Do you have thoughts of renting a car during your Uganda safari, then handing over the keys to someone else to drive away? It’s undeniable that you would wish and be willing to do such a favor for an employee, family member or close friend but do you know it also has potential risks? While it seems easy as simply walking to the Uganda car rental company with your credit card, rent a car then hand over the key to someone else, it’s actually not straightforward.
On a technical perspective, it is literally impossible to rent a car for someone else because you won’t pay for renting it with your credit card and instead have someone else to sign the contract then go with the car. It is a known fact that cars are expensive in Uganda and it is also common knowledge that like any other contract, the Car Rental contract is legal. Most Companies will require your identification and have your signature as a way of strengthening the legal agreement. In so doing, you clearly understand who is responsible for whatever happens to the car.
However, not all hope is lost because you can actually add the additional driver to the Car rental contract. One thing you should always keep in mind is that if another person (not the one that rented and signed agreement) gets involved in an accident, you will be in for big trouble. First, whatever insurance or damage waiver will be voided automatically. This then means that you are financially responsible for the damage costs and sometimes even more. The other driver (unfortunately) can deny using the Rental car because he/she didn’t sign the contract (but rather you), hence leaving you in the mess.
Not renting Car for someone else during a Uganda road trip not only protects the Car rental Company but also you. If renting a car with a credit card that didn’t match with your identity was easy, then it would have also been very easy to identify theft.
The following are the ways you can rent a car for someone else;
Include the other person on the Car Rental contract as the “additional driver”
If the other person is a close and trusted friend or trusted family member, then it would be difficult for you. Both of you will be required to be at the booking office to sign some documents and even present valid Identification. The other party will be added as an additional driver, as long as he/she meets the necessary criteria like being of age and possessing a valid driver’s license. You will be the primary driver and the other person additional driver, but you will still be legally responsible for anything that happens to the Rental Car. However, some companies charge additional fee for adding another driver on the Rental agreement.
Call directly and explain to the Car Rental Company
While renting a car for someone is never accepted, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to call the Car Rental Company to explain your situation, so that they can find a way to deal with it. Companies are different and the only way to know is asking. Properly read and comprehend their policies before you take a big decision.
Book online and in advance
Car Rental bookings that are done online are a bi flexible and make it possible to rent car for someone else. Simply use your card when making the booking online, so long as you can include the other driver’s name as well as other relevant information during the booking process. When it comes to picking the Car, the card will obviously be required as deposit and should have identification of the primary driver, thus it is important to be present.Read More
Find out what you need to know about the fee rental companies charge if you want to pick up a rental car in one place and drop it off somewhere else. A few Uganda Car hire companies charge a one-way fee to cover the cost of taking the car back to its original location.
Want to rent a car in a location and return it to a different one? How about returning the car in another country? Here’s what you need to know.
Different pick-up and drop-off locations FAQ
Can you return a rental car in a different location?
Yes, you can return the car in a different location. Usually, this is called “one-way rental”. However, please note that, an extra fee may be applied to your reservation.
Does it cost more to return a rental car in a different location?
Usually, rental companies charge a return fee, but it depends on the pick-up and drop-off location, date of reservation, car category and more. A good way to know how much the return will cost is to search for the price of the rental returning the car in the same location and with different pick-up and drop-off locations.
Can you return a car in a different country?
This is most common in Uganda, where crossing borders is fairly easy. Usually, rental companies will let you cross borders with the rental car, but a cross-border fee may be also applied in addition to the one-way rental fee. For example COMESA is paid for two weeks.
As the rules vary a lot depending on the location and the rental company, we always suggest you check the specific policies of each city, country and company.
Can you rent a car without a one-way or return fee?
It’s not common, but it happens. For highly popular road trips, this may be the case. For example, a lot of people rent a car from Uganda and drop it off in Uganda no return fee. Depending on the Company’s policy.
What is a one-way fee in car rental?
