SELF-DRIVE VERSUS GUIDED SAFARIS
Self-drive or a guided safari, what is the best idea? One of the questions we have always received from the most who would want to experience Uganda or Rwanda. Of course, depending on your choice, we can arrange for either a self-drive or give you a guide as you cruise through the pearl of Africa. Each of these has its pros and cons and this write-up is to highlight more and guide travelers as they make decisions on the type of safari to opt for.
There is a lot of information online about destination Uganda, routes, amenities, among others that would help a person traveling without a guide. Having this information and opting to drive on your own is quite an adventure but it differs from having a guide.
Self-drive safaris are a good choice when you are not a first-timer and in a place where there is a popular way of traveling through a region and you also have other people following the trail like yours and doing the same thing. In this case, self-drives are perfectly reasonable. Safaris in Uganda are often off the beaten path and the location of the attractions and amenities are ideal if you have a guide and someone who can speak the language (if you want to engage with communities).
It can be a hassle, carrying your luggage from the tunnel to the vehicle to the hotel reception, there is a lot of conveniences that come with guided tours and this is why most choose them. Africa is not the easiest place to travel by road. It is not as organized and developed as Europe, Asia, and the USA mostly in the countryside. Some glitches and challenges happen on the road when you are on a self-drive and it is your responsibility to fix them.
Ugandans are very friendly, kind, polite but they transform quickly and are impatient on road. Some put the pedal to the medal, are always in hurry and some become ruthless and rude while on road. Traffic laws are excellent but most of the road users don’t respect them, and this would require you to have someone to drive you and maneuver quickly and well through.
Major roads have vastly improved around Uganda and they are enjoyable to drive on, but off roads are hard to navigate. Roads and tracks in the parks are managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority and are well maintained though they can be hard to navigate in the wet season. Potholes, dusty, and bumpy. It worsens during the rainy season and it is here that self-drive become more difficult. Tour guides/ drivers are always well prepared on how to deal with the conditions.
Also, roads have many traffic stops that at times can be annoying and costly. Officers will flag you down and because you lack clues on how to deal with them, it will inflict on your pocket or time. But for this case, we brief our guests about road use and safety. Also, tourism vehicles are less likely to be stopped by traffic police.
We can say self-drive is an adventure that can cost less (no guiding fees) and even more when arranged with a tour operator who will negotiate tour operator rates at accommodation facilities. But still, we recommend that it should be done by return visitors to the country and seasoned African travelers that have master driving on the African brownmatt road and all conditions. And also guides give you a feeling of safety as you drive around.
At African Rock Safaris, we do our best to make your time on a safari enjoyable. We arrange and keep in touch whether on guided or self-drive safaris. You don’t need to worry about your choice.