Is Uganda safe for Americans -and anyone else?

Posted by on June 22, 2020

The Question in 2020 “Is Uganda Safe for American Visitors?”

Is Uganda safe for Americans and anyone else in 2020?

Is Uganda safe for AmericansIs Uganda safe for Americans? Why are you asking such a question? That is something I ask myself as an American who has been safe in Uganda since 1992.

“Is Uganda safe for Americans? It is “the search term” that brings many to this page. One could further ask. Is Uganda safe for Germans, Danes, Belgians, Canadians, Australians, Russians, Chinese, or Indians? 

The reality is that 99% of the Visitors, especially tourists on a Safari, never have any safety and security problems in friendly and welcoming Uganda.

Why then do so many Americans and visitors from other countries think that Uganda is a no-go zone? How do Americans and others get these wrongful perceptions about safety and security in Uganda? Is Uganda safe for Americans -and anyone else?

Africa, and Uganda, in particular, gets a bad wrap. The press in the US is not particularly favorably inclined toward the country or the rest of Africa. Not many US Press Agencies have on-site reporters in Uganda. The news about Uganda is often written outside of the country. Uganda, in particular, is seen as the country where Idi Amin ruled.

Additionally, you can find information that Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army that is made up of child soldiers as roaming the Ugandan Countryside. Uganda’s image and reputation were not helped by movies such as “the Last King of Scotland” or “Seven Days in Entebbe.” Few saw the heartwarming Disney Film “the Queen of Katwe,” which showed another face of Uganda.

Is Uganda safe for Americans -and anyone else?The English writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley was right when he wrote, “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” 

Most find a Surprisingly friendly country, welcoming, and hospital. That there is no war inside of Uganda. That there are no guerrillas, only Gorillas, unlike ongoing raids by Al Shabab in Kenya. It is in South Africa where tourists are regularly robbed, but not in Uganda.

After the Safari, we hear his from our clients: “I felt safe in Uganda.” Refreshingly different from the ominous self-appointed Uganda doom and gloom experts whose blogs or posts on Travel Forums you might have read.” I was wrong about Uganda,” is what many of our Clients tell us or write to us after they visit Uganda. 

Uganda is not like you think it is. Most Ugandans are gentle, peaceful, welcoming people. The added plus for English Speaking Americans is that Uganda is the Best English Speaking Country in all of Africa.

What we suggest is based on over a decade of experience dealing with Tourists. Get to know Uganda before you go. We have found that most visitors arrive uninformed. “Know Before you Go.” Your time in Uganda will be more enjoyable.

COVID-19 Travel Ban: The Bans on Travel may soon be lifted. Uganda has over 900 registered positive cases and zero deaths. Travel without quarantines is the goal. For Americans, that may be a bit longer wait due to anew spike of the virus in some states. The Entebbe Airport is closed at present but may open to Traffic from some countries in July.

Is Uganda safe for Americans -and anyone else in 2020-2021?

The US State Department has a level 2 state of security caution for Uganda. That caution is standard for most countries in Sub-Sahara Africa. It is this caution, along with the erroneous perceptions that many visitors have about Uganda before they arrive.

Best Safety-Security Advice we can give Americans and anyone else: 

Common Sense-Do not Leave home without it:Is Uganda safe for Americans -and anyone else?

Common Sense comes down to this. What you would not do at home, don’t do in Uganda. Many Travelers seem to throw cautions to the wind and do things that might have some bad results.

Things like never leave your room unlocked. Do not leave your kindle or laptop unattended in a restaurant. Flash no cash. 

Never walk away from a Wilderness Lodge without a ranger. Do not stand at the edge of a waterfall such as Murchison Falls. 

Put your cash, your valuables, your passport, travel documents, flight information into the Hotel or Lodge safe in a sealed envelope.

Common Sense begins with Knowing about Uganda Before Going. 

Is Uganda safe for Americans -and anyone else?Know about Uganda Before you Go:

Safety and Security while Traveling is dependent on Travelers knowing before going. You have invested a lot of money in a safari in Uganda.

Get the most out of your investment. Get to know Uganda before going. We have a lot of Safety and Security information ranging from Safe Gorilla Trekking to safe ATM visits.

We even have what to avoid in Uganda, and many of those things are safe and security orientated. Avoid using a Credit Card is one of the things to avoid in Uganda. Credit Card related thefts are higher in Uganda than in the USA.  Flashing cash – only carry enough money to buy what you want.

You no longer have to worry that Ebola will spill over into Uganda from DR Congo, the last Ebola Patient there was released on March 6.2020.

Keep a Low Profile in Uganda – Blend in:Is Uganda safe for Americans -and anyone else?

Try not to stand out, blend in, and do not draw attention to yourself. Be aware of your surroundings. Unlike Kenya, there have been no hotel or shopping center attacks in Uganda. The most exciting thing we have is the police response to opposition politicians.

