10 Things Airlines Won’t Tell You

Travelers: Prepare for higher prices and fewer perks

1. “We’re jacking up ticket prices.”

It’s not your imagination. Airfare is getting more expensive. The cost for a domestic roundtrip ticket averaged nearly $356 last year, up 3.6% from a year prior, according to the latest data from Airlines for America, a trade group which represents U.S. carriers. And the rate at which airfare is rising is speeding up: The average ticket price spiked 24% from 2009 to 2012. In contrast, during the four years prior to this period, 2005 to 2008, prices increased by 16.4%.

Holiday travel in particular is becoming costlier. The average price of roundtrip economy tickets sold by the end of September for travel between Dec. 21 and Jan. 1 increased 7.5% from last year to $337 before taxes and fees, according to Airlines Reporting Corp., which processes travel agencies’ ticket sales with airlines. (Data is based on purchases made with travel agencies and third-party travel sites.) These prices reflect tickets bought relatively far in advance; holiday tickets bought on shorter notice cost considerably more.

Airlines say they have to increase prices to keep up with the price of fuel and other costs of doing business—and that despite rising prices, airfare has not kept up with inflation. When adjusted for inflation, the average price of a domestic ticket is actually lower now than it was in 2000, says John Heimlich, chief economist at Airlines for America. However, even when adjusted for inflation, prices are increased 10.3% from 2005 to 2012, according to the trade group.

To find the cheapest ticket, insiders say, travelers should compare prices between third-party travel websites and the airlines’ sites. Also, consider booking airfare several months in advance of a trip, especially if it’s for holiday travel. Deals may pop up a day or two before a flight, though those seats require someone who is ready to go without much advance notice.

2. “We sold your seat twice.”

Travelers are supposed to arrive at the airport with enough time to check in luggage and get through security. But even that may not be enough to guarantee travelers their seat on a flight. Airlines commonly overbook flights to avoid empty seats that result from last-minute cancellations. But sometimes those cancellations don’t occur, and that leaves travelers stranded in the airport as their flight takes off. Roughly 43,200 passengers were involuntarily bumped during the first nine months of 2013, according to the latest data from the Department of Transportation. While that’s fewer than last year, it’s still 13% more than during the same period in 2011.

In most cases, airlines will give bumped travelers a credit or refund as well as food vouchers and a free hotel stay to cover their expenses. The DOT says it requires airlines to give involuntarily bumped passengers cash compensation based on the value of their ticket with a cap of $1,300. But these comps can’t make up for the headaches travelers incur after missing their flight. In the worst-case scenario, passengers can be stranded for days during busy travel times like the holidays or after a severe storm, says Tony Polito, an associate professor at East Carolina University who has published several studies on the airline industry.

The airline industry says that the number of people who are bumped represents a tiny fraction of the total number of passengers, about one per 10,000 passengers, according to the DOT. Airlines overbook their flights because no shows happen “way more than anyone thinks,” says Heimlich of Airlines for America. He says airfare costs would be higher without overbooking because airlines would have to achieve the same revenue generation with fewer passengers.

3. “Don’t count on us to get you there on time.”

During the first 10 months of 2013, roughly 19% to 20% of domestic flights arrived and departed late, compared with about 16% during the same period a year prior, according to the DOT. Collectively, the rate of flight delays is the highest since 2008.

On-time performance varies widely among U.S. airlines, according to data from flight-tracking firm FlightStats. But more than 9% of arrivals from January through November from three major carriers — American Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and United Airlines — were more than 45 minutes late. Spirit Airlines was the worst offender with roughly 12.7% of flights arriving that late, according to FlightStats. Misty Pinson, a Spirit spokeswoman, says the airline “is working diligently to get [its] customers where they need to go as scheduled.” American Airlines says it has made “significant improvements to [its] performance in recent months.”

The increase in delays is largely due to growing incidences of storms and inclement weather, says Tom Parsons, CEO of BestFares.com, which tracks flight discounts. JetBlue says that congested airspace in the Northeast U.S., where 70% of its flights pass through, is the cause of delays. United says air-traffic-control constraints are also part of the problem. There are also mechanical setbacks and delays that result from crews, such as when flight attendants who are scheduled to transfer to another plane are stuck on a delayed flight and thereby also delay the flight that’s waiting for them, says Heimlich of Airlines for America.

4. “We’ll make you pay to check in baggage—and we may lose it too.”

Increasingly, even if you make your flight, your luggage might not. More than 1.5 million passengers filed mishandled baggage reports — for luggage that didn’t get delivered on the same flight as the customer — during the first 10 months of the year, up 6.4% from the same period a year ago, according to the DOT.

