Like every other country, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted virtually every industry in Uganda and altered countless aspects of our daily lives. To date, thousands of confirmed cases have been reported, claiming hundreds of lives in Uganda. Terms like “social distancing” and “self-isolation” seemingly entered the collective lexicon overnight. In an effort to flatten the curve, schools and universities shuttered, resulting in millions of students pivoting to homeschooling and virtual learning. Unemployment rates have skyrocketed. And, of course, the tourism industry has also been hit particularly hard as it tries to navigate uncharted territory and answer the questions we’ve never before had to ask regarding travel in the age of COVID-19.
With attractions beginning to see people back on vacations in Uganda, people are looking for accurate answers to plan their safari holiday in Uganda. But with so many tourism-related questions swirling around our heads right now, we decided to put together frequently asked questions and answers about traveling in Uganda in the wake of Coronavirus.
Uganda is open to international travel and tourism since October 1, 2020, when Entebbe International Airport (the only one we have in the country) and all borders were officially opened after 6 months of lockdown. All inbound and outbound flights are allowed to move. Immigration security will be maintained with stringent standard operating procedures to control the spread of Covid-19.
Travelers are encouraged to seek out the operating procedures for Airports, entry points, places, or hotels they’ll be staying at, and the activities they’ll be engaging in like safari. UWA published their operating procedure for a safari in Uganda. Please take some time and read and understand how they’ll affect their travel to Uganda.
We encourage visitors to note major guidelines like facemask-wearing, physical distancing, hand sanitizing, carry a recent negative COVID-19 test result certificate, e-payment, and the requirement to use only authorized transportation from the airport.
Don’t expect to be catered to just because you’re on vacation. You’re also responsible for maintaining the safety of the location you’re visiting.
We’re advising guests against spending time in densely populated metropolises and limiting time there—and to be fair, this is already high on your list for planning travel in Uganda. Social distancing is in our vernacular now and will come into play as travelers will avoid closed environments, opting for private villas, exclusive-use accommodations, boat charters, and unfettered experiences void of crowds and density.
Apart from the general immigration requirements for entry into Uganda, the following will be required to use Uganda’s Covid entry/exit requirements:
All persons entering the airport shall, in addition to security requirements, wear Ministry of Health (MOH) approved Face Masks, go through Thermal Screening, handwashing, and/or sanitize(hand/body).
All travelers shall present an authentic and valid COVID-19 diagnostic test certificate within 72 hours before their flight check-in.
All arriving passengers shall be subjected to invasive COVID-19 testing where necessary (samples taking or rapid test), temperature checks, amongst others.
All Passengers who show signs and symptoms of a communicable disease, including COVID-19, shall be isolated and taken for further checks and treatment. Those who test negative for all the tests and have a normal temperature will be let through.
All Covid-19 positive testing passengers/ crews shall be isolated and taken to designated treatment centers. Established contact persons to the positive passengers shall go for 14 days’ quarantine.
Passengers shall proceed to immigration with a valid passport to process the visa.
Present valid travel documents to be allowed through curfew roadblocks if you arrive beyond 9:00 pm and before the 6:00 am curfew period.
For more information, visit the official CAA Uganda SOP Guidelines page
Yes, all travelers shall present an authentic and valid COVID-19 diagnostic test certificate issued within 72 hours before entry or exit.
Not if you have a PCR Negative Test Certificate and don’t show primary symptoms of Coronavirus. Additionally, all arriving travelers will be subjected to simple COVID-19 testing like temperature check and others considering the check-in agent’s recommendation. Where necessary, samples are taken for rapid tests.
Travelers who show signs and symptoms of a communicable disease, including COVID-19, shall be isolated and taken for further checks and treatment. Those who test negative for all the tests and have a normal temperature will be let through.
Yes, you’ll still need a Negative PCR Test Certificate to be allowed entry into Uganda. This is because WHO maintains that there’s no evidence that any of the current Covid-19 vaccines can completely stop people from being infected (which luckily has implications for our prospects of achieving herd immunity).
So until WHO okay’s the COVID-19 vaccine to be foolproof for infections, you’ll still need a negative test taken.
The COVID-19 test required for entry into Uganda is known as the Real Time-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) COVID-19 test. Travelers shall present a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 Test Certificate upon arrival and before departure.
Yes! After processing with immigration and Covid procedures, travelers will proceed to the designated area to transfers and taxis on arrival at Entebbe Airport. Your Uganda safari trip operator will transport you straight to your hotel, or your hotel concierge picks you up.
Yes, national parks in Uganda are open for tourism since September 2020. Under the management of UWA, national parks allow residents and foreign non-residents to enter and see the animals with strict operating procedures. Some of the most important procedures include mandatory wearing of facemasks, regular hand sanitization, keeping ten meters away from the animals, not feeding the animals, no sedans, and overcrowded vehicles in the park, among other SOPs
Yes, it is safe to see the primates in Uganda. Gorilla trekking and chimpanzee tracking permits are issued by UWA, allowing anyone to be escorted into the gorilla jungles by rangers and trackers. Mountain gorillas and chimpanzees are a jewel of Uganda and guarded jealously by the conservation office, which has strict guidelines for seeing them. You must have your facemask on, keep a reasonable distance of 10 meters from the primates and observe other regular operating procedures to protect you and the animals.
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