Travel safety advice for Uganda:
Is it safe to travel to Uganda? Uganda is one of the safest countries in Africa. There is at present no rebel activity going on within the boarders of Uganda. The LRA signed a cease-fire in the summer of 2006, so the North of Uganda is now enjoying a state of peace and rebuilding.
There is a lot of misleading information on various websites about travel safety advice for Uganda. They are, however, usually outdated and do not reflect the current state of Uganda.
After many years planning and leading trips and expeditions to East Africa, we know that travelling abroad, especially with young people, can be difficult and not without risks. However, through careful planning, the guidance of our experienced staff, risk assessments, and having one ear on the ground in Africa, we can manage most risks to within acceptable levels.
Msafiri Tours cannot fully guarantee a risk-free trip, but the advice below can minimise risks.
- Stay with a group of people or at least one other person wherever you go in a city. If you are in a more scenic, quiet location you’ll be ok walking around on your own during the day as long as you stick to tourist areas.
- Stay with your Msafiri Tour guide as they are trained and know the country; they know what to look out for and can protect you.
- Stay in your Msafiri van or tourist bus when you are driving through the middle of cities.
- If you are walking around cities and towns, keep your camera out of sight and valuables locked away in your accommodation. If you are with a group and you don’t draw attention to your wealth, you should have no problems whatsoever.
- It’s better not to walk around on your own after dark.
- Be careful when getting money out of a cash machine. Make sure that you are in a group when you do this and don’t take cash out after dark.
- Ensure you always have the name and address of your hotel and contact details on you when you’re out and about.
- Don’t act lost even if you are: That may sound a bit funny, but when you act and look lost you make yourself vulnerable and a potential target for thieves. If you are lost, ask a police officer or go into a shop and ask for directions.
- Keep your jewellery at home: Take inexpensive jewellery with you (you can buy some lovely items in Uganda at a low price). Gold chains and jewellery can be torn off you. Avoid expensive watches and if you are wearing one, have one preferably with a leather strap that can be tightened and safely worn.
- Keep your money out of sight: It is best to carry your money in your front pocket where you can put your hand over it rather than a back pocket where it can be easily stolen. Do not flash money – pull out what you need and pay. Never carry large amounts of cash with you. Keep money and any other valuables in your hotel safe.
- Passports and return tickets: Do not carry a passport on you. Instead, make a copy of it and leave the passport in the hotel safe. If you are travelling on a safari, keep all such things in a small backpack that you can easily carry with you.
- Photographic equipment: It is expensive in Africa, about twice what it would cost you in your country of origin, so it is a temptation to steal yours. Keep it in a bag and strap it to you. When taking a picture, hold it with both hands and roll the strap around your hand so no one can take it from you
- Cell phone: Keep it in your pocket and do not carry it in your hands. Do not put it down on a table.
- Women travellers: A woman travelling on her own is quite safe. In Uganda, a firm “no” to some flirting by men will usually stop any further annoyances. You may be proposed to – take it as a compliment.
- Travelling within Uganda: Avoid driving at night between cities and towns (except to and from the airport in Entebbe)
- Travelling by bus: There have been incidents where people have been given food which contained drugs on buses; the passengers were then robbed. Avoid taking food or drinks from fellow passengers.
- Camping in National Parks: For the most part, this is a safe activity. There was an incident at Mount Elgon where a hiker was killed. For safety reasons, always travel in a group with a Ugandan guide. Please remember that this was an isolated incident. National Parks are some of the safest places in Uganda and so are the lodges and permanent tented camps.
- A night out in Uganda: In Kampala, going out is usually safe, but keep your drink close to you and watch that no one puts something in it.
- Those ‘Friendly Ladies of the Night: Avoid them for your health and well-being. The newspapers have reported situations where women use chloroform to drug the man and rob him of everything.
Uganda was voted the best travel destination 2012 by Lonely Planet: Click here to read the article.
DISCLAIMER: The Travel safety advice for Uganda information contained on this website is intended solely to provide general information for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use