The Things You Should Not Do in Uganda While Visiting the Pearl of Africa
Here are the Top 15 Things to avoid in Uganda that will keep you safe and healthy visiting Uganda
The Top 15 Things to Avoid in Uganda-Helpful Advice for Tpurists: “The Kingdom of Uganda is a fairy tale. You climb up… and Show Morethere is a wonderful new world at the end.” These words beautifully encapsulate the magic and allure of Uganda.
When it comes to travel, it’s natural to focus on the things to avoid or potential pitfalls. However, let’s shift our perspective and uncover the treasures that Uganda has to offer. Traveling to and within Uganda is an opportunity to immerse yourself in remarkable experiences and embrace the beauty and warmth that await you.
One of the most delightful aspects is that 99% of visitors admit to having misconceptions about Uganda, only to be pleasantly proven wrong upon leaving. The Pearl of Africa unveils itself as a place far different from what they initially imagined.
As you set foot in Uganda, you will be embraced by its welcoming nature, friendly people, genuine hospitality, and a remarkable sense of safety. It’s a country where you can explore majestic landscapes, from the lush greenery of national parks to the serene shores of Lake Victoria. Uganda’s natural beauty is truly captivating.
In his novel “Brave New World,” Aldous Huxley expressed a profound truth about travel: “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” Even though Huxley may not have personally journeyed to Uganda, his words resonate deeply. In Uganda, you will find a land that defies expectations, shatters stereotypes, and reveals its unique wonders to those willing to explore.
Furthermore, in his 1908 book “My African Journey,” Winston Churchill echoed sentiments that still hold today. He described Uganda as a fairy tale kingdom, where ascending to its heights reveals a beautiful new world. The enchantment and allure of Uganda lie in its ability to transform your perspective, taking you on a journey that transcends the ordinary.
So, let us embrace the beauty and warmth of Uganda. It’s a country that beckons you to explore its rich cultural heritage, encounter its magnificent wildlife, and immerse yourself in the vibrant communities that call it home. Uganda is a place of discovery, where misconceptions are shattered, and the true essence of this remarkable nation is unveiled.
Traveling to Uganda is not just about avoiding pitfalls; it’s about embarking on a transformative adventure that will leave an indelible mark on your soul. Open your heart to the wonders that await, and let Uganda captivate you with its magic, authenticity, and the extraordinary experiences that lie in store.
Additionally, Winston Churchill, in his 1908 book “My African Journey,” shared profound words that still resonate today:
“The Kingdom of Uganda is a fairy tale. The scenery is different, and the Climate is different. Most of all, the people are different from anything elsewhere to be seen in the whole range of Africa….what message do I bring back….concentrate on Uganda…It is the Pearl of Africa.” Read more about Why Uganda is the Pearl of Africa.
With these quotes in mind, let us look at Uganda’s Top 15 Things to avoid. Keep in mind that every country in the world has things to avoid.
Below are the things to avoid while in the Pearl of Africa. They were written to give you a heads-up to make your visit, your Safari, more memorable. One needs a list of things to avoid while visiting New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Portland, Seattle, or Chicago. We assure you that visiting Uganda with a Tour Operator is much less risky than visiting many places worldwide.
Uganda’s qualities overwhelmingly outshine the things to avoid. Most of them are common sense things.
The Top 15 Things to Avoid in Uganda
Planning a trip to Uganda entails being mindful of certain aspects to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit. While Uganda boasts stunning natural beauty, a vibrant cultural heritage, and abundant wildlife, you must familiarize yourself with customs and practices that may differ from yours.
One of our greatest assets is common sense, and it’s crucial not to abandon it while traveling. Common sense should accompany you throughout your journey in Uganda.
Following simple guidelines, you can navigate potential pitfalls and maximize your time in this remarkable country. In this response, I’ll provide valuable advice on things to avoid in Uganda, enabling you to have a seamless and pleasurable trip.
By keeping the below guidelines in mind, you can ensure a safe, respectful, and rewarding experience during your trip to Uganda. Enjoy exploring the country’s natural wonders, cultural heritage, and the warmth of its people!
The Things You Should Not Do in Uganda While on Safari
1-Avoid Self-Drive in Uganda:
While self-driving is possible in Uganda, it’s generally not recommended for tourists due to several factors:
Poor road conditions: Many roads in Uganda are in poor condition, with potholes and uneven surfaces. This can make driving difficult and potentially dangerous for inexperienced tourist drivers.
