Uganda is one of Africa’s most beautiful countries. With its dense foggy forests, snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lakes, and vast savanna, it’s no wonder Winston Churchill called this wonderful country the “pearl of Africa.” Mountain gorillas attract many visitors, but there are a surprising number of unique attractions.
It’s best to tour yourself around the country in the comfort and satisfaction of a car. Before we jump behind the wheel, let’s discuss driving eligibility in Uganda.
What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driving Licence (IDL)?
An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is recognized by 141 countries worldwide and is valid for one year.
On the other hand, an International Driving License is not a legal document and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.
How can I get my IDP?
You can apply for an IDP through our website. A digital IDP takes up to 2 hours to land in your inbox. Alternatively, if you want a faster processing time, you can choose an Express Order, in which you will receive your IDP in 20 minutes.
A printed IDP can be delivered to your doorstep, with the estimated delivery date varying between 2-30 days, depending on the selected delivery method.
United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic
An IDP is issued by organizations authorized by the United Nations. They comply with the United Nations road traffic conventions. There have been three international conventions on motor vehicle traffic – in 1926 (Paris), 1949 (Geneva), and 1968 (Vienna). Many countries have committed to treating the IDP as a valid document in all conventions.
Benefits of Carrying an International driving permit in Uganda
Functionality as an ID
The IDP is a handy travel document as it acts like an identity document. This is useful if you want to keep your passport locked for security reasons. An IDP can be used in place of a national identity card, especially if your national identity card is in a language not used internationally.
Traffic authorities stop will be faster
Some countries allow you to use a foreign license for a specific time. This is aimed at promoting tourism and reducing inconvenience for tourists. However, it can be difficult for the traffic police to decipher the driver’s information on your license when stopping. Having an IDP ensures that the police can quickly record your details and send them your way. This is especially useful in emergencies and road accidents.
Car rental company
Foreign companies may hesitate to lease vehicles to foreigners without an international driver’s license. An IDP is a legal document recognized by the United Nations; most domestic and international car rental companies recognize it as a valid driver’s license. It can also save you precious vacation time and unnecessary delays when dealing with rental companies.
Renew your International Driving Permit or original driver’s license in Uganda
Renewing your original driver’s license
As an IDP is not a stand-alone document for driving in any country, you must have a valid, unexpired driving license to show if requested. If your license expires while you are abroad, you will be required to renew it to keep driving in that country. The procedure for renewing a license differs widely by country. License renewal may include a vision test that cannot be done online, meaning you must return to your country of origin to renew your license. Most governments provide an online license renewing service for expatriates.
Renewing your IDP
You can renew your IDP online through our website. The procedure will be as straightforward as your original application, landing in your inbox in as little as 20 minutes, depending on your chosen delivery option.
An IDP provides a way to rent a vehicle abroad regardless of state. Some rental agents require you to obtain an IDP before letting them rent your car. Sometimes, people who travel abroad don’t even know they should have an IDP until they arrive at that destination.
Car Rental in Uganda
Ensure you have a valid original driver’s license and passport / national ID card. If you plan to cross the border, you must bring your IDP. You will be prompted to send a scanned copy of all the above IDs. This is stored in the car rental customer record for security reasons.
Many car rental companies in Uganda can provide you with the car you need while traveling domestically. Depending on the number of people you bring, each company’s vehicle may be the same, but prices and services may vary. Car Rental Uganda and Road Trips Uganda is just one of the car rental companies you can count on if you need a car to travel around the country.
Be sure to read the Ugandan car rental agreement carefully before driving and check your rental agreement carefully before you leave to avoid unnecessary charges after the rental is returned. Return your rental car on time according to the contract to avoid additional costs. If you want to extend your rental car contract in Uganda, you must notify the staff before the last day of rental.
Driving rules in Uganda
Driving can often be a challenge in new countries. Fear not; driving in Uganda is safe. Just be aware of the development because the roads are not as polished as larger areas. Some roads are still in development. As with almost all other countries, road traffic laws must be considered to prevent unnecessary inconveniences. Having a good understanding of the traffic laws in other countries helps avoid travel delays.
