Driving in a foreign country can be troublesome for first time travelers. In most Africa countries, it is important to know that self drive is not for first time travelers. If you are looking to safe travels, it is important to be in the know of the strict rules and good driving etiquette before you hit the road.
With Tanzania becoming a favorite destination for those looking to self drive holidays, it is important to know which bad driving habits not to bring into this peaceful nation.
To most drivers, the one bad driving habit they know and have been warned yet still violated is ‘Don’t drink and drive’. But there is a long list of bad habits solo travelers and others on self-drive in Tanzania or any destination should avoid. By being keen on these bad driving habits, you will certainly have a smooth road trip in Tanzania.
Resting your hand on the gear stick
Normally, driving instructors do advise that you keep both hands on the wheel at all times. Instead, most people have developed a bad driving habit of just resting their hands on the shifter. The gear stick is linked to a selector fork and this is designed to make contact with a rotating collar for a short amount of time. In case you rest your hand on the gearstick, you may need a synchronizer and bushings of the transmission to handle more weight than normal hence resulting into internal wear.
Always keeping the pressure on the brake pedal while driving downslope
This is one bad driving habit that can kill your car faster. Yes, driving down slope can be challenging but most drivers tend to make it a habit to keep their foot on the pedal to ease slow down movement. But the best thing could be to shift into a lower gear and this can slow down the car as you slope without putting pressure on brake pedals and rotors.
Not minding about warning lights
Usually, people tend to ignore warnings like bulb gone/washer fluid till they make a stop. And yet such may need to be noticed as early as possible. Ignoring them may result into damaging your gearbox and you will need to change its parts at the time not recommended.
Keeping on the clutch while driving uphill
In case you are driving an automatic car rental, there is no need to stay on the clutch while driving uphill. This may apply to manual vehicles. The best is to make use of automatic brake hold system while in that position. If your vehicle doesn’t have, then make the best use of hand brake.
Overloading the car
Every car has its recommended carrying capacity. This is why you should be certain of the number of people you plan to travel with so as to find a suitable car to fit all of them. Overloaded car can strain most elements of the brake, suspension among others.
Not using the parking brakes
Not using parking brake can be dangerous and it may require that the parking pawl works harder and eventually, it can break.
Not warming car engine
This looks obvious but a huge mistake many make. Before you set off, the engine should have warmed for some good time. Note, nearly all cars start with cold engines and that is why it is important to have them warmed before setting off.
Keeping the fuel tank to almost empty
This is another bad driving habit which needs to be avoided. Note, oil pumps can heat up and, in the process, the friction between the engine parts can increase in case it is not submerged in adequate fuel. The best is to go for full-tank to avoid such cases and this is even healthy for your engine.
Family trips on East African road trip are amazing! But finding a suitable Uganda car rental is the most challenging part of it all. Your choice of rental car matters a lot when choosing the kind of car for your family tour or any road trip in East Africa. It plays a significant role if you are to have a fun-filled road trip. You need a car with comfortable seats, lots of amenities and also comes with amazing offers.
We have variety of family size cars suitable for road trips in East Africa. Interestingly, our fleets of family car rentals are fitted with air conditioners, FM radio, CD player and above all, they are reliable, safe and save a lot on fuel.
Safari Land Cruiser (Hard top, V8 or VX)
We have a range of Safari Land Cruisers suitable for family trips. You can choose from our comfortable Safari Land Cruiser Hardtop, Land Cruiser VX, Land Cruiser V8. These are all ideal for visitor exploration in East Africa’s premier destinations such as Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Serengeti National Park, Masai Mara National Reserve, Akagera National Park and many more.
Our land cruisers are available with capacity range of 5 to 8pax. They are the best not for only family trips but also outdoor camping safaris anywhere in East Africa. They are equipped with air conditioners, pop-up rooftop, mini fridge and a lot more.
Toyota Prado- TX, TZ, GX
Book our excellent 4×4 Toyota Prado and have the best of East Africa holiday. Our fleet of Toyota Prado rentals exist with capacity of about 6pax. You enjoy great features such as an MP3, CD, FM Radio, air conditioner, pop up roof/sun roof offering ultimate game viewing experience. Visitors can book Toyota Prado TX, TZ or Toyota Prado GX at affordable rate.