Among the major U.S. airlines, Southwest Airlines had the largest number of incidents, with nearly 352,900 travelers filing reports of mishandled baggage reports through October, up 23% from the same period last year. Delta Air Lines also ranks high on this list: Nearly 183,400 customers submitted reports during this period, up 6.3%. Southwest says it carried more baggage during this time period compared with a year ago and notes that most of its customers’ bags are delivered on schedule. Delta says more than 99% of its delayed bags are reunited with their owners within 24 hours.

What’s particularly surprising to some critics is that claims are rising even as airlines are charging travelers more to check in their luggage. Many airlines charge $15 to $100 to check in luggage and those costs continue to rise each year. Between 2008 and 2012, the average cost to check in luggage per domestic roundtrip increased 212%, according to Airlines for America.

The airline industry says rising baggage fees are needed to help boost airlines’ revenue streams. Fees including those from checked-in bags are the difference between making or losing money, which helps airlines to offer more flights to customers, says Heimlich of Airlines for America.

5. “Carry-ons may not be free much longer.”

Ever since baggage fees became the norm, more travelers have been packing everything into their carry-ons, which they can bring on the flight at no cost. That freebie now appears to be on its way out as well. Some airlines are starting to charge passengers for their carry-ons, with fees ranging widely. Travelers who pay for their carry-on when they book their airfare incur the smallest charge, while those who pay at the gate pay the most.

So far, three major U.S. carriers have instituted such fees. Frontier Airlines began charging passengers for carry-on bags in August. Frontier passengers who book “basic” airfare (those are the cheapest seats on the flight, with fewer amenities than economy) have to fork over $25 to $100 for a carry-on bag. Allegiant Air rolled out its carry-on fee in 2012, charging travelers $10 to $75, depending on the length of the flight. Spirit was the first major carrier to introduce this fee, which ranges from $25 to $100, back in 2010; with Spirit, the price range depends on when travelers inform the airline that they have a carry-on with earlier notification resulting in a lower fee.

Passengers can still bring on a free personal item, like a purse or backpack, as long as it fits under the seat in front of them. Frontier, Allegiant and Spirit say the charges coincide with their aim to offer cheaper, no-frills airfare that charge passengers for the services they choose to use.

6. “Our rewards programs aren’t so rewarding anymore.”

It used to be that airline rewards programs actually rewarded frequent fliers with perks on flights. Those freebies are disappearing on many airlines. For example, rewards members were often given free upgrades to first or business class, but now those upgrades are given to travelers who are willing to pay a few hundred extra to get out of coach, says George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com, which tracks the airline industry.

Even worse, airlines have implemented frequent-flier fees over the past few years. These fees kick in when rewards members try to redeem their points for a free seat on a flight. American Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways charge some members $75 for redeeming points or miles for a flight within 20 or 21 days of departure. Separately, many major airlines will charge a fee of $50 to $150 if they reschedule a flight they booked with their points. The three airlines say the fee does not apply to members in the upper tiers of their rewards programs.

In the worst-case scenario, frequent fliers can lose their points: Should a Delta passenger need to reschedule or cancel a trip booked with points within 72 hours of departure, that person will have to forfeit all of those miles, based on a company policy that went into effect in August 2011.

7. “We’re devaluing your miles.”

For years, airlines have been marketing their rewards credit cards to travelers, touting the benefits of accruing miles or points per trip that they can redeem for free airfare. But starting next year, at least three major U.S. airlines — Delta, Southwest and United — will enact changes to their rewards programs that hurt frequent fliers’ bottom line. These travelers will need more points — and therefore will have to spend more — in order to get the same free flight or seat they could have previously gotten with fewer points.

Currently, Southwest rewards members can trade in 60 points for $1 worth of its lowest-cost airfare, but starting March 31, it’ll take 70 points to get $1 of travel. With Delta, rewards members will need more miles — specifically, an extra 25,000 roundtrip miles — to fly in so-called BusinessElite from U.S. to Europe beginning in February. (From the U.S. to Asia, 20,000 more miles will be needed.) Separately, United will require travelers to redeem more points for a flight on many of its partner airlines starting in February.

United says the change is necessary to offset the increased cost of providing travel rewards on partner carriers. Delta says its regularly evaluates and adjusts award pricing, while Southwest says its change only impacts one type of fare it offers passengers.

