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Country Guides for Africa


Uganda Uganda achieved independence from the UK in 1962. The dictatorial regime of Idi AMIN (1971-79) was responsible for the deaths of some 300,000 opponents; guerrilla war and human rights abuses under Milton OBOTE (1980-85) claimed at least another 100,000 lives. During the 1990s, the government promulgated non-party presidential and legislative elections.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Food and waterborne diseases are the number one cause of illness in travelers. Travelers’ diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found throughout the region and can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (Typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.

Malaria is a serious, but preventable infection that can be fatal. Your risk of malaria may be high in these countries, including cities. Prevent this deadly disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites. Most travelers to East Africa, including infants, children, and former residents of East Africa, are at risk for malaria. All travelers at risk for malaria should take one of the following drugs (listed alphabetically): atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, mefloquine, or primaquine (in special circumstances).

A certificate of yellow fever vaccine may be required for entry into certain of these countries. For detailed information, see Comprehensive Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements. Also, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.

Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis, trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), and Rift Valley fever are diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Protecting yourself against insect bites will help to prevent these diseases.

Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection, is found in fresh water in the region, including Lake Malawi. Do not swim in fresh water (except in well-chlorinated swimming pools) in these countries.

Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid nighttime travel if possible and always use seat belts.

CDC recommends the following vaccines (as appropriate for age):

See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect.

  • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
  • Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment.
  • Meningococcal (meningitis) vaccine, if you plan to visit the western half of Ethiopia from December through June.
  • Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
  • Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region.
  • Yellow fever, if you travel anywhere outside urban areas.
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles, and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11–12 years who did not receive the series as infants.

To stay healthy, do...

  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by BOTH filtering through an “absolute 1-micron or less” filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. “Absolute 1-micron filter” are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
  • If you travel to an area where there is risk for malaria, take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your doctor for a prescription.)
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites:
    • Pay special attention to mosquito protection between dusk and dawn. This is when the type of mosquito whose bite transmits malaria is active.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
    • Use insect repellents that contain DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide).
    • Read and follow the directions and precautions on the product label.
    • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin.
    • Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.
    • Do not breathe in, swallow, or get into the eyes (DEET is toxic if swallowed). If using a spray product, apply DEET to your face by spraying your hands and rubbing the product carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.
    • Unless you are staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, purchase a bed net impregnated with the insecticide permethrin or deltamethrin. Or, spray the bed net with one of these insecticides if you are unable to find a pretreated bed net.
    • DEET may be used on adults, children, and infants older than 2 months of age. Protect infants by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.
    • Children under 10 years old should not apply insect repellent themselves. Do not apply to young children’s hands or around eyes and mouth.
  • To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.
  • Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

  • Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

SAFETY AND SECURITY: U.S. citizens living in or planning to visit Uganda should be aware of threats to their safety from insurgent groups, particularly in the northern region near the border with Sudan, along the western border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in the southwest near the border with Rwanda. Insurgent groups have at times specifically targeted U.S. citizens. They have engaged in murder, armed attacks, kidnapping, and the placement of land mines. Although isolated, incidents occur with little or no warning. Armed banditry is common in the Karamoja region in northeastern Uganda.

Due to potential security concerns, U.S. government employees must have permission from the Chief of Mission to visit the following districts: Soroti, Kaberamaido, Katakwi, Kotido, Moroto, Nakapiritpiriti, Apac, Lira, Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Arua, Nebbi, Kisoro, Kanungu, Yumbe, Moyo, Adjumani, and Bundibugyo. The above-named districts include all or part of several national parks. Tourists contemplating travel in any of these districts are advised to seek the latest security information from Ugandan authorities, tour operators, and the U.S. Embassy.

Due to the recent movement of elements of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) into Soroti, Kaberamaido and Katakwi Districts in Uganda, and the level of violence associated with these incursions, the Embassy strongly recommends against travel to these districts. Americans resident in these areas should review whether the LRA threats are grounds for temporarily leaving the area.