A one-way fee is what you pay to pick up a hire car in one place and drop it off somewhere else. Car hire companies charge the fee to cover the cost of taking the car back to its original location.
One-way fees can be charged when you take a car between cities or towns, between airports and between countries.
When will you pay the fee?
You’ll be asked to pay the one-way fee when you pick up your rental car. Most car hire companies ask you to pay the one-way fee using the same credit card you use to leave your security deposit. Some will let you pay the fee with another card.
You’ll pay for the one-way fee at the rental desk, not when you pay for your car. So if you’re renting a car abroad, you might end up paying the one-way fee in a different currency.
How can you get a good deal?
To get the best price, book the trip you’re planning up front. So if you know you’re picking up and dropping off in different places, start your search with them. If you book your hire car using the same pick-up and drop-off location, but then decide to change it, you are likely to pay extra charges.
Look out for all-inclusive deals. Some rental companies may include the one-way fee in the price you pay online for your booking but most don’t include it online so it’s better to ask the car rental Company, so there will be nothing to pay when you pick up your car. You’ll find all the information in the Ts & Cs of the car you’ve chosen.
Changing your plans at the last minute
If you booked a straightforward trip (dropping your car off in the same place you picked it up) but then decide to drop off your car in a different location before your rental starts, you’re likely to pay a price increase for the rental itself.
This is because changes to your trip tend to be made using the latest price, and prices tending to rise the closer it gets to the pick-up day. So, the later the changes, the higher the price of the car. The one-way fee will be charged on top of the rental price, when you arrive to pick up the car.
If you decide to drop off your car in a different place once you’ve picked it up, you’ll be charged a penalty fee rather than just a one-way fee. Penalty fees are always higher, so they are worth avoiding wherever possible.
How to find the one-way fee
When you’re booking a one-way rental, you’ll see references to the fee in a few different places. The first mention of it (how much it is, whether it’s included or not) should be in the list of cars available for the places and dates you’ve chosen.
You’ll see more details about the one-way fee in the Ts & Cs of your deal.
When you pick up your car, you should see the fee mentioned in the paperwork you sign at the counter. You might see the fee referred to by its initials.
On your bank statement, you’ll see this fee as a charge from the car hire company. All the fees they’ve charged will be in one amount. You should see a breakdown of all charges in the paperwork you receive when you pick up and drop off your rental car.
If you’ve been charged a one-way fee but you haven’t done a one-way trip with your rental car, you can fight that charge.
Why are one way car rentals so expensive?
The main factor that causes one way fees too expensive is the distance between destinations. The further your pick up and drop off points are, the more expensive your rental will be. This is because you are essentially rearranging a company’s fleet and they have to determine how much it would be to return the car or rent it out from a different branch. One way prices are also often determined by supply and demand. If you are moving a vehicle from somewhere it is in high demand to a location where it is in low demand, you’ll likely pay a steeper fee.
When do I pay the fee?
One way fees are usually paid at the beginning of your car hire, when you leave your deposit at the rental desk, not online during booking. This means if you are renting a car abroad, the fee may have to be paid in a foreign currency. However, this may not always be the case, so keep a clear record of what you paid ahead a time.
Can I always drop off my rental car at a different location?
No, certain restrictions often apply to one way car hires. Suppliers may only allow you to drop off a rental at select locations due to insurance policies and border-crossing regulations. However, even big name suppliers with hundreds of locations may restrict one way rentals based on demand.
Renting a car to enjoy everything in a city and the road have to offer is always a great choice, but sometimes you’ll find yourself thinking returning the rental car in a different location or country, may be easier than driving back to where you picked it up. Now, can you even return it in a different location? Because of the above currently asked questions.Read More
The Rwenzori Mountains were gazetted as a national park in 1991, recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1994 and a Ramsar site in 2008. These classifications testify to the mountains’ international scientific importance. The word ‘Rwenzori’ roughly translates as ‘Rainmaker’, which clearly illustrates the importance of the mountains to Central Africa.
