Is Uganda safe for Americans -and anyone else?

Posted by on December 8, 2019

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

Is Uganda safe for Americans and anyone else in 2020?


 Is Uganda safe for Americans? A Valid Question to ask. Here is what the US State Department’s last Advisory about Uganda states. Uganda – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution. 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.

“Is Uganda safe for Americans? It is “a 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 problems in the Pearl of Africa. 

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 often wrongful perceptions about Uganda?

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

Additionally, you can always find information that Joseph Kony and Lord’s Resistance Army made up of child soldiers is 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.

 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 Uganda that is surprisingly friendly and welcoming and hospital. That there is no war in Uganda; there are no guerrillas, only Gorillas. That Gays can safely visit Uganda on a Safari that they were no held up and robbed, unlike South Africa.

Most frequently, we hear this: “I felt safe in Uganda.” Refreshingly different from the ominous self-appointed Uganda experts whose blogs or posts on Travel Forums you might have read.“I was wrong about Uganda,” is what most of our Clients tell us or write to us after their visit to 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 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 here will be more enjoyable.


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

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

Common Sense-Don’t Leave Home without it:

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. 


 Know about Uganda Before you Go:

Safety and Security while Traveling is dependent on Travelers knowing before going. You have invested a lot 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 safety 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 – we suggest just having enough cash.

Take Ebola, a worry, a healthy security concern to many wanting to visit Uganda.  The information one finds on the internet is conflicting. People begin to worry about contracting it. The reality, there is no Ebola in Uganda.


Keep a Low Profile in Uganda – Blend in:

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 smart. 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?

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.
    • 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 people 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 Uganda 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 Planket:`

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.

The Ugandan Tourism Board has stated time and time are LGBT Travelers are welcome in the Pearl of Africa. It certainly is not the easiest thing to do, to convince someone that Uganda is safe for LGBT travelers on a Safari.

More and more are accepting the offer and came to Uganda to see the Mountain Gorillas, Chimpanzees, the wildlife, the River Nile


US Embassy Information

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  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.