The government of Uganda’s blanket restriction over international and local travel is still up, even if the country’s COVID-19 statistics are relatively low.
As of July 01, 2020 there are only about a thousand active cases, 800 cases of recovery and zero deaths. Although some restrictions have been eased down at borders, traveling in and out of Uganda is allowed only for cargo planes and vehicles. The Ugandan government’s order is still for everyone to “stay home, and stay safe.”
Those looking to travel to the country for a safari adventure may not have to wait long as there are indications that travel restriction will be lifted soon; following suit to the opening up of international travel in other countries. One such indication is that some of the Wildlife National Parks and Reserves have reopened; except for the Bwindi Impenetrable, the Kibale and the Mgahinga National as they are mainly the habitats of Uganda’s wild primates.
UWA Issues Guidelines to Ensure Protection of Primates
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) officials are taking precaution by not discounting the possibility that primates are susceptible to the COVID-19 disease. In the UWA’s reopening announcement, all protected areas are still under study on how the contagion could affect the primates and the great apes. Nonetheless, to ensure that the reopening will not allow the disease to spread across the national parks and reserves, the UWA has published tourism guidelines.
First off, the new UWA guidelines includes limiting the number of people entering the parks for the same activities at the same time, to up to 25 persons. Moreover, the holding of special events including destination wedding are at the moment not permitted to take place in any of the country’s parks.
Additionally, the following will be observed:
- Mandatory temperature screening by way of non-contact thermometers will be carried out at the main tourism gates of the different protected areas.
- All visitors will be required to wear protective masks while inside the park.
- Hand washing or sanitizing at every UWA entrance and protected area premises is mandatory even for tourists.
- Social distancing measure has to be observed, including the application of the “half capacity” policy that the government imposes on all land and water transports, as well as vehicles for concessionaire deliveries. Specifically, the UWA prohibits salon cars (closed multi-seater automobiles) inside park premises.
Other Uganda Travel Safety Advisory for Tourists
First time visitors to Uganda should know drinking water sourced straight from the tap is not safe. Make it a point to drink only bottled water and purchase them only from licensed stores. However, Uganda’s Health Ministry had previously banned the sale of alcohol in packets as they have been deemed unsanitary and therefore pose threats to public health.
There is no national legislation prescribing the control and consumption of alcohol in Uganda, which is why during the COVID-19 lockdown, beer, liquor, spirit and wine delivery methods was considered the safest way to procure alcohol.