Is Uganda a safe place to travel to?
Simply put, yes. There has been a stable government in place for several decades and, though more animated than in the UK, elections have come and gone without too much drama. Contrary to any impressions you may have gained as a result of watching the Kony2012 video, there is no war in the north of Uganda. Kony and the LRA left in 2006. The one area we would advise you seek advice before travelling through is Karamoja, north of MT Elgon in the East. Anyway, to be on the safe side, read the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Uganda advice page . As for general safety, take sensible precautions i.e. don’t wander around quiet, unlit urban areas on your own at night, don’t wear expensive necklaces that can be snatched off, etc (sensible precautions in any city in the world)
Do I need to take malaria pills? Which ones are best?
What vaccinations do I need to get?
Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis A and Meningitis (plus some others if you’re staying long term). Your GP will be able to provide full advice, and you can read more here
How safe is it to eat local food such as that sold by street vendors? Or salads?
Generally speaking, meat sold by the side of the road in shacks has probably been slaughtered that morning, so is likely very fresh. The golden rule with anything, especially meat, is that make sure it is piping hot before you eat it – that applies whether you cook it or someone else does.
As for salads, etc, well if you’re only on holiday for a few weeks it’s up to you, as you run a slight risk that the water in which it was washed may not be completely safe (this is true in any country). Long term residents will eat anything, as they learn quickly which restaurants have reputation for good hygiene (as is the case anywhere).
Do I need to purchase a visa in advance?
Nope, unless you really, really want to. You can buy them upon arrival for $100. It’s £65 if you buy one in the UK, but once you factor in postage costs, etc it’s probably not worth the hassle. More info available at the Ugandan High Commission page
How do I get from the airport to the guesthouse?
We can organise a door to door transfer for you. Or you can get a taxi/minibus taxi to Kampala and then Jinja.
What precautions should I take as regards personal security?
As mentioned above, don’t wear expensive jewellery which makes you a target. Don’t pay for a kilo of tomatoes in the market with a 50,000 shilling note (no point anyway, as no one will have change for that). Don’t walk back from the centre of town alone at night. Carry cash, not a wallet, divided between your pockets. Keep people posted on your movements i.e. “I’m off to the market, need anything?”.
All fairly common sense in any country really. But Jinja and Kampala are really pretty safe.
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