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Uganda Travel Information

Uganda Travel InformationOn March 21, President Museveni announced new restrictive measures in an effort to curb the spread of covid-19. This includes that all commercial passenger flights to/from Uganda will cease from midnight on March 22. For information about coronavirus and entry/exit, see the section Health.

Safety

Most trips to Uganda are trouble-free. In general, crime is moderate, but travelers should exercise caution and vigilance, especially after dark. There is increasing crime in especially urban areas. The greatest security risk concerns traffic and limited health services, especially outside Kampala. The situation in the border areas against DR Congo is sometimes tense. The ongoing Ebola outbreak in DR Congo and cases of kidnapping on the border are contributing to a challenging security situation in this area.

There is a dispute between Uganda and Rwanda. Rwanda recommends its own citizens not to travel to Uganda. This recommendation does not apply to citizens of other countries, but can have practical consequences for border crossings by car, etc. The Embassy also encourages travelers to exercise caution when traveling to or staying in border areas against DR Congo.

Visitors to Uganda are advised to stay abreast of the security situation through news media and other available channels, authorities and any local contacts. Residents and travelers are requested to exercise caution and avoid demonstrations and gatherings of large crowds. The Embassy's website should be checked for any updates on the security situation. We also refer to the UD's general advice to travelers.

The arrest of a number of opposition politicians and violent clashes between protesters and police/security forces has led to increased political tension. Travelers are required to exercise caution and avoid demonstrations and larger crowds. Travelers are encouraged to stay up-to-date on the current security situation and follow the local media. Follow local government recommendations.

When traveling outside Kampala it is recommended that you seek updated information. There are still clashes between different tribes, often armed, in areas in the northeast, but the situation has been more stable in recent years. In border areas against South Sudan and DR Congo, the situation can change rapidly as a result of meetings between authorities and rebel groups.

  • Countryaah: Kampala is the capital of Uganda. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.

There is a general and persistent threat of terrorist attacks in Uganda by the Somali terror group al-Shabaab, as a result of Uganda's military contribution to the international force (Amisom) in Somalia. Terror threats from other groups also occur. Kampala was subjected to a terrorist attack in July 2010, but since then no attacks have taken place. Norwegians staying in the country should therefore be vigilant, take reasonable precautions and avoid large crowds.

Crime in Kampala is on the rise, but it is mostly safe during the day. Nevertheless, one should exercise caution and take good care of valuables such as money, passports, jewelry and photo equipment. It is not recommended to display jewelry, photo equipment or other valuables, nor to leave this visible in the car. After dark, this is especially important, one should not go alone, bagging from a motorcycle often occurs in certain areas of Kampala.

It is left-hand traffic in Uganda. The traffic picture, especially in Kampala, can be described as very confusing and to a small extent characterized by respect for traffic rules. Accidents are frequent and often severe; these can also cause dangerous collisions with other road users. Travel on unlit roads after dark should be avoided. The roads are generally poor, lacking sidewalks and full of pedestrians, motorcyclists and livestock. Many motorists and other road users travel without lights and at high speeds and it is not necessarily stopped for pedestrians or other soft road users. Outside the capital one should try to avoid driving in the dark. Car doors should always be kept locked and windows closed. The use of a motorcycle taxi (boda boda) should be avoided.

Sex between spouses is prohibited by law in Uganda, although the law is rarely enforced. Homophobic attitudes are widespread and sexual minorities often keep their orientation hidden for fear of their own safety.

Norwegian citizens who stay for a shorter or longer period in Uganda are encouraged to register on reiseregistrering.no. Norwegian citizens are encouraged to have valid travel insurance.

In crisis and emergency, the public is encouraged to contact the embassy:

Plot 18B Akii-Bua Road, Nakasero
Postal Address:
POBox. 22770, Kampala, Uganda
Phone: +256 (0) 312 246 000/+47 23 95 30 00
E-mail: emb.kampala@mfa.no
Opening hours: Monday - Thursday 07.30 - 15.30/Friday 07.30 - 13.00

Outside the embassy's opening hours, the public can contact the UD's 24-hour operating center on tel: +47 23 95 00 00 or by e-mail: UDops@mfa.no

Entry

Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.

