Is Uganda safe for female solo travelers? – Gorilla trekking and wildlife safaris – Gorilla trekking safaris for single women with gorilla permits.
Is Uganda safe for female solo travelers? Uganda is one of Africa’s safer countries to travel and here is what you need to know to stay safe. Uganda the Pearl of Africa has experienced a noticeable improvement in all security categories except international terrorism and road safety. Ugandan Police Force has concentrated its efforts on reducing crime, and the results have been impressive wish makes it safe for female solo travelers. Improved security has eliminated the need for extraordinary security measures in the all the country and those measures are being reevaluated by the United Nations and the U.S. Embassy.
Threats from regional terror organizations still plague Uganda. However, increased capacity of Uganda Government has dealt with these threats and continued victories on the battlefield in Somalia and around the world may have diminished the abilities of these groups to conduct attacks.
Violent crime has reduced significantly in Uganda. A sharp increase in the number of police on the street has cut reported incidents of crime in half in the Kampala metropolitan area. The U.S. Mission has also observed a decrease in reported crimes. Pick-pocketing, “snatch and run” thefts (including from occupied and unoccupied vehicles) along with other petty and opportunistic crimes are still common in Kampala but rarely involve acts of violence.
Roads in Uganda are maintained, adequately marked, and poorly lit. Road travel outside Kampala to other cities is dangerous during the night and treacherous.
Driving hazards at night include broken-down vehicles left in the road, pedestrians walking in the road, drunken drivers, stray animals, poor road conditions, and the possibility of armed robbery. The road lighting in larger cities is inadequate at best and virtually nonexistent in smaller cities.
Under normal driving conditions, drivers in Uganda are exposed to inappropriate speed, unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians and livestock in the roadway, commuter buses that ignore traffic laws, vehicles that are not “road safe” (including lack of brake/indicator lights) and the lack of basic safety equipment.
Police enforcement of road safety standards and traffic laws is minimal, but appears to be improving. While general vehicle travel during daylight hours on both paved and unpaved roads is considered relatively safe.
The general lack of an immediate police/emergency response to traffic accident scenes often results in delayed emergency service response. Instead, accident victims rely on bystanders as the accident scene “first responders.” For this reason Great Adventure Safaris Uganda has trained and professional driver guides and are able to perform first aid for our clients.
Sometime back, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a domestic insurgent group led by Joseph Kony, operated with relative ease throughout northern Uganda. Beginning in 2005, the Ugandan military made significant strides to push LRA fighting elements out of Uganda, into Southern Sudan, and then into Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The LRA was completely removed from northern Uganda by the end of 2006 and has not conducted operations here since.
Overall security in northern Uganda has greatly improved as a result of the military success against the LRA. The introduction of civilian police into the north in addition to significant efforts by the Uganda government and the international community has accomplished a remarkable turnaround.
Regional Security, Terrorism and Organized Crime
While Uganda is generally viewed as a safe, secure and politically stable country within the region, its extensive and porous borders are inadequately policed, allowing for a robust flow of illicit trade and immigration.
Primarily, Uganda does not have any large organized crime elements operating within the country. Human smuggling syndicates operate in Uganda providing fraudulent identification for intending illegal immigrants to the European Union, but the volume is likely small. Since Uganda lacks any law that prevents money laundering, organizations could easily operate with little risk of exposure based on its negligent financial regulatory framework but thus far none have emerged.
The threat of civil unrest, public protests, strikes, demonstrations, and political violence is currently rated at the medium level for Uganda. Nevertheless, politically or economically motivated demonstrations can surface sporadically with little to no warning. The protests following the elections in 2011 focused on high commodity prices. Several demonstrations since were rallied against economic issues like power outages, levies on taxis and interest rates and will likely continue.
Demonstrations occasionally take place in Kampala and other Ugandan cities in response to world events or local conditions. Demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly violent when police response is not appropriately measured. It is advisable to avoid demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if in the vicinity of any demonstration. Staying current with media coverage of local events, continually evaluating one’s surroundings and planning to avoid conflict will usually mitigate these risks. Developing communication strategies on security issues with local staff can provide an early warning system for demonstrations as local staff generally consume all local media and can also tap into unfounded information.
