Off on the road trip of a lifetime across East Africa? Want to treat the family to a camping holiday in Uganda? Or maybe you fancy cruising in a Land Cruiser along the Kazinga Chanel in Queen Elizabeth National Park? Driving holidays can be great fun but if you want a trouble-free trip then it’s worth doing your homework first. And if you don’t want to take your own vehicle, this includes researching the ins and outs of hiring a car in East Africa.
Unfortunately, car hire companies don’t always have the best reputations and the process can be plagued with pitfalls if you don’t go prepared: for example it could be that you’re not old enough to drive in a certain country, you’ve left important documents behind or you don’t check the vehicle properly before you cruise away from the rental depot. If something goes wrong on the road you also need to make sure you have adequate insurance and breakdown cover.
To ensure your holiday is as relaxing, exciting and stress-free as you deserve, follow this simple checklist:
How old do I need to be?
The driving age differs depending on the country you’re visiting and the company you’re hiring from. In many countries the age limit is a minimum of 21 years and with some companies there may be a surcharge if the driver is under 25 years. Check the small print of the hire company before you commit.
Who shall I hire from?
Some of the biggest car hire companies include 4×4 Uganda Car hire, Uganda Self Drive, and Uganda Car Rental. You can use their websites to hire in advance – always good if you want a car waiting for you on arrival.
What kind of licence do I need?
It is recommended that all drivers should carry an International Driving Permit. You can apply for an International Driving Permit through Green Flag. Make sure you take the actual documents, as most hire companies will not accept photocopies. If you have the new style photocard driving licence, you need to take both parts of this to hire a car abroad.
Do I need additional identification?
An identification document, such as a passport, may also be required by car rental companies in Uganda to be attached to the agreement that will sign. All drivers who want to drive the car must present these documents.
Should I do a vehicle inspection?
It’s vital that the vehicle you are given corresponds with the rental agreement documents that you need to sign. Check it for any listed defects and let the hire company know if you spot any more – you don’t want to be charged for any damage you didn’t do when you hand the car back. Ensure the registration and model are correct and that your personal details have been listed correctly too. You should also get fuel with the car so check the tank levels and double check what kind of fuel the vehicle uses and where you can buy it. Your hire car company should be happy to help with any queries you have. Remember that you may also need to return the car with the same tank of petrol you took it with, so build that into your holiday expenses.
How do I pay?
You are advised to pay only the booking fee and pay the rest of the money on arrival after getting your hired car.
Do I need insurance?
The car which will be provided to you will be fully insured except you so you have to come with your personal insurance.