Norwegians need a visa to stay in Uganda. From July 1, 2016, it is mandatory for all Norwegians who visit Uganda to apply for e-visa prior to entry. The application must be posted in the Uganda Electronic Visa/Permit Application System portal on the Internet at least five working days before entering Uganda.

After completing and submitting the form on the portal, the applicant receives a confirmation on the portal and sent by e-mail. This confirmation must be printed and included when entering Uganda. The confirmation is not a visa, but an authorization to obtain a visa either at the nearest Ugandan Embassy/ High Commission or upon arrival in Uganda. Confirmation does not mean that a visa has been secured upon arrival in Uganda. The said portal must also be used when applying for other visas and residence permits. For more information, please see the portal: Uganda Electronic Visa/Permit Application System.

Visa is granted for one month and costs USD 50. It is also possible to apply for East African Visa, which can be used in Kenya and Rwanda in addition to Uganda. This visa costs USD 100.

Note that Ugandan authorities only accept dollars that are in good condition and which are from 2006 or later. Extension of visas can be done at local immigration authorities. The passport must be valid for at least six months after the journey is completed. It is the traveler's responsibility to ensure that travel documents are valid.

The authorities demand that a valid certificate of yellow fever vaccine be presented when entering Uganda.

Health

Coronavirus (covid-19): Uganda announced covid-19 infection on March 21. The country has introduced restrictive measures in the efforts to limit further infection, including stopping all passenger air traffic from 22 March.

From March 11, travelers from Norway are defined in Category 1 countries (together with Italy, San Marino, Iran, South Korea, France, China, Germany, Spain, Belgium, USA, UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Austria and Malaysia). Uganda health authorities recommend that travelers from these countries ˇ°should consider postponing non-essential travel to Uganda, Any traveler from these countries, including Ugandan nationals, will be subject to self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival in Uganda even if they do not exhibit signs and symptoms of covid-19. Additionally, individuals highlighted in category 1 who insist on visiting Uganda will be subjected to self-quarantine or institutional (health facility) quarantine at their own cost ».

New measures and restrictions may be implemented in the coming weeks.

Norwegian travelers should keep abreast of the development of the corona virus. Follow local authorities' advice, guidance and instructions on how to deal with the situation. For general updates, refer to the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not create travel advice because of the risk of infection. It is the Public Health Institute that provides infection protection advice when traveling. You can find more information and guidance from Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

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The Ebola outbreak in DR Congo means that Ugandan authorities have initiated a number of measures to prevent the spread of infection across the border. Travelers are encouraged to take recommended precautions and to follow up on prevention measures. See also the Norwegian Institute of Public Health's advice for traveling to areas with ebola outbreaks.

The Ugandan authorities have in the period 11-13. June 2019 confirmed individual cases of Ebola in the Kasese district in the western part of the country towards the border with DR Congo. The situation has been handled by Ugandan health authorities in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO). Since June 14, 2019, there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in Uganda. For updates, see WHO.

Ugandan authorities have also confirmed outbreaks of bird flu in two locations in Uganda; at Lake Victoria (Kalangala, near Entebbe) and slightly further south in the country, Masaka. Bird flu has been detected both among migratory birds, such as terns, and among domestic ducks and chickens.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health considers the risk of transmission of bird flu from bird to human to low. Travelers to Uganda are encouraged to follow the Public Health Institute's General Bird Flu Travel Advisory Board.

Uganda is characterized by relatively high incidence of infectious diseases and low life expectancy. Access to healthcare, especially outside of Kampala, is poor. Outbreaks of yellow fever have occurred in northern Uganda, and yellow fever vaccine is mandatory when traveling to Uganda.

Reference is made to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health for official health professional travel advice and health professional guidance to Norwegians when traveling abroad.

Malaria occurs throughout the country, including in Kampala, albeit to a lesser extent. For questions and advice regarding prophylaxis during your stay, this should be addressed with your local health office or doctor before leaving Norway.