Unfamiliar driving environment: Traffic in Uganda can be chaotic and unpredictable, with a mix of cars, buses, trucks, and motorcycles sharing the road. The driving territory may be unfamiliar to visitors, increasing the risk of accidents.
Limited Road Signs: Road signs in Uganda are often unreasonable, making navigation challenging for visitors unfamiliar with the country’s roads.
Security concerns: Self-driving can make tourists more vulnerable, especially when driving at night when many accidents occur due to drunken drivers.
For these reasons, it’s generally recommended that tourists avoid self-driving in Uganda and instead opt for organized tours or hire a driver. This can help ensure a safe and stress-free trip and allow visitors to focus on enjoying their time in the country.
2.-Avoid Crossing the Road in Uganda:
In Uganda, where vehicles and drivers rule, pedestrians are seen as nuisances. Crossing the road is one of the most dangerous activities you can engage in, and pedestrian deaths being hit by vehicles run high. Bradt’s Guide for Uganda points out the same.
A pedestrian must also look for open utility hole covers since you do not want to fall into one of them while on Holiday.
Getting hit by a vehicle is more dangerous than getting Malaria, HIV, Ebola, and COVID-19 bitten by a snake. Or any of the things that you might imagine in your mind. In reality, crossing the road in Africa is the most dangerous thing.
Even on a one-way road – still look on both sides before crossing. Even the Bradt Guide on Uganda will tell you how dangerous crossing a street in Uganda is. Boda-Boda Motorcycle Taxis hit people crossing the road daily. Most often, they leave the scene of the accident. Being on Safari is the safest way to see Uganda; you will not scratch the road in Kampala.
Avoid a Self-Drive Safari: Why a Self-Drive Safari is not a good idea. Read more here.
3.-Avoid Boda – Boda – Motorcycle Taxi Transportation:
The number 1 reason for emergency room treatment in Uganda is Boda-Boda motorcycle taxi-related accidents. They range from burned legs from the exhaust system to broken limbs and death. Often, passengers are thrown off a Boda-Boda Motorcycle Taxi. My maid of many years died after being hit by a vehicle while on a Boda-Boda.
In Uganda, boda-bodas (motorcycle taxis) are a popular mode of transportation; they can be risky for tourists due to several factors:
- Safety concerns: The risk of accidents and injuries is higher when using boda-bodas, as they are often driven at high speeds and without proper safety equipment.
- Security concerns: There have been reports of robberies and assaults involving boda-boda drivers, particularly at night or in isolated areas.
- Lack of regulation: Boda-bodas are not regulated in Uganda, meaning there are no safety or quality of service guarantees.
- Difficulty in communication: Many boda-boda drivers do not speak English, making communication difficult for non-Ugandan tourists.
- Use reputable Bnoda Bodas: Only use motorcycle taxis from reputable companies or drivers whom trusted sources have recommended.
For these reasons, it’s generally recommended that tourists avoid using boda-bodas as a mode of transportation in Uganda. Instead, consider using licensed taxis, including Uber or public transport, or hire a driver through a reputable tour operator. This can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip and minimize the risk of accidents or security incidents—Boda-Boda page.
4.-Avoid Nighttime Travel in Uganda:
Daylight travel is much safer than driving at night in Uganda. Alcohol consumption is relatively high in Uganda, and drunk driving is a significant nighttime hazard. There are often drunk driving roadblocks in Kampala and other towns that are not put up until late at night.
We avoid Nighttime driving for the safety of our clients. Realizing the danger of Nighttime driving, US and UK embassies do not recommend Nighttime driving except between Kampala and the airport. Our recommendation and practice are to place incoming or outgoing clients in an Entebbe hotel for safety and convenience.
Additionally, there have been occasional nighttime road holdups and robberies. Avoiding Nighttime driving is the safest way to enjoy Uganda, and there is enough to see during the daylight hours.
5.-Avoid getting Idi Amin’s Revenge – foods that might make you ill:
In Mexico, it is called Montezuma’s Revenge. In Uganda, I decided Idi Amin’s revenge was befitting. The result is the same: intestinal problems are among the most frequent issues travelers to Uganda incur. Your stomach may not be used to local foods and how they are prepared with a lot of oil and lower hygienic standards, especially when it comes to street food.
