SAFETY TIPS

SAFETY AND SECURITY

INTERNATIONAL BORDERS

The volatile situation in the eastern part of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) could lead to possible incursions into western Uganda by DRC rebels.

Western Uganda also has a history of inter-ethnic violence.

Due to political tensions between Uganda and Rwanda, the land border may be closed without notice.

CRIME

Armed banditry, car thefts, muggings and kidnappings occur throughout Uganda and foreigners have been targeted.

Petty crime, including pickpocketing, purse and jewelry snatching and theft from hotel rooms and vehicles, occurs regularly.

If attacked, don’t resist, as offering resistance may result in violence.

ARMED ROBBERIES

Armed robberies are perpetrated against pedestrians, even during day time.

Armed robberies also occur along roadways, particularly at night.

Keep your vehicle doors locked at all times, windows closed and personal belongings, including handbags, safely stored.

  • Don’t leave items such as laptops and briefcases in unattended vehicles
  • Don’t display jewelry or electronics when walking
  • Remain vigilant when using public transportation or walking along deserted streets
  • Avoid walking and driving at night

Taxi and matatu (minibus) operators have robbed their passengers and stranded them far from their destination. Avoid taking taxis or matatus that have only one or two passengers, and ensure that your personal belongings are secure at all times when using public transportation.

DEMONSTRATIONS

Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)

WOMEN’S SAFETY

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

Safe-travel guide for women

ROAD SAFETY

A lack of traffic signs, reckless driving habits, wandering animals, pedestrians and poor road conditions pose risks. Pedestrians should exercise caution when crossing roads. There are many fatal road accidents in Uganda. The Jinja–Kampala and Maska–Kampala roads are of particular concern. Alcohol is often a contributing factor to accidents, particularly at night. Highway travel is dangerous, especially after dark, because of banditry and poor visibility. Avoid driving outside major cities after dark.

If travelling to Uganda by road, you should get information from the appropriate border police station regarding the security situation at your next destination.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Avoid intercity buses (especially overnight long-distance buses) and vans. Fatal accidents caused by reckless driving, excessive speed and poor vehicle maintenance have occurred in the past.

Exercise caution when using other forms of public transportation, such as matatus and boda-bodas (moped taxis), and ensure that the vehicle is in good condition before departure. If you opt to travel by boda-boda, wear a helmet at all times.

Ferry accidents are not uncommon, due to overloading and poor maintenance of some vessels. Do not board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy.

AIR TRAVEL

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

WILDLIFE VIEWING

Wildlife viewing poses risks, particularly on foot or at close range.

  • Only visit game parks and reserves with a reputable tour company
  • Always maintain a safe distance when observing wildlife
  • Only exit a vehicle when a professional guide or warden says it’s safe to do so
  • Only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators
  • Closely follow park regulations and wardens’ advice

Updated park information – Uganda Wildlife Authority

TERRORISM

There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time. Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.

GENERAL SAFETY INFORMATION

Maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times and in all places. Take appropriate security measures, particularly on roads linking a city centre to residential areas, and refrain from travelling at night.

Never leave your bags unsupervised at a ticket office or a registration desk. Ensure that your personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times, and that your credit and debit cards, cash and any other financial resources are not all kept in the same place.

Don’t show signs of affluence. Don’t carry large sums of money.

Travelling in groups is recommended.

IDENTIFICATION

Carry a photocopy of your passport’s identification page and the page containing your visa, and keep the original in a secure place.

Tourist facilities and infrastructure are adequate in Kampala, Jinja and larger national parks, but limited elsewhere in the country.

SPIKED FOOD AND DRINKS

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.