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Military action is underway in Ukraine. If you’re in Ukraine, shelter in place until it’s safe to depart.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is ongoing. The security situation continues to be volatile and is deteriorating rapidly. Heavy fighting, including bombardments, explosions and missile launches, is ongoing throughout Ukraine, including in major cities. Infrastructure and military facilities have been struck by rocket attacks. There have been many civilian casualties. Foreigners have been killed and may be targeted, including in areas not directly affected by fighting. Do not travel to Ukraine, there is a real risk to life. If you’re in Ukraine, shelter in place until you judge it’s safe to depart. Continue to monitor advice on Smartraveller and reputable local and international media. Where it is safe to do so, you should leave Ukraine.
Use your judgement to decide the best time and safest means of exit. Expect some congestion on routes, at checkpoints and lengthy queues. Roads may be crowded, exposed to military action or have damage, including to bridges and facilities. Make sure you have an adequate supply of food, water, medication and fuel.
The Australian Government will not be able to evacuate you from Ukraine.
Be aware that some borders may close without notice. Information may change and will be updated as details become available. You should also read the travel advice of the destination you’re travelling to - entry requirements may differ when entering by road, rail or air. Before leaving Ukraine, verify if the local authorities of your destination have implemented any restrictions or requirements related to this situation.
Expect some congestion on routes, at checkpoints and lengthy queues. Make sure you have an adequate supply of food, water, medication and fuel. Use your judgement to decide the best time and safest means of exit. Roads may be crowded, exposed to military action or have damage, including to bridges and facilities.
In most cases, Australians departing Ukraine must present a valid Australian passport.
Read our advice about Ukraine border regions.
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 from within Australia
Reconsider your need to travel to the Karamoja region and within 50 kilometres of the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Health advice is continually changing as we learn more about COVID-19 and new variants may be discovered. Rules and restrictions to prevent outbreaks can change quickly. It’s important to regularly check the rules in the destinations you’re travelling to and transiting through, as well as the requirements at the Australian border. These may differ between state and territory jurisdictions.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Terrorism is a threat in Uganda.
Uganda has increased security arrangements in public places.
This includes borders and at the international airport.
Recent terrorist attacks have resulted in fatalities and injuries, including on:
Expect body, car and luggage checks when travelling, especially in Kampala.
Possible targets for terror attacks include:
To protect yourself from terrorism:
Report any suspicious items or activities to police.
If there's a terrorist attack, leave the affected area immediately if it's safe to do so.
Avoid the affected area afterwards as there may be further attacks.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
On 2 April 2019, a foreigner was kidnapped from the Ishasha section of Queen Elizabeth National Park, which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
To protect yourself if you travel to an area where there's a threat of kidnapping:
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn't make payments or concessions to kidnappers.
Political and other demonstrations can become violent without warning, causing loss of life and injury. The police have used tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition to disperse demonstrators. You should take great care and avoid all demonstrations and rallies where possible.
Certain colours, for example red and yellow, are strongly associated with political parties in Uganda. You should be cautious about wearing these colours in public.
There's a military presence in north-west Uganda due to cross-border threats from armed groups.
Some areas have more politically motivated violence and unrest.
Clashes between armed groups and security forces in the Kasese district caused several deaths and injuries in 2016. The area is still volatile.
Clashes between tribal groups can occur without warning in the Karamoja region of north-eastern Uganda. Hotspots include districts north of Kate Kyoga:
There's a risk of inter-tribal violence and armed bandits.
To protect yourself during periods of unrest:
It's extremely unstable in the neighbouring DRC. Cross-border attacks by rebel groups can happen without notice and it's volatile. You might be at risk of attack by armed bandits.
Tourist areas, including Rwenzori Mountains and national parks, are near the border.
The Lords Resistance Army (LRA) is no longer active in Uganda, but remains active in the DRC and Central African Republic.
More attacks could happen in Uganda.
Uncleared landmines are still a danger.
Security is usually required when gorilla trekking in:
You're at risk of armed attacks in those regions.
Travellers have been subject to violence. The security situation can change with little warning.
For your safety, don't take gorilla trekking tours that cross into the DRC.
Fly rather than drive if you travel to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
Pickpocketing, bag snatching and other petty crime happens, especially on public transport.
