Uganda Register Travel insurance Destinations
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Uganda - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Uganda due to muggings and theft, especially in urban centres.
Travel Health Notice - Zika virus
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued advice for travellers on the Zika virus, recommending that Canadians practice special health precautions while travelling in affected countries. Pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant should avoid travel to Uganda. See Health for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
The volatile situation in the eastern part of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) could lead to possible incursions into western Uganda by DRC rebels.
Western Uganda also has a history of inter-ethnic violence.
There have been no reports of significant security incidents at national parks in this area in recent years.
Armed banditry, car thefts and muggings occur throughout Uganda.
Petty crime, including pickpocketing, purse and jewelry snatching and theft from hotel rooms and vehicles, occurs regularly.
If attacked, don’t resist, as offering resistance may result in violence.
Armed robberies are perpetrated against pedestrians, even during day time.
Armed robberies also occur along roadways, particularly at night.
Keep your vehicle doors locked at all times, windows closed and personal belongings, including handbags, safely stored.
- Don’t leave items such as laptops and briefcases in unattended vehicles
- Don’t display jewelry or electronics when walking
- Remain vigilant when using public transportation or walking along deserted streets
- Avoid walking and driving at night
Taxi and matatu (minibus) operators have robbed their passengers and stranded them far from their destination. Avoid taking taxis or matatus that have only one or two passengers, and ensure that your personal belongings are secure at all times when using public transportation.
Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.
A lack of traffic signs, reckless driving habits, wandering animals, pedestrians and poor road conditions pose risks. Pedestrians should exercise caution when crossing roads. There are many fatal road accidents in Uganda. The Jinja–Kampala and Maska–Kampala roads are of particular concern. Alcohol is often a contributing factor to accidents, particularly at night. Highway travel is dangerous, especially after dark, because of banditry and poor visibility. Avoid driving outside major cities after dark.
If travelling to Uganda by road, you should get information from the appropriate border police station regarding the security situation at your next destination.
Avoid intercity buses (especially overnight long-distance buses) and vans. Fatal accidents caused by reckless driving, excessive speed and poor vehicle maintenance have occurred in the past.
Exercise caution when using other forms of public transportation, such as matatus and boda-bodas (moped taxis), and ensure that the vehicle is in good condition before departure. If you opt to travel by boda-boda, wear a helmet at all times.
Ferry accidents are not uncommon, due to overloading and poor maintenance of some vessels. Do not board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Wildlife viewing poses risks, particularly on foot or at close range.
- Only visit game parks and reserves with a reputable tour company
- Always maintain a safe distance when observing wildlife
- Only exit a vehicle when a professional guide or warden says it’s safe to do so
- Only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators
- Closely follow park regulations and wardens’ advice
Updated park information - Uganda Wildlife Authority
There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time. Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
General safety information
Maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times and in all places. Take appropriate security measures, particularly on roads linking a city centre to residential areas, and refrain from travelling at night.
Never leave your bags unsupervised at a ticket office or a registration desk. Ensure that your personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times, and that your credit and debit cards, cash and any other financial resources are not all kept in the same place.
Don’t show signs of affluence. Don’t carry large sums of money.
Travelling in groups is recommended.
Carry a photocopy of your passport’s identification page and the page containing your visa, and keep the original in a secure place.
Tourist facilities and infrastructure are adequate in Kampala, Jinja and larger national parks, but limited elsewhere in the country.
Spiked food and drinks
Don’t accept food or drinks from strangers. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault or robbery.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the authorities of Uganda and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the High Commission for the Republic of Uganda or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Uganda, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
If you are travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document, you may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with foreign diplomatic representatives in Canada for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa to enter Uganda.
While you can obtain a visa on arrival, you should first attempt to get a visa online. Apply as far in advance of your trip as possible, as delays could occur. You may need proof that you first attempted to apply online, before being granted a visa on arrival.
Some travellers without an e-visa have been refused entry, even though they technically qualified for visa on arrival.
Apply for an electronic visa - Uganda’s e-immigration system
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Work permit: Required
Transit visa: Required
Canadians intending to work in Uganda should insist that the employer ascertain what type of permit will be required from Uganda’s Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Zika virus: Advice for travellers - January 14, 2019
- Measles in Africa - January 11, 2019
- Polio: vaccine advice - December 14, 2018
- Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of Congo - August 9, 2018
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is a serious and sometimes fatal infection. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers) or those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings.