Most visitors should avoid street food such as the Rolex Chapatti, meats roasted on the side of the street, and more. Street Foods are not always prepared and served following hygienic practices.
At the same time, many visitors love in Uganda and the roadside snacks and fast food one can buy along the road everywhere in Uganda. Our advice is to avoid eating most of them.
Avoid serving rawly uncooked things such as salads or fresh cabbage. See if the food, especially sauces and curries, is kept hot with candles at buffets. Avoid eating such buffets unless the staff brings out,
Food is at its best and safest when piping hot. Suppose you are going on Safari with us using moderate or upmarket lodges. In that case, you will most often be just fine. Safari Food is usually prepared following acceptable hygienic standards. Read more here.
6.-Avoid drinking Water from the Tap:
The Bradt Guide for Uganda states, “Tap water is reasonably safe to drink in larger towns.” That would be true if water were directly piped from the mainline to a hotel. Water mains bring it to a storage tank you see everywhere traveling through Uganda, and the hygienic condition of the storage tank can be a problem.
Uganda tourists and visitors should use bottled water; Rwenzori Water is the top brand. Do not think that Rwenzori is pure glacial water from the Rwenzori Mountains, but Kampala water is not purified and treated for safe consumption. Surprisingly, Coca-Cola is a participant in the production of Rwenzori Water.
Using bottled water for drinking water and brushing your teeth is best. Rarely will you find ice cubes used except at upmarket hotels and lodges. Lodges use purified water when preparing drinks, such as passionfruit juice, often served when welcoming guests. Bottled water is readily available in most stores and shops.
Many hotels or lodges will use complimentary drinking water in your room as convenient. We provide unlimited bottled water in the vehicle for our clients on Safari. You do not have to bring filtration devices; locally bottled water is fine. We supply bottled water to our clients if you are on Safari with us.
7.-Avoid the Nightclubs and Bar Scene in Kampala:
Kampala is a city that never sleeps, and the bars never close. People from all over Africa are attracted to Kampala because of its vibrant nightlife.
If you want to enjoy a night out in the town, do not go alone since it is overwhelming for most. Go with a local, and enjoy Kampala with a Ugandan. That is the safest and most secure way to enjoy Kampala at night.
Here are some tips: avoid leaving your drinks unattended (I recently received an email from a man who was robbed with his friend as they were drugged and stolen). Avoid flashing your money. Avoid using an ATM in a bar since it will make you a focal point, especially if you withdraw significant cash.
Avoid putting your mobile cell phone on the table -it may not be there when you return from the bathroom.
Avoid Mosquito Girls: You should stay away from the ladies of the night, beautiful and seemingly friendly, but as some mosquitoes can carry Malaria, some of the mosquito girls carry a lot more than a beautiful smile, but a string that includes STDs and even HIV-AIDS, besides they are prone to rob their so-called clients. If you want to meet a Ugandan woman, go to Church.
8.-Avoid Flashing your Cash-Jewelry-Valuables:
When you flash your cash, you draw attention to yourself as a potential target for theft. Leave your jewelry and expensive watch at home. You can buy some locally made attractive necklaces and bracelets.
Do not carry a large amount of cash on you. You can use an ATM with a Visa card and withdraw the money you need. Most lodges and hotels have a secure area to store valuables, including cash.
On a safari in Uganda, theft of valuables from your room or luggage is a rarity.
It can happen and does happen. You are visiting a country where poverty is the way of life for most. Need and Greed are the forces that drive people to steal from you. Someone might target you if you have flashed your valuables around. Below are links to two pages containing detailed security and money information.
9.-Avoid Swimming in most Rivers and Lakes:
We do not recommend swimming in most lakes and rivers in Uganda unless you enjoy swimming with dangerous hippos and crocodiles. Crocodiles and hippos are found outside of National Parks.
There are often attacks on villagers as they come to a lake or river to do laundry or fetch water. Each year, the Uganda Wildlife Authority removes man-eating crocodiles, taking them to the Nile banks in Murchison Falls Park, where they are released.
Besides the danger from Crocodiles and hippos, contracting bilharzia while swimming in lakes or rivers is dangerous. You can read our Avoiding Bilharzia information page here.
Lake Mutanda, Lake Bunyonyi, some crater lakes, and other water bodies are bilharzia-free.
