Uganda reopened for tourism late last year and since then the country has received a number of tourists traversing the pearl of Africa to experience the country’s diverse nature, wildlife and beauty – many engaging in gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking, birding tours and others taking on the community tours. But even with the tourism sector open and the country almost back to 80% normalcy, Uganda like the rest of the world is still battling the COVID-19 pandemic and thus still enforcing different health measures to combat the spread of the virus.
For that reason the government through the ministry of health has issued new COVID-19 health safety guidelines to be observed by all persons coming into the country effective 25th September 2021. Furthermore the ministry of tourism in line with the ministry of health protocols has issued some additional guidelines to be observed by all tourists on their tour trips in the country.
So, as you plan your visit to Uganda this season, these are the Tourism COVID-19 guidelines you have to keep in mind.
- Negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test
Travelers entering the country through Entebbe International Airport and any of the other ports of entry will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate done within 72 hours from the time of sample collection. This applies to all travelers, vaccinated or not.
Travelers without a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate done within 72 hours from the time of sample collection will be denied entry into the country.
All travelers entering Uganda will be required to take a COVID-19 PCR test at the point entry at their own cost.
Travelers with positive test results will be taken to a designated COVID-19 medical facility at their own cost for further observation and treatment. All treatment rendered shall be in accordance with the Ministry of Health COVID-19 treatment protocol.
Children 3 years and below, accompanied by parents or guardians with a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate will be exempted from a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate, but may be required to take the COVID-19 PCR test at the point of entry.
Category 2 Countries
All travelers from category 2 countries, whether vaccinated or not; will be subjected to a mandatory COVID-19 PCR test on arrival at their own cost. This will be in addition to presenting a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate taken within 72 hours from the time of sample collection to first time of boarding an aircraft.
Category 2 countries currently include:- India, United States of America, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and South Sudan.
2. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
All travelers are required to observe the COVID-19 standard operating procedures throughout their stay in the country. These SOPs are mandatory and are to be observed at all times even on your Uganda safari.
The main SOPs include wearing a face mask at all times especially when in public, maintaining a 2 meter social distance with other people, regular washing of hands with soap or sanitising of the hands, isolating if you feel unwell and seeking medical attention as soon as possible.
You will be subjected to body temperature screening at all Public facilities. At the point entry and at health facilities you will also be screened for COVID-19 signs and symptoms. You should know that for as long as you are accessing a public facility this screening is mandatory.
4. Uganda primate trekking
If you wish to trek the mountain gorillas or trek the chimpanzees, you should not exhibit any signs of illness or COVID-19; otherwise you will not be allowed to trek. This is because these primates can easily contract anything from humans.
5. Accessing Tourism Facilities
You will not need to present a COVID-19 PCR test certificate to access tourism facilities; however you will be required to observe all the COVID-19 SOPs while at the facility.
6. Tourism activities
As mentioned above, you will not need a COVID-19 PCR test certificate for any tourism or safari activities; however you will be required to observe all the COVID-19 SOPs while having these activities.
You will be required to respect the 7:00pm to 5:30am curfew while in the country, so even as you plan your itinerary; you need to put that in consideration.
If you’re arriving in the country past curfew time, you will have to move with a valid air ticket and boarding Pass to present to the authorities for clearance to proceed to your accommodation/destination.
8. In case of illness
In case of any illness or you exhibit signs of COVID-19 while on your safari, you will be required to isolate and get tested for COVID-19 at a recommended health facility at your own cost.
These are the general COVID-19 guidelines you will need to observe while visiting Uganda, however some facilities will require you to observe other guidelines on top of the above.