There is a risk of polio in this country.
- Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date. Polio is part of the routine vaccine schedule for children in Canada.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of yellow fever vaccination for travellers from all countries.
- Vaccination is recommended.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in East Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in East Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.
For protection of cholera
All travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.
Travellers at higher risk should discuss with a health care professional the benefits of getting vaccinated.
Travellers at higher risk include those:
- visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
- visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring.
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in East Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus and yellow fever.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that typically causes fever, bleeding under the skin, and pain. Risk is generally low for most travellers. It is spread to humans though contact with infected animal blood or bodily fluids, or from a tick bite. Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals. There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is an eye and skin disease caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected female blackfly. Onchocerciasis often leads to blindness if left untreated. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from blackfly bites, which are most common close to fast-flowing rivers and streams. There is no vaccine available for onchocerciasis although drug treatments exist.
Rift Valley fever
Rift Valley fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can be fatal. It is spread to humans through contact with infected animal blood or tissues, from the bite of an infected mosquito, or eating or drinking unpasteurized dairy. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from bites and avoid infected animals and unpasteurized dairy. There is no vaccine available for Rift Valley fever.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. Recent or ongoing cases of Zika virus have been reported in this country.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites day and night.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects such as abnormally small heads (microcephaly). Zika virus can also be sexually transmitted.
Travellers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy:
- Should avoid travel to this country
- If travel cannot be avoided follow strict mosquito bite prevention measures.
- Talk to your health care professional about the risk of Zika infection in pregnancy.
- Use condoms or avoid having sex for the duration of the pregnancy, if you are pregnant and your partner has travelled to this country.
- Female travellers: wait at least 2 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive (get pregnant) to ensure that any possible Zika virus infection has cleared your body.
- Male travellers: wait 6 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive. Use condoms or avoid having sex during that time.
See travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
- See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in East Africa, like avian influenza, ebola, and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are extremely limited outside Kampala. Serious illness or emergencies may require evacuation by air ambulance at the patient’s expense. Ensure you have sufficient prescription medicine and medical supplies for the duration of your trip. Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Photography of security forces, diplomatic sites, government installations, airports and the Owen Falls Dam (at the source of the Nile River, near Jinja) is prohibited. Always ask for permission before photographing individuals.
Wearing military-style or camouflage clothing is prohibited and may result in a jail sentence.
The laws of Uganda prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Convicted offenders can face up to life imprisonment. Even though there are few convictions that result from such prosecutions, LGBTQ2 persons are routinely harassed by the police. Societal discrimination based on sexual orientation is widespread.
LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Uganda.
Traffic drives on the left.
An International Driving Permit is recommended.
Drivers must always carry:
- a valid driver’s license in English or with a certified translation
- vehicle registration documents
- proof of valid insurance
- a valid vehicle inspection certificate
These documents must be produced on demand by a police officer.
You must be at least 18 years old to drive a private motor vehicle in Uganda.
If you are over 18, you may drive using a Canadian driver’s licence for up to 90 days from the date of entry into Uganda.
In the event of an accident, Ugandan law requires drivers to stop and exchange information and assistance. There is a possibility of mob anger if the accident has caused serious injury. In such cases, remain in your vehicle and drive to the nearest police station to report the accident.
Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol include immediate imprisonment.
If you are stopped for a traffic violation, the police officer may ask you to pay an on-the spot fine. Police, however, are not permitted to accept cash on the spot without issuing an official receipt. If you disagree with the traffic ticket, you have the right to ask for due process. The officer should provide you with information on when and where you can go to be properly charged, and then you may pursue that process.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Uganda. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you a Ugandan citizen. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a Ugandan passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
The currency is the Uganda shilling (UGX). Credit cards are accepted only by major hotels, airlines and some car rental agencies. You will find a foreign exchange (forex) bureau at most border posts and in all major cities. Most shops, banks and forex bureaus do not accept or exchange U.S. dollars printed before 2007.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Uganda is located in a seismic zone.
The rainy (or monsoon) seasons extend from March to May and from October to November. Weather-related events such as floods and landslides occur throughout the country during these months. Stay informed of regional weather forecasts and pay careful attention to all warnings issued.
Dial 999 for emergency assistance.
Kampala - Consulate of Canada
Nairobi - High Commission of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in Nairobi, Kenya, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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