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Driving in Uganda

Our faithful cross-country vehicles
Our faithful cross-country vehicles
If you thought that driving in L.A., Seattle or New York was bad, you should take a turn in Uganda! The only other place I've seen driving like this was in Guatemala, where at least everything is still located on the left side as it is in the United States! In Uganda, not only do you have to overcome the hurdle of the steering wheel and traffic flow occurring on the right side of the vehicle, but you also have to get used to the fact that any and all road rules are not be obeyed or enforced. Stop signs, stop lights, lane markers, and other items are all viewed more as suggestions than as rules, and therefore it creates an environment where everyone can do whatever they like so long as they don't hit someone else. While I was in country, I witnessed drivers, motorcyclists and even young kids jump out in front of oncoming traffic to try and work their way through, or travel down the middle of the lane in a foot of free space in order to bypass the traffic jam. Drivers here be very cautious to watch their space on all sides, as most vehicles will pass within inches of each other going full speed, and it appears to just be 'normal' driving. We hired a driver (a very capable and very safe driver), who was incredible at navigating the roads and keeping us safe. We experienced many close calls, but after a day or two, realized that this is just the normal. I would strongly recommend anyone considering visiting that they use hired drivers as opposed to trying to rent a car and do it themselves, especially if you plan to drive in the city.

Outside of the city, the jams and congestion are not quite as bad, therefore other drivers tend to obey the road signs and stay within the lanes better. We used landcruiser vehicles to cross the terrain, as occasionally you will find yourself on a nice stretch of concrete that suddenly turns into massive potholes and dirt road for a while before converting back to a nice tarmac. All in all, we are grateful that we were able to rent the vehicles and find the driver capable of keeping of us safe in the country.

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