Safari Etiquette for Self Drivers in Uganda

Are you planning to go on a self drive adventure holiday in Uganda? With a rental car in Uganda, you can easily traverse the country from the north to the south or East to West and explore this beautiful country in length. Here are some of the important points to note when planning a self drive holiday;

  1. Provide space to wildlife to work
    While driving around in your tour car, never get to next to wild animals. It doesn’t matter how stunning the views are! Everyone requires personal space including animals. There is no need to intrude into the wild animal’s home and we need to have respect to these species as they also deserve rights just like humans do. In case you find yourself very close to them, make sure that you make reserve of the car or slow down. Wild animals are never domestic and so it is hard to predict how they behave or ganger towards humans. You can not tell what they are capable of doing and reactions. Offer them adequate space such that they can behave naturally without any threats.
  2. Don’t surround/corner wildlife with your cars
    Almost similar to “provide wild animals space to work” but it is deep. This is best explained with tragic event as described in the book “101 Kruger Tales: Extraordinary stories from ordinary visitors to the Kruger National Park” a story of leopard which was sighted around the campground perimeter fence by a group of visitors in Kruger, South Africa. The tourists were very anxious to view this magnificent specie closely that they were able to surround it against the electric fence with their wall vehicles at the same time the leopard was also eager to leave but had no option instead had to run into the fence where it was electrocuted and died right in front of their eyes. In case you feel that this kind of state can turn to be harmful to wildlife then the best thing is to leave sighting.
  3. Never cause jam/congestion in the wildlife habitat.
    In most cases, tourist become excited especially after sighting lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos or buffaloes basically the big game. While at this point, it is important that you take the interest of other tourists who are also viewing the same species. Most visitors tend to pull over to areas where they sight clearly without minding that they are blocking others from enjoying the same attraction. There are 2 options that you should take note of; first, work your way into the mess, take some photos, view for some minutes and then proceed to another area.  Make sure that you have turned off the car engine once you make a stop to view the wild animals. It is annoying to hear a loud sound of an engine car at a moment when you are concentrating on viewing or taking photos of lions or cheetahs. Secondly, make sure that you park the car in most comfortable distance off from the congestion. Tourists have incredibly short attention spans and immediately the species lays down for ducks behind a bush, they become bored very fast. Like a saying that goes “patience pays thought it pains,” once you become patient, you will certainly have unforgettable views of these amazing biodiversity while in the wild.
  4. Sharing information on wildlife viewing can be the best thing that anyone should do throughout the safari.
    In most instances, when you are alone in the habitat, most vehicles will always stop and inquire from you what you are searching for. In this case, some people tend to be reserved to share the information. They need the viewing wholly for themselves and forgetting that other visitors have also travelled for the same attraction and they equally want the similar stunning views of this remarkable wildlife. Be open and tell others also your sightings and share the tips, by so doing some body’s safari would equally be a memorable trip. This is one way to make safari friends in destination!
  5. Live inside the car at all times
    Across the biggest national parks in Uganda, the rule is that you are not supposed to get out your vehicle.  In case you are caught by the park ranger outside the vehicle, you will perhaps be banned from the park.  In case you get caught by a leopard/lion outside your car, you might not be heard from again. Some areas might be convenient for you to leave the vehicle and this is through the park’s authorities and these points include the picnic points/middle of long bridge. These areas will be clearly signed. In case you don’t see one of these signs, never leave your car.
  6. Never sit on your vehicle window
    Even when the rule is very clear “do not” get out of your vehicle, most tourists still lean out the window to catch clear sighting. Doing this is against the rules of the protected area as most wild animals are used to vehicles. They are famous with how they look like, their sound and how they smell. To several wildlife species in the parks, vehicles are merely harmless part of the landscape. A moving mountain in that case! But once the shape drastically changes the form of a human emerges, it freaks them out. They know something isn’t right and they waste energy and resources’ trying to get to know what is happening or even worse fleeing. Another critical thing with sitting on car window is that you can not know who is watching you at the back leave alone the group mates who came with you on safari but be mindful of lions. Also feeding wildlife may look fun for most humans but this is harmful to their lives. This is dangerous in such way that these species can get used to humans feeding them and in turn become aggressive and start harassing people for food, learn to steal or even bit the people who are not handing food to them.
  7. Slow down while driving around the park
    Most wild animals have lost their lives due to speedy cars because of visitors who feel they are rushing to return to the camp before the gate closes. Each night all tourists must enter the enclosed rest camps before a given time. Overall, this time is always set before sunset such that no one is out driving around after dark. The challenge is that sunset is also the perfect time of the day to take photos of animals in beautiful golden light. With this, you might be attracted to live a bit longer and from no where, you start driving very fast. To avoid this, usually we advise our clients to view the wildlife species around the camp in the evening other than speeding and causing several species to lose their lives.
  8. Never shout at wildlife
    It is not proper for you to make noise in away that the animals can look you and you photograph them. Shouting destabilizes wildlife feeding and reproduction behavior as well as take care of their lives from predators while in the habitat. It is advisable that you allow wild animals under go their behaviors and by so doing you will have amazing photos with the natural wonders of Uganda.
  9. Don’t litter the park
    Just like you take care of your home, you are also required to do the same to these species habitat. Don’t assume that you are wasting food, that food can cost the lives of wildlife given the fact that they get attracted on the road side where cars can knock them down. You need to have a small bag in your vehicle to help you keep all your litter.

In conclusion, for self drive unforgettable experiences with Uganda’s untouched biodiversity in most of its remotest national parks require intending self drivers to observe safari etiquettes as listed above. Doing this will help safeguards you charges that the park management may require you to pay because of breaking driving rules at wildlife trails.