Have a fun-filled family trip in East Africa by using our 4×4 Toyota Rav4. Our Toyota Rav4 rentals are available in 4WD and preferably the best for family trips, self-drive tours in East Africa. They accommodate from 2 to 4 visitors, fully equipped with Fm radio, air conditioner and comprehensively insured.
Toyota Super Custom
Toyota Super Customs are available in 4×4 and capacity of 7pax. They are the best for East Africa safaris and come with pop-up thus allowing you enjoy excellent view of wildlife in East Africa’s savanna protected areas. They are fitted with best air conditioners, FM radio, spacious boot and many other amenities.
For sightseeing tours, look no further than Safari minivans. Our minivans are available with capacity of about 9 clients. You enjoy amazing view of wildlife given the pop-up rooftop. The other amenities that come with safari minivans include air conditioners, adequate space, comfortable seats making them the most preferred for East Africa safaris.
For all large group safaris, book coaster minibuses. These are available with capacity of 25 to 35 people. They are ideal for family trips, weddings, company gateways, introductions.
Book saloon cars for your family travels and you won’t regret. These are perfect for small group travels, family tours, conference, weddings and others.Read More
Get an ultimate road trip experience in Tanzania using any of our Dodoma 4×4 rental cars. We have a wide-selection of 4×4 car hire in Dodoma offering you complete flexibility, total privacy and freedom to explore Tanzania at your own pace. Our 4×4 rental cars in Dodoma include the latest SUVs-the Sport Utility Vehicles also best known as the off-road vehicles such as the 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser, 4×4 Toyota Rav4, 4×4 Nissan X trail, full-size 4×4 Safari Land Cruisers, Safari Mini Vans, Land Rovers, Toyota Prado, Hilux Double Cabin Pick ups to mention but a few.
4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser
Rent 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser from Dodoma at an affordable price and have a great opportunity to explore Tanzania uniquely. Our 4×4 Land Cruiser has a capacity of 2pax, diesel engine of 130 liters, power steering, fitted with snorkel, ABS, Radio, CD, fuel economy, air conditioner and available in manual transmission.
4×4 Toyota Prado
Go explore the magical Tanzania using our 4×4 Toyota Prado SUV This is fitted with power mirror, air conditioning, windows stereo tape, CD player, ABS, adequate space, 5 doors, powerful engine and it is comprehensively insured.
Start your road trip from Dodoma comfortably using our 4×4 Toyota Rav4. It is compact and fitted with stereo tape, CD players, air conditioners, air bags and this is available in manual or automatic transmission. Toyota Rav4 can be rented for self-drive tour or chauffeur driven/car rental with the driver.
We have a range of saloon vehicles/sedans/station wagons consisting of 4 doors, available in manual and automatic transmission. They are available in Toyota Premio, Hyundai Accent fitted with powerful engine 1.3 cc, air bags, MP3, CD players, power windows and mirrors, 2WD.
Safari Mini Van
Hire Safari Mini Van for your Tanzania safaris from Dodoma and have a memorable trip. This exists in custom made Toyota Hiace/Nissan Urvan featuring pop-up roof for excellent wildlife viewing experiences, comfortable seats. Other incredible features that come with include MP3, CD player, capacity of 6 to 8pax, adequate space and available in 2WD/4x4WD with 4 doors. Travelers on Tanzania tour choose between automatic and manual transmission.
Safari Land Cruiser
Our custom-made Safari Land Cruisers feature pop up roof providing excellent wildlife viewing experience to tourists. These can be rented with driver and they are among the best 4×4 Land Cruiser category. They are available with 5 doors, manual transmission and fitted with MP3, CD player.
Why choose Car Rental Tanzania for your Tanzania safaris?
- Opportunity to enjoy unlimited mileage
- No drop off charges involved
- Fun-filled road trip
- Safety and security
- 24/7 road assistance
There are a number of things to put in consideration in order to save fuel on your self drive safari in Africa. It is well known that regular car maintenance and servicing will help you save a great deal on fuel but it is not in your control. It is the car hire company will be in charge of ensuring that the car is well maintained.
Assuming you have hired a car from a reputable self drive car hire company that regularly services its vehicles like 4x4uganda, then the following will be some of the things to put in consideration to save a great deal of fuel during your self drive safari in Africa:
Proper Tire Inflation
Whenever you hire a vehicle, it is recommended that take charge of a few issues on your car such as inflation. Many at times, people put inflation in consideration in regard to avoiding punctures more so on off road trip. For this reason, they often inflate the tires between 25 psi and 30 psi to reduce on the likelihood of punctures during their off-road trip.