Rwenzori Mountains, previously called the “Ruwenzori Range” is a mountain range of eastern equatorial Africa, located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). These mountains support glaciers and are one source of the Nile River.
Rwenzori Mountains has the height of 5,109 meters (16,762 ft.). The highest Rwenzori peaks are permanently snow-capped. The Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Virunga National Park are located in the range.
Climbing Mount Rwenzori is one of the tough adventures anyone could undertake in Uganda. The Rwenzori being a mountain range, it means that reaching the top goes through many literal up and down trails. This isn’t the same case for regular mountains where the ascent to the summits means climbing only. What all this means is that Rwenzoris are harder to climb even though the highest peak ranks third in Africa.
Can beginners climb Rwenzori?
Yes! The best Rwenzori climbing experience as a beginner, you should be fully aware of the conditions, seasonal weather patterns, costs, and requirements to prepare yourself for this challenge.
Here are the tips you should know before climbing Rwenzori.
Skill level and age
If you are new to mountain climbing, there’s no need to worry. Although the climb to the mountain’s summit is a multi-day, high-altitude trek, you do not necessarily have to be trained in climbing to get to the top, especially with a tour guide helping you. At the right time of year, the terrain and trail conditions are smooth enough for most committed hikers to reach the peak. One of the few restrictions you’ll find for climbing Mount Rwenzori is age. Only those over the age of 10 can embark on this climb.
Go slow & drink lots of water
One of the most common phrases you will hear on the mountain is “go slow”. When climbing 10 – 20 thousand feet, it is important to pace yourself. The slower you go, the more oxygen you will get in your body and the better you will acclimatize.
Pack the right gear and bring a headlamp & extra batteries
Packing the Right Gear for Rwenzori is essential when climbing. When you are in camp you won’t have any electricity, so it is important to prepare for low light situations. Whether you are camping or staying in the huts, your eating area and bathroom will both be a short walk from where you are sleeping. When it is dark, this can be very difficult if you don’t have a headlamp or other way to light up the path in front of you.
Tipping is optional yet expected
Tipping is a good gesture, but not necessarily, a common practice. When hiking Rwenzori, tipping is a bit different. The crew that takes you up the mountain consists of a lead guide, assistant guide, chef, and a team of porters plays a huge role in the success of your summit, making sure that you take the proper precautions in what you eat, when you sleep, and how much you climb each day. Tipping guides and porters after the hike is important. You are directly helping their families and local communities with your tip.
Booking a Rwenzori guide
If you want to successfully climb the Rwenzoris on your first try, it is worth booking a local tour agency to help guide you along the way. Climbing to an altitude of nearly 5,000 meters is no picnic but can be accomplished by most hikers with the assistance of a guide that knows the terrain and local environment. Here is some knowledge you can expect your guides to be well equipped with.
The terrain and trail conditions of multi-day treks vary especially on the Rwenzoris. That is why having a guide who knows how to approach each evolving landscape will assure you that you are prepared for anything.
As will be mentioned below, the weather on Rwenzori Mountains will vary. Having the insight and experience to approach the contrasting conditions on your way up to the summit will be vital.
You can count on professional guides to give you and each individual on your tour consistent safety checks throughout the expedition. This is to monitor health-risks such as altitude sickness, fatigue, and other mountaineering protocols.
Safety tips for climbing the Rwenzori Mountains
Even if you have all the gear and meet all the requirements for starting your climb up the Rwenzoris, you still need to know a few safety protocols to ensure you have a safe journey. This is why having an experienced tour guide by your side on your first climb is encouraged; they’ll have all the necessary equipment on hand such as emergency oxygen, should an emergency occur. They can also perform regular safety checks and make sure you’re doing well as you climb higher up the mountain.