Travelers who are not loyal to an airline might want to consider forgoing airline rewards credit cards, since it’s now tougher to accrue enough points to get a free seat. Instead, consider swiping regular credit cards that have generous cash-back programs, which can help fund big-ticket purchases like airfare.

8. “It costs us nothing, but you’ll have to pay for a good seat.”

It used to be that travelers could sit anywhere in coach — an exit row, aisle seat or by the window — and not have to pay extra. But over the past few years, many airlines have been charging passengers extra if they want pretty much any spot except the middle seat. What’s worse, critics say, is that this fee doesn’t reflect any underlying costs: Airlines don’t incur additional expenses based on whether their window or aisle seats are filled (unlike how more baggage can lead to greater expenses in fuel that impact their bottom line), so these charges result in full profit for the companies.

The fees vary significantly by carrier and seat. For travelers who choose the exact seat they want on a flight in advance, AirTran Airways charges $10 to $30, Allegiant Air charges up to $75, and Spirit Airlines charges up to $50. The airlines say travelers can avoid these charges by waiting until the day (or with some companies the day before) a flight leaves to choose a seat for free. Some require extra payment for specific seats like the window or aisle seats or those towards the front of the plane, though they waive those charges for certain frequent fliers and full-fare tickets.

Also, most major U.S. airlines charge travelers for seats that provide an extra three to seven inches of legroom. These are typically the first few rows in the plane but in some cases they’re in the exit rows or front seats of the economy section. The price tag for a bit more comfort ranges from $9 to $300 depending on the airline and the length of the flight. Some airlines waive the fees for travelers who don’t book discounted airfare.

9. “Fuel costs aren’t just our problem.”

When oil prices rise, airlines offset the cost of fuel by raising ticket prices. Over the past two years, they’ve been passing on a greater share of this cost to travelers. Up until two years ago, they worked 60% to 70% of oil prices into their airfare within a year, but now most U.S. airlines pass on 80% or more of the price to consumers, and they adjust the prices sooner, says David Fintzen, senior airlines analyst with Barclays.

When one airline raises fares, the others typically follow, which makes finding a deal challenging. In 2012, for instance, half of the fuel-related fare increases attempted by U.S. airlines were deemed “successful,” according to Barclays, since nearly all major airlines quickly followed by raising their prices as well. Even if booking demand is not strong enough among travelers to cover the higher cost of fuel, Fintzen says airlines will recover those higher fuel costs by lowering supply — meaning flying fewer planes than they originally intended.

The airline industry says that fuel is its largest cost and that it’s eating up a growing share of its revenue. Without passing on costs to customers, the industry would have to cut back on service and it would be unable to replace aging planes or invest in new airport terminals and better technology, says Heimlich of Airlines for America.

10. “Our mergers are hurting your wallet.”

Mergers between domestic airlines have been accelerating. Twelve mergers occurred in the past decade, up from six in the decade prior, according to data from Airlines for America. Since 2010 alone, Continental Airlines has merged with United Airlines, AirTran Airways has joined Southwest Airlines, and US Airways merged with American Airlines. Experts say the spike in mergers is resulting in higher prices for consumers.

The federal government expressed similar sentiment. This summer, when the Justice Department moved to block the US Airways-American Airlines merger, it said the deal would result in higher fares and higher fees. In its complaint, the Justice Department said the merger would “make it easier for the remaining airlines to cooperate, rather than compete, on price and service.” The Justice Department changed its tune and approved the deal in November, however, after the two airlines agreed to give up some of their market share in several U.S. airports.

The airline industry says several airlines went out of business because they couldn’t cope with changes in the marketplace and that many more airlines would have shut down or shrunk if they didn’t merge, which would have resulted in fewer choices and service for travelers. Heimlich of Airlines for America says the rising cost and volatility of fuel prices has been one of the biggest drivers for mergers as airlines try to cope with those costs.

AnnaMaria Andriotis covers real estate and consumer credit for MarketWatch in New York. Follow her on Twitter @AAndriotis.

Visiting Bwindi Gorillas

Within South Western Uganda, lies the great mythical forests of Bwindi that are home to the endangered mountain gorillas. The famed Bwindi Forest National Park is one of the best protected and well conserved national  parks in Africa. This is one of the only three UNESCO world heritage sites in Uganda.

Located in South Western Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the four conservation areas protecting the endangered mountain gorillas. Gazetted in the 1990s, the park is host to half of the total remaining population of the mountain gorillas. The park provides a thrilling experience of gorilla trekking; a wonderful journey to see the endangered gorillas in the wild. The trek leads you through undulating hills and small-scale farmlands. It provides a memorable experience when you spend time in the jungle viewing varieties of primates, birds and the giant mountain gorillas.

