Personal Security and Safety Tips for Staying Safe and Secure in Uganda
Is Uganda safe for travelers, tourists, holiday makers, business travelers, volunteers?
Staying Safe and Secure in Uganda – Uganda is one of the safest countries in Africa. Is Uganda Safe? A resounding “yes” is the answer. Uganda is most likely as safe or safer than your country of origin, especially if you are on a Safari.
You will come across misleading information on various websites regarding how safe Uganda is for travel. They are however usually outdated and do not reflect the present state of Uganda.
Kabiza Wilderness Safaris will always update this site with current and pertinent travel information to Uganda including Safety and security. Such updates will and would be posted even if they are unfavorable to Ugandan Travel since our clients and other visitors safety in Uganda during their visit is more important than making a profit.
Besides being a stable country, Uganda prides itself as one of the friendliest countries in Africa. In regards to Security- the majority of African countries, including one of the Safest, Uganda have had no Terrorist Attacks in recent years.
The Police in Uganda is quite tough on potential terrorists of any kind and they have done an exemplary job.
Staying Safe and Secure in Uganda – Tips and Advice
Never act lost even if you are:
That may sound a bit funny, but when one acts and looks lost they make themselves vulnerable and a potential target for thieves. If you are lost, ask a police officer or go into a shop and ask for directions.
Another option is to jump on a Boda-Boda Motorcycle Taxi and have them take you there and there about 30,000 plus boda-bodas in Kampala.
Thieves always look in any town including in Kampala for people who seem lost – disoriented – even if you are lost – Act as if you know where you are going – ask the right people and you will be just fine.
Never Act Lost even if you are.
Keep your Jewelry at home:
Take inexpensive jewelry with you (you can buy some lovely items here in Uganda at a low price). Gold chains and jewelry can be torn from you.
Avoid expensive watches and if you are wearing one, have one preferably with a leather strap that can be tightened and safely worn.
Buy some local Ugandan crafted jewelry and support a local artisan and their families and you will safe-keep your expensive items at home and at the same time make a difference in Uganda through your purchase of local hand-crafted items.
Keep your expensive Jewelry at Home
Keep your money out of sight:
It is best to carry your money in the front pocket where you can put your hand over it and not a back pocket where it can easily be stolen.
Do not wear the various kinds of belted packs for money and valuables that are worn on the outside of your garments.
Do not flash money, pull out what you need and pay, never carry large amounts with you. Keep money and any other valuables in your hotel safe.
Keep your Money out of Sight.
Passports and Return Tickets:
Do not carry a passport on you. If anything make a copy of it and leave the passport in the hotel safe. If you are traveling on a safari, keep it all such things in a small backpack that you can easily carry with you.
It is best to carry that small Backpack even if you go on a game drive while on safari. It is always best to be on the safe side of life instead of having later sorrow.
The issue is not that people are going to rob you of documents, that can happen. The issue is protect your documents from any loss including theft.
Protect your Documents
Expensive here, about twice what it would cost you in your country of origin, so it is a temptation for some to steal yours. Keep it in a bag, strap it to you. When taking a picture, hold it with both hands and roll strap around your hand so no one can take it from you.
Never loosely put a camera over the shoulder on a strap, the same with binoculars if you should take them into town. Keep it safe is always the rule of the day – that is better than being sorry later.
Cameras are expensive in Uganda and are a temptation to a street-thief – you will not have such a problem on a safari where you are with a driver-guide.
Protect Camera and Binoculars.
Protect your Mobile – Cell Phone:
Keep your Mobile Cell-Phone in your pocket and do not carry it in your hands. If you carry it in your hands, someone may take a cigarette burn your hand and you drop the phone when pain strikes and it is gone.
Do not put in on a table in a restaurant or bar since again someone might just come and grab it – Stay on the safe side.
Mobile phones are stolen daily in Uganda – hold on to it tightly. The theft of a mobile phone is one of the most common thefts here. The thief removes the Sim Card and sells it to someone.
Smart-Phones are especially sought after by thieves and they will steal them even in a restaurant..never put your mobile phone on a table when going out.
Walking at night:
Keep it to a minimum, it is usually safe on a crowded street, but it is best to be with a Ugandan or someone who knows the country and ways.
Do not walk alone on your own in most neighborhoods to be on the safe side – what you would do at home, do here while visiting Uganda.
You do not hear of many cases where Visitors to Uganda are robbed or harmed but it is best to be wise and smart to avoid walking at night in a place, town that you do not know.
Don’t do things in Uganda that you would not do at home.
Visits to Slums:
Slums in Kampala happen to a place of misery and where you can find quite a few people who would not have the best intentions in mind when it comes to dealing with you. Most slum-dwellers are there not because of choice but because of circumstances in life.
Visiting a slum, unless you are visiting a school, an NGO, a charitable work such as an orphanage is ill-advised.
We do not offer slum tours as is the fashion in Kenya in order to make money and one company does it here in Kampala.
We believe in the dignity of all human beings and do not want to gain off of another person’s misery.
In February of 2014 President Museveni signed the stronger anti-gay bill into law. 97% of Ugandans concurred with his decision. Uganda had been in the news for five years about the anti-gay bill and it had an effect on Uganda’s image in the world even though it is one of 38 African Countries and over 80 worldwide with strong anti-gay laws.
What does it mean to a gay traveler wanting to come to Uganda? In Uganda, there is no public affection between any gender. No promotion of homosexuality and simply discreet behavior that does not draw attention to a visitor to Uganda. The traditions of held values of Uganda and most African Nations are simply different or compare to what Western Nations were like years back.
The law has since been rescinded by a Ugandan Court. It has not been reinstated.