However, personally looking after your safety is just as crucial; keeping yourself aware and alert throughout the trek will be just as essential to ensure the safety of you and everyone on your trip. Here are some vital safety tips to keep in mind on your journey:
When you are hiking, especially on multi-day, high-altitude treks, you should remember that it is a marathon, not a race. Taking your time and not being in a rush can help you avoid fatigue. Remember, it is the journey, not the destination.
Take frequent breaks
It is much better to stop, take a breath, and relax throughout the day to keep you from burning out in the end. This becomes increasingly important as you get closer to the summit, where the air becomes thinner and the chances of altitude sickness increase with each step.
If you can acclimatize to higher altitudes before beginning your trek, you will feel more fit and prepared for what’s ahead on your way up the top. An excellent way to do this is to arrive at your destination a couple of days earlier and condition yourself with some day hikes.
There is probably nothing more important than staying hydrated on your Rwenzori climb. Frequently drink water throughout the day and while resting in the evening.
Following these safety tips can amount to having a safe and enjoyable experience on any hike, especially when dealing with long-distance treks that reach an altitude as high as Mount Ruwenzori’s.
How to prepare for Mountain Rwenzori Hiking tour
You cannot wake up one day and start hiking mountain Rwenzori. The adventurous venture needs mental and physical preparedness. Firstly, you have to book this tour through any of the companies offering mountaineering services to Rwenzori Mountain.
Rwenzori Mountaineering services are the renowned agent for hiking Rwenzori hiking safaris. More so, ensure to do physical exercises to ensure you are physically fit for this strenuous hike. Among the recommended physical exercises include jogging, walking, hiking and stretch ups among others. Your mind should be ready to conquer his high mountain. A traveler who begins a hike when not mentally ready stands high risks of failing to reach the summit.
Is it safe to climb the Rwenzori Mountains?
Hiking the Rwenzori ranges is absolutely safe. Its records of the past hikers reveals, it is safe since there are less cases of people dying or getting ill from climbing it.
The accommodation facilities like the huts and the rock shelters are well set up in that the adverse climate does not affect people while sleeping at night.
The guides are well trained and also have the basic skills and tool for the first aid treatment in case one gets a healthy problem. The guides also offer briefing to the trekkers on how to hiker the mountains with maximum safety.
The trek trails leading to the ranges are well established with minimum sloppiness and slipperiness.
What to pack for hiking Mount Rwenzori
Undertaking such an adventure is very brave and it is very crucial that you pack all the essential things you will need. Below is an extensive listing of all the things you should pack and why you should carry them for you Rwenzori climbing adventure.
Since hiking Rwenzori Mountain is an extensive activity with the energy being drained and spending several days on this hike, there are specific tools and items a hiker must have to enhance him/her to complete the task. Below are some of the things to pack for a Rwenzori hike:
Clothing: a hiker is required to carry both light and heavy layer clothes for hike due to changing climatic conditions, the lower part of the ranges are hot and the upper part is extremely cold since it is snowcapped. The temperatures can go as low as 0°C. It is advisable to carry water proof clothes like tracksuits, raincoats and the jackets. Gears like beanies, caps and headlamps should also be brought along.
Footwear: the shoes should be hiking boots with enough studs on them to give a hiker enough grip of the ground while trekking on the trails.
Food stuffs: Since it takes days to complete the Hike to the top of Mt Rwenzori and it is energy draining, you need to carry drinking water, energy drinks, canned and dry foods and also snacks like biscuits to eat in order to compensate for the burnt calories.
Backpack and Sleeping Bags: the hiker should have a perfectly sized backpack to carry his/her equipment and also convenient to carry. The sleeping bags must be at hand and this should be rain / water proof. A woolen blanket for covering yourself since it is cold at the Rwenzori ranges.
Other Accessories: there are some things that a person on an adventurous expedition must possess to make the adventure both convenient and interesting. Things like camera, insect repellents, sunglasses, a portable music player and torch among others.