Be aware of yourself in public places such as hotels, lodges, restaurants, and bars.

Awareness keeps you safe. If you are on foot in downtown Kampala be careful on the streets, market places, especially Owino Market. It is where Ugandans have their earrings ripped off, their backpacks, purses ripped off. 

Avoid public demonstrations, especially opposition rallies in Uganda. The Presidential Election is coming up in 2021, but it is underway. 

Dress to blend in. In Kampala and other towns, Ugandans are fond of dressing smartly. You will get more readily accepted if you do likewise. On Safari, wear protective neutral color clothing.

Don’t talk loudly. Leave your expensive things at home, including jewelry, watches. Most importantly, do not draw attention to yourself. Act if you know what you are doing. Your confidence will be seen as a strength.

Why Do Americans feel that Uganda is not safe?

That caution is standard for most countries in Sub-Sahara Africa. It is this caution, along with the erroneous perceptions that many visitors have about Uganda before they arrive.

When more dangerous things happen in the US.

    • Uganda is safer to visit than the USA or, for that matter, parts of Europe at this time.Is Uganda safe for Americans -and anyone else?
    • Americans and anyone else do not know Africa, much less Uganda, and think that the myths and prejudiced opinions online or in print are the reality.
    • You cannot purchase a concealed weapon here – most of the population has no gun in their home as in the USA.
    • We do not have weekly, or now twice a day, mass shootings like in the USA.
    • We have not had a vehicular assault on large groups of people in Uganda.
    • Gun Permits are only issued to people in business who deposit large sums of money in the bank. In 2019, Weapons of all kinds were confiscated by Police.
    • We have had no terrorist attacks in Uganda since 2010, and that was a security wake-up call, which has led to some of the tightest security measures in Africa.
    • We have armed security outside of every more giant supermarket, bank, hospitals, larger hotels, vehicles are searched when you enter into a more large shopping center, so we have no shootings in the Walmart owned Game Store.
    • Uganda is home to over a million refugees who fled their country; it is the number one refugee receiving country in Africa.
    • In our Wildlife and Primate Parks, you have the Security of the Park Rangers and Army  Personnel, plus the Tourism Police.

Kanye West, you may or may not like him politically, or you just might. He, with his wife Kim Kardashian, daughter North-West, fellow rapper Big Sean visited the Pearl of Africa in October of 2018 on a working Safari in Murchison Falls Park.  While here, he recorded some tracks for his upcoming album along the River Nile, all without incidents.

African Hospitality in Uganda – Your Security Blanket:`Is Uganda safe for Americans -and anyone else?

An African Welcome is not just a verbal greeting. It is welcome that takes on the responsibility for your well-being. That is what we do for our clients when on Safari.

The concept of African hospitality begins with acceptance. While with us, while under roof on Safari, your well-being, safety, security is our focus.

Uganda is one of the friendliest countries in Africa.  It also one of the most welcoming countries, with over a million refugees from neighboring countries. It is the most culturally diverse country on the planet.

Over 40 languages are spoken here. English is spoken by many, and Uganda is considered the Best English Speaking Country on the Continent, though it might help to learn a bit of Uglish, Ugandan English.

US Embassy Contact InformationIs Uganda safe for Americans -and anyone else?

U.S. Embassy Kampala-Plot 1577 Ggaba Road, Kampala, Uganda

Telephone:+(256)(0) 414-306-001  Emergency:+(256)(0) 414-306-001 Fax:+(256)(0) 414-259-794

Email: [email protected]  Website: U.S. Embassy Kampala

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

There are no current travel alerts, travel advisories for Uganda. I found misinformation in my weekly check of the Site.

There was a statement that said that Uganda had closed its border with Rwanda. It is Rwanda that has closed its border with Uganda. That closure does not apply to Tourists nor Ugandans. The closure is by Rwanda, which does not allow its citizens to cross into Uganda.

Our Take on Safety and Security in Uganda

Our focus has been and is providing Safe, Secure Hakuna Matata- Worry-Free Safaris in Uganda. We Is Uganda safe for Americans -and anyone else?know and understand your concerns about safety and security.  We share those same feelings about your safety, security, and well-being. 

We put into practice the African Art of Hospitality that takes on the responsibility of providing a safe and secure Safari.

For over a decade, we have provided Safe, Hakuna Matata, No Worry Safaris in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa. 

Uganda is one of the safest, most secure, stable, friendly, and welcoming countries in Africa.

Our Driver-Guides are proactive, security, and safety orientated. Their focus is one that is based on Customer Service.

The Safe Outcome is more important than income for us. 

We Other Helpful Safety and Security Information for Travelers to Uganda:

Is Uganda safe for Americans -and anyone else? Find out more on our Know Before You Go to our Uganda Page.

Jon Blanc