Theft from vehicles stuck in heavy traffic or stopped at traffic lights is common.
Armed robbery and carjacking is a risk, especially outside Kampala.
Violence occurs in other places, such as Jinja and Kasese.
Home burglaries can turn violent.
To protect yourself from crime:
Financial scams exist in Uganda.
If you fall victim to a scam, it could be dangerous to go to Uganda to try to get your money back.
Fake internet friendship, dating and marriage scams operate globally, including from some African countries.
Once an online friendship develops, you'll probably be asked by your 'friend' or planned marriage partner to send money. This is so the 'friend' can travel to Australia, or make something else possible.
Sometimes the relationship ends with very little chance of getting your money back.
Credit card fraud is also a risk.
To avoid becoming a victim of a scam:
Don't travel to Uganda to try to get your money back.
Transport and tour operators don't always follow safety and maintenance standards. This includes adventure activities, such as white-water rafting.
If you plan to do a tour or adventure activity:
If proper safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.
Some of Uganda's national parks have security risks.
For advice on security risks, park fees and other conditions in national parks, contact the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
If you plan to visit a national park:
Don't swim in lakes and rivers. Hippos and crocodiles inhabit many lakes and rivers and are extremely dangerous.
The rainy seasons are from March to May, and October to November.
Flooding can cause landslides, leaving people without homes and blocking roads.
To protect yourself if a natural disaster occurs:
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave.
Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Uganda. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Many pharmaceutical products are in short supply or not available in Uganda.
Carry a copy of your prescription and a dated letter from your doctor stating:
COVID-19 remains a risk in Uganda.
Enhanced health screening is in place. If you show any COVID-19 like symptoms, you'll be placed in a government isolation centre until you test negative for COVID-19. Monitor the media for latest information and follow the advice of local authorities.
For information on Uganda’s COVID−19 vaccination program, refer to the Ugandan Ministry of Health. You should consult your local health professional for advice on vaccine options, including assistance that may be available locally. The Australian Government cannot provide advice on the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines that have been approved for use outside of Australia's regulatory process.
See Travel for information about entry restrictions and quarantine measures.
Yellow fever is widespread in Uganda. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal virus spread by mosquitoes. It's prevented by vaccination. Get vaccinated before you travel. Carry your vaccination card with you.
Malaria is common throughout the year.
Other insect-borne diseases found in Uganda include:
To protect yourself from disease:
Get medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.
In January 2017, local authorities confirmed cases of avian influenza (H5N1, 'bird flu') in wild birds and domestic poultry in Lutembe Bay near Entebbe and Masaka District.
Avoid contact with dead and living birds.
In June 2019, the Ugandan Government confirmed its first cases of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in western Uganda, originating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There is an ongoing risk of EVD transmission in the DRC, including in provinces that border Uganda.
Avoid areas known to have Ebola. EVD is often fatal with a mortality rate of around 50 per cent.
Symptoms of EVD can include:
Approved vaccines are currently only administered during a confirmed outbreak to those considered at highest risk of contracting the virus. They are not available to the general public as a preventative measure at this point in time. There's no proven safe and effective treatment but prompt and high-quality care can be life-saving.
EVD spreads through direct contact with body fluids, even after an infected person has died. EVD can also be transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids of those who have survived and recovered from infection.
Maintain strict hygiene standards. Avoid direct contact with EVD patients.
See a doctor if you feel unwell and separate yourself from others if you develop any EVD symptoms.
Call ahead and tell the doctor about your recent travel and symptoms. Advance notice will help the doctor treat you and protect others.
See the Australian Government Department of Health for more information on how to protect yourself against catching EVD, and what to do if you’re in an area where EVD is known to happen.
HIV/AIDS is a risk. Take precautions if you engage in activities that expose you to the virus.
Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases are common. These include:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
Check with your doctor about typhoid vaccinations.
Get medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
There are very limited medical facilities outside of Kampala.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to Nairobi, Kenya, or another place with better facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
There are heavy penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs.
If you're convicted of a drug offence, you'll face a long jail sentence and heavy fines.
Treason and murder carry the death penalty.
Rape and robbery attract corporal punishment.
