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Tricks to Help You Save on Self Drive safari

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Self Drive Safari

If you are not strict enough, you may end up falling under very many traps ending up losing your money or getting a fake deal on a self drive car hire. So always be eager and understand well the company you are dealing with as well as the local people, if the following among other is put under your consideration, you won’t fall into car hire tricks.

  • Book in time with a genuine car rental company, once this is done, you won’t fall into any car hire trap, and booking in time can save you from being over charged since you are doing it in your convenient time to choose the best car you desire that will fit the number of people you will be traveling with and the budget. Last minute booking is too bad and it’s disappointing since you may end up booking with wrong people ending up getting a car of not your choice but because you are doing it at the last time you may end up in a trap. Early booking is advantageous as you may get the best deal and negotiation is better, so you may end up booking a car on a discounted rate which could be difficult on a rush.
  • Don’t accept extras when you arrive make sure that everything you need for a car hire is talked about and ticked before you arrive at the airport. This is better when you book in time with a car hire agency. So doing this will save you from the extras you don’t want/need, hence try to be strict on what you will need and not so that you cut on the traps and of course this will help you to save a lot and avoid extra charges
  • Also try and compare from different car rental companies about the services they offers before confirming with any Uganda car hire agency. Doing this will end you up getting a better deal you won’t even imagine. Uganda has very many car rental companies and many are offering the same service although at a different price, so search for what you need and contact different agency, you will end up getting a car at a cheap cost. However this is only possible if you do it in time before arrival. You should also communicate effectively with the travel car hire agency about the car, size, and number of doors, air conditioner, and the type of fuel among many others this will gives you an insight about what you are booking. Search also on the terms and conditions of hire because some companies do not guarantee the exact model you will get when you arrive at the airport, if this is done well, your safari will be a perfect one.
  • In case you will use a second driver, it’s better to report this to the car hire agency to avoid being charged. Most of the car hire companies accept and insures only one driver, so for any damage caused on the car by another person you will be entitled to pay. So to avoid extra charges talk to your car hire agency in time.
  • After agreeing on the car to use, it’s better to consult from your car hire agency about the car fuel type and consumption; this will help you to know the type and the fuel consumption. Do not accept to get your carto be fueled full take before arrive at the airport or at any point where you will find the car. This service is always offered at the time of picking the car. Most car hire companies offers un limited mileage so you should be assured of it in the deal when booking, and you should also know that the mileage offered does not push up your bill too much.
  • Always before you start off your safari with a rental car, check properly the car and see if it doesn’t have any damage. Report any damage you come across to the car hire agency and he/she should note down any damage found before you leave and if you can take photos of the car just in case before you set off to your destination, this will help you to avoid extra costs.
  • Avoid speed penalties that will cause you to fall into traps of extra charges, ask for the traffic rules and regulations and also the speed limit as traffic rules differ from country to country. Always obey with the laws governing the road to avoid unnecessary fines while on the road.
  • Pay in advance in order to confirm your booking; many other companies can give out the car you confirmed to another client if you have not booked with a deposit or full amount. So you may end up into troubles on the last minutes, something that may end you into extra charges to get the same car on the last minute. So to avoid all these confirm your booing in advance with a deposit or if possible, pay full amount the car will be full booked for you.

These among others if followed well, they will help you avoid falling into unnecessary traps/costs. For more information about car hire fleets and terms and conditions of hire check on our website www.4x4ugandacarhire.com.

Food, Dining Out and Entertainment in Uganda

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Food in Uganda

Food, Dining out and Entertainment could take quite a bit out of your wallet if not well checked.

You will be glad to know that there is quite a lot of fruit and vegetables that you could easily buy from one of the local markets – you won’t find that much frozen stuff, may be some supermarkets might have started doing that, but still fresh is fresh! Especially if all you buy is organic – that’s the beauty! $10 could fetch you a full large basket of fruits and vegetables.

Considering all the groceries; to keep your food, dining out and entertainment checked (I don’t know how big your family is), lets say for 2, you might spend about $100 to $200 a month. Depending on how much you eat and what you eat, you could spend even less if you don’t eat that much meat. The other trick is to avoid imported stuff, keep it Ugandan.

There has been rising prices every where and Uganda is no exception – that reminds me of the saying; ‘eating in is the new eating out’. Depending on how much dining out you do – you might fall in love with that food at that Ugandan restaurant round the corner. Yes! Why not, go for it!

… but again considering that you might want to keep the cap on the food, dining out and entertainment, dining out 10 times a month at one of the top restaurants in Kampala might be on the higher side – I will leave that for you to decide.

A good Ugandan buffet will go for $7 to $10 or some good Chinese for $10 – $15. The cost could be even higher especially when 18% of VAT is tacked away in the menu prices.

