Self-drive safaris are becoming popular activities for visitors with in Uganda. Despite of the many challenges that tourists face especially during first time driving in Uganda due to old cars, insecurity, poor and narrow roads, among others. Uganda has been one of the countries in Africa that have diverse bio-conservation areas offering various activities to the visitors.
These conservation areas are experiencing an increase in visitation by tourists. Some of the major conservation areas in Uganda include; Bwindi impenetrable national park, Kidepo valley national park, Mgahinga national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Murchison Falls national park and among others with numerous game reserves.
These national parks are on high demand which makes it always difficult for other visitors to access them because sometimes the numbers of visitors to a particular national park is regulated for example Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks regulate numbers of visitors through restricted number of gorilla permits sold out per day.
Despite a self drive to these parks, these parks are situated in different locations meaning that some are easily accessed than others. It is therefore important to know where you are heading to and some of the possible requirements for the road you are taking.
Fast and foremost, if you are to have a Uganda self drive safari to Mugahinga national park, you must have a gorilla trekking permit. You can book it directly from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or you can tel your car rental agency to book for you the permits. Without a gorilla trekking permit, you can not trek the gorillas. A gorilla permit costs USD600.
Here are some check out tips for a self drive safari to Mgahinga Gorilla national park which is one of the national parks located in south western part of Uganda at the edge of Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda boarder. Some of the best things to know during a self-drive safari to Mgahinga national include;
Always don’t forget to thoroughly check the car before embarking on the safari. At least the car should have good tyres and atleast one spare tyre available in good conditions. A safari to Mgahinga national park is a long journey, and therefore water levels should be thoroughly checked, oil, wiper blades and check for any leakages. Don’t forget to see the service tag to show you when the car was last serviced.
Night driving during a safari to Mgahinga national park is prohibited because the park is in a rural setting where the roads don’t have street lights and there is a possibility of robbers attacking you, meaning that some of the places are not 100% secure and possibly can’t get assistance in case of a problem at night.
Using the road maps and GPS is a must, because it is challenging for visitors to drive in a foreign country where they have never been before. The company will help you out of this because the trip to Mgahinga national park is completely out of Kampala to a real beautiful country side that has the beautiful scenery and covered with ever green vegetation. Here is only an interaction between you and nature.
Following traffic laws during a self-drive safari is a concern to save travelers from danger, for example, reading road signs, don’t drink and drive, wearing the seat belt and advise the rest of the members to do the same because it may attract extra charges on the road. You will definitely find some of the road signs on your way to Mgahinga Gorilla National park.
It is always unbelievable for one to drive all the way from Kampala to Mgahinga national park without a break. So as you take your self- drive safari, please break the journey from any of the towns on the way like in Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale and even Kisoro where the park is situated. These breaks can be for refreshing, eating, and re-filling the car because there are no fuel stations in the park since distances tend to be so long.
Weather is something that should be considered. Weather changes greatly affect the condition of roads, which means speed control is a must while driving especially during bad weather. In most parts of Uganda, roads, especially murram roads tend to be slippery because of too much rain, and it’s always the worst with dusty and potholes during dry seasons. Roads in the country sides of Uganda are narrow so a self- driver should also bear this in mind.
Mgahinga national park has some rules and regulations that guide drivers when driving with in the park for safety purposes. Among these regulations, include over speeding in the national park and this calls for a fine of up to 100,000 UGX and 150 US Dollars for off tracking in the park. These are some of the tips that a visitor interested in undertaking a self- drive to Mgahinga national park should consider before embarking on this memorable trip.