Kampala - Post Report Question and Answers

What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Buy one here. It can take ages to get your car registered. A four wheel drive vehicle with high clearance is key. Many people drive Toyota Prados of varying vintages. - Jun 2022

Uganda’s traffic keeps left. If you do not mind having a driver seat on the opposite side, bring yours from the States. You can buy used cars from local used car dealerships, can order used cars from Japan, or buy from other expats. Be careful, some used cars will have unpaid traffic tickets and you will inherit them. I highly recommend Toyota and high clearance vehicles for traveling out to the countryside or being able to go through the water during the rainy season. Potholes can be deep and big. It is best to have bull bars on your car. Van Taxis and Boda could hit your car and that will prevent damage to the body of your car. If you can put bars over lights, it will protect them, too. Some people put brackets on the side mirrors from getting them stolen. I have heard others put small holes on plastics on light covers, so that when thieves try to pop and steal, the plastic would shatter. Keep your vehicle locked and do not have your windows open. Any small opening is an invitation of theft when you stop. I do not recommend bringing a low-clearance vehicle. It would have a hard time going over high humps, go over the potholes. Large vehicles have more chances to save your life. - Dec 2021

4x4. One you don't care too much about. Toyota is king here. Likely won't have a hard time finding parts or mechanics. There is very little burglary or car jacking risk, but it does happen from time to time. If you lock your doors while driving and keep your windows rolled up when sitting in traffic, you'll be fine. - Aug 2020

One that you can rely on, mechanics here, in my opinion, are awful. The roads are beyond terrible and the drivers here - well, let’s just say I feel sure there is no test for a license and I don't think most drivers even have one. You can drive to a number of safari lodges and you’ll want a reliable four wheel drive SUV. - Nov 2019

4x4 with clearance. The roads are in bad shape (potholes or unpaved in many areas + treacherous rain and poor drainage). - Oct 2019

Four-wheel drive and right-hand drive. You are permitted to bring left-hand drive but I can't imagine how one would drive a car like that on these roads with this traffic. - Mar 2019

A four-wheel drive vehicle for out of town/off-road driving, and something with sufficient ground clearance for Kampala. Sedans not recommended. The sleeping policemen and mammoth potholes will simply tear your low-clearance vehicle apart. Some of the roughest roads in the country are in the capital city. Car jacking not yet an issue (though there have been attempts.) Smash and grab from the passenger seat while stuck in traffic seems much more common. Keep your windows up, doors locked, and awareness of your surroundings. - Feb 2019

SUV. Very high ground clearance is critical. I've not used 4x4 since arrival, but I have driven through Kampala city roads so flooded the water washed over the hood of our Prado. And the potholes can swallow a bus. Even Rav4s seem to sit way too low. There is every kind of car on the road out there, and people are making it work, but I wouldn't recommend anything nice (it's like bumper cars out there, with motorcycles and whatnot always hitting and dinging your car), or anything without good ground clearance. Burglary of car mirrors, radios, dashboards, door locks, and such is very, very common. - Jan 2019

Toyota, Land Rover, and Mitsubishi are the most common vehicles. It would be best to bring/purchase an SUV of one of these brands. - Dec 2018

Definitely a high ground clearance SUV, the roads are in bad shape. - Dec 2018

A high clearance vehicle is a must, as we have not found the roads in Kampala to be good. The high-clearance is also helpful for trips outside of Kampala to the national parks. Toyota Prados seem to be the most popular. You can purchase a vehicle from outgoing embassy employees for a higher price or you can order one from Japan like we did. I have heard of several stories from people who purchased cars from outgoing embassy employees and they turned out to not be worth the price; do your research and negotiate if you need to purchase a car from someone who is leaving. There are several reputable Japanese companies that ship vehicles to Uganda. - Oct 2018

A car that is prepared to off road on city streets. We have tons of potholes and the streets flood up to 3 feet deep or so in some areas. There are a lot of car break ins and people will also steal little things from the outside of the car if they aren't riveted. - Sep 2018

An SUV is the only acceptable choice. Nothing nice! It could get broken into or hit by a motorcycle tax car regularly trying to maneuver through traffic. The potholes here are the worst I’ve ever seen and roads are awful in my opinion. - Sep 2018

You MUST have a rugged 4x4 vehicle. A regular car will be destroyed here. If you plan on traveling out to the national parks, and I HIGHLY recommend you do, bring a good 4x4 off road vehicle with high clearance and either all-terrain or mud tires. Most people buy locally imported vehicles such as the Toyota land cruiser or Prado. We brought our Jeep Rubicon and LOVE it here; it's perfect to explore far off road on safari in all weather. Roads in the city of Kampala are filled with deep potholes, and I have seen water up to my hood twice on the road to my home. - Aug 2018

4X4 - not only to get through the potholes in the city but Uganda also has some amazing game parks (anywhere from 4-8 hrs drive from kampala) where use of 4X4 is advisable. Do not bring a car that doesn't have high clearance. Do not bring an American made/brand car as you will have trouble finding replacement parts. - Jun 2018

If at all possible, you will want a high-clearance SUV even for in the city. There are massive potholes and major rain storms. I would bring or buy a beater that you don't mind it getting dinged up because it will no matter how careful you are. Most everyone has a Toyota, so that is probably the easiest to get serviced. Unfortunately, it seems like the brand most likely to get parts stolen off it as well. Crime is an issue. We are advised to drive with windows up and doors locked. There has been one carjacking in the embassy community in the year that I have been here. - Jun 2018

Toyota for parts. You need a 4wd or a 4x4. It is worth it to bring tires with you if possible. You will need to replace them while you are here. Air filters are replaced regularly too and the good mechanics seem to charge inappropriately for them. - Aug 2015

Must have a high-clearance, all-terrain vehicle. Even the roads in high-income residential areas are terrible. Potholes the size of an entire vehicle are common. - Jun 2014

SUV! There are pot holes galore. Uneven roads, spot flooding, and you will need an SUV type if you go on trips! Toyota, Mitsubishi, and then maybe Nissan are recommended. They do have a Jeep dealer and parts are expensive for all types. You can save by shipping the part in yourself. If bringing your own vehicle, it's recommended to bring a clean set of tires. Your vehicle WILL get dinged up in traffic. There is no stopping that. - Oct 2013

4x4 was a must for us, although you see lots of sedans here. The road conditions are poor, and if you get stuck in the rain you might be in trouble with a low-clearance vehicle. Toyota (we have an old Land Cruiser Prado) is the easiest to get parts for around here. Don't get anything you won't mind getting dinged a few times. Traffic is crazy and driving is a full contact sport. - Mar 2013

High clearance 4X4. Toyota Prados are the favorite. Even in the city it is good to have a 4X4. - Sep 2009


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