Is it Dangerous to Travel to Uganda-Staying Safe and Secure Visiting Uganda

Posted by on June 19, 2019

Our Advice for Staying Safe and Secure Visiting Uganda

Is it Dangerous to Travel to Uganda? The Reality about Safety&Security beyond the News

Is it Dangerous to Travel to Uganda? Staying Safe and Secure Visiting, 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.

During April 2019 Uganda made the news for all the Wrong Reasons, an American Tourist along with her Driver Guide was kidnapped while on a Game Drive in Queen Elizabeth. For 5-Days news headlines, TV News Reports, Tweets, Facebook Post portrayed Uganda as dangerous and insecure. We began to receive inquiries about whether Uganda was safe, mostly from Americans.

The Good News that those kidnapped were released, some of the Kidnappers were arrested, a good outcome to what was a nightmare to Kimberly Sue Endicott and her driver and all of Uganda rejoiced, but a lingering cloud of Doubt remains in the minds of many of those that had planned to visit Uganda.

Here is what Dr. Peter Tarlow, an International Travel Security Expert said to the reliable and well-known in travel circles EturboNews recently: “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.”

The Ugandan Government, since the kidnapping, has responded, in our opinion better than expected.  The two who were kidnapped were freed, the security levels remain at unprecedented levels and are being permanently put into place to prevent a reoccurrence of what has taken place.  Uganda is safer today than it was for Visitors, Tourists, Gorilla Trekkers, Volunteer, and Safari Goers. The US State Department did not issue any Travel Advisories; their suggestion for Uganda is to stay aware, the same as it has been. 

Kabiza Wilderness Safari remains committed to its Motto” there is only one thing we do – Create safe and secure, memorable Safaris in Uganda.”  We strongly advise you to go to our Facebook Page for the latest good, bad and ugly updates on Safety and Security Uganda, We also update our Security Alert Page daily., you will find no spin, just straight talk about Staying Safe in Uganda.

How to reduce the likelihood of being Kidnapped

Is it Dangerous to Travel to Uganda? Staying Safe and Secure Visiting Uganda – Tips and Advice

Is it safe to Travel to Uganda in 2019:

Uganda, at present, is probably one of the safest African Destinations for Travelers.  After the kidnapping in April of 2019, security is at unprecedented levels.  Border security with DR Congo is at an all-time high.

In Parks and at the border, drones are used.  Security Presence such as Ranger, Ugandan Military, Police, including Tourism, is beefed up.  We have taken steps, most of which we always followed with a few new ones being added to make Tourists on Safari safer.

If you are coming on business, as a volunteer, conventioneer, you will find no problem besides what travelers can find in many cities around the world such as pickpockets, conmen.  Those things are relatively easy to deal using by using common sense:

Are Americans Safe traveling to Uganda- or anyone else for that Matter?

Travel Safety & Security in 2019

Top Things to Avoid in Uganda

Tourism Police

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. And you will find people most helpful.

Another option is to jump on a Boda-Boda Motorcycle Taxi, take a taxi (not the mini-bus kind) 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.

If you are on a safari with us, this will never be a problem since then you are never lost since you are with us.

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.

Watches if you are in Kampala and walking on the Street can also be easily stolen, use a leather band that you can secure for your watch.

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.

If you are on Safari with us, this is another caution that you do not have to worry about, but for added safety, we recommend keeping expensive jewelry at home.

Keep your expensive Jewelry and watches 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 cash and any other valuables in your hotel safe.

Be cautious at ATM Machines where you have people around you besides Security Staff from the Bank.  If someone volunteers to help you, decline the offer.

For money tips in Uganda see Money Page

Keep your Money out of Sight.

Passports and Return Tickets:

Do not carry a passport with you while away from your hotel or lodge. If anything have 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 point is protecting your documents from any loss, including theft.

Vital Documents to protect are any prescriptions from your doctor, credit cards, and more.