One of the quintessential Uganda experiences is tracking the giant mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and nothing quite prepares you for the first glimpse of black fuzz amidst the dense foliage. The adrenaline kicks in when you’re up close to the imposing figure of a silverback pounding its chest and it’s all very Dian Fossey-like when curious babies peek through leaves and twist, turn and somersault for your entertainment. Gorilla permits will set you back a hefty US$500 but don’t think twice about forking out for this genuine once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Bwindi being a tropical rain forest will also provide an amazing experience to you all nature lovers.

Keep in mind that a portion of the fee goes to the park and gorilla conservation initiatives, helping to ensure these giant mountain gorillas survive. Also experience the beautiful and hospitality of the local community who showcase their culture.

Planning a Visit to the Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

    • In order to track the mountain gorillas, one need to secure gorilla permits. It is advisable to book your gorilla permits atleast 3 months before tour desired tracking date. Remember gorilla permits are available year round but do sell out fast during the peak season. Many travelers book their permits a year in advance and some even reserve them 2 years before.
    • If you are looking to a smooth travel experince, it is advisable to book your trip through a tour operator or travel agency. There are several companies that specialize in organising gorilla safaris in Uganda and the neighbouring countries of Rwanda and Congo (former Zaire). Some of the recommended tour operators include Go Gorilla Trekking, Gorilla Encounters, Gorilla Expeditions, Gorilla Tours, Budget Gorilla Safaris and more.
    • When tracking the mountain gorillas, always follow the steps outlined by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, ORTPN or Virunga National Park. These rules are aimed at protecting the mountain gorillas and as well guide the experience of watching the mountain gorillas (Gorilla Tourism) so that it can be a win-win situation.
    • Remember children below 14 years are not allowed to track the mountain gorillas.

Driving in Uganda: Important Things to Know

Many travelers would like to at least explore Uganda, the Pearl of Africa! You can take a road trip to take a self drive safari in Uganda,and from our experience we discovered that exploring the country on a self drive vacation is not easy. Though most travelers would like to take a self drive safari, i would advise first time visitors in Uganda against driving yourself given the nature and experience of driving in Uganda. Not only because of the often still bad roads, but also because of the necessary local knowledge and a high degree of “Individuality” other road users. I want to make an example of a “hierarchy” of road users in Uganda clearly:

    1. Heavy vehicles (trucks, buses …)
      Remain always in the middle of the street. Who comes to meet or want to overtake, must find a way (eg, along the ditch or over the top stripes) themselves.
    2. Normal vehicles (cars, SUVs, mini-buses …)
      Individual advancement is in the foreground. All others – vulnerable road users – avoid the road or stop, get off and go off the road. On the bad roads is always a danger for pedestrians with mud and slush to be splashed.
    3. Taxis and motorbike taxis
      Always looking for an ideal line. Many taxis probably only put on “divine tool” which makes the glued Proverbs, and especially the behavior of the driver suspect. The tailgate is marked clearly visible in taxis as “Emergency Exit”. Problematic it can be to get on and off, especially in the cities, or if they stop unexpectedly to passengers.
    4. Pedestrians and cyclists
      Are holding at the approach of a motor vehicle or to stay and leave the roadway if possible. Their motto: “He who stands in your way is your own fault.”
    5. Children
      Stand and play anywhere along the roads. Race unexpectedly onto the street to wave to passing tourists vehicles. Nevertheless, even the smallest seemingly a natural “respect” for the road to find and almost never enter the roadway.
    6. Animals
      Are the best anywhere and stay off the road if they want to survive.

5 Benefits of Renting a Vehicle for Your Safari in Uganda

In case you are planning a safari to Uganda, you will find that owning a vehicle is not that a better idea as there are so many transport models that are running in and out of Kampala city centre. They range from motor cycles, four door sedans to big cars like buses or coasters that take travelers at pocket friendly prices. Local residents and foreign visitors hire vehicles for many reasons some of which include sight seeing tours, business safaris, family holiday, city tours, picnic, special ceremonies and many more. There are many car rental services in Uganda and in most cases visitors may find it challenging to even make the right choice on which company to deal with. However, each car hire services have its advantages and disadvantages but for now we have sighted some of the advantages of renting a car for a safari in Uganda as explained below.

