Are Women Safe while Traveling in Uganda or Rwanda?
Practical Safety and Security Advice for Women Travelers during their time in Uganda or Rwanda
Are women safe while traveling in Uganda or Rwanda? That is a question often asked by women coming to Uganda or Rwanda. The answer to that question is 99% “yes.”
Uganda and Rwanda are two of safest, most stable and secure countries in Africa for women travelers, especially if you are on a safari with an accredited safari tour company such as ourselves. We have years of experience in providing safe and secure tours of Uganda and Rwanda for all, including women travelers.
Uganda and Rwanda are also two of the friendliest countries in Africa where you will receive the friendliest “Welcome” wherever you go
Most Visitors to Uganda and Rwanda do not encounter any problems especially if one follows some of the below advice.
Uganda and Rwanda are safe and secure for Women Travelers wanting to discover the Pearl of Africa Uganda and or Rwanda – the Land of a Thousand Hills, especially the Scenery, Wildlife, Primates, various cultures and traditions…Enjoy the Pearl of Africa and the Land of a Thousand Hills safely.
Here are some tips that you might find helpful regarding your safety in Uganda and Rwanda:
If you are in a city such as Kampala, Uganda or Kigali, Rwanda you will find that most women dress up quite nicely and are quite fashion conscious even if they are for the most part wearing quality and affordable second-hand clothing from North America and Europe. The emphasis would be on dressing up smart with a conservative touch.
Shorts are not a good choice for women because it offends some African and leaves the wrong impression (with Ugandans or Rwandans).
Jeans, dresses, skirts, Khaki trousers are fine and do not cause any cultural problems. Even with a bathing suit it is wise to stay a bit on the conservative side of things.
Those that partake in the nightlife of Uganda or Rwanda will find that women dress less conservatively as they go out dancing in a nightclub or even out to dinner.
Wearing Jewelry in Uganda or Rwanda:
Avoid wearing gold jewelry, necklaces, gold or diamond earrings, expensive watches and the like.
Custom jewelry that you might have picked up at a good price in the west can be stolen – even Ugandan or Rwandan women encounter this problem constantly in crowded places.
You can buy some lovely earrings – bangles, necklaces locally and at the same time benefit a Ugandan or Rwandan family through your purchase.
If you are wearing slacks or jeans put your wallet, money in the front of pockets and put your hand over it if you are walking downtown Kampala or Kigali, especially in crowded settings such as market places.
When purchasing something do not flash a wad of money, but just enough to pay for the service or product. You do not want to attract the attention of a potential thief.
Click on the above link for more advice on how to handle money in Uganda and or Rwanda.
Purse – Bag:
It is a good idea to put your bag over your shoulder but also put your hand over the purse itself and holding it to your side so that no one can readily grab it and you have lost your purse and often more importantly the contents ranging from cash to your personal identification such as passport – airline tickets and more.
It is good to always have a scan or copy of important documents in the case that they are lost or stolen.
Be wise – though it is safe to walk on your own – go with a Ugandan or Rwandan to be on he safe side of things.
Do not carry it with you, but a copy of it, keep it in a safe and secure place in your lodging. The same applies to any other identification and keep your credit cards at your lodging.
I have known people where there passport was lost in a form of transport and they had to go through the tedious task going to their embassy and in some cases your country may not have an embassy in Uganda or Rwanda which makes the replacement of a passport more tedious.
Walking on your own – Never act lost even if you are:
For the most part it is fine, especially in daytime- at night it is not recommended, just as a precaution walk with someone, preferably a Ugandan or Rwandan. Avoid walking through a slum and stay on the main roads.
Never act lost even if you are – that makes you a potential victim of a theft attack. Enter into a shop – or get on a Boda-Boda Motorcycle Taxi and they will take you to your destination (even though below I recommend avoiding a Boda-Boda Motorcycle Taxi or Moto-Taxi in Rwanda which like a Boda-Boda is a motorcycle taxi.
Transportation in Uganda or Rwanda:
Avoid using Boda-Boda Motorcycles – they do not use helmets and use perilous ways to get around jam-packed Kampala. They are also the number one reason for emergency rooms admissions due to high rates of accidents. The taxis which are mini-buses and the main form of transport in much of Uganda and Rwanda are better, but bring small Ugandan or Rwandan currency – just to be safe.
Motorcycle transport in Rwanda is called Moto-Taxis – Rwanda enforces laws such as wearing helmets including for passengers. Moto-Taxis are registered and licensed as such. Moto-Taxis are a bit safer than in Uganda where most anything goes.
Buses – are not the best way – their high and excessive speeds has cost a lot of fatalities. If you do take a trip with one – avoid any food or drinks given by a fellow passengers – people have been drugged and robbed right on the bus. Avoid night travel in between towns even by bus – a bus was stopped in Northern Uganda and all passengers were robbed at 2am in the morning.
Buses are safer in Rwanda and more regulated.
It is usually safe for a woman to go to a local dance spot and you usually do not have any problems, but to stay on safe side, stay in the company of others, once again have a Ugandan join you – especially a driver that knows his way around to various places and will abstain from alcohol.
Kampala is the city that never sleeps and Ugandans love to party and party they do – nightclubs, but stay open until dawn and beyond.
Kigali is a bit more subdued than Kampala when it comes to nightlife and unlike Kampala – Kigali is a city that does sleep and there are less nightclubs to choose from than in Kampala.
As a woman you may encounter an occasional attempt by a male at flirting, but that can happen anywhere in the world and it does happen here. A smile and a “no thanks” will usually resolve the situation in a friendly manner.
You may get a subtle or not so subtle marriage proposal, again a smiling, “no thank you” will do the trick. Remember that 90% of attempts at flirting are harmless – simply keep your sense of humor.
In both Uganda and Rwanda you might receive a proposal – receive them with a smile.
There are some practical things you can do about your well-being while eating out such as avoiding any street vendors since their hygienic ways may not be the best. I have some friends who eat Rolex all the time – not the watch but Rolled Eggs in a chapati with vegetables – a very popular Ugandan dish that was innovated by some University Students and has spread all over Uganda.
In Rwanda you do not have street vendors as you do in Uganda – in Rwanda you have to go to a restaurant and once again they are more regulated than in Uganda.
Avoid eating salads, or raw cabbage on your plate unless it is at a good restaurant or hotel, avoid those buffets heated only by a small candle where the curries and other things will spoil. With juices ask if the water has been boiled and no ice-cubes, just to name a few.
Obtain a local mobile phone for 8 to 25 usd with sim card and stay in touch with home and also with Ugandans and Rwandans if you are in Rwanda – MTN is the leading phone provider in both Uganda and or Rwanda. Incoming calls – no charge.
In Uganda and Rwandayou can even use a phone to receive money from Western Union abroad on your cell-phone here via MTN Mobile Money – a most practical feature.
For Safety – add contacts such as the hotel you are using and some Ugandan or Rwandan friends. If you are on a safari in Uganda or Rwanda be sure to add the number of your driver guide
Uganda is Africa – traveling to Uganda can be a most enjoyable time – many who come here lack information and insights into Uganda. Before you come to Uganda get to know about it – we have hundreds of pages that do just that.
Start with the above link and begin to enjoy your journey here – enjoy Uganda – the Pearl of Africa.
Enjoy your time in the pearl of Africa – Uganda and or Rwanda – the land of a thousand hills – if we can be of any help to make your time more fulfilling – please contact us…
Question you might have – we will try to answer them
“If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.” John Hemingway, African Journeys