Best Time to Hike the Rwenzori
The dry months of the year are the best time of hiking Rwenzori in Uganda. Therefore two peak seasons of trekking the magnificent ranges are naturally designed. These are the June-October months and from December-February, this is when the routes leading to the peak destinations are dry and passable and also when the sun is out perfect to visibly see the different wildlife species and also other physical features like the glaciers and cliffs.
It is also possible to trek the Rwenzori Mountains in the wet months of November, December, April and May unlike in the past when the hiking amenities on the ranges i.e. the accommodation Huts, the trekking paths and hiking equipment were less developed. Lately, the aforementioned have been improved and well skilled guides are in place for an ultimate hiking safari. However, sometimes the hikers find it a challenge to climb to the top of Mt Rwenzori in the wet season due to the steep, sloppy, slippery and muddy trails when it rains.
Conclusion, if you are interested in Rwenzori Trekking in Uganda, you will be happy to hear that the experience is open to just about everyone. You just have to be prepared and by following the tips offered above, you’ll be ready to cross climbing Mount Rwenzori off your bucket list in no time.Read More
Your home should be a place of rest that shields you from the stress of the outside world. However, deciding whether to buy a home can itself be a stressful decision requiring you set aside every emotion and consider all the pros and cons of that decision. Here are seven thoughts to help take the stress out of the decision making process:
- Change your thinking: If you think that you would be automatically happier in your own house than in a rental, you may need to reconsider. Renting a property provides for a lot of flexibility that owning a house does not. Whether you are single in a bedsitter or a couple in a one bedroom the continued comfort of both yourself and others in your life should be your first concern.
- Who calls the shots: As a tenant, you are always at the mercy of your landlord. You cannot wake him/her up in the middle of the night to come and fix a leaking tap. Does that bother you? If it does then it’s better to own your own place so that you do not have to wait a month with a leaking roof and cracked walls before it warrants your landlord’s attention. That said, if you own you’re responsible for every dripping tap which means getting out the tool box or paying for those repairs!
- Having a place to call your own: Sitting on your front porch knowing that a place is actually is yours is a feeling you can’t beat! As long as you keep up with your mortgage payments, you will not have to worry about being thrown out on the curb or constant rent increases.
- A home can be an investment: If you own your own place you start to build equity for yourself whereas each year that you live in rented apartment, you are growing the equity of the property owner. Equity is the difference between the market price of your house and the amount owed on the mortgage if you sold it. As you pay down your mortgage you gain equity.
- Do you have the cash? Few people can afford to pay outright for a house with cash. This means getting a mortgage and even with a mortgage you will need some money for a deposit and the costs incurred during the transaction. If you’re going to buy you’ll need to plan ahead so that it will be a painless process and remember that it’s never too late to start saving!
- View home ownership as a long-term relationship: If you’re going to buy make sure that you’re in love with your home – no matter what flaws you may discover soon after you move into it. Part of the monthly mortgage repayment goes to servicing your debt and paying interest on your loan. The debt does not decrease simply by the amount you pay each month. Selling your house shortly after buying it could prove costly so be prepared to stay put for a number of years.
- Look before you leap! Buying a house is a big commitment you should consider carefully before you make the decision. It involves serious financial implications that could cause major stress if you misjudge your ability to meet your obligations. If you aren’t prepared to deal with the problems you just might need to hang onto your rented apartment a little while longer.
Whether you chose to rent or buy a home remember a home is what and where you make it.Read More
It’s rare to see a new car on Kampala’s streets as used cars are plentiful and the roads are punishing to old and new alike. In fact, most of the cars which are imported from abroad, usually Japan, and sold as ‘new’ in Uganda are actually already a few years old. If you’re considering a car purchase here are a few things to think through and options for finding that new set of wheels.
It sounds like an obvious place to start, but it’s important to first, consider your price range. This is not just for the car; remember to budget extra for insurance and URA logbook transfer. This will most likely dictate the type of car you are looking for. By the time you consider the cost of insurance (mandatory to keep your car on the road), the cost of logbook transfer and the cost of having a mechanic check the vehicle over and fix any small problems, you are probably looking at 500,000 UGX on top of the price you started with. So if you’re looking to spend six million on a car, you will most likely need to budget 6.5 million.
