Are Safaris in Uganda Safe and Secure in 2019?
Safe-Secure Gorilla – Chimpanzee – Wildlife Safaris in Uganda? -The Safest Place to be is on a Safari in Uganda
Safe Gorilla – Chimpanzee – Wildlife Safaris in Uganda? That is a question we often receive via email. Especially since the Kidnapping of an American Tourist and her driver in the Ishasha Area of Queen Elizabeth Park (both were released April 7-2019)
Uganda has been one of the safest travel destinations in Africa, and the National Parks and Wildlife reserves have been the most reliable and most secure places to be in Uganda until the isolated kidnapping took place in April of 2019.
Dr. Peter Tarlow, an International Travel Security expert, told the reliable and well-known in travel circles ETurboNews: “The tragic kidnapping that recently occurred in Uganda should not be seen as indicative of overall safety in Uganda.”
“Very much to the contrary, Uganda has been known over the decades to be a safe and secure destination. Unfortunately, there are bad people in every part of the world, and travel implies risk.“However, Uganda cannot afford to rely on its recent past but must show the world what it is doing in the future.”
Security is found at every level while you are on Safari, the one person who can mess things up is the Visitor who leaves “Common Sense.” at home, do not leave home without it.
Safe Gorilla – Chimpanzee – Wildlife Safaris in Uganda in 2019
Safe Gorilla – Chimpanzee – Wildlife Safaris in Uganda – Uganda has increased its presence at the Border with DR Congo, in areas that are associated with tourism such as the Ishasha Region of Queen Elizabeth Park where the incident took place the border is virtually sealed. It is a Wildlife Corridor that extends from Virunga National Park to Kibale Fores. Portions of Queen Elizabeth have had an electric fence installed which is near completion. Other parts are now being considered. Drones that have been used to catch poachers are being also used for security purposes.
Add to that the Marine Vessels that are keeping vigilance on Lake Edward and Lake Edward, Border point had extra staff since last year, including health checks for every person crossing the border legally. Those found with any weapons have them removed, and they are questioned.
President Museveni under whose leadership Uganda has become a stable, secure and safe country has allocated all the security resources needed to protect both Tourists and Ugandans from harm, keeping Uganda a safe and secure, a welcoming and friendly Destination that is indeed the Pearl of Africa.
President in a recent meeting with the President of DR Congo asked for the right to pursue any rebel forces that may harm Uganda, that would include kidnappers. This was granted previously when Uganda along US Special Forces sought Joseph Kony and the LRA in the DRC.
Presently the border with DR Congo has increased Ugandan Military Presence, experienced Crack Medical Teams screening every person entering Uganda from DR Congo, Immigration Officials, and Police Presence. Tourism Police whose function it is to protect both international and domestic Tourists also have an increased presence as well as the critical contacts for tourist, the Uganda Wildlife Authority Rangers who are the guardian angels of wildlife and tourists alike.
Security Safety Measures presently in Place in Uganda:
Airport Arrival and Departure – Safe and Secure:
Entebbe International Airport is the official Ugandan airport. However many choose because of shorter drive-times Kigali International Airport which is a regional airport conveniently close to Mgahinga Gorilla Park and the southern area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
You will find the security at both Kigali International and Entebbe International Airport quite tight. At Entebbe International Airport, you cannot drop off a person at the departure. Area.
On arrival, things work out quite nicely, and typically, your luggage arrives without being picked through as it is common in other African airports. Immigration and Customs are courteous and helpful. Baggage carts are still free.
Departing both Rwanda or Uganda – you go through several security checks. The security merely is tight, but that is for your protection, and there have been no incidents at either Kigali International or Entebbe International Airport.
Safe and Secure Airport Arrivals and Departures in Uganda- Rwanda
Entering Uganda by Vehicle from Kenya, Rwanda, DR Congo or Tanzania:
Border Crossings in Uganda are merely different. They are locked or closed and opened when a vehicle passes through. It is different from what you are used to, but it is a system that works well.
In our case, we mostly use the Border Crossings coming from Rwanda into Uganda. You can purchase your visa to Uganda at the border crossing without a hassle. This has remained so even after Rwanda engaged in a border row with Uganda closed its borders in February 2019.
Border crossings typically take about 30 minutes and re for the most part hassle-free events. You are not asked for a bribe. It certainly is a safe and secure event.
Security at a border crossing is very high, and there have not been any problems for our Clients entering Uganda.
Capable Driver Guide – Your Guardian Angel:
You are met by our capable driver-guide who is not just a driver but a professional guide who will guide you along in Uganda. He is simply a professional with years of experience, who knows the roads.
His English is excellent, and his experience and knowledge of Uganda are vast and on whose mind is your safety and well-being while you are in the Pearl of Africa – Uganda.
He knows the best routes, he knows the parks and knows the wildlife, and he is aware of the current situation of the areas you are visiting. Our drivers know present Security Conditions and use Uganda Wildlife Authority Rangers on all wildlife game drives. Our vehicles are marked as Tourist vehicles and that gives them hassle-free treatment from the Traffic Police.
Off-Road Driving is not allowed- do not ask the driver to do so.
Nighttime Driving on Safari with us:
We avoid driving at night for safety reasons due to higher accident rates due to alcohol consumption and driers that do not have safe nighttime driving skills.
If your flight arrives at night, we take you to a hotel in Entebbe and not in Kampala. We schedule your itinerary in such a way that it does not include nighttime driving.
At rare times, due to flight delays, we have taken clients at night to their destination such as Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Gorilla Permits.
The US and UK embassies in Uganda suggest that you do not drive at night except Entebbe to Kampala. We take that one step further and avoid nighttime driving all-together.
