On hiring a car in Uganda, I would say yes and no – this will entirely depend on how long you plan to stay. If you are looking at a short holiday travelling around Uganda, then this is the better option. Find the right car hire (very reliably a full time 4×4); at the right price and off you go…
However, just one thing to take care of, if you have not driven in Uganda before (especially on the up country roads), I would rather you took an experienced local driver with you – as a caution, some of the roads can sometimes turn out to be so challenging; some with potholes as deep as little fish ponds, let alone the goats and chickens you find along the way.
… But if you are made of steel and confident enough to take on the anxiety that comes with it, then why not self drive! – You will love the freedom of driving and camping in Uganda while you enjoy every bit of your vacation. And as a bonus – If possible, have some one with mechanical knowledge on board … it helps the budget!
And then the option of buying a car – on the onset, this might not look like a cheaper option for travelling around Uganda and indeed if not well thought through; 1. It might turn out very expensive and not worth it and 2. You can never trust buying a used – third hand car for that matter in Uganda, you might end up with all sorts of mechanical problems even from a trusted friend. And that’s not the sort of story I love to hear from you…
However, buying a car for travelling around Uganda is a cheap option that is used by many and has worked successfully especially by those on work holiday. Obviously this would only make sense if you plan to stay here for several months, as buying a car and selling it before you leave would take some time – especially the selling before you leave which can be distressing…
If your planned long holiday is with a group of friends, then buying a car should be a smarter cheaper option if you pooled funds together. You only need to take care of a few things;
Ask a reliable trusted car dealer – preferably one who imports second hand (reconditioned) cars from Japan, to find a good, speck free car (a 4×4 would be highly recommended). Find time to visit the car sale warehouse/bond and see the collection.
And before you buy, find out if the type of car you want to buy is one of the kinds that are usually sort after and would substantially retain a good re-sale value. You don’t want to put money into buying a car that would be hard to sell later on.
Also take note before you start driving in Uganda, whether your driver’s licence can be used in Uganda. You might have to acquire a temporary Ugandan driver’s licence or exchange yours for a Ugandan one for the time of your stay. Your embassy should be in position to advise you on this as well.
And with that you will only have to work out how much fuel you will need.