Uganda

Uganda

Use Normal Level of Caution
Avoid Travel to the following provinces: Katakwi, Kotido, Moroto, and Nakapiripirit

The Republic of Uganda is located in East Africa, between Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The population is about 34 million people.

The government is a republic. A president is chief of state and head of government and is elected by popular vote.

Uganda gained independence from Britain in 1962. The boundaries created by Britain combined areas with a wide range of ethnic groups with different cultures. Due to these differences, the political situation was unstable, leading to the dictatorship of Idi Amin. During his rule, there was breakdown of social order, the economy declined, and human rights violations were extensive. During the 1970s and 1980s, state-sponsored violence caused the killing of about a half million people. Since 1986, Uganda has had economic growth and has been comparatively peaceful. The human rights situation has improved significantly.

In northern Uganda, however, the government has struggled with civil war against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA has operated with the goal of overthrowing the Ugandan government and has murdered and mutilated people and kidnapped thousands of children to serve as child soldiers and slaves.

Uganda does not have a mature infrastructure for tourism. Travellers to Uganda can go on a gorilla safari, raft on the Nile River, and visit game reserves and national parks. Uganda is known for its populations of gorillas.

Stability has returned to most parts of the country. Nevertheless, travel to the north and northeast of Uganda is not advisable due to ongoing violence.

Currency UGX: Ugandan shilling
Language English and Swahili
Capital Kampala
Recent Alerts 3
Latest Alert October 29, 2017 - More Marburg Haemorrhagic fever cases in Uganda - update

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Uganda. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Malaria

All areas of Uganda are at high risk, including urban areas.

Tuberculosis

Travellers to Uganda are at significant risk for tuberculosis if visiting friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Yellow Fever

There is a risk of exposure to and infection with yellow fever in Uganda.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Uganda through contaminated food or water. 

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Uganda.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in Uganda, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Meningitis

Meningitis occurs in Uganda. Travellers who visit during the dry season (December-June) or expect to have prolonged contact with the local population are especially at risk.

Sleeping Sickness (Type 1)

This disease only occurs in rural Uganda. It is transmitted through the bite of infected tsetse flies, which live in the woodlands and thickets of the savannah and in the dense vegetation along streams. Travellers to urban areas are not at risk.

Plague

Plague continues to be a threat in Uganda. The disease usually occurs in rural areas, and urban outbreaks are rare. The risk to travellers is low unless they have contact with fleas, infected rodents, or suspected plague patients.

Schistosomiasis

The parasite that causes schistosomiasis is found in Uganda. It is acquired through contact with fresh water, such as swimming, bathing, or rafting. Well-chlorinated swimming pools and contact with saltwater in oceans or seas will not put travellers at risk for schistosomiasis.

Elephantiasis

This disease is present in Uganda.

River blindness

Onchocerciasis occurs in Uganda, but the risk to short-term travellers is low unless living or working near black flies or staying in this country for longer than 3 months.

Leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis occurs in Uganda. It is usually more common in rural than urban areas, and the risk of acquiring leishmaniasis is increased in travellers who spend time outdoors in rural areas and at night, when sand flies typically feed.

Cholera

Cholera may occur in Uganda.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever may occur in Uganda.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in this country. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever may occur in this country.

Zika Fever

Zika fever occurs in this country.

Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever

Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever occurs with some frequency in Uganda, especially in the cattle corridor, which is a strip of land spanning across 18 districts, from the southwest to the northeast of the country.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Uganda.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Meningitis Vaccine

Because this country is located in the sub-Saharan meningitis belt, vaccination against meningitis is recommended if travelling during the dry season (December to June).

