ON THE GO
Traveling by plane
Eagle Air (H7) (Internet: www.flyeagleuganda.com) flies from Entebbe to all major cities including Arua and Kasese. Charter flights are also possible, including to the national parks.
On the way by car / bus
Left-hand traffic. The roads are in poor condition. The capital Kampala is a transport hub; only a few streets in the north. Police checks can occur. The car doors should be locked.
Buses go to almost all regions, but are not known for being punctual and are often overcrowded. There are regular connections between Entebbe and Kampala (travel time 1 hour) and to and from the airport. There are also minibuses, known as matatus, that travel to most parts of the country and are a fast, if extremely overcrowded, form of transport. The driving style of bus drivers is often inconsiderate and irresponsible and regularly leads to serious accidents.
Taxisare marked by black and white stripes and are usually significantly more expensive than Matatus.
Rental cars are available at the airport and in central Kampala and are relatively expensive.
Documentation: international driver’s license.
On the way by ship
A steamboat connects Entebbe and the Ssesse Islands in Lake Victoria. Ssesse Island ferries connect Bukakata to the islands.
Country-specific safety information
The unrest in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in South Sudan occasionally has an impact on neighboring areas in Uganda, in particular through influx of refugees. Since it cannot be ruled out that battles between the Congolese army and rebels also take place in the immediate vicinity of the border with Uganda, an approach directly to the Ugandan-Congolese border line in the southwest and west of Uganda should be avoided. Visits to the Ugandan national parks in this area and in the other regions of Uganda are possible.
Demonstrations for political and social reasons can develop spontaneously and escalate unpredictably.
Conduct in public
Same-sex sexual relationships have been a criminal offense in Uganda since colonial times. The maximum sentence is life imprisonment. Since Uganda became independent, there has been no judicial conviction on the basis of these criminal provisions. There is no active persecution of homosexuals by state organs. However, homosexuality is strongly taboo across all social classes. This also applies to the public exchange of tenderness among heterosexuals. Therefore cautious behavior in public is urgently indicated. Restraint is also often recommended when it comes to wearing clothes that are perceived as inappropriate (e.g. short mini-skirts).
In view of the possible activities of terrorist groups, as in other countries in this region, greater caution is advised in Uganda, a country located in Africa according to franciscogardening.
Most recently, on July 11, 2010, there were bomb attacks in the capital Kampala, in which there were deaths and many injured. According to the Ugandan authorities, another terrorist attack by the Somali Al-Shabab militia in Kampala was foiled on September 13, 2014. It can also be assumed that particularly soft targets are at risk. Particular caution and increased vigilance are therefore advised, especially in public places such as shopping centers. Larger gatherings of people should be avoided.
After dark – with the exception of the larger streets in the center of Kampala, which are considered to be relatively safe – you should avoid walking. This is especially true for the outskirts of the capital. Night journeys by car are possible within Kampala and on the Kampala – Entebbe / airport route. Otherwise, due to poorly lit streets, poor road safety in many vehicles and the driving style of road users, it is recommended to avoid driving at night if possible. Windows and doors should also be regularly locked from the inside when driving for a day in urban areas, as theft from vehicles can occur if the traffic stops due to traffic (traffic jams, intersections) or if the flow of traffic is slow. Special care should be taken in the area of the intersection around the Clock Tower and the Industrial Zone in Kampala. Bags and other valuables should therefore be transported under cover. In hotels, make sure that doors and windows are locked and can only be opened from the inside when present. No valuables should be kept in the room when you are absent.
Because of the significantly increased risk of accidents, the use of motorcycle taxis (“Boda Bodas”) is generally not recommended. Furthermore, especially at night, there are often serious attacks by motorcycle taxi drivers on unaccompanied passengers. The Kissementi party district with its bars and clubs, which is popular with young people, was the starting point.
Travel over land
When traveling within Uganda, caution and vigilance are generally advised. In July 2014 and again in March and April 2016, conflicts in the districts of Kasese and Bundibugyo in western Uganda resulted in numerous deaths. The background is disputes between the Bakonzo from the Bantu Kingdom of Rwenzururu and rival groups from the kingdom of Bamba, which has split off from it. Although security forces are strongly present in the region, further clashes between supporters of the Kingdom of Rwenzururu and security forces in late November 2016 resulted in up to 60 deaths. Travelers should pay close attention to news from the area and follow instructions from local authorities.
When traveling to the Karamoja region in the northeast, a stay directly on the border with Kenya should be avoided, as there is an increased risk of attacks by armed gangs (cattle thieves) along the border. When visiting Kidepo National Park, travelers should keep their distance from the South Sudanese border and travel with an experienced guide or tour operator.
Road traffic / trips to Entebbe Airport
When traveling overland, which is usually done by motor vehicle, a reliable local travel company should be used. There is an increased risk of accidents due to technical defects in Ugandan motor vehicles and excessive speeds. Nocturnal journeys outside of Kampala are particularly prone to accidents and assaults and should be avoided.
For journeys with taxis on the 45 km long road connection between Kampala and Entebbe International Airport, only reputable taxi companies should be used (ask the tour operator or hotel). If the hotel offers a bus transfer to and from the airport, this should be used. It should be noted that security at the airport has been tightened, so airlines recommend arriving at the airport three hours before departure.
The risk of malaria in Entebbe is significantly higher than in Kampala. Since many flights depart in the evening and at night, increased mosquito protection and, if necessary, short-term prophylaxis with Malarone should be considered.