However, when it is comes to fuel consumption, inflation also plays a big role. Considering inflation between 30 psi and 40 psi is recommended. It helps your car to more easily hence reducing on the required strength in regard to acceleration.
Fuel Your Car Early in Morning
It has been proven over and over again; colder fuel has a higher density than warm fuel. To better benefit in fueling your car, it is recommended you fuel your car very early in the morning when the fuel still has a higher density compared to fueling in the afternoon.
Engage a Cruise Button While on a Highway
It is not common to find a safari car with a cruise button in Africa. It is for the same reasons that you should first inquiry about the availability of a car with a cruise button. A cruise button will help you drive at constant speed which will also help you save a great deal on fuel.
Avoid car idling
Whenever you are driving in the capital cities, its recommended to keep the engine off. This is because sometimes you might remain in the same place for over 5 minutes without moving yet keeping the car in idling.
However, it should be noted that idling is recommended for a diesel issue. It is a bad practice among some safari cars to keep turning the diesel engine on and off.
Accelerating steadily helps the car to pick up momentum slowly without burning a lot of fuel. Accelerating speedily will burn a lot of fuel compared to accelerating steadily.
Therefore, anyone that considers saving gas during their self drive adventure, they should take extra attention on how they accelerate.
Maintain an 80km/hr speed on a highway
It is very common to find people driving above 100 kilometers per hour on a high but this is already in violation of most of the terms and conditions of most of the car hire companies. The 80kms/hr does not only put you on safe side when driving but also helps you to save fuel.
Consider a Diesel Engine against a Gasoline Engine
When it comes to Engine performance, a gasoline engine is far better than the diesel engine. But when it comes to being economical, the diesel engine is the best choice. There are several land cruisers that have diesel engine options.
However, whenever you hire a safari car with a diesel engine, make sure it has a turbo timer. If it does not have a turbo time, then you should at least give it a full minute in idling mode after a long drive.
Fuel from Recommended Locations
You should never be influenced by the rates when fueling your car, rather focus on the location of the fuel station. It is recommended that you fuel your car on gas stations located on hills.
Most of the gas stations located in valleys are likely to be affected by water during the rainy seasons since the fuel is stored underground. To avoid all the trouble that comes with fuel mixed with some portions of water, fuel your car from gas stations located on hills.
Whenever you use poor fuel in a car, the engine will struggle to process it which will not only increase the fuel consumption of the car but also the car performance.
Check Service Validity
It is public knowledge, whenever a car is poorly serviced, it will consume a lot of fuel. Though you cannot check everything in regard to service, serviced car have stickers showing their next servicing date and the mileage available for a given tenure.Read More
It is obvious that even anyone that would attempt a city walking tour would at one point require wheels in form of motorcycles, taxis or buses. But as time goes on, more people are deviating from such means of transport during their trips in Uganda.
This is not to imply that they are not safe at all; but because of the following reasons, many people are opting for self drive trips in Uganda and across Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. Below are some reasons why you too should consider a self drive trip in Uganda;
Did you know that Uganda Self drive trips give you an opportunity of privacy even when you are away from home? If you are the kind who often finds it uncomfortable to hang around strangers for a long time, self drive trips grant you enough space for your privacy
Whenever you hire a car, you are free to drive the way you want without any fear of what the people around you might think since you will not have any strangers. For the same reason, several people have considered hiring a car for a self catered trip in Uganda.
Comfortable For Family Trips
Family trips can be a hustle more so when your family has to walk along with several other people in a group tour. To give your children enough freedom during their holiday, a car hire for self drive in Uganda is recommended.
Family self drive car hires will give your children space to behave the very way they behave in your home country. No one will be made uncomfortable since it will be a family trip in a kind of family car with Mum or Dad doing what he has always done.
More Secure Compared To Public Means
Driving in shifts is not a common practice in Uganda. When you consider public means of transport, you are opting for a driver who you cannot be sure whether they are fresh or not. It should be noted that most of the public transport accidents are caused by tired drivers or over speeding to beat time.
