Visiting Uganda Safely on Safari with Political Storm Clouds on the Horizon

Posted by on May 8, 2019

Safety & Security for Tourists with Political Storm Clouds on the Horizon

The 2021 Election is already on the Way – the Forecast is for Seasonal Overcast with Intermittent Local Disturbances Primarily in Kampala

Visiting Uganda Safely on Safari with Political Storm Clouds on the Horizon from now until the 2021 Election and President Yoweri Museveni are running for 6th Term in Office having led the country since 1986. Already, political Storm Clouds along with localized Thunderstorms are influencing Tourism and those wanting to visit Uganda on a Safari.

This Election Season two major Opposition Candidates are campaigning against President Museveni – the never-give-up Kizza Besigye and the youthful Politician, Parliamentarian, Singer and Songwriter Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine. Both Opposition Candidates gained fame by being made heroes, martyrs by the Police and security forces. It seems that someone in Government had missed that when Pharaoh afflicted the Children of Israel, the more they multiplied and they certainly never saw  Walt Disney’s “Fantasia with the famous broom that when chopped into pieces multiplied over.

Uganda has spent a lot of money promoting Tourism, and it even has geared up its Embassies around the world to carry the Banner of the Pearl of Africa.  All that is negated by a few thoughtless arrests of Bobi Wine or Kizza Besigye. Those images stick with potential visitors who are deciding whether to trek Gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda, and that affects Uganda in terms of jobs, revenue, permits, lodging lost.  Political Campaigns can be conducted in a manner that is good for all Ugandan, no matter what their political disposition may be.

Visiting Uganda Safely on Safari with Political Storm Clouds on the Horizon – This is not an article about  Ugandan politics, we are not political analysts, we just know what affects the perception that people around have about Uganda, and how a few news images can move potential Visitors to Uganda to look elsewhere like Rwanda which ironically deals with opposition manner by locking them up.  In Uganda, one can voice opposition to Government and the President, in Rwanda that is not the Case,

In 2019 we have seen the Political Storm Clouds begin to take shape, we have had some of our clients ask for advice regarding their upcoming Safari.  The Security and Safety of our Clients are one of our Focal Point and Hakuna Matata – no worry Safaris is what we want for our Clients.

Winston Churchill had it right when he wrote in 1908 “The People are Different.”  Ugandans in 2019 are still that, they are welcoming and friendly, part of Ugandan hospitality dictates that one keeps guests to one’s house safe from harm, that is the attitude most Ugandans have toward Tourists, no matter what they might believe politically.

Visiting Uganda Safely on Safari with Political Storm Clouds on the Horizon

Contrary to what you might have read on CNN, BBC, Deutsche Welle, Al Jazeera, even Reuters Uganda in the opinion of an American, not Ugandan writing this, Uganda for Tourists remains and is stable, safe and secure.  The Safest Place to be is on a Safari with a Ugandan Tour Operator such as ourselves who live and work here, who know Uganda beyond headlines.

What we do to keep you Safe and Secure during Election:

  • We use secure Hotels in Kampala away from any area where demonstrations have taken place or are likely to take Place.
  • The Present Road system allows us to bypass Kampala as we head for key Tourist Destinations.
  • We organize Flying Safaris from Entebbe to Major parks for those that want to bypass Kampala.  That costs.
  • We give our Clients the option of flying into Kigali Rwanda and Trekking Gorillas in Uganda with the possibility of flying out of Entebbe.
  • If you happen to be on your own in Kampala or any town where a political demonstration is taking place – we suggest 
  • Take any issued Travel Advisories seriously (there are none for Uganda from either the US or UK presently) 
  • Do not photograph police, military personnel, government buildings or protests.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings and the people that are near and around you.
  • No nighttime Driving including from Entebbe to Kampala – we keep our Clients in Entebbe if they arrive at night.  This is beyond what the UK or US suggests for its citizens.
  • Avoid Political Discussions in Public Places and make no disparaging comments about the government, opposition candidates, etc. 

Safety and Security Measures that we take away from Kampala in Parks

  • While you are on a Safari with us, we continuously monitor Safety and Security Conditions 
  • No movement on foot without an armed Ranger escort-outside of park stay with your driver-guide, this includes Gorilla, Chimpanzee, Golden Monkey Treks, Volcano Climbs, etc.
  • 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 your passport in a daypack and your mobile phone. Turn it off on activities such as Gorilla Trekking.
  • 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 the roof of a vehicle is not allowed since the Uganda Wildlife Authority deems it as dangerous.
  • Nocturnal Game Drives are only conducted with Uganda Wildlife Vehicles except where a lodge is authorized by UWA to do so.
  • We suggest no self-drive Safaris presently.  Be safe and use a Ugandan Tour Operator such as ourselves.

Is this all necessary, the answer is probably not, but we like making sure that our Clients are safe and secure.  We are proactive, rather than reactive.  Uganda, once again, is in the negative news cycle, informing our Clients and others as to the reality here in Uganda beyond headlines, wrongful assumptions, we are glad to play a little Part.

 Visiting Uganda Safely on Safari with Political Storm Clouds on the Horizon – Our Take:

The Current reports coming from Uganda often portray Arab Spring-like Conditions or more recent events from Sudan. The demonstrations, confrontations have primarily taken place in Kampala. Most present Visitors to Uganda, including some of our clients, are not concerned, they are enjoying the Pearl of Africa, the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, the wildlife and scenic wonders and the people that they encounter on Safari.

Uganda is and remains safe and secure for Tourists, there are the Storm Clouds on the Horizon, but no Taifun or Hurricane has swept across the country…stay up to date by checking in on our Facebook Page where we post the good, the bad and the ugly reality about Uganda including Safety and Security for Visitors.

May Uganda’s Motto prevail, “For God and my Country.”