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Safety in Uganda

by Pilar Dujan | Mon 06 Mar 2023
Fabulous sunrise in Uganda

Is Uganda safe to visit?

If we travel to Uganda, the safest places to visit are the city of Kampala and its surroundings, the northernmost part of the country and the area that borders South Sudan.

However, there are some areas where tribal conflict and armed groups make it a little bit more dangerous for tourists. They are: the Karamoja region and the districts of Nakapiripiriti, Moroto, Katakwi and Kotido, and also the area near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

You should investigate the specific parts that you would like to visit in Uganda before your trip, it’s the best way to avoid running into any negative surprises.

Tribe in Uganda transporting branches

Laws and customs: The Ugandan Way

Uganda has some specific laws that are quite different from the way of life of more modern countries. What are they? 

  • You shouldn’t photograph buildings or infrastructure, especially if they are governmental, diplomatic or military. This includes ‘Owen Falls Dam’, a source of the Nile located near Jinja.
  • It is prohibited to wear camouflage clothing or military uniforms.
  • Since May 2019 it’s prohibited to give clothes, money or food to street children in Kampala.
  • Homosexuality is a crime. This also includes public demonstrations of affection.
  • Drugs of any kind are illegal for possession and consumption.

Uganda travel advisory

If you’re looking for some additional information to make your trip as easy as possible, this is all you need to know:

  • In Uganda tourists should avoid public transport, especially at night.
  • Taxis are the safest way to travel. You have to negotiate the price before starting the journey.
  • You should always travel with the windows up and the doors locked, especially if traffic is slow.
  • You shouldn’t carry valuables or too much money with you.
  • Try to avoid crowded and public places.
  • Stay away from public protests, which are relatively frequent and can take a violent turn. They mostly take place in Kampala, the road to Entebbe airport and the areas of Kasese and Bundibugyo.
  • For walks in protected forest areas, it’s advisable to take experienced guides and a forest ranger that has weapons. On the ferries sometimes the rules are not respected and there can be crowds, so you may have an accident.
  • There are clashes between tribes, so to reach parks like Kedipo, Impenetrable Bwindo, Gorilla Mgahinga and Murchison Falls, air travel is better.
  • The roads are badly signposted and there are potholes and bad lighting, which makes them dangerous, especially at night and particularly between Kampala-Masaka and Jinja-Kampala.
  • The drivers are reckless, there may be wild animals or cattle on the road and the vehicles are poorly maintained.
  • You must take your documentation with you and an extra copy, as it can be requested by police officers. 
  • Check that the hotels have security measures and don’t stay in isolated or secluded places.

To summarize, Uganda is safe to travel as long as you take our advice into consideration. Make sure to read our guide on the best places to visit in Uganda so you can check what would be the safest trip for you. And, to finish, remember to apply for your Uganda Visa before traveling.

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