So, 10 times out at $15 – $20 per outing at a top restaurant in Kampala will cost you about $200 per month.

A night at the movies is cheap. Two tickets and some popcorn will cost you about $10 (even less if you are there on one of the concession nights that go for half price). And at the comfort of your home, DVDs are even cheaper; $1 – $1.5 (at that cost you are looking at the pirated one of course – wherever they come from I don’t know!)

Therefore, one night at the movies per month and say 10 DVDs will cost you at least $20.

More night life? – hmmm! Depends on what you are looking for really; entrance to a Night club will cost about $3 to $8 (for those that are serious about dancing the night away but the drinks could be quite expensive there)…

… Nevertheless, you will be amazed at how much free entertainment Kampala offers at night. You could easily catch the sound of a live Ugandan traditional dance troupe at one of the big hotels in Kampala on one of their theme nights. Ugandans love going out and indeed into the wee-hours of the night – join them and have fun!

And hopefully with that, your food, dining and entertainment will be sorted.

Uganda’s Capital City, Kampala in Pictures

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Here you will find lovely displays of Kampala in pictures. You will see some of the pictures exclusively provided by our wonderful readers/ visitors.

Hiring a Car in Uganda: Things to Know

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Car Travel in Uganda

Before you book your vehicle for a Uganda self drive it is far better to look at the car rental agreement and read through the terms and conditions. In developing countries like we (Uganda) the car rental policies totally differs from those of European countries or developed countries most especially on the insurance policies. Read through the major factors that always make confusions when signing an agreement with the car rental company.

The insurance policies in Uganda are quite confusing like when the vehicle is comprehensively insured and it gets damaged by any occurrence be it accident and the damages are not beyond or equal to 150 US Dollars the insurance company don’t pay. Well as I was told by my friend who is in Canada that we was driving in Canada and the car got a mechanical problem, he just called his insurance company to come and take the vehicle for repair.

Another conflicting loyalityis about fuel, it is said that in European countries when you rent a vehicle, you get it with a full tank of gasoline well as in Africa, Uganda in Particular they give a vehicle with a less quarter tank and you return it the same, why so? Because the renter don’t trust the hirer. The hirer can fail to return the vehicle with exactly the same amount of fuel they took so avoid all of those it is better for the client to put in what he will use.

In Africa we drive second hand vehicles so you may find that some vehicles may have minor scratches, dents, broken mirrors so it is better for the client before taking the vehicle to thorough check either note on the paper or take photos of where the scratches or dents are so on return there is a second check to examine whether the client has added more scratches.

In developing countries you can expect a lot of theft that is why it is better to alert the client before to make sure when he is leaving the vehicle may be for overnight he should make sure he locks all doors. The company he rented from the vehicle is held not responsible for theft if he neglected to lock the vehicle. Keep it in mind that some local people believe that all whites have money so they take advantage of that and try to look for all possible to get you robbed.

Some clients think that when they rent a car they are free to drive across all neighboring countries, this could be possible but on the boarders of the two countries before you cross you have to pay another sticker for that country you are going to (This sticker is for the vehicle only) called the COMESA and this amount you pay to get the sticker is not included in the rental fees unless youdiscussed about it before.

This is for those going for Tour safaris, renting a vehicle for self drive means you have total ownership of the vehicle during your rented period however it is not recommendable to drive beyond some time limits and speed. Driving at night is only acceptable when there is a need for airport drop. In the national parks the speed limit is 40KM/h and you are not allowed to go off track and anyone caught has to pay 150 USD fine to Uganda Wildlife Authority. You should note that all animals in the national park has 100% rightof way and clients must be at least 100 metres away from fierce animals like elephants. So if you kill any wild animal you are obliged to pay a fine of 500 USD.

Is Uganda Safe for Travelling

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Uganda Homestay

Just like any other African state, Uganda is no exception as far as crime rate is concerned. However much there are a few crimes that take place in Uganda, the country is generally safe to visit.

There is a huge disparity between the haves and have-nots in Uganda. The former regime government’s exploitative economic policies led to widespread poverty, which bred crime, and the cohabitation of the rich and destitute has led to an informal redistribution of wealth through robbery. While no plan is foolproof, there are common-sense tactics to reduce your likelihood of being targeted.

Avoid wearing flashy jewelry, keep your camera packed away until you want to use it, and opt for a place to stay with 24-hour security guards. ATMs in Uganda are a hot spot for robberies, so when you need to withdraw money, look for an ATM in a busy city center or mall. If possible, withdraw money during the day. Never accept help from anyone when withdrawing and immediately put the money in your wallet.