The Government of Uganda has taken significant steps to improve security in national parks in recent years. The Ugandan army, charged with the safety and welfare of travelers, accompanies tourists on gorilla tracking visits and has greatly increased its presence in the parks. However, there are security concerns associated with pre-dawn and nighttime driving if accommodations are located far away from the gorilla parks. In addition to the general risk of higher accident rates, pre-dawn and nighttime driving also increases the risk of banditry.

The U.S. Embassy recommends against travel to Murchison Falls National Park due to continued activity by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in and around the park. Americans should avoid all road travel in Gulu and Kitgum districts, where the park is located. Prior activity in Murchison Falls National Park in 2001 included at least one incursion into the northern part of the park, when a number of Ugandan tourists were killed.

Rwenzori National Park, on the western border with Congo, was reopened by the Ugandan Government in 2001 in response to decreased rebel activity on the eastern slopes of the Rwenzori Mountains and environs. However, continuing instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo and parts of northern Rwanda make parks in the western border area of Uganda potentially vulnerable to incursion by rebel and vigilante groups operating in Congo and Rwanda.

The U.S. Embassy recommends that visitors seek up-to-date security information from park authorities before entering Mgahinga National Park and the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, both in the southwestern corner of Uganda, due to sporadic rebel activity across the Congo/Rwanda border. Rwandan rebel factions with anti-Western and anti-American ideologies are known to operate in areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo that border Uganda. One such rebel group is believed to be responsible for the March 1999 kidnapping and murder of two American and six other tourists in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in western Uganda, as well as the August 1998 abduction of three tourists in a Democratic Republic of Congo national park contiguous with Uganda's Mgahinga National Park.

There have been periodic bomb attacks at various public places in Kampala, most recently in March 2001, when three bombs were detonated. As a general rule, U.S. citizens in Kampala should exercise caution and be alert when visiting both indoor and outdoor public facilities such as bars, restaurants, hotels, and markets, as well as when using local and inter-city public van service ("matatus") and larger buses.

CRIME: Armed home burglaries sometimes turn violent. In two separate home burglary incidents in 2001, one American was shot dead and two were wounded by gunshots. In November 2003, an American citizen was robbed and beaten after leaving a popular nightclub. Incidents of armed vehicle carjackings and armed highway robbery are frequent throughout the country. Although these attacks are often violent, victims are generally injured only if they resist. U.S. Embassy employees are generally advised against using roads at night in non-urban areas. Carjackings sometimes take place on the road from Entebbe Airport to Kampala. Females traveling alone are particularly susceptible to crime. Crimes such as pickpocketing, purse snatching, and thefts from parked vehicles or vehicles stalled in traffic jams are common. These offenses also occur on public transportation. Passengers should not accept food or drink from a stranger, even a child, because such food may contain narcotics used to incapacitate a victim and facilitate a robbery.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends, and to explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State’s pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad for useful information on safe travel abroad.

Source: U.S. Department of State

tropical; generally rainy with two dry seasons (December to February, June to August); semiarid in northeast

Source: CIA World Factbook

Uganda's electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items. Many North American appliances are designed to operate only within the 100-125 volt range. These appliances will suffer damage if plugged into 220-250 volts without the proper transformer or converter.

To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.

For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.

Download Magellan's Guide to World Electrical ConnectionsDownload Magellan's Guide to World Electrical Connections

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport, visa and evidence of yellow fever vaccination are required for entry. Travelers should obtain the latest information and details from the Embassy of the Republic of Uganda, 5911 16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20011; telephone (202) 726-7100; Internet site:; e-mail: Travelers may also contact the Ugandan Permanent Mission to the United Nations, telephone (212) 949-0110. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Ugandan embassy or consulate.

Source: U.S. Department of State

The time zone for Uganda is 3 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Uganda would be 8:00 pm

The unit of currency in Uganda is the Ugandan shilling (UGX).

Look up the current exchange rate using's Universal Currency Converter

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