Safe and Secure Lodges and Hotels:
Hotels and lodges are very secure, and you will be surprised by the security that is exhibited by many of them even as you enter by vehicle into the premises such as the Serena Hotel or the Sheraton Hotel in Kampala.
Security is integrated into life in Uganda, and we pick safe and secure lodges and hotels both in town and in the National Parks.
You will be surprised that most often the security at a hotel or lodge is armed – they most likely have not used their weapons in many years, but it is there for the added protection for guests.
Safety and Security for guests, clients, visitors are on everyone’s mind, and it is never taken lightly; fortunately, there have been mishaps in regards to security.
National Park Security:
On every game drive, an armed ranger is with you for your protection. The same is true on every hike or nature walk.
Security in the National Parks is taken seriously, Uganda has even added a Tourism Police for added protection for visitors to the various parks, hotels, and multiple places where tourists flock too
Your well-being is on everyone’s mind, and security in parks is practiced most diligently in both Uganda and Rwanda.
Tourism is a top-income earner for Uganda, and no one wants to jeopardize the goose that lays the golden egg.
Community awareness programs take place about the importance of Wildlife and coexistence with them. A portion of the entrance fees is also shared with surrounding communities.
Follow the Rules in Uganda’s National Park and Preserves:
Parks are under the jurisdiction of Uganda Wildlife Authority, and parks are well regulated, and the rules are strictly enforced. Besides the rules that Uganda Wildlife Authority has, we have added some of our own that will keep you safe and secure on your Safari in Uganda.
- No movement on foot without an armed Ranger escort-outside of park stay with your driver-guide
- No Driving in parks from 7:30 pm until 6:30 am.
- No wandering away from Lodge that is located in the park or at the edge of it. There are wild animals plus it avoids contacting poachers.
- No Game Drives without an armed ranger on board vehicle
- On all activities have at least a copy of passport in a daypack
- Boat Safaris we encourage the use of a life vest.
- On a Family, Safari never let children be unattended.
- Dress for the occasion – gorilla, chimpanzee trek, hike, volcano climb – follow our suggestion, they are for your wellbeing.
- Use a porter whenever available such as for Gorilla Trekking
- Do not wear Camouflage clothing – it gets you unnecessary attention and is not suggested.
- Sitting on top of vehicles during Game Drives is not allowed for your safety.
- Nocturnal Game Drives are only conducted with Uganda Wildlife Vehicles except where a lodge is authorized by UWA to do so.
It is simple, do the mathematics. Gorilla Tracking, permits are the number one income earner for the government of Uganda when it comes to tourism. The local communities benefit significantly from revenue sharing from the permits and are thriving.
Uganda has committed all possible resources to create a safe environment for Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
Gorilla Trekking involves a security detail for every group of tourist out on the Trek. They are armed for your protection against any threat, wild or human. There has not been an instance where that is necessary, the security, however, remains in place.
If you enter Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga National Park you will have to be in the company of Park Rangers even if you are not gorilla trekking; there is no such thing as a stroll in the park on your own. We are reviewing all activities outside of gorilla parks such as the Buhoma Village Walk and the Batwa Experience and will adjust itineraries accordingly.
Are Gay and Lesbian Visitors safe on Safari. The answer is yes.
No one will ask you when you land in Entebbe or Kigali, whether you are gay. Ugandans, are not pro-gay but at the same time they, not anti-people.
In Uganda and other East African Countries, it is inappropriate to show public affection, to talk about one’s intimate life. That is not done. LGBT are not asked any questions regarding their lifestyle preferences when they arrive in the country, and neither do we ask you as a tour operator.
One is merely discreet about one’s sexual orientation in either country, because 97% in Uganda disagree with LGBT ways and that is the case across of most of Africa – however, LGBT Visitors are safe on a Safari in the Pearl of Africa.
This is not a Sales pitch for Travel Insurance that would be, in our opinion, inappropriate. We do think that it is wise and prudent to have Travel insurance. We suggest that you obtain it before you book your Safari.
We have had, on several occasions, assist Clients as they filed a claim due to delayed flights that caused havoc with the itinerary.
We have seen the Travel Insurance rarely uses, but one case stands out where a woman stumbled and fell, something that could have happened anywhere, but she was on safari and sustained a shoulder injury. We oversaw the medical evacuation by plane from the park, examination at one of Uganda’s best hospitals and her home flight to Australia plus furnished the Insurance Company with all information required. She with her friend is returning soon to complete her safari which came to a halt on Day 3. She was thankful that she had taken out Travel Insurance.
Just Safe – Hakuna Matata -no-Worry Safaris in Uganda – We’ve got you covered:
The safe outcome of a Safari is more important to us than income. We do not design a safari that is unsafe. We would adjust your safari if there were dangerous conditions. We know Uganda, we live and work here. You are not dealing with someoneNYC selling African Tours into Uganda.
We are a Ugandan Tour operators, we know the latest weather, the most recent road closure and how to circumvent it, we see the security conditions.’
You do not have to be Indiana Jones to go on a Safari in Uganda, and you will never be in our parks without the security of armed rangers.
Kabiza Wilderness Safaris is owned and operated by what could say is a seasoned American Africa hand and Ugandan – who I call the Safari Guy – we understand the mindset of a Tourist and their concerns. In 2019 we continue what we started doing over a decade ago create and implement Safe, Hakuna Matata Style, no worry, memorable Safaris in the Pearl of Africa, Uganda.
Safe Gorilla – Chimpanzee – Wildlife Safaris in Uganda – You are safe on a safari in Uganda- being on safari is the safest place to be…relax and enjoy the journey…Have a Hakuna Matata don’t Worry Safari.