To be on a secure side, it is recommended you hire the car personally, and driver yourself. At least by doing so, you are in more control of your life than putting it in the hands of stranger whose sobriety cannot easily be traced.
Hiring a car for a self drive holiday or trip in Uganda saves you a lot of time. Traffic jam is often unpredictable more so in the capital Kampala. With that at the back of your mind, you can easily plan putting in consideration the amount of time you might spend stuck in traffic.
The common public taxis are fond of waiting for hours till they get full. If you are to use these for your trip, then you are likely to be delayed which is never the case with self drive car hires.
Freedom To Go Wherever You Want
It is not true that every trip requires an itinerary. Sometimes the best of road trips is merely an open road trip. With a self drive car, it is very possible to drive even without an itinerary as long as your final destination is known.
Travel At Your Own Pace
The best family trips are those which you can adjust at any time. When you go for holiday you do not need any pressure. On certain days, you are free to readjust your itinerary without fear of being penalized by the tour operator
The main items of any trip are transport, meals and accommodation. By hiring a car for self drive, you save the extra money a tour operator would have charged you as his mark-up.
Awesome Photography Opportunities
There are opportunities for self drive photography trips where you can hire a car with a professional photographer. Instead of trying to capture every moment by yourself, you can hire a professional photographer who can capture every special moment of your trip.
However; besides hiring a professional photographer on your trip, you also have the liberty to stop at any time during your trip to capture any moment of your choice without first asking for alternations in your planned itinerary.
Feel At Home
Whenever you hire a car for self drive, you will often appear as a foreign resident to the strangers. This will give you high bargaining power when you try purchasing things in the different places since you will be expected to be informed about the prices as a foreign resident.
Uganda is full of diversity that you should leave room for. It might be tricky to tap into this diversity of what the Pearl of Africa has to offer by hiring a car in Uganda without any limitations.Read More
It’s so amazing that Kenya has got a number of wildlife parks which accommodates a vast wilderness and bird species. But before narrating my experience for our long Journey to Kenya from Uganda. Due to the recommendations I got from my colleagues who have ever traveled to these countries, we were recommended to use a local Uganda car rental based tour company known as 4×4 Car Hire Uganda under Moses’ management who is so much knowledgeable about the regions and he can advise and you fill you are already on trip before you start it.
This was/is the best company that could/can provide us with advisory services regarding tour activities and destinations in the whole of Africa, it’s the same company which hired us a Toyota land cruiser with nevertheless, we arranged a tour in Kenya where our major aim was to enjoy a holiday while in Africa. In Uganda, Moses advised us to first tour some of the Uganda’s source of the Nile and Mountain Elgon National Park which are located on the way towards Kenya in the eastern Uganda.
We sent Moses the all amount of money that he calculated for us that was covering the costs of all the utilities and even accommodations. On reaching Uganda, we were given the car we had rented after signing an agreement. Since we reached late, we slept at Hotel Africana and early in the morning next day, we drove ourselves to Jinja about 80km from Kampala, this took us around 1½ hours, we staged at Tulina Riverside Treat near the river, we had our lunch from here and after we went to the main point which is regarded as the major source of the Nile.
Stones were piled up here plus walkways which permitted us a chance to cross to the different points as we were peeping the Speke monument alongside the river, besides is the old bridge for both the cars a train, downwards is the Owen falls dam where electricity is generated, all this was done under maximum and strict guidance from the source operators.
In the evening, we went back to the hotel for an overnight and early in the morning we headed to Mbale which took around 4hours on the way, we rested at Mbale Travelers Inn, this had a restaurant, roof top bar and evening entertainment. Free private parking on site among others, early in the morning we went to the park’s headquarters for briefing and also take on our activity.
Here we did mountain biking and it started from Sipi trading centre to Chema hill in Kapchorwa town, this took us 2hour, but here we had to hire our own equipments from the service providers. Equipments included, bikes, and gloves, we hired these from Sipi River Lodge this was a guided one since we couldn’t easily locate the starting point and the ending point, this activity gave us an opportunity of viewing the various waterfalls around and up it was an elastic view of the Karamoja areas.
This was so fantastic since we did that brief but hectic exercise from this park, Bamasaba who are the main occupants of the area with their banana and coffee plantations on the steep slopes of the mountain were also seen here. After here we went back to the hotel to have fun and also to relax. The next day we woke up and transited to Kenya via Malaba border up to Kisumu near Lake Victoria. The reason as to why we went to Kisumu is that we had to go to Ndere Island National park, to access this park we were charged $… per person.
