What you should know about safari tour vehicles in the COVID-19 pandemic

Following the Presidential address on COVID-19 held on Sunday, June 6, 2021, guidelines on the use of safari tour vehicles. All domestic and international tourists will be required to adhere to the following guidelines effective June 10, 2021; 

  • All tourist vehicles must be licensed by the Ministry of Works and Transport and attached to tourism companies registered and licensed by Uganda Tourism Board.
  • All tourists are encouraged to carry their detailed travel itineraries, especially for inter-district routes.
  • All tourist guides accompanying tourists must carry their identification.
  • Tourists are encouraged to carry proof of payment for accommodation and tourist activity fees such as; national park entrance fees and permits where applicable.
  • COVID-19 SOPs must be adhered to in tourist vehicles with attention to social distancing, wearing of masks, and sanitizing.

With those points out of the way, let’s dive into the main topic of the day. The best Safari tour vehicles in Uganda.

Coming to Uganda on a business trip the best activity to do in your spare time is go for a safari tour. The same is the case with those planning to go on vacation nothing makes enjoyment sense like going on a safari. With the sun getting brighter and the winds getting warm, Africa is welcoming its warm green Christmas season, a time perfect for an African safari. Uganda safari tour should be one of every passionate travelers’ wish list for life’s great adventures. Having fun in the fresh air can be amazing. A well-planned tour using a 4×4 safari vehicle makes a great difference for the trip. However, before you hit the road, do you know what kind of vehicle best suits your safari tour or the best way to hire a safari vehicle? Here is a guide on the best Uganda Safari vehicles for the festive season.

Landrover defender 4X4

safari tour landrover defender

The Land Rover Defender is a favorite among safari tours and people interested in other tours. Okay, so its road manners leave a lot to be desired, and, despite several updates designed to add a bit of marketing sparkle and keep it relatively fresh, its styling hasn’t changed much since it was first launched. Indeed, it hasn’t much changed since that original concept was unveiled in 1948. It is, however, a very capable off-roader. Engine options are mostly confined to diesel. Early models came with a 107bhp 200TDi shared with the Discovery and Range Rover of the time, before being modified in 1994 to become the 11bhp 300TDi. These engines are well-liked for their durability, but each is undoubtedly loud and unrefined compared with more modern diesel engines. Still, at least they provide the Defender with enough go to get up to speed briskly.

From 1998, a newly developed 122bhp TD5 engine replaced the 300TDi and powered all Defenders until a 120bhp 2.4 engine was installed from Ford. These are the ones to go for if you regularly drive on the motorway because they come with a six-speed gearbox to improve fuel economy and refinement at speed. In 2012, a 122bhp 2.2 diesel was fitted that gets a diesel particulate filter (PDF) that made the Defender Euro-5 emissions compliant.

The Defender is far more at home in the safari tour than it is on the open road, though, because the ride is fidgety and unsettled at speed, and to the uninitiated, it can feel unpredictable and nervous. 

Don’t expect much in the way of luxury. The dashboard is utilitarian, despite featuring buttons and switches from the larger Discovery SUV, and the driving position is so cramped that you’ll be forced to lower the window if you want somewhere to put your elbow.

Still, it’s not all bad news, because there’s enough space for a couple of adults in the back, as long as you go for one of the larger, 110 models.

The compelling figures that make the Defender stand out are its off-road ones, though.  This is a car that will tackle a 45deg slope going forwards or backward. It will wade through water half a meter deep without modification and traverse a 35deg hill. Its approach and departure angles are each an astounding 47deg. 

These extraordinary stats combine with its huge ground clearance and compact wheelbase to give rock-hopping qualities most alleged people on safari tours simply couldn’t imagine. Low-range gearing, not switchable traction control (optional with ABS) and differential locks complete the picture.

Don’t take those on-road criticisms to mean that you shouldn’t rent a Land Rover Defender. Just bear in mind that this is a car for going off-road – a car for safari tours, jungles, and deserts. It may look outdated next to modern 4x4s, but very few vehicles can match its sheer talent for going anywhere and everywhere.

If you’re interested in renting a safari tour Defender, or any of the other large SUVs mentioned here, visit Upcruise car rental service to find lots of cars listed for rent at a great price.

Landcruiser 4X4

safari tour landcruiser

A safari tour and the morning school run do have several things in common if you think about it. The roads taken in both cases will be crumbling and full of potholes, there’ll be a long convoy of cars taking very important people to the same place and parking will be at a premium when they get there. Examples of large SUVs that can cope with both scenarios are few, but there is one that’s perfectly suited to either situation: the Toyota Land Cruiser.

Now it’s in its fourth generation, the Land Cruiser is a mainstay of traditional body-on-frame off-roaders, that also have long-travel suspension that’s perfect for keeping the tires in contact with the ground while traversing arduous terrain.  There isn’t much to trouble a Land Cruiser off the beaten track.  

The land cruiser was originally powered by a 3.0-liter diesel engine with 188bhp that could be had with either a five-speed manual or automatic. After the first of two facelifts, the engine was changed for a slightly smaller 2.8-liter diesel with 175bhp to help with emissions. A six-speed automatic and manual were both added to improve fuel economy, too.

If you’re interested in a Land Cruiser and hoping that it will be a refined and civilized vehicle, think again. When compared with rivals, the Land Cruiser is a big and willowy beast that would rather travel through fields than stick to the Tarmac that snakes around them. The slow steering is vague; the long-travel suspension has the car pitching in bends and when accelerating or braking and the engine and gearbox are tuned for better driveability at low speeds rather than outright performance, so it can be quite slow.

None of this will matter to those who are after a reliable mud plugger; they’ll be much more interested in the Land Cruiser’s off-road tech. Further up the food chain is air suspension and multi-terrain select (similar to Land Rover’s Terrain Response), which allows you to adapt the drive modes to suit the surface you’re driving on.

Rav4 4X4

safari tour Rav4

The RAV4 has been described as the offspring of a Toyota Landcruiser and a Ford Fiesta XR2, and that pretty much sums it up. It drives like a hot hatch but looks like an off-roader.

The truth, though, is that it’s much more of a hot hatch. Although it has full-time four-wheel drive, this is no Land Rover away from the Tarmac. There are no low-ratio gears, for example. On the other hand, no other 4×4 handles as well on the road. It’s crisp through the bends, with little body roll, rides pretty well, and is great fun.

The three-door version is the most fun to rent, but rather cramped in the back. So, families will prefer the larger five-door model, which gives you useful extra space and practicality but without losing too much of the enjoyment.

Super custom

Read more about the super custom here