Statement from Stephen Asiimwe -Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Tourism Board “no gay visitor to our country will be harassed or not welcome for the only reason that he or she may be gay. Cultural policies are important in Uganda. We ask visitors to respect them. They include touching in public for example or engaging in sex with children.”
No Immigration Person at Entebbe International Airport will ask you while you are obtaining your Visa – Are you gay?
A woman traveling on her own is quite safe and in Uganda a firm “no” to some flirting by men will usually stop any further annoyances.
You may be proposed to, take it as a compliment and once again a firm no thank you.
Women Travelers area quite safe in Uganda by adding a few precautions to your travels in Uganda.
Uganda is a safe and secure country and that includes for women.
If you are on a safari tour with Kabiza Wilderness Safaris you are more than safe since your driver guide will do whatever he can do make sure of your well-being while in the Pearl of Africa.
Most of all-just use your head-keep aware and watch each other. Most of all think – Would I do this at home? If not there-don’t do it in Uganda.
Keep your guard up when on your own along with common sense. 99% plus of visitors love their time in Uganda and so will you, along with some practical common sense.
Your basic instincts will keep you safe and sound in Uganda, common sense can be your guide.
Once again, if you are on a safari organized by a Tour Operator such as ourselves, you will be just fine.
Simply forget driving yourself in Uganda The Four Tops had a hit in 60’s – Only the Strong survive – that applies to self driving in Uganda You want to rent a vehicle in Uganda and drive yourself across this country…my advice – forget it – Uganda has the second highest accident rate in Africa.
Yes, Uganda has International Traffic Laws, the problem is that not everyone follows them. If you do have an accident then you have all the cultural issues enter in and what you should do under such circumstances.
There are many reasons why a self-drive safari borders on insanity in Uganda, though more and more are advertising rentals for vehicles. Leave the driving to a tour company with experience such as ourselves.
Traveling by Bus:
There have been incidents where people have been given food on the buses by fellow passengers which were drugged and the passengers were robbed.
Avoid taken food or drinks from fellow passengers even though they may have the friendliest of demeanor.
Even the US Embassy advises against taking food or drink on a bus. You are probably much safer taking the roadside food being offered as the bus pulls over for pits-stops or fuel.
Buses are also often involved in simply bad accidents in Uganda due to the high speeds that they travel at.
In Kampala going out is usually safe, but keep your drink close to you and watch that no one puts something in it.
There have been incidents where people have been robbed after being drugged in a bar where they were attempting to enjoy the Nightlife of Kampala. Again these are isolated incidents.
Experience the Kampala night in the city that never sleeps with a Ugandan, much safer and they will know how to respond to various situations.
Do not purchase Ganja – Marijuana, Mira which is an amphetamine and is chewed, nor imported drugs such as heroin, crack cocaine and the like – you are asking for trouble.
Kampala Nightlife – Safety – Security
Tourist in Uganda who are on Safari and not traveling on their own are quite safe. Since tour companies such as ourselves do everything within in our power based on experience to keep Safari participants safe.
A safari tour of Uganda is your best and safest way to enjoy Uganda and we at Kabiza Wilderness Safaris specialize in safe safaris.
Safaris in Uganda have proven to be a safe and sane experience for travelers to the Pearl of Africa.
Travelers to Uganda Information 100’s of Pages to assist you in planning your Travel to and in Uganda
Here you will find most of the information that you will need in regards to travel to and inside of Uganda.
Most everything that a traveler may want to know, from safety and security to visa tips are found there.
Explore and Discover Uganda before you arrive in the Pearl of Africa and enjoy the country before you step off of the plane in Entebbe.
Visitors and Tourists to Uganda are respected, seen as a source of income for the country and every measure is taken to protect them. Not only is there the police, Army but also the Tourism Police that monitors regular tourist spots.
On top of that in Game Parks and Wildlife reserves you have the Uganda Wildlife Authority Rangers who are very much respected by both Ugandans and visitors, they are also armed and one of their tasks is to protect visitors.
On Gorilla and Chimpanzee treks there are even armed escorts who take protecting you seriously.
The Reality about Safety in Uganda begins with a Question – Is the US – France – UK – Belgium – Spain and other countries Safe for Travelers?
- There are no gun-stores in Uganda – weapons are in the hands of police – military – security guard agencies.
- There are no weekly drive-by shootings in Uganda such as in the US
- There no weekly mass shootings as in the USA
- There are no Terrorist Attacks as there have been in the US, UK, France, Belgium – the last one was during the World Cup in 2010 and that toughened the resolve of the Police to break up any group who might be planning one – their pre-emptive strikes have worked.
- The Muslim and Christian Population have lived in relative harmony for hundreds of years.
- There has been no radical Islamic Terrorist attack inside of Uganda – except the 2010 world-cup when radicals from Somalia carried out one, they were caught and imprisoned.
- Muslims – 12% of the Population are represented at most levels of government and live in harmony with their Christian marriage. Interfaith marriages are common.
- The Police is tough on potential terrorists and again the Police has a large Muslim contingent.
- One reason that President Museveni has remained in power for over 30 years is that he has brought stability and security to the country.
- As an American I feel safe in Uganda
Uganda, is one of the safest places to visit in all of Africa
I as an American living here – feel very safe – but like anywhere else in the world it is best to take some precautions –
Tbmhe safest way to visit Uganda is by taking a safari with a reputable company such as Kabiza Wilderness Safaris…enjoy Staying Safe and Secure in Uganda, just follow some simple advice and you will be just fine.
Uganda maybe just a bit safer than the country that you come from. We have had no terrorist attacks, no drive-by shootings – one cannot stress enough – follow the simply advice given here…
Reality: Uganda is most likely a safer and secure country than your country of origin.
Staying Safe and Secure in Uganda-Questions? Please Ask