Wide range of car hire options

Most car hire agencies provide varied kinds and models of vehicles to visitors giving them several options to select the best choice which suits within their travel interest and budget. Due to this, travelers can save themselves from being stranded with one vehicle and with dissatisfied travel journeys. For visitors who planning their family tours in Uganda, instead of squeezing yourselves in small car they can opt for the bigger sized safari vehicle that can accommodate all the family members at once. We have options ranging from 4 wheel drive safari vehicles with pop up roofs, roof top tents, air conditioners and many more.

Never maintain costs

This will help save you from wearing out your own car while on business safari in Uganda and thus reduce the cost of maintenance and repairs incase you opted for your own car. Some car rental agencies hire out cars with comprehensive insurance and this means that any big damages that comes due to road accidents, they can be covered.

Drive newer types of cars

Hiring a car gives you a chance to drive that latest model that you do not need to buy in order to drive it. There are several new models of vehicles that you may not necessarily buy but can hire and take a safari and you save a lot more of money and time and allow you meet your travel interest whether for business or safari trip.

Free break down services

In case of a breakdown or minor accident on road, there is no need for traveler to doubt or worry about anything as car company covers this. The car hire company can send a mechanic or replacement and you still continue to destination of your choice at no additional costs unlike your own car that you may have to park and stay for many years for you to attend and you fail to meet your dreams in Uganda.

Rent a car with driver

Clients can hire a vehicle with or with no driver but if you feel like visiting newer destinations that you are not familiar, a driver can also be hired at a pocket friendly price and you will have the most comfortable and convenient safari in Uganda. Drivers are aware of the routes that where most of the national parks in Uganda are located and they are also aware of the shortest routes to follow as well as which places to make a stopover and at end of the day you will have the most exciting safari. Besides most of them are trained and they can fix some minor mechanical problems rather than again you bothering yourself.

The other benefit is that car rental services come with additional equipments like GPS and there are some special offers t hat are given to clients in most case.

In conclusion, renting a car for a safari in Uganda comes with lots of benefits that travelers enjoy depending on reason of visitor’s travel in the destination. With our wide range of cars for hire we believe that you will have the most enjoyable safari holiday in Uganda. Our fleets range from Mini Vans, family cars, coaster buses, Rav4 self drive cars, saloon cars, Super customs to 4 by 4 land cruisers Contact us and you won’t regret in life!

 

Visit Bwindi Forest & Leave with Full Experience

Discover Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the most famous and most visited gorilla safari park in Africa where the highest population of mountain gorillas live. In the local language the word Bwindi means something very thick and beautiful and alternatively the name of the park refers to the wonderful mix of vegetation. If you have always wanted to travel to Africa and see gorillas the time is now. If you find yourself in Uganda in Uganda capital–Kampala, just spare three days and head south west to Kabale district a surprising place to explore the impenetrable jungle forest of Bwindi.

Though hundreds of tourists pass through Entebbe international Airport, 80% of the total number is into the country to see the endangered mountain gorillas. Some of them use Kigali international airport for short drive distances and time management. However all of them end up in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for gorilla safaris in Uganda which is the most top affordable primate adventure in the region.

Awesome Gorilla Experience

It’s no secret that Bwindi forest is a pretty magical gorilla safari destination in Africa with all affordable treks for everyone. The park offers the finest gorilla trekking experience found nowhere else and it is something every tourist to Uganda should try out. The genuine thick hilly forested jungle in Uganda is your next place to be if you planning to see mountain gorillas soon. You can’t imagine how beautiful and amazing your gorilla trekking tour will be but a trip to Bwindi Impenetrable forest will show you how attractive gorillas are and even take you through their jungle life style any time of the year and this is a true reason why you need to come more than once and experience silverback times as a top male giant gorilla.

Year Round Destination

Whether you are escaping winter or just want to avoid   hot summer temperatures overseas, Bwindi forest in Uganda provides the best Africa safari temperatures escape that you have always had in mind. Expect to enjoy your trip under the warm sun all day with cooler mornings before sunrise and also evenings after sunset. The beautiful impenetrable jungle has a lot of tour activities that keep everyone busy all day. If resources allow why not track mountain gorillas twice, take a forest nature walk to see other primates and also to the Bwindi forest waterfalls, spend time with the forest people also known as the Batwa,Bird  watchers its paradise and those who like hiking , you just in the right place.