White water rafting kayaking is a safe adrenaline-pumping activity done on the fast-moving waters of the Nile, where there is little danger of contracting bilharzia. We think it is best to stay safe and stick to Swimming Pools at lodges and hotels.
Many Ugandans head for the beaches on Lake Victoria. We suggest you avoid swimming in Lake Victoria except if you can do so away from the shore from a boat. Use common sense, keep safe, and swim in pools.
10.-Avoid getting sick in Uganda-take preventative Steps:
Staying healthy is the norm on a Safari. Most arrive visitors to Uganda arrive healthily and depart that way. Most tourists and visitors take some preventative steps before arriving in Uganda.
It begins with a visit to a tropical clinic or a doctor familiar with tropical diseases. Suppose you do not have a Yellow Fever Certificate and vaccination. In that case, you will be required to enter Uganda. Find out more here.
You should obtain a Malaria regimen prescription. Mefloquine or its generic equivalent is the best.
We suggest that you read our “Staying Well on Safari” page. What is covered in part will be covered in detail. We have never had a client come down with Malaria and never had a client come down with a significant Safari illness with us.
Our Clients have enjoyed the Safari, and your well-being is even more secure in moderate and upmarket hotels and lodges. We strongly suggest you take out a travel insurance policy for your Safari for peace of mind. We, in turn, cover you with an Amref-Flying Doctors Air-evacuation policy to Nairobi, and your insurance policy should cover the rest.
111- Avoid getting bitten by Insects – Fight the Bite on Safari.
As Bert McCoy said,” If you stay long enough in paradise, you’re bound to get bitten by mosquitoes.” You will likely not leave Uganda unscathed and get bitten by a mosquito or tsetse fly. There are simple ways to fight the bite by taking preventative measures.
Here are a few, such as using an effective multipurpose insect repellent RID. We recommend the product because it fights off mosquitoes and tsetse flies, plus flies even repulse wasps. You can obtain it online.
Wear neutral-colored trousers and long-sleeved shirts. Use the mosquito net provided by the lodge or hotel. Turn the fan on if available; mosquitoes hate moving air. Forego sweet food and drinks. While going to dinner, have or spray your room with Doom insecticide.
In the words of Brian Jackman Everything in Africa bites; here is the reality about insect bites, but the safari bug is the worst of all.” Enjoy your time on a safari in Uganda. Fight the Bite on your Safari.
12.-Avoid making Cultural Mistakes:
How do I avoid embarrassing cultural mistakes when visiting Uganda on a Safari? You will probably make a few since you do not know the cultural norms in Uganda. Do not worry, and you will be forgiven in most instances.
Come with an open mind and leave your preconceived ideas at home. Be humble and learn from those that you meet. It will enrich your time here and give you lasting and cherished memories.
For those on a Safari, Cultural Mistakes are easily avoided. Still, it is good to know what might be offensive in Uganda.
Knowing Uganda before you go is the best advice we can give you. Avoid embarrassing Cultural Mistakes by reading our page about Cultural Mistakes.
You will not find the cultural wars raging in the West, especially in the US and Canada. In Uganda, life is about making money for food, rent, and school fees. Ugandans do have a weakness in spreading rumors. Kampala was erected on seven hills. However, at least seven hundred new tales are born each day.
13.-Avoid Protests-Political Demonstrations and Rallies:
Uganda is getting settled down after the election. Ugandans may disagree politically but will decide that life must go on. In particular, the Western Press, such as BBC, Deutsche Welle, Al Jazeera, and CNN, keep pushing the narrative that Uganda is on the edge of the abyss, which it is not.
There were pre-election riots that turned ugly and led to over fifty deaths. Some of the killed had no part in the demonstrations taking place. President Museveni, re-elected, promised to follow up with investigations. The government also pledged to help those who incurred the loss of a loved one.
In the meantime, all is quiet in Uganda. The traffic jams going to town were frustrating as usual; significant Supermarkets were doing brisk business, and Ugandans were going on with their lives.
If you come upon protests or political rallies while visiting Uganda, go the other way. If you are coming to Uganda for a Safari, the safest place is on a Safari, and we ensure you avoid them.
14.-Avoid Talking about Western Cultural Ways:
Regarding Cultural Values, Africa, including Uganda, does not share nor understand many of the cultural woke cultural values you might strongly believe in. If you share your beliefs, you will most likely get a look of disbelief.
