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Tips for Renting a Car for an East African Safari

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African Safari Vehicle

Wondering about renting a car for a trip through different countries in East Africa? While some think this isn’t possible, it’s actually very possible to do. One of the new entrants to car travel, Self Drive East Africa makes it easy to rent a car from one country and cross into another for a safari. However, you must plan ahead and follow some guidelines prior to doing this.


Passport and visas

You can buy an East African passport that permits you to visit Uganda, Rwanda, or Kenya. For Tanzania and Burundi you need a separate visa for each of these countries. You may also need other travel documents other than your passport like a national identity card to be permitted entry into some countries.


International driver’s permit/national driver’s license

An international driver’s permit or national driver’s license are must-haves if you plan to drive in a foreign country. In most East African countries, you’ll be allowed to drive using your country’s driving license for a period not exceeding 90 days. Therefore, if you’re looking to rent a vehicle for a period beyond three months, it’s important to acquire an international driving license. Note: An English driver’s license is recognized in Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Kenya.


Letter of authority

For any plans to rent a car in East Africa and drive across borders, you need a letter from a car hire agency or company. This letter is addressed to the different immigration authorities within the East African countries. Please make sure that if you’re crossing more than one border that you have a letter for each entry zone.

South African Safari Vehicle
Photo: South African Tourism

Car registration

You also need a certified copy of the car’s registration to present at a border station for you to be allowed to cross over with a rental car. The registration copy should be accompanied with a letter from the company authorizing you to take a car across the border area and should have dates included.


Talk with your agency before booking

If you’re planning to travel beyond borders, it’s important to inform the rental agency about your travel plans. Although some car rental companies do permit border crossing with its vehicles, most do not allow this.


Be aware of the surcharge

If you plan to hire a car to travel from Uganda to Rwanda, take note that most car rental companies incur surcharges for border crossing. These fees are meant to cover border crossing insurance fees and regional taxes, among others.


In conclusion, if you have any plans to embark on a road trip across East African borders, be aware of all the rules and regulations before setting out on your journey.

This is a collaborative article.