Since we reached late, we parked our vehicle at Scottish Tartan Hotel due to the fact that we wanted to access the park using water transport. We got a speed boat which used 45minutes to the park but it was so nice due to the cool weather conditions on water. This provided us an experiential view of the different bird species while sailing on water. We reached late and we couldn’t do anything more therefore we camped at Bao campsite. The next day we started off our activities, we watched hippopotamus, monitor lizard, Nile crocodile, several fish species and snakes especially pythons, puff adder, aardvark, butterflies and vipers are also evident. We also saw troops of baboons, monkeys, impalas, the rare sitatunga antelopes, water bucks, Zebras and warthogs.
This was so wonderful and it added on what we had observed from Uganda, since we had hired a speed boat, we didn’t sleep here instead we went back to the hotel where we had left our vehicle. We slept here and the next day we proceeded to Nairobi which is the capital city of Kenya and here we stayed at Kima Hotel from here we went to Mountain Kenya national park and here we wanted to do mountain climbing here we paid $208 USDs per person for a four days package since we were foreign non residents.
We accessed the park through Nanyuki-Isiolo road approximately 175km from Nairobi and we entered the park through Marania. Since we reached at midday, we camped, but we were advised to go with the following items due to the weather conditions this mountain receives, Drinking water, Walking boots, Warm clothing, training shoes, socks, sandals and gaiters. Binoculars, camera, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses. Fortunately Moses had already briefed us all this and we hired all the equipments from his company in Uganda.
The next day we climbed the mountain but it was a hard task, because of the rugged terrains and the sharp paths to the top of the mountain, this took us three days to reach the summit. What made us wonder was while on top one can think that he/she can touch the sky due to the tallness of this mountain being the second tallest mountain in Africa with 5199meters. On top we got opportunities of seeing the dense forest, tarns, glaciers and mineral springs. We also observed animals such as black fronted duiker, mole rat, bush bucks, water buck and Elands and leopards down in the caves.
Having enjoyed all this, we went back to Nairobi for a rest at Kima Hotel and the next day early in the morning, we drove our car to Uganda but due to the long distance, we reached Uganda at midnight and we went straight to Entebbe airport since our flight was scheduled at 8am in the morning, from here we handed over the car to the company representative in good conditions.Read More
How to compare cars before making a reservation for yourself
Where can I get a car for renting?
Usually, there are a score of fair rental companies where you can rent a car from. Of course, this car might be for your safari or any other business you may wish to use the car depending on the terms you agree with the company you are renting the car from. You will search on line or go through a number of car rental companies in the country and here you will need to compare the rates before you final pay for the car. There will be a variety of cars which will be offered for you to be rented and it will be up to you to choose the best car which will fit your demand. Before renting, you are advised to look at the collision damage, waiver, the unlimited mileage, road assistance and you will have to confirm if they are all included on the car you are renting.
How do I obtain car rental discounts?
Different companies do put promotions on line that is internet about the car rentals which are in terms of discount codes and coupon. As a client, you will first look for the car you have to rent and if you are lucky that day, you will when you are on line, you will get the car on a reduced price.
What advantages can I get from booking the car online?
- You will get rid of the hidden fees which are incurred when you book directly from the company. Booking online will make you escape expenses which most companies do include in the car hire package. These costs are often brought forward for you when they are well detailed and you have to know that the real face value of car hire services will go for other than meting them during or after the car hire experience. In comparison when you hit the car hire premises and ask for a car to hire sometimes you will regret as to why you might have involved in car hiring the car directly from the company.
