If you’re thinking of heading down under, Self Drive Africa has to be one of the best options for seeing the most of this diverse (and pretty enormous!) country. Grab some wheels and set out into the unknown, either through the western outback, along the beautiful, rugged coastlines or deep into the heart of the red centre of Uganda national parks . Are you planning your Uganda safari? Well, below are some of the things you shouldn’t expect whilst your trip.
Top Things to Avoid on Self drive Uganda
To be driving off-road: In most National Parks and Game Reserves your guide is not allowed to leave the road. This varies between countries. In parts of Zambia and Kenya for example, limited off-road driving is permitted. Your guide will know where and when. It is only in the private game reserves and concessions areas that driving off-road is allowed.
To go out at night: As per off-road driving above, night drives are generally not sanctioned in Uganda National Parks. Again, it is in the private concession areas and private reserves that your guide may take you out at night. This may be one of the reasons why your Africa Travel Specialist would have suggested certain camps/lodges.
To get out of the game-drive vehicle: You must stay in your game-drive vehicle at all times, unless specifically sanctioned by your guide. He/she will carefully select an appropriate location to do so (to stretch your legs, have a picnic or sund owner).
That all game-drive vehicles will be open (or closed) 4×4’s: Vehicle layouts and styles can vary from park to park. In Uganda, you might be using a private vehicle and guide to visit the various parks and reserves. And you will travel between the different reserves in that vehicle. Therefore, it is normal for your vehicle to be enclosed with side windows and a pop-up hatch. This is to accommodate traveling at higher speeds on sealed roads. As such, the game-drive vehicles will likely be more open – perhaps with a canvas roof but certainly open on the sides.
That animal sightings can be guaranteed: Whilst some game reserves or national parks may be considered excellent for seeing a particular species (e.g. lions) no sighting is ever guaranteed. Seasons vary, animal habits change and nature is unpredictable.
Things to go according to plan: More than occasionally it may appear that nothing seems to be happening. Even when you are pretty certain that something should have already happened (and no one is bothering to explain why it is not). Africans have an unnerving view of time! It has been said that “Westerners have watches, but Africans have time!” Maybe it is just that people have grown more impatient in the West. But do not despair; they usually get there in the end.
To pet a wild animal: This is not possible in Uganda and even getting so close to these animals is not allowed. If you would really like to get closer to your favorite wild animal, consider visiting a wildlife zoo or rehabilitation centre. You will be helping a good cause and may very well be able to get the close-up experience you are after.
Mobile (cell) phone reception or WiFi: Mobile phone coverage in Uganda is fairly good and getting better each year, a few safari destinations you are going to will be remote, with limited infrastructure and services. Being on a Uganda safari means getting away from it all, just enjoy the break. WiFi, however, is getting more common in most hotels and lodges but is still not everywhere!
Elaborate meals: Many of the fancier lodges are getting much more elaborate with their meal offerings, most safari camps still offer what is commonly referred to as ‘comfort food’). In some of the more remote camps cook their food over an open fire in many cases which is really amazing.