Is Uganda safe for tourists?

If you’re wondering if Uganda is safe for tourists, you’re in the right place. Safety should rightfully be one of your top priorities when traveling to a new place – whether that’s your health, the stability of the country, or avoiding crimes – we are happy to help answer a few of your main questions.

Before we do that, we actually have a question of our own!

Did you know Uganda is safer than the United States? It’s true – according to the Global Peace Index, Uganda outranks the US by eight spots on a report by the Institute for Economics and Peace. That report is based on indicators like the “number of internal and external violent conflicts, level of distrust, political instability, potential for terrorist acts, number of homicides, and military expenditures as a percentage of GDP.”

Now, we know that can sound shocking – and it is. Our point is to consider what kind of safety specifically you’re looking for, and to know that even some of the countries we call home may have some of the same concerns of the places we’d like to travel to. 

That’s why we ultimately believe travel is the key to solving many of these issues. The more we see how alike we are and how connected we truly are, the less conflict there will be in the world.

Now, onto Uganda!

Uganda is generally considered a safe destination for tourists, with a low crime rate and a welcoming attitude towards visitors. However, as with any country – whether you’re visiting or a resident – it is important for travelers to exercise caution and be aware of potential risks.

Below you’ll find important information for those asking “is Uganda safari safe” with topics on Uganda’s current political situation, health environment, and crime rates. Please read on, and if you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask.

Political Stability in Uganda

One of the main safety concerns for travelers to Uganda is the potential for civil unrest and political violence. 

According to the U.S. Department of State, “Under Museveni, Uganda has experienced relative political stability and economic growth, but also significant human rights, governance, and democracy deficits.”

Though Uganda has a history of political instability, modern day incidents are relatively rare and are usually isolated to specific areas. It is important for travelers to avoid participating in political demonstrations and to stay informed about any potential risks through local news and travel advisories.

Health in Uganda

Another potential safety concern in Uganda is the risk of contracting infectious diseases. 

The country has a high prevalence of malaria, and travelers should take precautions to avoid exposure to these diseases. 

This includes using insect repellent, sleeping under mosquito nets, and practicing safe sex. It is also important to make sure that you are up-to-date on your vaccinations before traveling to Uganda.

Crime Rates in Uganda

In terms of personal safety, Uganda is generally a safe country for tourists. 

The crime rate is low, and violent crimes against travelers are rare. 

In terms of other common safari countries in East Africa, Uganda is on par with Kenya as far as safety. According to the Institute for Economics and Peace, Uganda is actually safer than the United States!

Advice For Staying Safe While On Your Uganda Tour

However, as with any trip, tourists can tend to stand out from the local population. Whether that’s a trip to visit Paris in France or a trip to go on a safari in Uganda, being aware of your surroundings is always a good idea.

Likewise, avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuables. 

It is also recommended to avoid walking alone at night and to keep a mindful eye when using public transportation.

Experience Uganda’s Safe and Welcoming Nature For Yourself

Overall, Uganda is a safe destination for tourists. 

While there are some potential risks to be aware of, the country is welcoming and offers a rich cultural experience for visitors. By taking common-sense precautions and staying informed, travelers can enjoy a safe and enjoyable trip to Uganda.

One of the best ways to feel safe and secure while you travel is planning your trip with an experienced tour company. 

Having given bespoke, boutique tours of Uganda and East Africa since 2013, our team at Kikooko would be delighted to help manage your trip and give you the safari experience of a lifetime. For more information, feel free to get in touch with us today.

Uganda Ebola Update: Safe To Travel

Updated: October 7th, 2022

In order to make sure travelers like you are kept abreast of the latest information on the health situation in Uganda, we pass along the encouraging update from Uganda’s Ministry of Health that Uganda is still safe for travel.

Despite news of an Ebola outbreak, these cases have been very limited and confined to a region over 100km from Kampala. For international tourists planning trips, the three districts affected are not connected with any national parks. 


Please read the official press release from The Republic of Uganda’s Ministry of Health below.

We will continue to update this post as more details are released.


Travel Advisory on Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Outbreak

The Ministry of Health declared an outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) on the 20th of September, 2022 after a case was confirmed at Mubende Regional Referral Hospital. As of today [October 7th], Uganda has registered 44 confirmed cases and 10 deaths in this outbreak.

Mubende District is the epi-center of the outbreak with sporadic cases in Kassanda, Kyegegwa, Kagadi and Bunyangabu districts. All these districts are more than 100km away from the capital city, Kampala. The rest of the country is free from Ebola and there are no travel restrictions.

The Government of Uganda and Partners have put measures to control the disease. The number of cases have since decreased. All the contacts within Mubende and the neighboring districts have been identified and isolated are being followed on a daily basis.

The Ministry of Health reiterates that Uganda is SAFE for all National and International travelers within the country. All places for conferences, workshops, tourist attractions including national parks are safe for both local and international tourists.

The current Ebola Virus (EVD) outbreak in the Country is under control and anybody with a plan to travel to Uganda are encouraged to continue with their travel plans.

