Update 2nd July 2021
All flights and passengers from India will not be allowed entry into Uganda until further notice. Passengers arriving in Uganda from USA, UK, UAE, Turkey, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Tanzania will be subject to a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival, regardless of their vaccination status and whether they are asymptomatic or not.
Testing will be carried out in Entebbe and clients will need to quarantine at a designated hotel until test results are published, and they are cleared to continue with their safari. Clients who test positive will be taken to an isolation facility. Test results will be released every 4 hours, but we expect results to be published 8-24 hours from the time the sample is taken.
Clients from countries not included above are not subject to testing or quarantine on arrival in Uganda.
With immediate effect, COVID-19 Tests must be taken within 72 hours of arrival in Uganda, and within 72 hours of departing Uganda. This has been reduced from 120 hours in both cases.
In addition, all tourist visas are strictly to be obtained and paid for online in advance from the offial e-visa service: https://visas.immigration.go.ug/
Update 21st June 2021
PCR Testing on Arrival
A PCR test on arrival is mandatory for all travellers from "Category 2 countries" which include the UK and US. Fully vaccinated travellers are exempt from testing at time of writing.
Special Arrival Testing for Tourists
If you require testing on arrival (i.e. are not vaccinated) a special arrangement has been made for discounted and faster testing for clients travelling with Licences Tour Operators and members of AUTO (as our ground handlers are). This means that on arrival you can be met by our guide at the airport and travel with them to a private testing facility (as opposed to going on a government bus to the government facility). We can book a time-slot for the test in advance. You will need to pay a discounted rate of $50, and after testing you can head straight to your hotel. Results will be delivered in 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Uganda's New "Lockdown"
Uganda has seen an increase in cases over the past few weeks. While the daily numbers are still quite low by the standards of most countries (~1,300 cases per day), Uganda's initial success with COVID was due to rather strict measures, and they have re-implemented some of these until mid-July. It's probably better to describe the lockdown as a "massive restriction of movement". Most shops and services remain open, however all transport has been banned, public and private - meaning most people can only move as far as they can walk or cycle. The only exceptions are cargo, tourism and emergency services. The usual suspects of nightclubs, gyms, churches and bars are closed, but hotels and restaurants remain open, just with a 7pm curfew.
What this means for Tourism
The government places a strong emphasis on tourism and has gone to lengths to make sure travellers to Uganda can come and enjoy the country, do so safely and with minimum hassle.
The majority of COVID cases (~80%) are in the city of Kampala. Uganda's unique geography with the airport in Entebbe means none of our clients will travel to or through Kampala. All of our trips either go from Entebbe directly to up-country destinations via the expressway that bypasses Kampala, or fly out of Entebbe on internal flights.
There is a full complement of Safety Procedures published for hotels and lodges, adherence is mandatory and they are being followed very seriously.
Many lodge staff, safari staff and guides have all had their first COVID vaccine jab, with follow-ups scheduled for late July. For any guided trips, our guides will take a PCR test 36 hours before they are set to meet clients.
COVID-19 in Uganda - Update 7th May 2021
Following a recent inspection trip, we can provide an update on the situation in Uganda regarding COVID-19, infection rates, and precautions being taken.
The Ugandan government were quick to introduce strict measures to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country. At the time of writing, the number of infections is low and life is largely continuing as normal. Exactly why Uganda has fared relatively well with COVID-19 is unclear, the country has a very young population (almost 50% younger than 14 as of 2019!), and the government were quick to act - it's likely a combination of many factors.
At the time of writing, Uganda is Level 1 on the CDC travel advisory and on the Amber tier in the UK.
While life is continuing as normal in small towns and villages, precautions are being taken on the travel circuits, at lodges and hotels, and with guides and UWA staff.
Uganda has been slow to roll out a vaccine, but the government is now pushing for an accelerated vaccine roll out and the procurement of vaccine is improving with large shipments due to arrive in the coming months. Importantly, the tourism industry has been identified as a priority industry for vaccine distribution, meaning many guides and lodge staff have already received their first dose.
Entry & Exit Requirements as of 7th May 2021
Entry requirements to Uganda were updated on the 5th May 2021. At time of writing, passengers from some countries (including: US, UK, UAE, South Africa), must take a PCR test on arrival at Entebbe International Airport, unless they are fully vaccinated.
The situation and specific policies are still not finalised, but we will provide an update when more information is released.
At the time of writing, travellers leaving Uganda are required to take a PCR test valid within 120 hours of leaving the country. The testing process in Entebbe has been very efficient to date, with turnaround times between 6-12 hours.
An Unprecedented Challenge
The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest challenge the travel industry has faced in decades. We are working closely with all of our partners on the ground in Uganda to stay up to date with all the latest developments, supporting our 2020 bookings with their postponed trips, and preparing for the upcoming travel season.
As a traveller, you'll likely have many questions and reservations about booking a trip right now - we totally understand that. There remains a lot of uncertainty, but we have worked hard to negotiate with our suppliers so that we can amend our booking terms to provide you with flexibility you need to book with confidence for 2021 and 2022.
For any booking made after 1st May 2020, the following booking terms will apply:
- Fee-free postponement to a future date should your trip be postponed due to COVID-19.
- Should your trip be postponed due to COVID-19, any and all monies paid towards the trip to date will be transferred across to the postponed trip.
- No deadline will apply to postponements, meaning whenever you are available to travel, you will have a trip with us.
- Should your trip be postponed for reasons specific to Uganda (e.g. entry/exit requirements, non-COVID events), you can transfer to one of our other destinations in East Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, or Tanzania. Note that in this case, it may not be possible to transfer across all monies paid towards the original trip, for example if you have paid for gorilla permits.
Ugandan Adventures for 2021/2022
Combine chimp trekking in Kibale Forest with mountain gorilla treks in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. A well-paced highlights tour unlocking some of Uganda's most impressive experiences. Consider breaking up the journey from Kibale to Bwindi with a classic safari at…
Discover the exceptional bio-diversity of Uganda by combining the beautiful savannah grasslands of Murchison Falls National Park with chimpanzee trekking in the forests of Kibale National Park. Connect the dots with epic road trips looping through northwestern Uganda.…
Light adventuring and charming safaris in Lake Mburo National Park coupled with lakeside retreats and days of reflection and exploration around Lake Mutanda. Close out the trip with a few days canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking and more in Jinja, Uganda's…