Ugandans, like most Africans, have not been exposed to Western Cultural Values, and Ugandan Cultural values are lightyears away from what many Westerners may accept as truth.
Little news of present Western Culture reaches African countries such as Uganda. The local press does not publish articles on Western Woke Culture except where they find humor or bewilderment. A few times, Ugandans have asked me (an American) why Westerners have a problem defining what is a “woman” since no one here struggles with such things.
If you choose to discuss Woke culture, do not be surprised if you get no answer or a blank stare. The Ugandans will be awkward and will not want to offend you, and they will do what is often done here: keeping quiet and waking is not a topic among Ugandans.
15. Be Discreet if you are part of the LGBTQI+ Community:
What have been long-accepted norms in the West are often considered an affront to African family values.
In 2023, there has been a backlash against homosexuality. Uganda’s parliament has passed the anti-Homosexuality Bill. The Bill became law in May of 2023.
Though Uganda had anti-homosexuality laws on the books, the British Colonial Government established they were reinforced in May 2023.
In the past, the Uganda Tourism Board even reached out to the LGBTQI+ community in the US. Soon, the Ministry of Tourism will come out with a statement regarding LGTQI+ travelers. Read more about the Anti-Homosexual law here.
The Top 15 Things to avoid in Uganda-Helpful Advice for Tourists!
Safety and Security Guarantee on Safari in Uganda?
When going on a safari in Uganda, remember that no one can guarantee your safety. Wildlife encounters and travel in natural environments always carry inherent risks. Follow experienced guides and reputable tour operators such as KSabiza Wilderness Safaris to stay safe.
Research and choose operators prioritizing safety measures, adhering to park rules, and maintaining a respectful distance from wildlife. Consider travel insurance for emergencies. Prioritize your safety by making informed decisions, being cautious, and following professional guidance.
Travel, Safaris, and life itself come along with risk factors. Most are willing to leave their comfort travel zone to go on Safari. We will do our best to keep you safe and secure!
The Top 15 Things to Avoid in Uganda-Helpful Advice for Tourists!
We are fully committed to keeping you safe and secure on your Safari in Uganda.
Kabiza Wilderness Safaris is fully committed to ensuring your safety, security, and well-being during your Safari in Uganda. We prioritize the security of our clients and take all necessary measures to provide a safe and enjoyable experience.
Our team is highly experienced and knowledgeable about the local conditions and protocols. We stay updated on the latest information from the Uganda Wildlife Authority, security agencies, and other relevant sources to ensure our clients have the most accurate and reliable information.
We strictly adhere to safety guidelines and rules set by the authorities and enforce them during our safaris. Our drivers and guides are trained professionals who always prioritize your safety. We maintain close communication with security forces and have established protocols to address potential risks or emergencies.
Rest assured that when you choose Kabiza Wilderness Safaris, you are in the hands of a dedicated team fully committed to providing a safe and secure safari experience in Uganda.
Take out a Travel insurance Policy
Travel insurance is highly recommended before going on a safari in Uganda. It provides financial protection for unforeseen events and emergencies during your trip.
Travel insurance covers medical expenses, trip cancellation or interruption, lost or delayed baggage, emergency evacuation, and travel delays. Carefully review the policy to ensure it covers your specific needs. By obtaining travel insurance, you can mitigate financial risks and enjoy your Safari with peace of mind.
Here is what not to avoid-Discovering Uganda, the Pearl of Africa
When visiting Uganda on a safari, knowing what to avoid and what not to do is essential. However, instead of focusing on the negatives, let’s highlight the incredible experiences that await you in the Pearl of Africa.
Don’t hesitate to come to Uganda and discover Africa as you’ve always imagined, only better. With many incredible things to do and see, Uganda will captivate your heart and leave you with unforgettable memories.
As a wise safari traveler, you must be informed before you go. Stay updated by reading local newspapers online, engaging in forums, and seeking advice from reliable sources. However, it’s important to note that opinions may vary, and some individuals may not have firsthand experience in the Pearl of Africa.
So, embrace the beauty, warmth, and wonders of the Pearl of Africa. Experience its safe, secure, stable, friendly, and welcoming environment. Let Uganda enchant you and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about the Top 14 Things to avoid in Uganda. Country. That Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, Uganda is welcoming, friendly, hospitable, and welcoming.