- Booking the car online is time saving and very convenient than when you visit the offices directly. Sitting on your laptop, smart phone or your desktop will allow you visit different websites which offer car rental services. You will then send inquiries after you gotten the best car quotes and usually you will get the feed back in a period of less than 24 hours. No serious hustle is involved in this type of renting and compared when you visit the offices directly. When you are online, it means that booking can be done everywhere and feed backs can find you anywhere. It can be done whether you are at home or whether you are in your office working
This type of booking is money saving. Money which would otherwise be used to transport yourself to car rental premises can just be used to obtain data or internet which can help you book the car you wish on lineRead More
When going for a safari to either Uganda or Rwanda, one needs to decide which type of car he/she wants to use. In most cases tourists ask us this question when they inquire for their safaris to either Uganda or Rwanda or even both and we go on and advice. But it’s always a good practice to make your own choice so that you can have the best experience on the safari without any inconveniences related to the car used. Choosing the type of car to hire depends on what type tourism activity you are going to do and the number of people you are travelling with. Sometimes clients inquire with us and they want small cars yet they are many in number. We always advise them to go for bigger cars like vans which can accommodate their number. It’s always good to travel with a classic touch and freedom other than travelling while congested in a small car. Small cars like saloons and small Benz’s are suitable to use if clients are 2 or 3 but not more than that as it would mean to squeeze yourself which is not good.
The distance to be travelled and the destination that you want to go to is also important while selecting the type 0f car to hire in Uganda. If you know that you are travelling for longer distances and to places which are challenging with undulating topologies and hills, then the best type of car to hire is that with a 4×4 wheel drive system. This is because 4×4 cars can penetrate through muddy roads and hills without any problem and without getting stuck. Sometimes people make wrong choices and they go with cars which are not full time 4×4 and they end up getting stuck in muddy roads forcing them to hire another towing car to remove them from the mud. This is bad as it leads to increase in the expenses. The only way to avoid this is by hiring a 4×4 wheel drive car which cannot easily get stuck in such conditions.
It should be noted that both Uganda and Rwanda have some places with bad roads and this is common in national parks especially in Uganda where there are animals to be viewed. Such parks require 4×4 cars for a game drive experience .safari vehicles like 4×4 land cruisers with a popup roof are the best cars to use for a successful game drive. In case one needs to go for a town-running (driving around the town) then he/she can book these other cars which have no 4×4 system because roads in all urban places kin both Uganda and Rwanda are in good conditions and no threat is imposed to the user.
When you book with us we always ask you what you intend to use the car for and we give advice when it comes to choosing the type of car to use. Some clients seem to be complicated and ignore our advise because they think roads in Uganda and Rwanda are like those in their home countries and they end up making mistakes which are regrettable. And at the end of their safari they regret why they ignored our advice.
In conclusion, you should always put in mind two factor before selecting which type of car to use and that is;- the destination you are going to and the number of people you are travelling with.Read More
While on a Self Drive in Uganda, it is vital to have a local phone number that you can simply purchase in the shops or service centres in major towns around the country. There is a wide range of networks to choose from that is MTN, Airtel, Orange, Vodafone, Uganda Telephone, and most recently Smart Telecom. There is wide network range coverage for MTN, Airtel and Uganda Telecom although most people have a preference of Airtel for easy communication followed by MTN. Most importantly is even when you cross the border to Rwanda, the same sim cards will work there although if you require to communicate easily with the local Rwanda people, a Rwanda sim card would be the best option. Purchasing a local sim card should not cost you more than 5,000 Uganda shillings.
A local phone number has far much more advantages as opposed to your international number while on a self drive in Uganda safari. Most of the roads in the country are not really that tarmac especially if you get off the usual highways and it is very easy to communicate with a local phone number to ask any body or your car rental agency for say help with regards to directions with much ease because they can always call you back to find out where you are or how best to get from point A to point B.
Because of the nature of the roads very often it is easy to get a mechanical problem with your rental car of which it is no guarantee but just in case it happens to you, it is very easy and efficient to communicate using your local phone number to your car rental company and they can easily walk you through what to do and how best to go about your issue than having an international number which can take a lot of money to communicate and with less airtime. It is very easy to communicate to a mechanic nearby and also with your rental company for a quick fix of the problem which actually might not be that big a problem.
