When it comes to exceptional wildlife safaris, Uganda is rated among the ideal tourist destinations in Africa. Uganda tours and trips are never complete without mountain gorilla adventures in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park or game viewing in the wilderness of Kidepo, Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo National Park and not to forget other numerous protected areas with distinct biodiversity for one to catch a glimpse at while in a safari holiday.
Whereas guided safaris are largely preferred in most East African destinations, most tourists who visit Uganda have largely opted car hire services for their self drive tours. Regardless of the high demand for car hire in Uganda, there are several mistakes most travelers make while hiring or renting cars in Uganda and if you plan to rent a car, there is need for you to avoid most of these crucial car hire mistakes as this will save your tem and money while in your amazing tour in untouched destinations in this remarkable country.
First and foremost, forgetting to check the total amount of money to be paid for the car; cheap car hire are not usually perfect for a trip
Different car hire companies set different prices and in most cases, you might be attracted to the prices and yet several items and services are not included in the cost. Usually, the cheapest choice as many have preferred may not be the perfect whether with high access or additional costs especially additional drivers, child seats, fees for drivers at a given age, distance limits, using the car beyond scheduled working hours, returning the car to another area other than the pick up point, crossing international/regional borders, excess insurance.
1. Not verifying your car hire deposit
Ensure that for every deposit that you make is removed from the total cost and shouldn’t appear as a separate, additional cost on your credit card bill.
2. Not reading the contract
Understanding your rights and obligations is vital while hiring a car in Uganda make sure that you always take note of contract details. Never be sacred to inquire about anything that you may not understand prior signing the contract. Don’t sign a contract till you feel that you have understood its contents, terms and conditions. Most importantly, you need to check the excess for damage as it may turn to be expensive for you. Carefully take note of inclusions in the contract for the cost quoted or advertised, the kind of insurance coverage involved and if you will be required to pay additional cost incase of any claim as well, check the insurance policy to certain whether it includes all the drivers who are interested in driving the vehicle, the fuel policy is also very vital to check to know if there is a cost when you don’t bring the vehicle with the fuel that you took the car with. Other things to take note of include the driver policies if the insurance limits on the amount of persons who can drive the vehicle or their age, breakdown policy whether it is fine for you to solve the issue when the car breaks down. Ask the car hire company for details and don’t try to fix the vehicle yourself or do any work without the company’s knowledge. You should also check the return policy, whether there is a charge for bringing back the vehicle to different location other than the one you picked it from. Lastly, cross heck with cancellation policy, find out if there is one and know the requirements.
3. Failing to fill in a car hire damage check sheet
Once you have picked up and returned the vehicle, ensure that you get an employee of the rental company to confirm in writing any damage which is on the vehicle prior driving it. This should also be done when you drop the vehicle to establish that no harm that took place while you drove the car so that you don’t incur costs. There is always a checklist that will be given to you or diagram of the existing exterior damage when you pick the vehicle. Where possible you can come up with your personal list and make sure it is signed. This however, can save you from paying additional costs for damages.
Most importantly, check the car’s equipments with lights, air conditions, tyres, windscreen, dents on the outside of the vehicle; make sure you check all these and establish that they are in the right order prior setting off for safari. For personal safety, there are crucial car safety tips to take note of no matter where you will be heading to.
4. Not checking where you are to travel
One of the most crucial car hire advise where you should establish whether there are restrictions on the distance that are to cover in the rental period, crossing the border countries if it is permitted and there is need for an international driver’s permit/additional documentations in a nation you to hire the car.
5. Returning the vehicle beyond agreed time
It is not the best thing to bring back a car outside scheduled business time as you won’t find anyone to establish that there are no damages. In case you are to do this, ensure that you take photos indicating the state of the vehicle which may serve as evidence that there was no harm that occurred within the car hire period. Give yourself adequate time to go through the vehicle and don’t leave it to the last minute to bring it back. This will however save you from paying additional charges for car damages.
In conclusion, there are various car hire mistakes to avoid in Uganda, some of which include returning the car beyond working/business hours, not checking where you are to go, refusing to read the contract details, not filling the car hire damage sheet, forgetting to check the sum of money to be paid for car hire among others. Avoiding these mistakes is one way to protect you from additional costs that result from car damages while in your safari in Uganda.