Make sure never to forget to bring your IDP as it is required in Uganda to drive as a visitor (although English is used for the instruction of Ugandans, Swahili has always been the preferred language by locals – therefore, it remains wise for drivers to apply to get an IDP)
Driving under influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in Uganda
If you plan to rent a car, you must be a minimum of 23 years old and have a valid IDP
In case of an emergency, you can call 999
Driving while on the phone is prohibited
The speed limit along the Uganda highway is 100 km, 80 km outside the city center, but the speed limit of 50 km near the city center must be respected
The driver and all passengers must always wear a seat belt
Motorcyclists must wear a protective helmet
Do not attach the rear-facing infant carrier to a seat protected by an active front airbag
When you come to an intersection, you have to give way to traffic from the right
Top 5 destinations to visit in Uganda
From its tropical weather ideal for adventures to meeting and observing various animal species, Uganda is a miracle that many travelers choose as their travel destination.
Basuki Royal Tombs
Visiting the city of Kampala can also be regarded as a highlight especially for families! Discover its history through museum jumping! Take part in the Kasubi Sacred Tomb, where Bugandas royal king was buried. This area was declared by UNESCO as an important symbol of the African culture of Africa and is believed to be a spiritual center of the people of Buganda. The area retains the tradition and the culture of Buganda, which is one of the main factors behind the site’s spiritual significance. One great feature of this place is its main tomb.
Murchison Falls National Park
The Murchison National Park in the northeast of Uganda is the largest national park in Uganda, measuring 3893 hectares. The area is about 3893 sq kilometers. Except for the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, it has been regarded as one of the most popular destinations for all nature enthusiasts. It’s a great tourist attraction as the river comes from the world’s longest flowing river, the Jinja – a giant. In this water, many different animals – including hippos and crocodiles frequent to drink and bathe.
Uganda National Cultural Center in Kampala
What’s more inspiring than reading about a nation’s historical past? The Uganda National Cultural Center will help you learn about how locals make Uganda a fantastic country. Enjoy live music workshop performances or other activities available to UNCC members in any form. In addition, there is an informal gathering outside UNCC.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forests National Park
Nature lovers will appreciate Bwindi Impenetrable Forests National park. It has a vast ecosystem and contains hundreds of thousands of different species. Conservation of all endangered species is an effective means to ensure that Uganda remains a natural haven for many species on earth.
Kidepo valley National park
Uganda’s most isolated national park is located in the wild frontier region of Karamoja. It has a Savannah landscape that extends far beyond the gazetted area, towards horizons outlined by distant mountain ranges.
The Narus valley in Kidepo has a variety of wild animals such as lions, Jackson’s hartebeest, buffaloes, giraffes, oribis, and reedbucks. The Kanangorok Hot Springs, located 11k m beyond the Kidepo River, offers a glorious place to sit and view the mountains beyond the frontier. Kidepo Valley National park was nominated for World Travel Awards 2017 in the Category of Africa’s leading National park against the others like Masai Mara in Kenya & Serengeti in Tanzania, and many others.
Rwenzori is the highest mountain range in Africa, surpassing Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya, with Africa’s third and fifth highest mountains from a distance.
Giant heather and colorful moss cover the hillside with giant lobelia and “eternal flowers,” creating a fascinating fairy-tale environment. The Rwenzori Mountains are a great place for hiking and mountaineering.
A 9-12 day trek will take experienced climbers to the summit of Mt. Stanley, the highest peak, but short, non-technical hikes are available to scale the surrounding summits. Rwenzori is open all year round and is located in four districts of western Uganda: Kasese, Bundibugyo, Toroko, and Kabarole. The Rwenzori Mountains National Park is home to 18 species of mammals, 217 species of birds, 9 species of reptiles, and 6 species of amphibians. The nearest towns of Fort Portal and Kasese offer budget and mid-price accommodation for most visitors hiking Rwenzori Mountains.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I get an International Driving Permit for Uganda?
You can apply for an IDP through our website. The application form will take no longer than 25 minutes to complete, and you can receive your IDP in your inbox in as little as 20 minutes, depending on your chosen delivery method.
Can I drive in Uganda with a foreign license?
Yes, however, it must be accompanied by an IDP.
What to do in case of an emergency when in Uganda?
Emergency numbers are 999 and/or 112
What are the road conditions in Uganda?
Road conditions in Uganda are very good by African standards. All major roads from Kampala to all corners of the country are smooth for a drive.
What side of the road to drive in Uganda?
The driving side of Uganda is on the left side of the road
Are there any off-limit places in Uganda?
When driving in Uganda, there are no restricted areas.