Get more out of your vacation

Once you visit Uganda for gorilla gorilla trekking, it’s a perfect time to also check out other famous Uganda national parks and attractions like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison falls National Park, Kibale forest National Park, Kidepo Valley national park and many others. Exploring more interesting places and attractions on your Uganda safari tour makes your holiday more meaningful and exciting since great things and moments never cease to come. As you still recalling how the silverback gorilla plays with the little gorillas in the jungle, a park ranger shouts on top of his voice “see the tree climbing lions” .After having a very great smile on your face, hippos, crocodiles, birds and other wildlife take your a tension on the Kanzinga channel plus a fleet of elephants crossing the road for more food hunt. Above all if time and money permits, just discover the best of the Pearl of Africa.

6 Tips to Improve Your Safety While Driving on Uganda Roads

Driving becomes more enjoyable when you are safe plus other road users. Driving in Uganda can be heard for not only foreign drivers but also local drivers traveling to unusual places. Michael from Drive Uganda shares with us the 6 amazing tips to guide both local and local drivers on how to stay safe on Ugandan roads. Please follow the tips below for a safe drive in Uganda.

1.Extend your vision

One of the most important things you can do to be a safer driver is to look well ahead of you when you’re driving, so you can pick up potentially dangerous situations before its too late. The earlier you spot a potential hazard, the more time you will have to take evasive action.

Rather than looking only as far as the vehicle in front of you when driving, you should actually be scanning the road in front to a distance of at least 12 seconds ahead of where your car is – that is, the place you will be after driving for 12 seconds.

2. Keep your eyes moving

Many people only look ahead of them when driving. This means they’re not getting the full picture of what’s happening on the road.

As well as looking ahead, you should also use your mirrors to look to the sides and behind often enough to be aware of surrounding traffic.

Moving your eyes regularly and concentrating on what going on around you will also help you to stay alert on long journeys.

3. Create a safety cushion

You should create a ‘cushion’ of safety around your whole vehicle by making sure there is a safe distance in all directions between you, other vehicles and potential hazards. This will give you and other road users more time and space to avoid any hazards.

  • Create a cushion of safety ahead of you by maintaining a safe following distance.
  • Create a cushion of safety behind you by maintaining a safe distance between you and any following vehicles. If a vehicle is following you too closely, slow down, move over and let it pass as soon as you can do so safely.
  • Create a safety cushion to your sides by keeping a safe distance from any hazards on your sides, such as driveways, parked vehicles, cyclists or children playing on the footpath.

The cheapest insurance you can have is space around your vehicle. The more space you have the safer you will be.

4. Don’t get distracted

It’s easy to get distracted when you’re driving. Things like music, talking passengers, passing scenery and roadside advertising can all divert your attention from your driving and the road.

You must learn to ignore distractions and concentrate on your driving when you’re behind the wheel. If, for any reason, you must look away from the road, follow the pointers below:

  • Check well ahead and behind for any potential hazards. Don’t look away if you can see potential hazards.
  • Remember if you do look away from the road make sure you don’t go off course.
  • Never take your eyes off the road for longer that is absolutely necessary. For example, while driving at 90km/h, if you took your eyes off the road for two seconds you will travel 50 metres.

5. Identify escape routes

Following the tips above will help you avoid many potentially dangerous crashes. However, despite all your best efforts, there may still be occasions when you find yourself on a direct collision course with another vehicle or other hazard.

For this reason, it is wise to identify possible escape routes all the time while you’re driving. That way, if you find yourself in danger of a crash, you’ll be ready to take quick evasive action. Most escape routes will be to your left, so take note of what’s on the left-hand side of the road as you drive. Ask yourself questions like:

  • ‘Is there a wide shoulder I could steer onto?’
  • ‘Can I steer off the road safely if I need to?’

If there are no safe escape routes, reduce your speed and increase your following distance so you can stop in plenty of time if a crash situation develops.

6. Furthering your driver education

As a driver, you never stop learning. You should always be looking for ways to improve your safe driving skills.

Practice, combined with the right attitude, will help you refine your skills, but there are also courses you can take to help you become a safer driver.

There are many companies in Uganda offering good driver courses.try them.

Top 5 Most Popular Places to Visit in Uganda

Uganda the “Pearl of Africa” is great country in many ways which is why many travelers enjoy vacations each day. The country is adorable for all kinds of holidays including family, sole, private and group. Did you know it’s also perfect for both luxury travelers and backpackers who are interested in taking safaris in Uganda. With improved access to the country’s most remote areas, Uganda is steadily improving tourism. The country is now well connected with good road networks from the city to main tourist attractions! Whether you’re seeking for wildlife, mountain gorillas, birds, chimpanzees or culture, just pick a perfect tourist attraction or national park and you will find it all. Here are the most popular destinations to visit in Uganda.