Not only is it easy to communicate with your car rental agency but also with some other suppliers with in the country at a much more cost effective rate. Remember no body wants to spend much more while on holiday so a local phone number is an automatic saving scheme especially on calls within the country. There are cheaper cell phones in the country too that you can buy at about 30,000 Uganda shillings to serve the purpose while on your holiday. Most notable brands for cheaper cell phones include; Techno and Itel. For instance it is very cheap to book a boat trip in Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth or Lake Mburo National Parks using your local phone number or liaise with a Ranger in case you are going for a Gorilla Trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
There are very many things that can move smoothly with easy communication and easy communication is a very important aspect for a success of your safari holiday. When there is an international number involved, your local rental company may not easily communicate the changes in say weather at different areas on your safari trail because of the expense involved in communication. Also some times lodges require phone numbers for the guests before they get to the lodge so as to prepare in advance what you would wish to have, say if you need dinner at the lodge or not, it is easy for the lodge to call you using your local phone number as opposed to an international number some time of which the staff at the different lodges may not have the knowledge of how to dial. Unless you are going to have a guided tour, then your safari guide will have a local phone number to easily communicate but for a self drive safari, I would urge you to endeavor and get a local phone number upon arrival either at the airport or any major town in the country. You can as well talk to your local safari operator to purchase the sim card for your and upon arrival you get it as the car is handed over to you. By so doing, I guarantee you will have a wonderful experience on your safari.Read More
In all the three East African countries (Uganda, Rwanda, Congo) where gorilla trekking takes place, there are various procedures that one should adhere to before being given a green flag to go in the actual process of gorilla trekking. The most paramount procedure here is securing a gorilla permit which can be done through agents or directly from the responsible authorities.Below is a detailed account of how one can attain these gorilla permits;
Gorilla tracking in Rwanda is done in Volcanoes National Park and gorilla trekking/ tracking permits booking is managed by the Rwanda Tourism Office (ORTPN). Each gorilla permit costs US$750 in Rwanda. On each particular day, about 56 persons can visit Rwanda gorillas, 8 persons per each gorilla family given that there are only seven groups.
Gorilla permits are in high demand, because of the stiff competition for them, and therefore are booked with payment on the basis of first come first served. Book your gorilla permit in advance to avoid disappointment.
To track gorillas each person must have the day’s gorilla permit which needs to be arranged and paid for in advance, preferably at least 10 months for the high seasons – June-September and December-February; or latest 4-6 months in advance for the low seasons – October-November and March-May. This can be made possible by the availability of tour operators that are very competent and they normally book your gorilla permits at no extra cost.
Gorilla permits are booked with payment on the basis of first come first serve. Availability of gorilla permits for a required date is not guaranteed. There is a lot of competition for the gorilla permits, which makes it hard to get one for yourself. Any delay in confirmation and or payment may mean that you will be unable to obtain the permit on your preferred date.
Once you book and send your money for permits, the date cannot change (changing a tracking date means a cancellation fee is charged). Rwanda charges $100 for each permit date changed.
There is also another option of booking gorilla permits directly through ORTPN.In case you have to book a gorilla permit from outside Rwanda; you first have to contact ORTPN’s reservation office by email inquiring about availability of the dates you intend to track the gorillas. If the exact dates you want are unavailable, you can request ORTPN to let you know of the nearest dates. You then reply to them expressing your intent to book those permits, and requesting them to temporarily hold them as you make payment. At this time, they will advise you of their banking details, so that you can proceed to make an electronic transfer of the money. Please remember to immediately send a copy of the transaction voucher/ receipt by email or fax to ORTPN.
The transfer should usually take not more than 3 days and ORTPN will keep your tentative booking for at least 7 days as they await the transfer to go through. Please ensure that you instruct your bank to deduct the bank charges from you. Otherwise if the money sent is less, your permit may not be booked.
The most rampant and sought after module of attaining gorilla permits is the use of tour operators and travel agents. Many intending gorilla trekkers have however found the above procedure tedious and have sought our quicker and less tedious ways of reserving their gorilla permits by working with local Rwanda tour operator. Gorillas and wildlife safaris will not charge you for buying gorilla permits if you are getting other tour services through them.
The procedure is almost similar as above, except that the tour agencies tend to speed-up the process and most likely you will get your gorilla permit confirmation faster as they always send you a scanned copy of those permits as soon as they are issued thus an assurance of proof that you are dealing with competent people. However, there are certain things that you have to put right before your permit is issued like the dates you want to track these primates, your full names plus those of other people you are travelling with as they appear in your passport.
If at all lady luck is on your side, you might get a last minute gorilla permit from any tour operator. There are situations when some tourists buy gorilla permits and then eventually end up not making it to the actual tracking due to various reasons beyond their control. So these permits remain in the hands of these tour operators who now begin looking for buyers of these permits. So when you avail yourself and you want to track on the same dates as inscribed on the gorilla permits available, then you get yourself one at the last hour.
