Ugandans wearing masks

Uganda travel advice during the Covid-19 pandemic (Sept 2021)

Sep 16, 2021

As of 17 September 2021, Uganda will be enacting a new set of Covid-19 regulations for foreign visitors. Please take careful note of these so that you're not caught off guard in any way.

Many are keen to travel now that travel restrictions are easing up in countries around the world. We’ve certainly noticed an uptick in recent months in the number of tourists travelling to Uganda. It’s an especially attractive destination at present as most of its attractions are outdoors, like gorilla trekking, safaris, river sports and mountain trekking. And Uganda is very much open to tourists – you just need to please pay careful attention to the country’s Covid-19 regulations, as laid out below.

Please note that while we make every effort to ensure the information contained in this post is accurate at the time of publishing, the responsibility to ensure you're accurately informed of all travel regulations and in compliance with them rests with you.

Lion in tree in Uganda

Most of Uganda's attractions are involve outdoor adventures

Is Uganda open for travel?

Yes, Uganda is open to tourists!

Follow Alice has run several trips in Uganda since it reopened for tourism and we haven't experienced any issues. Rather, we've had very happy clients who have experienced the wonders of Uganda without the crowds!

PCR testing from 17 September 2021 

Please note that there are two sets of regulations pertaining to PCR tests for travellers to Uganda: those that apply up till the end of 16 September 2021, and those that apply from 17 September 2021 onwards. As the Government is days away from implementing the new regulations, these are the ones we describe below.

PCR test before entering Uganda

Uganda’s Ministry of Health has announced that as of 17 September 2021, all travellers to Uganda must present a negative PCR test that was taken no more than 72 hours before boarding an aircraft or crossing a land border into the country. If you do not have proof of a negative PCR test – or your test is outdated – then you won’t be allowed into the country. (Horrors! Please don’t fall into this category.)

Even if you’re fully vaccinated, you must provide evidence of a negative PCR test that was taken no more than 72 hours prior to boarding a plane into the country.

Note that the PCR test will now apply to children and infants as well. It also applies to the fully vaccinated. And your country of origin no longer has any bearing on anything. So again, every single foreign national entering the country must provide proof of a recent negative PCR test.

Canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda

Canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi is one of our favourite Uganda activities

Temperature screening upon arrival

Please expect to have your temperature taken upon arrival in Uganda. If you show symptoms of the virus, you'll be taken to a local isolation centre for testing. This will all be at your own expense. And your test result could take 24 to 48 hours.



PCR test upon arrival in Uganda

Anyone who passes the temperature screening upon arrival in Uganda will be required to undergo a fresh PCR test. (Note that this test is in addition to the one you undertook prior to travelling to Uganda.)

You’ll be driven to a nearby testing site for your new PCR test. Once tested, you'll have to wait around for up to four hours for your result. You can either wait at the testing site or check into a designated hotel – but this will be at your own expense. If you're travelling with Follow Alice, we'll assist with this process to ensure it's as quick as possible. Also, we factor this time into all of our trips.

Those who receive a negative PCR test result will then be free to begin their travels within Uganda. Those who receive a positive PCR test result will have to go into quarantine. 

Cost of PCR test in Uganda

Please note that you must pay for this PCR test that will taken upon your arrival in Uganda. The cost of the test is US$65.

Quarantine stipulations

There is no quarantine requirement upon entry to Uganda unless you test positive for Covid-19.

If you do receive a positive PCR test result upon arrival in Uganda – and are over 18 years old – you’ll be taken to an isolation facility. Those under the age of 18 years will be allowed to quarantine wherever they're staying with their parent or guardian.  

shoebill stork, Uganda

Shoebills are one of the many rare and fascinating birds to look out for in Uganda

PCR test before departing Uganda

Everyone (except for children under the age of three) exiting Uganda must have a negative PCR test certificate that was obtained no more than 72 hours before departure. Importantly, when you go for the test you must ask that it state the purpose of the test as "travel" – if it just states "contact" or "alert" as the purpose, it won't be valid for international travel!

Note too that the 72 hours prior to departure begins when you sample is taken – not when you receive your test result. Children under the age of three can travel without a PCR test so long as the parent or guardian has proof of a negative PCR test.

It's very important that your PCR test certificate states that the reason for the test is travel, not contact or alert.

Again, the PCR test that you take prior to departure from Uganda will be at your own expense. So please factor the cost into your budget. At Follow Alice we always consider where you will be in terms of your itinerary so that we can facilitate getting you to a testing site within the correct timeframe before your departure flight.

There are many private and public centres where you can obtain this PCR test. You can visit Uganda's Covid-19 Response Info Hub for a list of its PCR testing sites.

The good news is that you don't have to hang around the testing centre for your PCR result – it will be sent to you via SMS, so you can continue with your trip.



Airport guidelines

Please take note that you'll be required to wear a face mask in Entebbe International Airport. Temperature checks will be taken both upon arrival and before departure.

Finally, note that you should arrive four hours before your flight to allow enough time for all the usual as well as the coronavirus-related procedures and checks. If you need to travel to the airport during coronavirus curfew hours (currently 7 pm to 5:30 am), please be sure to have a ticket printed or retrievable on your phone to show the Ugandan authorities if you're stopped by them en route and asked to show one.

Silverback and two young gorillas

Trekking to see mountain gorillas is one of Uganda's biggest drawcards

Gorilla trekking during Covid-19

Many people want to know if they can go gorilla trekking during the pandemic. And the answer is a resounding yes! Only those who show up sick on the day – such as having the symptoms of a cold – will be turned away. And this is a good policy at any time, as the trek is challenging and you need to be healthy to tackle it.

Note that there are a couple of extra precautions in place at present: trekkers must maintain a distance of 1.5 m from each other, and you must wear a mask. So you can enjoy a really safe gorilla trek. To learn more about gorilla trekking in Uganda, please take a look at our gorilla trekking itineraries.

While tourism in Uganda is once again on the go, there are definitely fewer visitors right now than during a usual year. So we encourage those who are keen to travel here to make the most of the quieter scene and join us on a epic adventure that you'll remember for the rest of your life!



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