In Uganda, it's illegal to:
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Uganda recognises dual nationality.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or leave through its borders. For specific information about the evidence you'll need to enter a foreign destination, including COVID-19 vaccinations and tests, check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering.
You need a visa to visit Uganda.
The East African Community's EAC Tourist Visa allows travellers multiple entries to Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda for 90 days. Another option is to apply for a visa from the Government of Uganda. Apply for the EAC Tourist Visa or a Ugandan visa by using Uganda's online visa application.
You may need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Uganda. Some airlines may want to see a certificate when you leave.
Find out about returning to Australia after exposure to yellow fever.
When entering Uganda you (and any dependant children travelling with you) must present evidence of a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test from your country of departure from an accredited laboratory. Tests must be carried out within 72 hours of arrival.
All travellers must undergo a PCR test on arrival at their own expense, regardless of country of origin or vaccination status. You should register your details for the on-arrival PCR test in advance of your travel using the online registration system. The test costs USD30, payment can be made via credit/debit card, mobile money or online at covidpay. Some airlines now require you at check-in to show that you have registered for the on-arrival test.
When in public, anyone aged six or above must wear masks and maintain social distancing.
Public transport is now operating at full capacity but passengers must adhere to COVID guidelines, including no air conditioning. Boda-bodas (motorbike and scooter taxis) are not permitted to operate from 7pm to 5am. Boda-bodas are allowed to carry cargo and a maximum of one passenger at any time and both must be wearing a face mask.
Concert halls, discos and bars are open.
Enhanced health screening is in place. If you have COVID-19 like symptoms, you will be placed in a government isolation centre until you test negative for COVID-19. Monitor the media for latest developments on COVID-19 and follow the advice of local officials.
If you're staying in Uganda:
When leaving Uganda you're required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate issued no more than 72 hours before travel. COVID-19 tests taken for the purpose of travel outside of Uganda have to be paid for, even if the test is taken at a government testing centre. Test results must indicate they are for the express purpose of travel.
The Ministry of Health maintains a list of approved testing facilities on their website.
Ensure you review and comply with testing requirements for any transit and destination countries.
If your flight departs during curfew hours you'll be allowed to travel to the airport if you present a valid ticket.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The local currency is the Ugandan Shilling (UGX).
You must declare all foreign currency on arrival. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash. If you don't, you may have trouble taking it when you leave.
Only exchange money at commercial banks and exchange bureaus.
US dollars are widely accepted. You may not be able to change US banknotes printed before 2006.
Traveller's cheques, credit cards and debit cards aren't widely accepted in Uganda.
Bring enough cash with you.
To drive in Uganda, you need both:
You must get your IDP before leaving Australia.
You're 5 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident in Uganda than in Australia.
Traffic accidents are common and there's a high risk at night.
The Ugandan Government sometimes closes tourist areas if there's a risk of rebel activity.
If you plan to drive in Uganda:
The border between Uganda and Rwanda regularly closes for extended periods.
Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when using a motorbike, quad bike or similar vehicle.
Always wear a helmet.
Only use registered taxis and limousines due to the high risk of crime. It's best to arrange this through your hotel.
Don't use unofficial taxis or hail taxis on the street. You could be robbed.
Long-distance bus travel can be dangerous. Accidents are common.
Some buses travelling overnight have been robbed. They have been forced to stop by roadblocks or by criminals acting as passengers.
Minibuses ('matatus') and scooter taxis (boda-boda) are usually in poor condition and badly driven.
If you need to take public transport, don't use matatus and boda-bodas. If you do take a boda-boda,
always wear a helmet.
There have been a number of passenger ferry accidents because of overcrowding. Use a trusted operator.
Wear a life jacket at all times, even if others don't.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Uganda's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, you should contact your:
Call 999 or go to the hospital.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
The Australian Consulate in Kampala, headed by an Honorary Consul, provides limited consular help to Australians in Uganda. The consulate doesn't issue passports.
Full consular help is available from the Australian High Commission in Kenya.
Protea Hotel by Marriott Kampala Skyz
1 Water Lane Naguru
Phone: (+256) 31 2515865 or (+256) 77 2202285
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 12:30pm and 2pm to 5pm.
Check the High Commission website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.