Safety & Security – Uganda
Most countries have issued a travel warning for the areas within 50km of Uganda's border with DR Congo and South Sudan.
In late 2016, in western Uganda, near the border with the DRC, tensions between the Ugandan government and the Rwenzururu Kingdom (which the government accuses of supporting a separatist movement) escalated, and turned violent. Ugandan troops moved against the king (whom they arrested) and his royal guards.
In early 2017, the situation was calmer. For the latest information, we recommend seeking local advice before travel to Kasese and the Ruwenzori Mountains. We advise people passing Kasese by road between Fort Portal and Queen Elizabeth National Park to do so with caution and without unnecessary stops in Kasese.
Most countries have also issued a travel warning for the remote Karamoja region in northeastern Uganda, which includes Kidepo Valley National Park.
The security situation in the Karamoja region has improved in recent years, but this isn't yet reflected in the advice given by the travel advisories. Kidepo Valley NP has always been considered safe enough for travel, but previously the advice was to fly there instead of driving. Several reputable tour operators now consider the area to be safe enough for driving and are taking clients by road. If you are planning a self-drive to Kidepo Valley though, it is recommended to seek local advice before you depart.
Fortunately, most of Uganda's tourism highlights are located in safe areas, and the risk-zones are easily avoided without compromising your safari. When taking normal safety precautions, Uganda can be considered safe as a safari destination and for most general tourism.
In our opinion, Uganda is safe to visit as the risk zones are limited to clearly defined regions that can easily be avoided. All the more so if your visit is primarily an organized safari. Many tourists visit Uganda every year, and most visits are trouble-free. There have been several terrorist attacks in the past. Unfortunately, terrorism has become part of life, and it is very difficult – if not impossible – to safeguard against it. Fortunately, incidents are very rare, and the chance of being a random victim is almost negligent. As with many third-world countries, theft and muggings are relatively common, but most incidents are in cities, Kampala in particular. Walking alone around the city is not recommended. An overnight stay at a reputable hotel or an organized visit to one of the many attractions in or around the city is fairly risk-free.
As for all traveling abroad and in wildlife areas, we do advise these basic safety precautions:
- Wildlife viewing safety precautions
- Primate tracking safety precautions
- Cities and other urban areas safety precautions
- General travel safety precautions
- Uganda: Malaria & Vaccinations
Governments' Travel Advice
Please use the links below for governments' travel advice on Uganda.
- Australia – www.smartraveller.gov.au
- Canada – www.voyage.gc.ca
- Ireland – www.dfa.ie
- New Zealand – www.safetravel.govt.nz
- United Kingdom – www.gov.uk
- United States – travel.state.gov