Source of the Nile

There is no relaxing place for a weekend gateways or short day trips in Uganda like the source of the Nile in Jinja. The Nile has variety to offer beyond its origin like bird watching, fishing, local cultural dances, souvenirs and historical stories that guides narrate during the boat ride around the lake and at the start point of the Nile. Perhaps this is one of the incredible places that every visitor should explore on any trip to Uganda. The scenic ride from Kampala the capital is another tourist attraction itself because of what you see on the way. Mabira forest, Sezibwa falls, Owen falls Dam, sugarcane plantations etc. is all that will take you’re a tension.

Murchison Falls National Park

Uganda is a land of lakes which makes it hard to escape lakes, rivers and waterfalls in various tourist attractions. Murchison falls is another amazing place to enjoy for those seeking for superb game viewing places, chimpanzee trekking and bird watching. The park is ideal for family trips, honeymoon, and group tours. Murchison falls is Uganda’s largest game reserve and a home to all the big five. While here you will feed your eyes  on many  mammals, wildlife, birds, primates and the might falls beauty. The park is accessed by road but a ferry is used as you approach the park main area from Masindi. A wildlife safari to Murchison falls is one you will never forget about your wonderful holiday to Africa.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Found in Kasese district in a five hour drive distance from Kampala, Queen Elizabeth National Park is a place to visit for those seeking to see tree climbing lions, hippos, crocodiles, bird life, primates and wildlife. All the park attractions can be explored by morning and evening game drives, boat cruise on the Kazinga channel the water that joins Lake Edward and Lake George, Chimpanzee trekking and nature walks. Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the most visited places in Uganda and a place to include on your Uganda safari holiday.

Kibale Forest

There is no shortage of primate species in the Chimpanzee capital of Kibale forest the most populated chimpanzee trekking ground in Africa. Chimpanzee habituation is another experience that tourists enjoy in this park provided if one want to spend a all day in company of different primate species with chimps as the main species of the day. Kibale forest has the perfect rain forest that holds over 13 primate species. However, primate lovers make it a point to explore this beautiful park.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

A superb gorilla trekking safari destination in western Uganda and place to experience a life of mountain gorillas in the wilderness. This is paradise for many tourists to the country and it’s a home to Uganda’s main tourist attraction that is shared with Mgahinga forest, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Congo. Now days Bwindi Forest is part of the great examples of wildlife conservation that shine to the world and the best gorilla safari destination in Africa. However, give it a try for great gorilla safari experience.

Lake Bunyonyi Island

The Island is magical with something for everyone no matter what you looking for. The top tourist activities include, boat ride, swimming, hiking, bird watching, sun bathing, community walks and the eye catching views that keep following you everywhere. Among the 29 islands, four are the most visited due to their unique features, and wildlife. Some have safari lodges that make your trip awesome. Imagine spending a night in the middle of a Lake surrounded by lake water and nature. Make sure you spend one to three days on this island and forget all the life worries.

Self Driving Uganda: All You Need to Know

Uganda is a place one would wish to self drive and experience the bumpy surface roads through the lush green tropical savanna woodland. The fact that Uganda is ranked among the top travel destinations in the world, one would you clearly give an excuse to drive in Uganda behind the wheels. It is joyful, full of pleasure especially if you are to the pearl of Africa for the first time. A self drive to the proclaimed impenetrable forest a home to the mountain gorillas is so special for self drivers in Uganda. Everybody would like to be part to what identifies Uganda in color, indeed  a visit of the gorillas  in the south describes Uganda’s self drive trip. Below is a little advice for travelers intending to take self drive safaris in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa;

Be confident on the road

As a self driver you need to be strong, courageous and confident while on the road. Do not be over powered by the rest of the road users especially speedy drivers. Focus and concentrate on your car to go forward. A driver who does not trust in himself or herself is likely to cause accidents while on the road and lead to loss of lives and damage to the car in Uganda. A confident driver on Ugandan roads will perfectly make  good results of him/ her because it is not easy to drive  on roads that are mostly narrow and un surfaced in some parts of Uganda bearing pot holes.

Follow the traffic rules

Almost everybody will remind the driver to be vigilant with the traffic especially in the city and high ways. They are key determinant to make someone a better self-driver in Uganda.  Respect the traffic lights whenever you meet them and the signpost along the highways are so important to a driver. Other traffic rules include, do over speed, do not over load the car, drive a car when sober and avoid any thing that may destruct your attention while on the road like telephones. A self driver that follows the traffic rules is worthy to save the lives of people in transit of the car from rental companies in Uganda.