Dr. Diana Atwine

covid testing uganda

Uganda COVID-19 Requirements & PCR Testing For Tourists

Currently, travelers must show proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours prior to their arrival in Uganda and 72 hours prior to their departure from Uganda.

Below, we’ve collected the most recent information for COVID-19 requirements and PCR testing locations in Uganda. The information is intended to be a useful resource. As the health situation is constantly changing, we encourage you to double-check for the most recent status.

Updated Information On COVID-10 Requirements For Tourists Traveling To Uganda

As of Wednesday, February 16th, 2022, incoming travelers at Entebbe Airport will no longer have a mandatory COVID-19 screening.

The Director General of Health Services, Dr. Henry G. Mwebesa, recently shared an update that the Ministry of Health had stopped mandatory testing at the airport.

This suspension is due to two changes:

  1. Decline in positive cases being identified at Entebbe International Airport
  2. Overall reduction in the global threat of new COVID-19 variants of concern, and with that, a reduced risk that this would related to increased community transmission

While the airport testing has been submitted, there are still requirements in place. Travelers coming to Uganda need a valid negative PCR test 72 hours before their departure flight is scheduled to leave.

Travelers exiting Uganda will need to follow the same procedure by showing proof of a negative PCR test 72 hours before their departure flight from Entebbe International Airport.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, please check the Ministry of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 page.

Where To Find Rapid COVID-19 PCR Tests In Uganda For Travel

The majority of accredited laboratories will deliver their test results in 12 hours or less, and often within just 6 to 8 hours. For travelers who need same-day service PCR tests or have a more urgent need, the following companies offer expedited COVID-19 testing.

  1. Test & Fly – Offering emergency test results in just 1.5 hours (for USD 100) and general testing with results in 6 hours (USD 60), Test & Fly’s test centers are located in Kampala and Entebbe. After your test, Test & Fly delivers PCR results digitally through e-mail and WhatsApp. They can also be securely accessed online by airports and airlines to eliminate inconvenience due to lost/forgotten paper certificates. However, it is advisable to carry the paper version with you.

  2. Victoria Medical Services – The test center located on the main road in Entebbe. It is very well organised and will deliver the results through e-mail and WhatsApp within 6 hours. The physical version of your test results can be picked up on your way to the airport.

  3. Same Day Laboratories – With a testing facility just 10 minutes from Entebbe Airport, Same Day Laboratories offers Premium PCR tests for results in just 6 hours (UGX 350,000 / USD 100) and Basic PCR tests for results within 12 hours (UGX 250,000 / USD 70). For traveler convenience, they also offer Home/Hotel service within 50km of Kampala & Entebbe as an option for their Premium PCR Test (a UGX 100,000 transportation fee is required

Where Else Tourists Can Get COVID-19 PCR Tests

Though several of the companies above have specific information about Ugandan PCR tests for traveling, the tests themselves are the same. Some test centers offer to collect the samples at your accommodation for your convenience. Tourists may not have a chance to make it back to Kampala before their flights, so if you’re looking for other PCR testing locations and laboratories in Uganda, read on.

According to the Central Public Health Laboratories, there following 26 accredited laboratories are able to carry out COVID-19 testing in Uganda:

  1. Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI)
  2. Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL)
  3. Infectious Disease Institute (IDI)
  4. Makerere University
  5. Mild May Laboratory
  6. Tororo Mobile Laboratory
  7. Mutukula Mobile Laboratory
  8. Adjumani Mobile Laboratory
  9. Joint Clinical Research Center (JCRC)
  10. MBN Laboratory
  11. Medipal International Hospital
  12. Test and Fly Laboratory
  13. Uganda Cancer Institute, Fred Hutchison Laboratory
  14. IOM Laboratory
  15. ANCA Biotech
  16. Case Clinic
  17. MSF-Epicentre Lab Mbarara
  18. Rakai Health Sciences
  19. TestXpress Laboratories
  20. Lancet Laboratories
  21. Gulu University Biomedical Center
  22. City Medicals
  23. MSF Epicenter Labs, Mbarara
  24. ATCG Laboratories
  25. MAIA Group Labs
  26. Same Day Covid-19 Labs

For tourists looking for COVID-19 PCR tests near Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest, testing is now available at Bwindi Hospital at a cost of USD 40 per person. The turnaround time for tests is 6 hours.

Getting Your COVID-19 Test While Traveling Through Uganda

For more information on how to get a PCR test while you are touring through Uganda, check in with your travel agent or tour company. 

Our policy at Kikooko Africa Safaris is to make sure our tourists know ahead of time when and where their test will happen.

As a final note about the above information:, though we have researched and checked the information, we are aware that the health situation in Uganda – and around the world – is ever-changing. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information, so we remind you to check travel restrictions again for yourself and where you are traveling to. You are also welcome to get in touch with us and we’d be happy to share any changes or updates that haven’t been covered here.

We ourselves are not responsible for any of the testing. It is carried out by third parties that we have no affiliation or association with nor any stake in. As such, we are not liable or responsible for any issues, delays or problems encountered during the testing process or the performance or non-performance of the testing facilities.