Road Safety

While other African countries are famous for carjacking, the incidence of this kind of crime is totally not heard of in Uganda. Most tourists to the bustling city will find the traffic very manageable and the roads very normal and easy to drive at thus end up considering rent a car.

Outside of Kampala, the biggest threat on the road is reckless, aggressive drivers. If you rent a car in Uganda, know the rules of the road. Uganda drives on the left side and measure speed in kilometers per hour. Be wary of minibus taxis that are often driven by unlicensed drivers. Their rates are fixed, so drivers try to maximize profits by getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible. Many do not heed speed limits or traffic signs.

Safety of Women

Uganda is not very prone to rape and women assault and so neither a tourist are targeted, and the vast majority of violence toward women occurs in the townships. Still, women visitors to Uganda shouldn’t worry at all Ugandans are totally hospitable and civilized. Ugandans living outside the cities tend to be conservative, both in mindset and dress. Outside of urban areas, women should cover up to avoid unwanted stares. Many Uganda women travel alone on minibuses, trains and in their own vehicles, but visitors–both men and women–are wise to travel in groups.

Diseases

While mosquitoes will bite during the sticky summer months, most of Uganda is malaria-free. If you are planning a trip to Murchison falls National Park or other wild areas in the northern part of the country, malaria pills are a good idea. If you decide against the pills, bring repellent and cover your ankles and wrists. The only other health risk is HIV, with more than a quarter of Uganda infected. If you plan to engage in sexual activity, bring protection.

Medical Treatment

Private hospitals in the urban centers of Uganda offer first-world medical care. If you are visiting remote areas, it’s wise to purchase travel insurance, which generally covers the cost of a helicopter ride if you need to be flown to a city for treatment. Adrenaline junkies beware: Many travel insurance plans do not cover adventure sports like mountain biking, water rafting, bungee jumping or even hiking. If you forgo travel insurance, check with your home insurance provider to see if any hospitals in Uganda are covered. Keep their names and phone numbers with you when you travel so you can direct ambulances.

How to Apply for Multiple Entry Visa to Uganda

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First I want to make a compliment about your website, it’s very helpful 🙂 Secondly, I want to ask you a question. Is it possible to buy a multi entrance visa at the Entebbe International Airport?

Buganda and the Kingship

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Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi

At independence the kingship controversy was the most important issue in Ugandan politics. Although there were four kingdoms, the real question was how much control over Buganda the central government should have. The power of the king as a uniting symbol for the Baganda became apparent following his deportation by the protectorate government in 1953. When negotiations for independence threatened the autonomous status of Buganda, leading notables organized a political party to protect the king. The issue was successfully presented as a question of survival of the Baganda as a separate nation because the position of the king had been central to Buganda’s precolonial culture. On that basis, defence of the kingship attracted overwhelming support in local Buganda government elections, which were held just before independence. To oppose the king in Buganda at that time would have meant political suicide.

After the 1967 constitution abolished all kings, the Ugandan army turned the king’s palace into their barracks and the Buganda parliament building into their headquarters. It was difficult to know how many Baganda continued to support the kingship and how intensely they felt about it because no one could express support openly. After a brief flirtation with restoration, Amin also refused to consider it. By the 1980s, more than half of all Baganda had never lived under their king. The Conservative Party, a marginal group led by the last man to serve as Buganda’s prime minister under a king, contested the 1980 elections but received little support. NRM leaders could not be sure that the Baganda would accept their government or the Ten-Point Program. The NRA was ambivalent in its response to this issue. On the one hand, until its final year, the guerrilla struggle to remove Obote had been conducted entirely in Buganda, involved a large number of Baganda fighters, and depended heavily on the revulsion most Baganda felt for Obote and the UPC. On the other hand, many Baganda who had joined the NRA and received a political education in the Ten-Point Program rejected ethnic loyalty as the basis of political organization. Nevertheless, though a matter of dispute, many Ugandans reported that Museveni promised in public, near the end of the guerrilla struggle, to restore the kingship and to permit Ronald Mutebi, the heir apparent, to become king. Many other Ugandans opposed the restoration just as strongly, primarily for the political advantages it would give Buganda.

