After being closed for six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Uganda has reopened to visitors entering the country for leisure and business purposes. There are some conditions attached to admission though.
Uganda has received the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safe Travels Global Safety & Hygiene Stamp for complying with globally-standardized health and hygiene protocol, and tour operators, hotels and lodges are adhering to strict standard operating procedures pertaining to the international tourism experience. The country has committed to providing a safe and sanitary experience for visitors, while maintaining the health of the Ugandan people and the country’s wildlife population.
Entebbe International Airport has resumed operations for international airlines, and all of Uganda’s national parks are open to visitors from outside the country as well. Mandatory use of masks and social distancing of five feet within the terminals is enforced. Every passenger must arrive with a negative PCR COVID-19 test certificate for a test conducted within 72 hours prior to arrival in Uganda.
They have to undergo a health screening upon arrival, including a temperature check and assessment for other signs or symptoms of infectious diseases. Any passenger who shows symptoms is taken to a waiting ambulance and transferred to an isolation center at Entebbe Hospital, where tests are administered. If they test positive for COVID-19, they are taken to a dedicated COVID-19 treatment center. Passengers leaving Uganda must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test done within 72 hours before boarding.
Known as the “Pearl of Africa,” Uganda is home to more than half the world’s population of endangered mountain gorillas, and trekking to observe them in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a very popular travel activity. When it comes to visiting national parks, vehicles and boats are required to operate at half capacity in accordance with government social distancing guidelines. Face masks must be worn and mandatory temperature screenings using non-contact infra-red thermometers are conducted by representatives of Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Visitors, staff and trackers have their temperature checked at every briefing point for gorilla and chimpanzee tracking, and visitors must carry at least two N95 masks, surgical masks, or double-layered cloth masks with filters to ensure single-use for each day of visitation. Visitors must abide by handwashing and sanitization measures, and guides ensure there is a minimum of 6.5 feet between trekkers, who must also stay a minimum of 32 feet away from primates.