One-Way Car Rentals Across East Africa
The East African community has grown enormously from simply the three founder countries of Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania to the inclusion of Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These seven African countries have a lot to offer in tourism nature and cultural-based tourism unfortunately many of them are still prone to civil ways.
In the recent past, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda have been the most stable of all these seven countries but still with isolated incidents of unrest just like elsewhere in the whole world.
It has become common for African safari enthusiasts to opt for self-drive safaris connecting through at least four of these East African countries. That is Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda, sometimes to Burundi. Some tourists usually do circuits while others are left with no option other than considering one-way rentals.
With one-way rentals, it is possible to start your self drive holiday in Uganda and end it in Rwanda, Kenya, or Tanzania. Burundi, the Republic of South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo have not been common destinations for one-way self-drive rentals given the common car rental policies that usually demand hiring a car with a driver for these countries.
It has become common for tourists to fly in through Entebbe Airport in Uganda and fly out through either Kigali Airport in Rwanda, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, or Nairobi Airport in Kenya. But all this is only possible with one-way rentals.
How Do One-Way Rentals Work?
One-way rentals in East Africa involve a few technicalities that have to be considered whenever hiring a car on a one-way rental basis. Among the most important points to note include the following;
- Fuel Terms
It is important to agree on the fuel terms. Sometimes you are required to return the car with fuel that will be used to return from the airport to the company offices while on other occasions that fuel is covered in the drop-off charges.
- Insurance Terms
One-way rentals are operated with the usual comprehensive insurance. In most cases the a car rental agency has a cross border comprehensive insurance policy. However, this is not enough. You will also need either COMESA insurance or a local third-party insurance policy in case you are crossing the border.
It is therefore important to confirm with the car rental agency whether all insurance covers are included in the quote or if you are required to pay anything extra.
- Pick-Up and Drop-Off Fees
One-way rentals often attract pick-up and drop-off fees. These vary based on the type of car and the pick up/ drop off location. For instance; a Pick up in Kigali can cost between US$180 and US$290 depending on the type of car.
However, some car rental agencies never inform you about the pickup and drop-off charges. They simply give you a round quote without making you aware of the additional expenses. Regardless, it is important to establish whether the pick-up and drop-off charges are already included in the quote to avoid any surprises.
- Border Crossing Charges
Just like the pick-up and drop-off charges, some car rental agencies require you to pay an extra fee whenever you are crossing the border while other car rental agencies simply have it hidden in the quote. In the same way, you will have to establish whether there are additional border crossing charges or not.
For instance, some car rental agencies in East Africa charge between $20 and $40 extra per day spent in Tanzania while other car rental agencies simply charge a flat rate for all East African countries. The extra payment for Tanzania is due to the poor nature if the roads through Tanzania parks such as Ngorongoro, Serengeti, and Tarangire among others.
- Picking Up At The Airport
There is one common technicality that is not often discussed whenever agreeing about airport pick-ups and drop-offs; the acceptable pick-up and drop-off time. Some car rental agencies operate on a 6:00 am to 7:00 pm basis. Others operate on a 6:00 am to 10:00 pm basis while others permit you to pick up and drop off at any time.
It is important to note that some companies charge an extra fee in case you are dropping off or picking up anytime outside 6:00 am and 10:00 pm in the night.