AIDS/HIV infection rate is very high even though lower than neighbouring countries. Do not have unprotected sex.

Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fevers have been endemic within certain regions of the country. The vectors of these viruses are unknown, but have been thought to be linked with bats. Therefore, travelers should avoid or be extremely cautious when entering any caves. If you are bitten by an animal, assume that the animal was infected by a disease and seek prompt medical attention.

Take precautions against malaria! It is worth seeking out a packet of Artenam while you are in Kampala if you are travelling up-country. Artenam is a reliable treatment and works on chloroquine-resistant malaria strains too.

Diarrhea disease and intestinal worms are also a concern and travelers should be careful what they eat or drink. Carry hand sanitizer to use before meals. Be sure to wash fresh produce well before eating and avoid raw foods in restaurants. As a precaution, travelers should secure ciprofloxacin before they exit their home country because it can be used as a cure.

Remember, that many of the lakes have Schistosomiasis. Check with the locals and do not paddle on the lake shore if you're not sure.

Uganda has been home to some of the more gruesome atrocities in modern African history since its independence in 1962, particularly under the heinous dictator Idi Amin, but in the years since 1987 things have consistently improved. Today the state is relatively stable after 25 years of stereotypically 'strong man' rule by Yoweri Museveni. Kampala has changed into a major centre of East African trade.

Travel north to Murchison Falls National Park and Ajai Game Reserve is perfectly safe. Note that overlanders from Tanzania and Kenya regularly make the trip routing through Jinja.

As in any urban area, Kampala can be dodgy. One is well advised to remain in tourist areas, but sensibly garbed visitors not dangling the latest cameras, flashy jewellery or bulging bags are not likely to draw unwanted attention to themselves.

However, any Caucasians walking in the street stand out and are likely to be stared at openly, which may cause discomfort to those unaccustomed to travelling in Africa. What little begging exists is some of the most polite and inoffensive to be found in African cities, nowhere worse than in the West. Small children are sadly becoming a nuisance in some rural spots frequented by tourists doling out sweets and coins but nowhere near the swarming throng one can attract in many cities around the world.

In the gorilla tracking region of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there was one incident in the late 1990s in which bandits attacked a group of tourists and killed several people. Since then, there have been no incidents and all groups now go out with armed guards which was not the case before. There is a visible security presence in the region, but this is a preventative measure rather than a response to anything specific.

Travellers should still avoid the North Eastern areas as Karimijong attacks have occurred that involved tourists.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and attitudes towards LGBT people are extremely hostile. Though 2011's notorious "Anti-Homosexuality Bill", which proposed the death penalty for "repeat offenders", failed to pass, homosexuality still carries a long prison sentence. There is a small underground gay scene in Kampala, but violence is commonplace and gay travellers are advised to be extremely cautious.


English is widely spoken as the lingua franca, though to varying degrees of fluency. British English is the dialect of the most educated, but Ugandan English often takes on a life of its own. Dozens of African languages are spoken in Uganda, the most common being Luganda, which is almost universally understood in Kampala. Swahili may come in handy in places, especially the North and East. Though many Ugandans do not speak Swahili at all, it is a common African trade language.

A few words or stock phrases in the various dialects are very easy to learn and most locals will be delighted to help you learn the highly ritualised greeting, and, in turn, every person that you greet in this way will be delighted to meet you.

oli otya olio-tia = how are you

bulungi/gyendi bulunji/jiendi = I am fine

kale kal-eh = ok

nyabo = madam; ssebo = sir

muzungu = European, but used more commonly to refer to all foreign and, especially, all white people

hujambo = hello, used everywhere

You will hear lots of ecstatic children waving, jumping, hopping and singing "jambo mzungu" as you roll past.