Planning to visit a foreign or distant place is a wonderful opportunity to learn, grow and connect with people in different areas. Amidst the excitement and optimism, there is always a question about safety. It is totally expected that one has some questions about their safety in the new place.
Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa, known for its rich biodiversity, diverse cultures, and natural beauty. It is home to more than half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, as well as other endangered species such as chimpanzees, elephants, lions, and rhinos.
Uganda also boasts of stunning landscapes, such as Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa, the Rwenzori Mountains, the “Mountains of the Moon”, and the Murchison Falls, where the Nile River plunges over a 40-meter cliff.
But is Uganda safe to visit? This is a common question that many travelers ask before planning a trip to this amazing country. The answer is not straightforward, as there are many factors that affect the safety and security of travelers in Uganda.
The short answer is: yes, Uganda is safe to visit.
Ugandans are very friendly and welcoming people, and that, more than anything is the biggest thing for safety in our view. This is why we are confident in saying that you can visit any part of Uganda and you will be safe and welcome.
We have taken our guests to all parts of Uganda and we have not had a moment of feeling unwelcome or less than safe.
We know that feeling safe entails many factors as we shall dig deeper into below.
Safety During Your Uganda Safari
Your Driver / Guide
Your guide is your closest contact throughout the entirety of your safari. Any questions or concerns you have should be raised without fear.
The guides are professionals with many years of experience all around East Africa. The guide talks with you about the expectations of the trip before you set off and is always there to help you. Our guide is your friend, and you shouldn’t be afraid to talk with him/her about anything.
In the Wilderness / National Parks
Most visitors like to visit some of the national parks for gorillas, wildlife, birds, and scenery. While you are in the park, you will still be accompanied by your guide as well as an armed park ranger. The guide and the park ranger are very knowledgeable about all things in the park, and you should ask any question that comes to mind.
You will be told about the things to do and not to. As long as you follow these simple guidelines, everything will be okay. The guidelines are about littering, disturbing wildlife, or going to dangerous spots.
The ranger is armed and trained, for emergency situations where it might be necessary to scare off wild animals. This hardly ever happens, but it is a good backup plan to ensure the safety of everyone.
On The Road
From Kampala to the major tourist attractions in Uganda, you will mostly be on well-surfaced roads and the drive will not feel uncomfortable. Furthermore, we use our own cars that we maintain and service regularly to make sure that they can handle any journey you have in mind.
Our guides are well versed with the roads leading to different parts of the country and plan their drives properly to avoid speeding.
With experienced guides, good capable cars, and proper planning, we endeavor to make your travel and stay safe.
Health & Allergies
Uganda’s climate is idea for many aspects of life, including the spread of diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and other infectious diseases. For yellow fever, your vaccination will protect you but you might need to take some anti-malarial drugs if your doctor advises it.
Our selection of lodges is very clean, and drinking water is packed mineral water. The lodges have mosquito nets to keep away the mosquitos away while you sleep. We do everything to make sure you stay healthy and have a great time.
When we are planning a safari with you, we’ll ask about things like diet and allergies to make sure all preparations are in place. We also advise that you talk to your doctor for some professional guidance.
Keep in mind that for you to track gorillas and chimps, you need to be healthy and free of any communicable diseases especially flu, colds or cough. The best thing to do is have preventive meds in case you feel any of those illnesses start to come up – so that you don’t miss your encounter with chimps or gorillas.
Here is our article that takes a deeper look at how to stay healthy on your Uganda safari, so that you only have a great time.
Here are some helpful tips.
- Carry clothing that will cover your legs and arms from mosquitos especially in the wild and at night.
- Carry sunblock/sunscreen to protect your skin from the hot equator sun in Uganda.
- Don’t buy cold street food, and be extra cautious if you have a fragile tummy.
- Carry a wide-brimmed hat or cap to protect your face from the scorching afternoon sun.
- Don’t drink tap water because it is not purified for direct drinking. Your safari package includes all the packaged/bottled drinking water you will need.
- Sleep under the provided mosquito net at the lodges.
Related article: What to carry for a safari in Uganda
Crime and Scams
Like any place on earth, there are often some people trying to steal and con others out of their property or money and Uganda is no different. Foreigners are often targeted by criminals who assume they have money and valuables.
Petty theft, bag snatching, pickpocketing, and armed robbery are common in urban areas, especially in Kampala, the capital city.
You should avoid walking alone at night, carrying large amounts of cash or expensive items, and using public transportation or taxis that are not registered or recommended by your hotel or tour operator.
You should also be careful when withdrawing money from ATMs or using credit cards, as there are cases of fraud and skimming. If you are a victim of crime, report it to the nearest police station or your embassy as soon as possible.
One way of avoiding scams is staying away from anything illegal and using common sense to know that if something seems too good, it is most likely too good to be true. As long as you consult your guide on these matters, you will be okay.
Another important consideration is working with a trusted tour company that is reputable. Working with a reputable company guarantees by law that you receive the service you paid for.
Again, if something seems too good to be true, be more cautious.
Is Uganda safe for LGBTQ?
Generally, this is a private matter and no one will ask any questions regarding your sexuality, however, Uganda’s law doesn’t recognize LGBTQ rights. Most people in the travel industry are well-traveled and their attitudes are more liberal and accepting.
Any public displays of affection are frowned upon in the country. This is for all kinds of couples regardless of whether one is gay or heterosexual. If you identify as LGBTQ, you should be careful about expressing your identity in untrusted public settings.
Like everyone else, your visit to Uganda will be safe. Feel free to talk to us if you need more reassurance.
Quick Safety Tips
Here are some common travel safety tips, that will help you not just in Uganda but everywhere. You have probably already been practicing these in your other travels, and they should be just easy.
- Respect the local law and customs. This is to make sure that your hosts are not hurt or offended by your visit. Our guide is always going to be your immediate contact and you should feel free to ask him any questions – including what is legal, illegal, frowned upon, and more.
- Keep a copy of your documents. This applies to every country. A copy or pictures of your travel documents gives you just a bit more peace of mind because misplaced documents can ruin your day and trip.
- Leave the shiny jewelry at home or the hotel. Expensive jewelry can attract unwanted attention and scams, especially in busy places. The goal is to blend in with everyone else.
- Don’t walk alone at the night. Walking alone in an unfamiliar place is risky, especially at night. while some places are safer than others, it is advised that you go along with your guide/driver and avoid bad parts.
- Mind your dietary restrictions. We always make sure that your hotel/lodge is mindful of this, but you also have to actively mind your diet, especially when it comes to street food. An allergic reaction will definitely ruin your trip.
As your tour operator, we take your safety and well-being seriously. From the moment you reach out to us, you have the expertise and knowledge of our entire team, and we’ll answer all your questions.
From the lodges we choose to every other detail of your safari, we make sure that your safety and well-being are front and center. Our guide is your guide and they will be your friend throughout and after your safari.
If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to talk to our team. You can also have a look at our Uganda safari holiday packages to see which one you would really like to undertake.