The government of Uganda has established tight controls on general security in the country. OSAC members should still remain vigilant and plan for the possibility of civil unrest as crackdowns of this kind often lead to discontent and ultimately larger and more deadly demonstrations.
Disasters and Environmental Hazards
Rapid-onset disasters can range from short-term food security crises to flash floods, infectious disease outbreaks, and political crisis/conflict situations. Slow-onset disasters stem primarily from food insecurity due to drought with a number of other factors contributing to root causes.
Most communities in northern Uganda recently readjusted to normalcy following 23 years of insurgency at the hands of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The vast majorities of people in northern Uganda live in rural areas and are engaged primarily in subsistence-based livelihoods, living largely at the mercy of the production capacity of the land and the vicissitudes of the weather. For most of the year, these households have little or no cash to purchase food or other essentials from the market, nor do they have any assets to sell to smooth consumption. They typically cultivate very small plots of land, and own very few livestock.
In December 2010, there was an outbreak of yellow fever in a handful of northern districts. In September 2008, there was an Ebola outbreak in the western district of Bundibugyo, while northern districts located west of the Nile River have experienced various outbreaks of the black plague. Government management of these outbreaks has been impressive over that last year but travelers should be aware of the heightened threat posed by infectious disease in Uganda.
Is Uganda safe for female solo travelers? The Ugandan police have made significant strides in their ability to react to crime and other incidents. Most police stations throughout the capital city have few phone lines, meager radio communications, and a limited supply of vehicles, which are often in need of fuel. Police attempts to deter crime by placing their limited forces in static locations, supplemented by mobile patrols have been increasingly successful.
Although police corruption is extensive, as evidenced by frequent requests from police officers for “donations” to cover the cost of completing a police report or responding to a traffic accident there is an increase in the willingness of police management to intervene and punish those who solicit bribes.
The national emergency police response number is “999”. Due to the limitations of the police, many local businesses choose to augment their security by employing private armed guards or watchmen. The quality of these services ranges from poor to adequate.
Foreign currency is exchanged in authorized banks, hotels and other legally authorized outlets and proper receipts should be obtained for the transactions. Exchange receipts are required to convert unused Ugandan currency back to the original foreign currency. Penalties for exchanging money on the black market range from fines to imprisonment. Credit cards are not accepted at many hotels, restaurants, shops, or other local facilities, although they are accepted at the major chain hotels in Kampala.
Is Uganda safe for female solo travelers? Health facilities in Kampala are very limited and are generally inadequate outside the capital. Even the best hospitals in Kampala suffer from inadequate facilities, antiquated equipment, and shortages of supplies (particularly medicines). Visitors are advised to carry their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines, as well as a doctor’s note describing the medication. There is a shortage of physicians, and emergency assistance is limited. Quality psychiatric services are almost nonexistent in Uganda.
Malaria is prevalent in Ugandan, especially in rural regions. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and explain to the health care provider their travel history and which antimalarial they have been taking.
Travelers to Uganda should also avoid swimming in any lakes, rivers, or still bodies of water. All bodies of water have been found to contain parasites, including schistosomiasis. Uganda has had outbreaks of acute watery diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, and other bacterial diarrhea in the recent past, and the conditions for reoccurrences continue to exist in both urban and rural settings.
Crime and Safety Tips
Is Uganda safe for female solo travelers? -Visitors are strongly advised to review their personal safety and security posture, to remain vigilant and to be cautious by lowering their public profile when frequenting public places and landmarks. Visitors are advised to beware of unattended baggage or packages left in any location, including in mini-buses and private taxis. Visitors should limit the amount of cash they carry and leave valuables, such as passports, jewelry, and airline tickets in a hotel safe or another secure place. Visitors should carry only the items and cash that they are willing to lose and keep wallets and other valuables where they will be less susceptible to pick-pockets. Visitors should be cautious at all times when traveling on roads in Uganda. There have been reports of highway robbery, including carjacking, by armed bandits outside urban areas. Some incidents have been accompanied by violence. Visitors are cautioned to limit road travel outside towns or cities to daylight hours and travel in convoys, if possible.
With the information above Great Adventure Safaris is here to handle female solo travelers on their safari to Uganda’s tourists’ destinations and enjoy the nature gifted by Uganda and many tourists’ activities like Gorilla tracking, Chimpanzee tracking, Forest walks, wildlife viewing and boat safaris.