Yellow Fever Vaccine

The yellow fever vaccination is recommended for all travellers 9 months of age or older. In addition, this country requires a yellow fever vaccination certificate for travellers 1 year of age and older arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities or rural areas, where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Cholera Vaccine

The U.K. NaTHNaC recommends the oral cholera vaccine for some travellers whose activities or medical history put them at increased risk, travelling to areas of active cholera transmission. These risk factors include: aid workers; those going to areas of cholera outbreaks who have limited access to potable water and medical care; travellers for whom the vaccination would be considered potentially beneficial, such as chronic medical conditions. The U.S. CDC recommends the cholera vaccine for travellers who are 18-64 years of age and who plan to travel to areas of active cholera transmission. CDC notes that most travellers do not travel to areas of active cholera transmission, and that safe food and water practices can prevent many cholera infections.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Uganda.

Anti-malarial Drugs

Recommended anti-malaria medication includes atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline or mefloquine. Anti-malaria drug resistance for chloroquine is present.

Safety and Security in Uganda

Emergency Numbers

999

Personal Safety

Uganda has a high level of crime, therefore, avoid venturing away from tourist areas. Take precautions for your personal security, and remain aware in your surroundings at all times. Avoid travelling after dark. Carjackings are relatively common, especially on the road from Entebbe Airport to Kampala. Tourist sites are sometimes closed due to increased risk of rebel activity. If travelling in Uganda by road, get information at border police stations or from local authorities regarding the security situation of the destinations you intend to visit.

Road travel in Uganda may be hazardous. Vehicles may not be well maintained, drivers may not follow standard driving rules, roads may not be well lit, etc. Safety standards for ferries may not be as expected. There have been ferry accidents due to overcrowding.

Same-sex relations and behaviours are not tolerated and are illegal in Uganda. Even public displays of affection between members of the same sex could lead to arrest and prison sentences.

There have been reports of food or drinks being drugged.

It is against the law to photograph military or government buildings and installations or other infrastructure. It is also against the law to wear military or camouflage clothing.

Areas To Avoid

Travel by road in the following areas is not recommended due to banditry and ethnic clashes: areas on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo; from Gulu via Atiak and Pakelle to Adjumani and to the Laropi ferry crossing to reach Moyo; to the West Nile sub-region of Arua and Nebbi; and to and within the Karamoja region (particularly the districts of Kotido, Nakapiripiriti, Katakwi, and Moroto).

Avoid travel to the Karamoja region due to a risk of banditry and inter-tribal clashes. If you do decide to visit the Kedipo National Park, travel by air rather than by land.

Gorilla trekking tours that cross into eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are not recommended due to the extreme volatility and unpredictability in the area. There is a high risk of banditry and attacks by armed groups in this area, including the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the Mgahinga Gorilla Park, and the Murchison Falls National Park.

Avoid travel within 50 kilometers of the border with South Sudan due to high risk of banditry.

Extreme Violence

In the northern area of the country, armed conflicts have occurred with the on-going possibility of attacks by rebel groups, especially the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). These groups pose a serious threat in the Adjumani, Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Lira, and Apac districts. Although the government and the LRA signed a ceasefire in 2006 aimed at ending their armed conflict in the region, a peace agreement has yet to be concluded.

More recently, an armed Islamic group, Boko Haram, has been responsible for violent crimes, including bombing of churches, kidnappings, rape and home invasions. Ugandan authorities are concerned about potential terrorist attacks and have increased security measures in public places. You may encounter security checkpoints.

Travellers should be cautious around potential targets, such as government security facilities, churches, mosques and other places of worship, locations where large crowds gather, such as hotels, clubs, bars, restaurants, markets and shopping malls, and all other areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

Political Unrest

Political unrest and armed conflicts have occurred in many areas of the country. Riots and demonstrations have turned violent in the capital Kampala, and there have been deaths. Monitor the political situation and avoid large crowds and any demonstrations, particularly in urban areas.

Get A Free Account!

Sitata uses advanced software algorithms to monitor the world for disease outbreaks and safety hazards. Each travel alert published by Sitata is reviewed by staff to ensure it meets the concerns of a traveller.

Sign up for a free account so that you can prepare for your trip and view the latest alerts.

Plan A Trip