Irish citizens travelling for purposes of tourism receive a free visa (stamp in passport) at Entebbe airport or border entry points, which is usually valid for one month from the date of entry. Your passport should be valid for 12 months after the date of entry. You must supply a yellow fever vaccination certificate if you have travelled from a country with yellow fever; if you do not have a valid certificate, you may be denied entry. Ugandan immigration policies are not always consistently applied.
There is a continuing threat of terrorism in Uganda. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
Political demonstrations in Uganda can often turn violent and unpredictable. The Embassy advises caution and to avoid political demonstrations and rallies.
Avoid travel by road outside major towns at night, as there are increasing reports of attacks and attempted attacks on vehicles even between Kampala and the airport at Entebbe, especially between midnight and dawn.
We advise against all travel to Karamoja in north eastern Uganda, with the exception of Kidepo Valley National Park. Road ambushes and violent clashes, while considerably less than in earlier years, can still occur: this remains an unpredictable region.
If you are considering travelling to northern and western Uganda, we advise you to research the security situation very well and take appropriate precautions, particularly near the borders with Democratic Republic of Congo( DRC and) South Sudan.
The danger of Ebola and other hemorrhagic diseases has lessened in recent months. However, there have been outbreaks of Ebola in Luweero, about 60km from the capital, Kampala and of cases of Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever in late 2012. Both outbreaks were subsequently declared over in January 2013. WHO did not recommend any travel or trade restrictions on Uganda as a result of these outbreaks. You are advised to avoid eating or handling bush meat [monkeys and related species].
Safety and Security
There is a continuing threat of terrorism in Uganda. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. Large crowds of people and public places may also be targets. The Embassy advice is to remain vigilant regarding personal security, be alert to surroundings, and report suspicious activity to local authorities.
Somali insurgents have threatened to carry out attacks in Uganda in response to the Ugandan military presence in Somalia as part of an African Union peacekeeping force. This threat was realised on 11 July 2010 when there were three bomb attacks in Kampala - one device at a restaurant in Kabalagala (Tank Hill Road) and two at a rugby club in Lugogo (Jinja Road); these were areas popular among tourists and expatriates. Over 75 people were killed, including an Irish citizen, and significant numbers injured. The risks of further attacks, at any time, cannot be ruled out.
Avoid travel by road outside major towns at night and avoid, if possible, travelling between Kampala and the airport at Entebbe between midnight and dawn, as attacks on vehicles or attempts to force them off-road have increased in recent months.
We advise against all travel to Karamoja in north eastern Uganda (Kotido, Kaabong, Abim, Kapchorwa, Bukwa, Moroto, Katakwi and Nakapiripirit districts), with the exception of Kidepo Valley National Park, which we advise should be accessed by air rather than by road. Road ambushes and violent clashes, while considerably less than in earlier years, can still occur: this remains an unpredictable region.
If you are considering travelling to northern and western Uganda please research the security situation very well and take appropriate precautions – particularly near the borders with Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC] and Southern Sudan. Care should be taken to avoid the DRC border area around Lake Albert unless all arrangements have been made in advance with the Ugandan and DRC authorities. If using a gorilla trekking operator, please ensure they do not cross into eastern DRC. Before travelling to the border area of Kisoro and Kanugu Districts please contact Ugandan Wildlife Authority and your lodge/hotel for the latest advice. Travel can be difficult and dangerous so only go outside the main towns if you are confident of your safety. We strongly recommend that you do not travel outside of town after dark.
Please contact the Ugandan Wildlife Authority for up to date security information before travelling to any of the National Parks: www.uwa.or.ug.
- For Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest it is normal for security personnel to accompany tourists when gorilla tracking.
- Please seek local travel advice before travelling to Bundibugyo District, Semiliki National Park and Wildlife Reserve in western Uganda. In April 2007, there were armed clashes between Ugandan forces and ADF rebels in this area, though there have been no incidents since.
- A foreign tourist was shot dead in an incident while trekking in Mount Elgon National Park, eastern Uganda, in February 2008. Please contact the Ugandan Wildlife Authority about security arrangements if you are planning to visit this park.
- Travel to the northern part of Murchison Falls National Park should only be undertaken in the company of an armed game warden who has functional communications equipment.
Although the capital of Uganda, Kampala, is a relatively safe city, wherever you are in Uganda you are advised to take the usual sensible precautions with your personal belongings. Do not carry all of your money at once and please ensure that your passport and valuable belongings are kept securely at all times. We strongly advise against walking after dark. The Embassy advises you to avoid any political demonstrations and rallies.
Drink or use only boiled or bottled water.
The danger of Ebola and other hemorrhagic diseases has lessened in recent months. However, there have been outbreaks of Ebola in Luweero, about 60km from the capital, Kampala and of cases of Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever in late 2012. Both outbreaks were subsequently declared over in January 2013. WHO did not recommend any travel or trade restrictions on Uganda as a result of these outbreaks. You are advised to avoid eating or handling bush meat [monkeys and related species.
Local Laws and Customs
Uganda is a very friendly, if socially conservative country - overt displays of affection, in general, are not encouraged, whatever the gender. Homosexuality is illegal and there is very little social tolerance of homosexuality in Uganda. Further information is available from the Embassy should you require it.
Natural Disasters and Climate
The rainy seasons extend from March to May and from October to
November, although in common with other regions of the world,
climate change has impacted the predictability, periodicity and
volume of the rains. Flooding and mudslides may occur throughout
the country as a result of the ferocity of the rains. The
rains can have a major impact on road conditions.
Natural disasters are possible due to regional volcanic activity. Uganda is located in a seismic zone. At the moment, Mount Elgon is stable.
Travellers should pay careful attention to regional weather forecasts and to all warnings issued.
Additional Country Info
Bribery and corruption
Certain Irish criminal laws, such as those relating to the bribery of foreign public officials, apply to Irish nationals overseas: Irish nationals who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Ireland or by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD] and United Nations: both international organisations promulgate the anti-bribery conventions.
Traffic drives on the left. There are many road accidents causing death in Uganda. A lack of traffic signs, local driving habits, wandering animals, pedestrians, and poor road conditions pose risks. Pedestrians should exercise caution when crossing roads. Pedestrians are at particular risk: paths and street lighting are rare, even in built up areas of Kampala. In addition, In addition, man-hole covers are frequently stolen, resulting in drops up to six feet deep [sometimes into open sewers]
As noted elsewhere, the Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Uganda. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. Emergency treatment and/or evacuation are very expensive in Uganda. If participating in extreme adventure sports (white water rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping etc.), you should ensure that these activities are also provided for in your insurance. Travellers should be aware that many of these adventure sports operators are unregulated and so care should be taken in selecting reputable tour companies.
Irish citizens should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.
DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR MISSIONS IN UGANDATop