The Top Things to Avoid and not to do in Uganda while on Safari
Here are the Top 15 Things to avoid in Uganda that will keep you safe and healthy visiting Uganda
Every country in the world has things to avoid while staying there. Here are the Top 15 Things to avoid when visiting Uganda. Travel to and in Uganda is not so much about the things to avoid but what you can do and see here.
Each one of us has been endowed with a measure of Common Sense. When we toss it aside while traveling, we start having trouble. It begins with common sense, which should not be left at home while traveling to Uganda.
Some have unnecessary trepidations when they consider traveling to Africa, to Uganda. Fears are based on what they assume is like visiting Uganda.
The good news is that 99% of visitors admit, when leaving the country, to be wrong about their assumptions. That Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, was a different place than they thought it would be.
Uganda is welcoming, friendly, hospitable, safe, and incredibly beautiful. Two quotations come to mind. The novel ” Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley, in the book “Brave New World.” To our knowledge, he never traveled to Uganda. Still, his words are smack on when he wrote, “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”
The second quotation is by Winston Churchill, who wrote in his 1908 book, “My African Journey,” the following words.
“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 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 can 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
1-Avoid Self-Drive in Uganda:
Uganda has 45 million friendly and gentle-spirited people. That is until they get behind the wheel of a vehicle and their foot hits the pedal. Then a transformation occurs, and they seem to become different people. Uganda’s general rule of the road might make does make one right.
Uganda has excellent traffic rules one should follow, but they seem to be there to be broken and ignored. There is little selective enforcement by the so-called traffic police, resulting in chaos.
Enter you, the visitor to Uganda, an experienced driver, having driven in North America, Europe, the UK, and even Australia. You want to go yourself on a Safari through the Pearl of Africa. Even the Uganda Wildlife Authority, a promoter of Tourism, recommends avoiding self-drive for first-time visitors.
In Uganda, the accident rate in Africa is high due to inexperienced drivers ignoring laws, road conditions, drunk drivers, and unsafe vehicles. Most go between the potholes and the unmarked speed bumps—the lack of road signs where one can easily get lost even with a GPS device.
Driving conditions will seem chaotic unless you are one of those rare people that thrive on chaos. Should you hit someone’s goat and kill it, keep going to the closest police station to report it. If you stopped, you would most likely be surrounded by an angry group of people. Many are frustrated when attempting to drive themselves on a safari in Uganda. All that might be fine if you come to Uganda to move around. If you come to see the primate’s wildlife, meet the people, and see the scenic leave the driving to a local. Go with an experienced Ugandan driver guide and enjoy the Safari.
The last thing you want is self-drive since it takes away from your safari holiday. Follow the example of the man on top, President Yoweri Museveni; he avoids self-drive in his own country; he is driven. For more detailed information, please read our page on self-drive.
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 also has to look for open utility hole covers since you certainly do not want to fall into one of them while on Holiday.
Getting hit by a vehicle is a more significant hazard and a greater danger 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 daily hit people crossing the road. Most often, they leave the scene of the accident. Being on Safari is the safest way to see Uganda; you will not be crossing the road in Kampala.
More for you to read.”
- Avoid Planning your Safari: Planning a Safari in Uganda takes an insider. An accredited Safari Tour Operator. Read more here.
- 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.
On the positive Boda-Boda, Motorcycle Taxis are Kampala’s quickest mode of transport. However, they are also the fastest way to a hospital emergency room for treatment.
Should you avoid using Boda-Bodas, especially in busy Kampala?
Is staying well a priority in your life? Then the answer is to avoid riding one altogether.
Picking the suitable Boda-Boda Motorcycle Taxi Driver is the real issue at hand. Most of us cannot diagnose the vehicle’s mechanical state, which is also a reason for accidents.
In recent years, efforts have been made for Safe Boda Operations. Riding one is even advertised as a Tourism experience. It sounds like a beautiful experience, but is it?
Not too long ago, I met a European using a crutch to get around. After greeting, I asked Boda-Boda, and I was correct in my assumption. Remember that Boda accidents are the number one reason for Emergency Room Admissions. If you want an adrenaline-rush adventure, try White-Water Rafting or Bungee-Jumping on the Nile in Jinja. For more information, read our 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, and such roadblocks 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. Stay Safe and Avoid Nighttime Travel in Uganda.
5.-Avoid 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.
For most visitors, it is best to 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 Rolex 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 raw 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 just 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 usually is prepared following acceptable hygienic standards. Read more here.
6.-Avoid drinking Tap Water:
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.
Tourists and visitors to Uganda should use bottled water, and 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 put complimentary drinking water in your room as convenient. We provide unlimited bottled water in the vehicle for our clients on Safari with us. 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 – Bar Scene:
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 on your own 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 where you can 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 you will find 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 err on the safe side 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. There 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.
11.-Avoid Getting COVID-19 on Safari
The excellent news about COVID-19 in Uganda is that you have less chance of contracting COVID here than in your country. The COVID-19 pandemic impact has been relatively mild when compared to other countries.
On January 25, Uganda was fully opened. All curfews were lifted, and all businesses were allowed to open. That included nightlife, concerts, and sports. Uganda Tourism is fully open, and all Parks, Lodges, and Hotels are available.
We are ready to take you on a Safari. However, you are still missing. We look forward to greeting you soon in the Pearl of Africa.
Tourism COVID-19 protocols are in place to protect you against becoming infected while on Safari. COVID-19 protective measures are all in place. Others have been dropped, such as incoming tourist testing for those vaccinated.
As of April 2022, Uganda will be the safest Pandemic Safari Destination in East Africa. On April 13, 2022, only two Ugandans were in the hospital; new infections are the lowest in East Africa.
Uganda has received praise from various organizations for preparing for the Pandemic and handling it correctly.
Uganda has used AstraZeneca to vaccinate a sizeable portion of adults in the country and includes people in the tourism sector, such as your driver-guide. Some other East African countries have used a Chinese vaccine that is less effective than AstraZeneca. Read more here.
With low infection rates plus Pandemic Protocols in Place, Uganda is your best and safest safari destination during the Pandemic.
12.-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, long 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.
Here is the reality about insect bites in the words of Brian Jackman Everything in Africa bites, but the safari bug is the worst of all.” Enjoy your time on a safari in Uganda. Fight the Bite on your Safari.
13.-Avoid making Cultural Mistakes:
How do I avoid embarrassing cultural mistakes 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. Here 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.
14.-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 death. 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.
15.-Avoid talking Woke:
When it comes to Woke Cultural Values, Africa, including Uganda, does not share nor understand many of the cultural woke cultural values that 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 Woke Cultural Values. Ugandan Cultural values are lightyears away from what many Westerners may accept as truth.
Little news of Western Woke 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 Ugandan will be awkward and will not want to offend you. They will do what is often done here, keep quiet. Woke is not a topic among Ugandans.
Here is what not to avoid-A Visit to Uganda
Now you know what to avoid while visiting Uganda on a Safari. Many of the things to avoid could be applied to many other countries. We would add, don’t avoid coming to Uganda. When you tour the country on a safari, you will soon realize why it is the Pearl of Africa.
We would love to introduce you to Africa as you imagine it, only better in Uganda. We listed fourteen things to avoid, and we could easily give you fifty incredible things to do and see in the country we love.
The wise Safari Traveler is informed – they know before they go. Read the local newspapers online, ask us -Forums are helpful. Still, those writing their opinions often have never been here or just dipped their toes into the Pearl of Africa. Enjoy the Pearl of Africa – we do…Safe – Secure – Stable – Friendly and Welcoming.
Please contact 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.