Planning a trip to Uganda this year to experience a trekking adventure of a lifetime? Before you embark on this exciting adventure, remember it’s always smart to do some research ahead of travelling so you can be aware of any potential risks involved. Keep safe during your time abroad with these tips in our ultimate guide to Uganda tourism safety.
Only Plan Tours With Reputable Companies
When planning a tour, it’s important to book with a company that has registered tour operators and strict safety standards. It’s also important to follow the directions of the tour guides at all times for your safety. The operators will be able to answer any of your questions when viewing the wildlife, trekking through the brush, and when visiting surrounding towns.
Keep Your Belongings Secure At All Times
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, is common throughout Africa. So be sure to take care when travelling with your belongings. Secure any items in closed bags, and avoid bringing or wearing jewellery, electronics, and personal devices on your trip unless necessary. Take particular care of your passport and visa. If your accommodation provides a coded safe, it’s recommended to lock up your items.
Although rare, demonstrations can occur at any time. If you’re in an area where a demonstration or large gathering takes place, it’s recommended to remove yourself from the area and follow any instructions provided by local authorities. If you’re on a tour and a demonstration causes disruptions to traffic routes, it’s important that you listen carefully to your guides who will ensure that you are moved to a safer area.
Keep A Safe Distance From The Animals
When travelling. you should always stay inside the vehicle until your professional guide has cleared the area as safe. When trekking in the jungle, always follow the advice of your tour guide. If you come in contact with an animal, keep at a safe distance. Your guide will brief you on the safety requirements, but if you suddenly encounter an animal without a guide present, do not run. Walk back slowly and quietly. You should also avoid flash photography that could startle the animals and make them aggressive.
Avoid Eye Contact
Many animals interpret direct eye contact as a challenge. Avoid staring into the eyes of a gorilla or other animals when on a trek. Be submissive and remain still.
Never Travel or Go Off Alone
Leaving your camp area or walking off during a tour alone is never a good idea here. You could easily fall off a sharp edge, get lost, or come into contact with a wild animal. If an animal encounter were to happen away from your guide, you could put yourself in unnecessary danger. So always travel in a pack and with a trained guide.
Avoid Swimming In Rivers Or Lakes
Unless advised that it’s safe to do so, you should avoid swimming in the rivers and lakes. Wildlife usually feeds on the banks of the river and there could be hippos or crocodiles beneath the water line.
Follow Boat Rules
Your tour might include a cruise on Lake Albert or Victoria. If so, it’s essential that you review the safety instructions and emergency procedures when boarding the boat. You should also make a note of where the emergency exits are located and where the life jackets are stored.
Wear The Proper Protection
You’ll not only want to protect your body from sharp branches and debris but also bugs and the sun. Always wear bug propellant, waterproof boots, socks, gloves and clothing that covers your entire body. A waterproof jacket and pants should also be packed in your bag. It’s also recommended that you wear dull colours as opposed to bright ones that could provoke the animals.
Avoid Travelling At Night
If you decide to do any personal travelling before or after your tour, stay vigilant and avoid travelling by road outside major towns at night. If you decide to drive, keep your car doors locked and windows shut when in towns and keep your valuables concealed. If you plan to travel by taxi, avoid matatus and boda-bodas, as these do not meet western safety standards nor provide proper insurance. If you become subject to a robbery, don’t resist, hand over your items and contact the nearest police station and your consulate.
Uganda is a beautiful and generally safe place to travel. Although danger can happen in any location around the world, you are always safer on a guided tour than travelling alone in Uganda. If you’re looking for the perfect tour with a highly reputable company that puts safety first, contact us at Bushman Safaris. Our team is highly trained to ensure that you have the trip of a lifetime.