on to Jinja).

Important points to check when preparing for self drive

  1. Check the car over carefully and ask to take it for a test drive
  2. Check the condition of the tires and ensure that there is at least one spare tire
  3. Ask for the wheel spanner, the jack and the equipment for raising it
  4. Inquire about filling points for oil, water and petrol/diesel
  5. Check the keys for their respective purposes
  6. While on the road trip check the oil and water regularly


Self drive car hire/rentals can provide you with some of the best travelling experiences as long as you take note of all the requirements, safety precautions and other necessities.

At Self Drives Uganda, we are devoted to giving you the very best service to ensure a comfortable and memorable self drive car hire experience for you and your loved ones.

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