Protect your Documents

Photographic Equipment:

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 on 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.

On Safari itself, like Gorilla Trekking, use a waterproof daypack

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.

Have & 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.

Mobile Phones are a necessity for 

Night Travel:

Keep walking at night 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.

Driving at night, we avoid driving at night with our clients except between Entebbe and Kampala.  The reason is not so much robbery, but it is when most accidents in Uganda often happen due to driving under the influence of Alcohol  Ugandans, per capita on alcohol are only outdone by Nigerians.

Don’t do things in Uganda that you would not do at home.

Gay Travelers Safety:

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 only discreet behavior that does not draw attention to a visitor to Uganda.  The traditions of held values of Uganda and most African Nations are merely different or compare to what Western Nations were like years back.

A Ugandan Court has since rescinded the law.  It has not been reinstated.

No Immigration Person at Entebbe International Airport will ask you while you are obtaining your Visa if you are gay.

Top Tips for Women Travelers:

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 are quite safe in Uganda by adding a few precautions to your travels in Uganda.

Uganda is a safe and secure country, and that includes 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 to make sure of your well-being while in the Pearl of Africa.

Common Sense:

Most of all, use your head-keep aware and watch each other. Most of all, think – Would I do this at home? If you do not do it, 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.

If you are on your own, stay aware of your surroundings,  We find it that you are safest when you keep a low profile, do not flash around money, do not attract all the attention to you, enjoy your time in the Pearl of Africa.

Common Sense – Do not leave home without it.

Self Drive in Uganda:

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.

Driving for many is a joy, a pleasure, in Uganda for the visitors it can be a nightmare, there are just too many local variants.

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.

A night out on the town in Uganda:

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

Safe Safaris are the Norm, not the exception 

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 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, Hakuna Matata – Worry Free safaris.

Safaris in Uganda with a tour operator have proven to be a safe and sane experience for travelers to the Pearl of Africa.

The safest place in Uganda is on a Gorilla, Chimpanzee Wildlife Safari.

Is it safe to track Gorillas?

Uganda Travel Information

Travelers to Uganda Information 100’s of Pages to help 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.

Know before you go, a visit to Uganda is much more pleasurable if you know something about the Pearl of Africa before you arrive.

Knowing before going whether it is Yellow Fever Certificate, Visas, East African Visa, the kind of plugin to use, you will find it all here.

Avoid Getting Kidnapped on Safari:

The chances of you being kidnapped are one in a million.  Uganda is on the US State Department List of Countries where kidnappings occur, it is also listed as a country on the “B List” meaning that you exercise caution.  Kenya and Ethiopia are also on the list.  In both countries hijacking, kidnapping by terrorists is more common.

The Kidnapping of an American Woman and her driver was done by Criminals, not terrorists.  They are awaiting Trial.  Avoiding being kidnapped has to do in part with attitude, blending in, not publishing on Social Media your travel Itinerary and more.

One additional thing we do.  No game drives without security.  It is recommended by the Uganda Wildlife Authority but not required. With us on Safari it is mandatory.

Uganda Tourism Police and other security Measures for Visitors:

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 Tourism police Officers are found in key parks all over Uganda.

The Number of Tourism Police Officers have been increased in recent times.

The Reality in Staying Safe and Secure Visiting Uganda begins with this Question- Is the US – France – the 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 is represented at most levels of government and live in harmony with their Christian marriage.  Interfaith marriages are common.
  • The Police are 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

Staying Safe and Secure Visiting Uganda – I as an American living here – feel very safe – but like anywhere else in the world it is best to take some precautions – and we assist you with that.

The 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, follow some simple advice, and you will be just fine.

Uganda may be 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 simple advice given here…

Check here for the latest Safety and Security Status in Uganda- we post the Good – Ugly and the Bad news regarding Uganda. Find out the latest on Facebook.

Reality: Uganda is most likely a safer and secure country than your country of origin.