Tips for a self drive Safari
Tips for a self drive safari road trip in East Africa is composed of things one should know as they plan to go for a self drive safari anywhere in East Africa. East Africa is made up of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi. While in Rwanda and Burundi you drive on your right which is different when it comes to Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, you drive on the left.
East Africa’s generally has good roads especially in the main cities and these can be traveled on comfortably depending on which region you are stationed in the country.
Plan Your Route
Tips for a self drive safari encourages you to plan the routes you intent to take. Even though most of the major highways are tarred and in good conditions, many tourist attractions are only accessible via gravel roads. Some attractions like the Bwindi Forest, Kidepo are open to 4WD vehicles.
You will have to plan your route according to your vehicle and your driving skills. Most maps will classify the roads into tarred major roads, gravel major roads, gravel district roads and 4×4 only. The weather plays an important role as well. The rainy season from January to April can make driving a lot more difficult. You might have to navigate along the ragged roads and you could be faced with a river crossing the road mostly Kidepo Valley National Park.
There are also great distances between towns and many of the roads are less than busy, so it might be a while before help arrives. The best thing is to be well prepared which obviously includes driving the right vehicle.
4×4 or 2-Wheel-Drive
Choosing a vehicle depends on your destinations, your budget, driving skills and the amount of people and equipment you’re carrying. Traveling into a 4×4 country also means that you will have to be self-reliant at least to a certain degree. Make sure you have enough room to stock up on food and petrol and also find out how far a full tank will take you. If you want to find remote 4×4 destinations consider the Kidepo National Park
The tarmac roads in the countries enhance easy transportation from one place to another especially when on holiday vacation adventure in East Africa. There are also dirt roads that are maintained to ensure easy transfers to the destinations of your choice. However, ensure not to forget the following Essential tips while driving in any destination of your choice in Africa.
- Rent/Hire a spacious 4×4 Car
While traveling to any destination of your choice in East Africa and are going to spend more time/days while on vacation, ensure to book a well spaced 4×4 wheel drive to enhance comfortable travel to the various safari destinations of your choice. The car will allow you to rest and enjoy every point of your adventure since you will be traveling for long hours. This will give you enough leg room as well to relax.
- Follow Driving Rules
Ensure to know the Driving rules in the country for these will make it easier for you to transfer from one place to another through out the regions in your country. For example some countries drive on the left hand side where as others on the right. Follow the road signs as well so as not to get into any accidents for this will enable you transfer to the destination of your choice safely.
- Carry your Valid Driver’s Permit
In order to enjoy traveling along the roads in Africa , ensure to carry your valid driver’s license so as to travel conveniently along the roads. You won’t be penalized by the police as long as you have the right documents to allow you to travel to any destination of your choice. These should be international to enable you transfer along the roads in any country.
- Over taking Precautions
When traveling to any destination of your choice and you wish to overtake any vehicle, ensure to indicate to the car/ driver in front of you that you want to overtake them for if you don’t you might get into an unexpected accident.
- Carry the right Gadgets
While transferring to the various safari destinations of your choice ensure to carry a GPS to direct you along the different routes in the country as well as travel maps.
- Fuel/Gas Stations
Many countries around the continent have fuel stations where you can fill up your tank before transferring for your remarkable safari adventure experience. The fuel is affordable to all kinds of travelers transferring on holiday vacation.
- Watch for Wildlife – There is a lot of wildlife crossing roads in East African Countries mostly Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. It is obviously not the most desirable thing to collide with any living creature, but having wildlife crashing into the driver’s cabin might cause more than a guilty conscience.
- Pace Yourself – Sharp corners, potholes, and the wildlife might call for sudden changes in direction, which are even harder to manage on gravel roads. So slow down and enjoy the ride.
- Mind Your Weight – Clearance and manoeuvrability are major issues and both are affected by overloading. So make sure you have the right sized vehicle for whatever you need to carry.
- Tire Pressure – If you go into 4WD terrain it is advisable to slightly reduce tire pressure. Just make sure to bring a pump and restore the status quo when you get back onto tarred roads.
- Lights On – Driving on dry gravel roads might get you caught in a cloud of dust. Switching on your lights might not increase your visibility but I will allow other drivers to see you.
- See the Signs – Speed limits and warning signs are there for a reason. To comply with the instructions, it’s that simple.
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