Uganda Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Uganda
Threat level: High
There is a high threat of terror in Uganda that specifically presents a higher risk to foreign tourists from western countries. Many areas of Uganda are lawless and banditry and tribal wars are widespread. Travel to the districts of Kaabong, Kotido, Abim, Moroto, Napak, Nakapiripirit, Katakwi, Amudat, Kapchorwa, Kween, and Bukwo in the Karamoja region of north eastern Uganda is extremely dangerous and highly advised against at all costs.
There have also been outbreaks of violent political demonstrations during and immediately after the election period in 2016. These occurred all over the country but mostly in Kampala. Tear gas and live ammunition were used by police to disperse protestors.
Recent security events
The Karamoja region has little to no law enforcement and ruled mostly by bandits and warring tribes. There are frequent road ambushes and small arms are commonly used. It is advised to avoid all but essential travel to this region.
The border with Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan are high risk areas. Dangerous poachers and bandits are known to operate in these areas. If you plan on trekking in these areas you should only go with an experienced local guide.
There have been recent violent attacks by local armed civilians against police and army installations. Bundibugyo, Kasese, and Ntoroko districts experienced this the most. Although foreign nationals are not the main target, it is easily to get caught up in incidents.
Opportunistic crime like burglaries and pickpocketing are common in some areas of Uganda. There have also been some isolated incidents of tourists being drugged and robbed on public transport and in bars. Exercise extreme caution during your travels. You should not walk alone at night and avoid travelling to rural areas of the country without a guide.
Keep car doors locked and windows shut when driving in crowded areas and through rural villages. There have been a number of car hijackings and theft from taxis while stationary in traffic. To reduce the risk of this, it is advised that you do not leave valuables on display in vehicles and avoid keeping them in there if possible. If you are stopped by armed criminals, it is advised to comply with their demands.
Uganda became independent in 1962 and is now a Commonwealth Republic. Diplomatic relationships between the United States and Uganda have been good since Museveni assumed power of the country. The United States is currently helping Uganda achieve export-led economic growth.
Be aware travel to eastern Uganda is very dangerous during heavy rains, there is a high risk of landslides particularly in the Bulucheke sub-county in Bududa District near Mount Elgon National Park, a popular tourist destination. When the country is experiencing high levels of rainfall, it is advised that you avoid travel to this area by car if possible as you may face difficulties on the roads.
You can drive in Uganda using a UK driving licence and most EU and U.S. licenses for up to 3 months. Many of the roads are in very poor condition and driving standards are also low. You should operate your vehicle with extreme caution.
Currency: Ugandan Shilling
Time now in Kampala:
Your passport must be valid for six months beyond the date of entry into Uganda. Visas for most nationalities are usually issued upon arrival, evidence of yellow fever virus vaccination, as well as a polio vaccination for children younger than five are also required before entering the country.
It is advised that visitors to Uganda are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is essential that you get vaccinated against Yellow Fever as there is risk of the disease throughout the country. It is an entry requirement that you present a certificate proving your immunisation and should be completed at least 10 days prior to departure.
It is further recommended that most travellers get Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations. You may also want to consider a Rabies jab as there is a small risk in some areas of the country. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
Outbreaks of typhoid, cholera and malaria in Uganda have all been confirmed by the Ugandan Ministry of Health. Ensure that your personal hygiene is paramount and reduce the risk of malaria by taking precautions against mosquito bites such as sleeping with a mosquito net.
Medical facilities in Uganda are limited and in serious cases you may have to be evacuated to another country, it is advised that you purchase adequate medical insurance.
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