Always be smart and neat

Smartness matters wherever you go. A smart driver is assumed smart on the road. It gives you the impression on moving forward with a car in Uganda. Not only the driver should be smart, also the vehicle should be clean to attract other people in the car and become comfortable with the environment.

Lastly, as self drivers make sure that the car ready to use is in good condition to complete yourself drive trip in Uganda without complains of mechanics. The fuel must be enough to complete the journey and as well maintaining the fluids in the car to a maximum. This softens the car and becomes simpler to drive as a self-motivated driver in Uganda.

Driving in Uganda is just made easy through car rental companies where everybody is able drive as long you meet some simple requirements like  a driving permit in Uganda.

NRM Government is Corrupt to the Core

When whistle-blowers revealed that Tutsi and Tutsified Ugandans were dominating strategic sections of Uganda economy and society especially the ministry of foreign affairs, ministry of finance, private sector and security forces, they were threatened with arrest and prosecution or worse for breach of anti-sectarian law which was designed to protect those that practice sectarianism.

In 2002, the anti-terrorism law with a broad definition has made it even more difficult to speak out against any NRM wrong doing. Consequently corruption has gathered speed and the most corrupt officials continue in power. Scholarships go to Tutsi. Good jobs go to Tutsi. Embassy jobs go to Tutsi. International jobs go to Tutsi. Some Tutsi in embassies even refuse to go home when their tour of duty is over. Who is allowing all these things to happen?

Commenting on these things is not sectarianism. It is a national security issue that every patriotic Ugandan should be alarmed about. We are losing Uganda if we don’t act quickly. With land slipping out of Uganda peasants and the prime minister has threatened to hand over land to large farmers who will mostly be outsiders since indigenous Ugandans don’t have the kind of money to buy large chunks of land, with Ugandans getting education that can’t get them jobs, the future of Uganda for Ugandans is very bleak indeed.
That is why the issue of leadership becomes crucial. It is not nnugu to ask questions about how party leaders are chosen as some have reasoned. It is patriotism. We have to be careful whom we pick. People who have been in NRM since it was created and have shifted to FDC can’t change their methods of exploitation to focus on developing the people. This is another mistake that if we don’t correct we shall regret it.

Uganda has received over $30 billion in donations (free money), Ugandans in the disapora send home every year about $1 billion. Uganda was the first country to get debt relief so that the savings fund education, healthcare and infrastructure. Uganda export earnings improved by diversifying exports including foodstuffs that were traditionally consumed at home. Uganda also gets soft loans including from the World Bank and other sources besides ordinary loans. The government boasts it has increased tax revenue collection. Where has all this money gone? Why are we still a third world country soon to become a fourth world with all this money?
Economic growth and per capita income the Human Development Report for 2013 praised has not reduced poverty. Over 50 percent of Ugandans are still trapped in absolute poverty, meaning that they can’t afford basic needs of food in a country that exports food, clothing, shelter, education and healthcare.

Let me touch on another sad point. The Uganda building in New York that houses Uganda embassy is largely rented and collects a lot of money every month. One wonders why it can’t be repaired. This building has become a national disgrace. The exterior is in embarrassing shape – it needs repair urgently. At one time one of the two elevators was not repaired for about a year, if not longer. The heating system in winter is below normal requirement.

The building is situated next to the new American embassy building and the well kept United Nations Plaza building and it sits opposite the new South Korea embassy building.
Someone told me subject to confirmation that the building has been deliberately neglected to create an excuse to sell it and possibly pocket the money. It was also understood that Uganda had a house in New York for Uganda’s ambassador to the UN. If it is true why do Uganda Ambassadors hire expensive residences? The ministry of foreign affairs should clarify these issues.

I have copied this message to the Uganda mission to the United Nations in New York for its necessary action.

Radio Sapiential Reopened, Human Rights Activists Protest Radio Closures

THE Broadcasting Council has lifted the suspension of the Catholic Church’s Radio Sapientia. Sapientia was one of the five radio stations that were closed last week amid riots that rocked Kampala city after the Police stopped Kabaka Ronald Mutebi’s tour of Bugerere County.

Others were two of the CBS, Suubi and Radio Two (Akaboozi ku Bbiri) The Broadcasting Council argued that the stations were inciting violence.

“Radio Sapientia has since apologised for the misconduct of its staff and has made an undertaking to comply with the Electronic Media Act. Management has acknowledged that due to the lack of professionalism exhibited by the presenters and producers of the programmes in question, they are to be suspended pending conclusion of investigations,” a statement issued by the council’s chairperson, Godfrey Mutabazi, said.