Now, you’re ready to start looking. But where to look? There are a number of places where vehicles are traded privately. Online, there is The Eye Trade (www.eyetrade.ug), or Google Trader Uganda (http://www.google.co.ug/local/trader) where sellers post their vehicles for sale. Whilst this gives a good picture of what’s available, it’s important to exercise caution – occasionally fake ads are put up.
When you’re looking for a car everyone will ask if you have been to ‘The Bonds’. These ‘bonds’ are actually ‘bonded warehouses’ which are large secured car parks of vehicles which have been imported into Uganda, but have not had the import taxes paid on them. These import duties are paid when the car leaves the ‘bond’, so make sure you are clear on what needs to be paid within the price of the vehicle. And don’t forget to bargain hard! It is normal to come and go many times over months in order to get the price you want. These bonds are found all over Kampala, often around Bugolobi/Industrial Area and up the Jinja Road. It is worth asking friends’/colleagues’ experience of bonds to find one with a good reputation and good stock. Big and well-known ones include Chatha Motors, Al-Malik, Spear and Ramzan.
There are also a number of private car dealers in Kampala. They are usually just guys who either work in the bonds or know people who are selling cars. They make their money by agreeing a percentage cut with the seller and then ‘market’ the car for that person. Obviously, the higher price they get you to agree to the more money they make. Good dealers might know quite a bit about the car they’re selling but often they know very little.
Lastly, a number of sellers post paper ads in public places such as Oasis Mall, Garden City or Quality Hill. Often these are expats leaving the country and wanting to sell their vehicles. This can sometimes result in a good bargain as people are desperate to sell before departing and may be willing to accept a lower price. However, just make sure that it’s not a vehicle with diplomatic/NGO ‘red plates’. These vehicles have not had the import duty paid on them when they are purchased by approved organisations. However when they are then sold on the open market, the duty must be paid on them, and this can add millions to the cost of the car. Be sure to check the duty status!
When reviewing your car options make sure to ask as many questions as possible. A well-informed buyer will be better able to negotiate. Bringing a mechanic or friend who knows about cars to view them is also sensible. In any case, it is wise to have a mechanic look over any vehicle which you are considering purchasing. It is a worthwhile investment since they may spot expensive underlying problems which might not reveal themselves until you drive the vehicle away!
Once you’ve found your vehicle you want to consider a couple of things. Car deals are usually straightforward in Uganda. The buyer stumps the cash. The seller receives it and turns over the keys. Often there’s not even a contract and cars are ‘as is’. From there the seller will also need to transfer the ‘log book’ to you. This can be a process that takes from a few days to several weeks and has little-to-no actual impact on who is driving the vehicle. A new logbook process was initiated in 2012 so any seller that doesn’t have a ‘new’ logbook will have to apply for a new one prior to being able to make a logbook transfer to you. The logbook transfer will mean getting a Tax Identification Number (TIN), if you don’t have one already, and going down to the URA a couple of times unless you pay someone to do this for you – and often they still want to see the seller and/or buyer in person. You will also need to set up a URA account online which is fairly straightforward with the directions the URA gives you but time consuming.
Given the amount of scrapes, knocks and accidents that happen on a daily basis on Kampala’s streets you should drive directly to the insurance office once you get the logbook. Far too many people find they have a terrible accident just when they were going to get insurance. ‘Third Party’ insurance is the minimum legal requirement to keep your car on the road. This can be purchased from all major insurance providers, but also from most petrol stations. Look out for the signs on the forecourts. For ‘comprehensive’ insurance, consider getting quotes from the major suppliers. These include Chartis, Jubilee and UAP. Although the premiums are much more expensive than the third party option, they will cover you for a range of accident repairs, and for vehicle theft.Read More