Of compulsory vaccines, yellow fever is now all that is required, but it is recommended to contact the Norwegian health authorities to hear what other vaccines may be appropriate.

Marburg Viral Disease: It is not recommended to visit caves that can often be habitats for bats, which in turn are reservoirs for the virus. There have been cases where people have been infected.

Bilharzia snail is found in most lakes, including Lake Victoria. It is therefore warned against bathing.

Be aware that epidemics, such as hepatitis, occur especially in the north.

The quality of health care is poor outside Kampala. In Kampala there are a couple of private clinics that are considered to be of a relatively good standard:

Nakasero Hospital Limited
Plot 14A Akii-Bua Road, Nakasero
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256 414 346150/2
Email: info@nhl.co.ug
Website

International Hospital Kampala (IHK)
Plot 4686 Kisugu-Namuwongo P.O.Box
8177
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256 41 200444 or +256 31 2200400
Email: ihk@img.co.ug

International Hospital Kampala - Kololo Clinic
Plot No. 7, Wampewo Avenue
P.O. Box 8177 Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256 313 200 401/2/3
+256 414 344 072
Fax: +256 414 345 768
Email: ihkkololoclinic@img.co.ug

The Surgery has a 24-hour security and ambulance service.
42 Naggulu Drive, Naguru.
Tel. +256 (0) 414 256003 (24h)
+256 (0) 752756003/+256 (0) 772756003 (emergency phone)
+256 (0) 752 756004 (ambulance service)
Website

Access to medicines for common disorders at pharmacies in Kampala and other major cities is relatively good.

Practical information

The area code for calls from Norway to Uganda is +256. The telephone network is unstable at times. Time difference between Uganda (UTC +3) and Norway (UTC +1/2) is two hours in the winter and one hour in the summer (Norway is 1/2 hour earlier). The current is 240v/50Hz. The power supply varies and there are large voltage variations. To use a PC or other more delicate electrical items, it is recommended to connect a stabilizer. Sockets are UK three-point, so adapter is needed for use of Norwegian electrical equipment. There is often a power failure.

The local currency is Ugandan Shilling (UGX). $ 100 = 38,906 Ugandan shillings (February 2020).

Credit cards can be used at the larger hotels and at several travel agencies. Most ATMs accept Norwegian credit cards (Visa/Mastercard). It is recommended to have cash as only a few restaurants and shops take credit cards, and in cases where it is accepted it is added at a fee of up to five per cent. Outside of Kampala, cash can be problematic and many out-of-town tourist hotels ("safari lodges") do not take credit cards.

Public offices are open between 0800-1300 and 1400-1700, Monday to Friday, 0900-1200 Saturday. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 0830-1600. There are five major shopping malls in Kampala: Lugogo Mall (Shoprite), Garden City, Oasis Mall, Acacia Mall and Village Mall. The shops open approx. at 0900, and Garden City closes at midnight while the grocery chain Nakumatt's stores are mainly open 24/7.

When you meet a Ugandan, it is common to hand-greet, and then a small greeting ritual follows "How are you, your family", etc. It is not common to introduce yourself until after exchanging greetings. People older than one themselves are accused as madam (nyabo in luganda) and loser (ssebo in luganda). Thank you for your service.

Ugandans generally dress relatively conservatively. In Kampala, the clothing route has become more challenging, so tops, short skirts and pants are common. Yet, it also happens here that women are harassed by men who regard them as "lightly clothed". At work, the dress style is formal. Men often wear suits and ties, possibly shirts and ties, women in formal skirts/trousers. To avoid too much attention, it is recommended to exercise caution in how to dress.

The official language of Uganda is English. There are around 40 local languages ​​in the country and luganda is the language spoken in the area around the capital.

Possession of any drug is strictly prohibited and severely punished. It is forbidden to photograph military facilities and their surroundings. This also applies to the Owen Falls dam at the Nile's source near Jinja.

Foreigners must be able to identify themselves on request and passports should be brought (if necessary, a copy).

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