Controversy erupted a few months after the NRM takeover, when the heads of each of the clans in Buganda organized a public campaign for the restoration of the kingship, the return of the Buganda parliament building (which the NRA had continued to use as the army headquarters), and permission for Mutebi to return to Uganda. Over the next month, the government struggled to regain the political initiative from the clan heads. First, in July 1986 the prime minister, Samson Kisekka–a Muganda–told people at a public rally in Buganda to stop this “foolish talk.” Without explanation, the government abruptly ordered the cancellation of celebrations to install the heir of another kingdom a week later. Nevertheless, the newspapers reported more demands for the return of Mutebi by Buganda clan elders. The cabinet then issued a statement conceding the intensity of public interest but insisting the question of restoring kings was up to the forthcoming Constitutional Assembly and not within the powers of the interim government. Then, three weeks later, the NRM issued its own carefully worded statement calling supporters of restoration “disgruntled opportunists purporting to be monarchists” and threatening to take action against anyone who continued to agitate on this issue. At the same time, the president agreed to meet with the clan elders, even though that gave a fresh public boost to the controversy. Then, in a surprise move, the president convinced Mutebi to return home secretly in mid-August 1986, presenting the clan elders with a fait accompli. Ten days later, the government arrested a number of Baganda, whom it accused of a plot to overthrow the government and restore the king. But while Museveni managed to take the wind from the sails of Buganda nationalism, he was forced to go to inordinate lengths to defuse public feeling, and nothing was settled. The kingship issue was likely to re-emerge with equal intensity and unpredictable consequences when the draft for a new constitution was presented for public discussion.

You can have a detailed account of all this with a visit to the King’s palace located in Kampala and you can simply visit all the other attractions around Kampala. You can hire a car in Uganda with ease to make your movement easy.

What to bring for the Rwenzori Mountain hike

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Hi, me and a group of 4 friends are doing the Rwenzori in December as part of a fundraising drive for a little known charity organization here that looks after children and generally people with mental illness.

Oh we are so excited and looking forward to the challenge – We can’t wait.

All is set but just one little thing; What sort of things do we have to bring along. I know it should probably be more of backpacking – may be!

Thank you.

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Hi Nicola,

What a thrill you are in for! I can understand the excitement – You will love it.

… And thanks for your efforts for a good cause – the fundraising, your contribution is much appreciated.

Your question is quite common and I am surprised it had never featured here.

Here is what you need to bring/consider for your Rwenzori Mountain Hike … and pretty much the same for the other mountain hikes too;

For starters, stock up with enough equipment and supplies – once you hit the road running, you will not have opportunity to restock. You will only survive on what you will have brought with you.

Warm clothing and a decent 4-season sleeping bag are essential. It can be, and it’s indeed chilly and wet out there. At 4000m, you dare not underestimate the equatorial chill. Have a good raincoat, waterproof over trousers, a woolen hat (one of those good winter ones will do) and have some plastic bags (very often they come in handy especially if you have to separate the wet and dry cloths in your rucksack).

… And yes! did I just say rucksack? … or is this one of the very obvious! Bring plenty of snacks and sweets. A few bars of chocolate would do but I doubt if they would survive the heat before you get to the cool heights – let alone messing up your bag – covered in chocolate!

Depending on how high you plan to go, you will need proper walking/hiking boots – quite essential! and for the boggy valleys, walking gumboots are preferable. Sun glasses of course, sun cream, lip salve and a flash light.

First in the bag should be the camera – You don’t want to miss out on those ‘kodak moments’. Bring loads of films or if you are using the modern digital ones, then have lots of storage space, flash disks etc …

If you turn up and your rucksack is quite heavy, porters can be hired to carry your backpack up the Rwenzoris and back. Unfortunately they will only do a maximum of 15kg and you will have the rest. So find ways of light travelling.

Getting Taxi from Entebbe Airport in the very early morning to Kampala

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My name is Paul Scott. I and my wife Laura will be down in Uganda for a one week I-cannot-wait holiday.

We are getting to Entebbe Airport on May 16th 2012 from Essex, UK around 4AM.

Initially we shall stay at the Naigara hotel near Kampala before we set off to see the gorillas.

Is it easy to get a taxi at the airport to go to the hotel at the time we arrive?

And how much is the right fare from Entebbe airport to the hotel?

I assume that there are some taxi drivers who think of foreign tourists as an ATM card.

Thank you. We are very much looking forward to this trip.

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Hi Paul,

You will be pleased to know that ‘airport taxis’ as they are commonly known in Uganda, are always available when a flight arrives. You won’t have any problem finding one, as there will likely be several waiting outside.

I will assume that you are going to the Niagara hotel along Entebbe road which is close to Kampala. This should take you just under 45 minutes from the airport.

So the fares should be in the region of $25/$30 but you can negotiate the fare before you get in the cab. Under no circumstance should you pay more than $30.

If you are using a tour agency for your gorilla expedition, find out if they can also provide this initial service. Many do at no extra cost as a bonus to your package – they will call it free airport pickups.

Alternatively, also find out if Niagara hotel does have a shuttle. Assuming that you have made hotel reservations with them, ask them if they could provide this as a concession otherwise, the cost of using their shuttle should be much less than $30.