In Congo, you can plan the booking of your gorilla permit via visit Virunga. So it is here that also Visas to Congo are issued so you can book both of them at ago. A Congo gorilla permit costs only $460.
When booking a gorilla permit from outside Uganda, you first have to contact UWA’s reservation office by email inquiring about availability of the dates you intend to track the gorillas. Note that you need to consider a full day of travel from Kampala to Bwindi after you have landed in Kampala.
If the exact dates you want are unavailable, you can request UWA to let you know of the nearest dates. You then reply to them expressing your intent to book those permits, and requesting them to temporarily hold them as you make payment. At this time, they will advise you of their banking details, so that you can proceed to make an electronic transfer of the money. Please remember to immediately send a copy of the transaction voucher/ receipt by email or fax to UWA.
The transfer should usually take not more than 3 days and UWA will keep your tentative booking for at least 7 days as they await the transfer to go through. Please ensure that you instruct your bank to deduct the bank charges from you. Otherwise if the money sent is less, your permit may not be booked.
Gorilla Permits are also booked through a Tour operator or travel agent. Many intending gorilla trekkers have however found the above procedure tedious and have sought our quicker and less tedious ways of reserving their gorilla permits by working with local Uganda tour operator. Gorillas and wildlife safaris will not charge you for buying gorilla permits if you are getting other tour services like transfers and tours through them .The procedure is almost similar as above, except that the tour agencies tend to speed-up the process and most likely you will get your gorilla permit confirmation faster. However, there are certain things that you have to put right before your permit is issued like the dates you want to track these primates, your full names plus those of other people you are travelling with as they appear in your passport. There are situations when some tourists buy gorilla permits and then eventually end up not making it to the actual tracking due to various reasons beyond their control. So these permits remain in the hands of these tour operators who now begin looking for buyers of these permits.
Ugandan tour operators through their umbrella association (AUTO) almost buy up to 80% of the available tracking permits at up to 2 years out from the intended month of tracking. Each member may purchase up to 20 permits in any month. Individuals and non-members of AUTO can purchase a maximum of 2 permits each in the month 3 months prior to the intended month of trekking .So you can contact AUTO members an purchase these permits from them.
However,in Uganda, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is proposing to put all gorilla permits for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park on line to be accessed by all people within and outside Uganda. According to management of Uganda Wildlife Authority, putting gorilla permits online will increase sales thus more money into the government’s treasury and to the Uganda Wildlife Authority to be used in conservation of wildlife in all protected areas. UWA management also argue that Tour Operators have been complaining about failure to get availability when they call Uganda Wildlife Authority central reservations office in Kampala and that if permits go on line then one can see them instantly.
Putting gorilla permits on line is yet to be seen as it has received a lot of resistance from the Private sector most especially from Ugandan Tour Operators under their umbrella organization called the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) who argue that by putting gorilla permits online will not only put them out of business since International Tour Operators will be able to buy them directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority offices but will also kill the tourism industry as a whole since clients will only be coming to Uganda for gorillas and then go for wildlife viewing in other neighboring countries of Kenya and Tanzania that have a competitive advantage over Uganda. Uganda Tour Operators argue that the role of selling gorilla permits should be left to them since their businesses create employment to several people and that if they are deprived of this, they will run out of business. They further say that the role of Uganda Wildlife Authority is not to market Tourism products such us gorilla permits but is to conserve Wildlife in and outside Protected Areas. The role of Marketing Uganda as a tourism Destination is supposed to be done by Uganda Tourism Board and therefore conflict of interest has been sighted.
Following the above issues, several meetings were convened to discourage Uganda Wildlife Authority from putting gorilla permits online and this ended up attracting the attention of the Minister of Tourism and Wildlife who has instituted a committee comprising of representatives from AUTO, Local Communities, Uganda tourism board and Uganda Wildlife Authority and is to be chaired by The Ministry of Tourism. Outcomes of this committee will be communicated later. Therefore as of now this system to put Ugandan gorilla permits online has temporarily stalled till further notice.
Just as in Uganda, even in Rwanda this mechanism has also totally failed due to various issues that have created divergent views towards the application of this module. The private sector also smelt a rat in being driven out of business yet in Congo this mode of online gorilla booking has never been thought of and there are no signs of conceiving such an idea.Read More