Uganda is the only place where tourists can experience the unique mountain gorilla trekking adventure that many explorers have gushed about. Touted as an experience that one would cherish for a lifetime, mountain gorilla trekking is an exhilarating, off-the-beaten-path adventure that no other African nation but Uganda, can offer.
Yet in like any other country that most tourists visit, Uganda travelers must have constant awareness of the potential dangers faced when visiting the country. Knowing how to keep safe is of particular importance when visiting exotic countries that have limited resources to use in minimizing, if not eliminating health and security risks to tourists.
Minding the U.S. State Department’s Latest Uganda Travel Advisory
In April 2019, the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the U.S. State Department upped the Uganda Travel Advisory Warning to Level 2, which recommends exercising increased caution when traveling to Uganda. The warning though, concerns mostly the increased incidences of violent crimes in the major cities, with particular mention to the large cities of Entebbe and Kampala.
According to the advisory, the local police in the cities lack the appropriate resources needed in order to respond effectively to grave criminal incidences. Nonetheless, by following some of the best known Uganda precautionary guidelines, staying in cities would not be as ominous.
1. Avoid night time road travels outside major towns and cities. As much as possible, avoid traveling to areas located in regions near the Karamoja in the north, and in the South Sudan border.
2. When driving and wandering in the city during the day or at night, maintain presence of mind and have an awareness of your surroundings at all times. Never leave anything unattended, be it your belonging or the food and drinks you are having.
3. Do not wander through the city alone to avoid becoming an easy target. It is best to always be with a tour group. Still, when traveling as a group or with friends, avoid attracting attention. Keeping a low profile will make you and your companions less noticeable.
4. If in case you and your group becomes the subject of a robbery attempt, do not resist or put up a fight as doing so will only aggravate the situation.
5. Female travelers should always dress decently because the people of Uganda are generally conservative. Some local communities consider it disrespectful for women to wear trousers or shorts, so it would be wise to bring a midi or knee length skirt.
6. Take extra precaution by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This is a free service offered by the U.S. State Department to American travellers, the main benefit of which is to make it easier for local authorities to look for you in case of an emergency situation.
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