Top health warnings for a Uganda Safari
Top health warnings for a Uganda Safari

Top health warnings for a Ugandan Safari. Staying healthy while on Safari through Uganda

Top health warnings for a Uganda Safari.  Uganda is a very poor country but remarkably has one of Africa’s best-organized health care systems. There is an organized network of health care providers including district and referral hospitals as well as local health clinics.

Important medical notes to take

It’s advisable that if you take chronic medication or prescription drugs, you need to carry your supplies which will last you through to the end of your safari holiday in Uganda. Don’t rely on finding a pharmacy or medical doctor if you run out especially when you are out of the Capital or out of major towns and deep in the rural villages.

On the same note, pack a selection of medical products to treat minor ailments or injuries. This includes painkillers, cold & flu remedies, anti-inflammatories, anti-indigestion, and the usual supply of antiseptic cream, plasters, and bandages.

Top health warnings for a Uganda Safari

Travel and medical Insurance

Travel insurance is highly recommended for Uganda. You can take it out as part of your travel insurance coverage or request extra coverage from your existing medical aid company. In most African countries, doctors and medical facilities expect payment in cash if you’re a foreigner. Find out from your insurance company if they make payments directly to a medical provider or reimburse you when you return home. One of the crucial things to cover is transport for an emergency evacuation. This might be an ambulance or helicopter. If you need urgent medical help when you are far from a city or town, sometimes the only option is to have you evacuated by air.

Top Health warnings for a safari through Uganda


Uganda is a medium-to-high-risk malaria area, depending on the season and where you are traveling to. The risk of contracting malaria is higher in the humid summer and rainy seasons. The risk is lower at altitudes higher than 2 000 meters. The highest risk area for malaria in Uganda is in the eastern region.

It’s highly recommended that all travelers take anti-malaria tablets for a trip to Uganda. Malaria is a life-threatening disease. If left untreated or not diagnosed early, it can lead to death. Speak to your doctor or a travel clinic for advice on anti-malaria tablets.

To prevent being bitten by an infected mosquito; sleep under a mosquito net and use a mosquito spray or coil to repel mosquitos, cover your arms and legs before the sun sets wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts, and apply mosquito repellent on exposed areas of skin. Mosquitos are most active from sunset to sundown but it’s advisable to spray yourself during the day as a precaution. Depending on the severity, malaria symptoms range from flu-like aches and chills to abdominal pain, fever, and unconsciousness. If you experience any of these symptoms once home from your holiday to Uganda, seek immediate medical attention and request a malaria blood test.


Bilharzia is a disease spread by minute worms that are carried by a species of freshwater snail. The parasites penetrate human skin when someone is paddling or swimming and then migrate to the bladder or bowel. Symptoms range from a light fever and rash to blood in the stool or urine. If left untreated, the bilharzia infection can cause kidney failure and permanent bowel damage.

Avoid swimming, paddling, or wading in remote freshwater lakes or dams that make suspect or slow-moving rivers. If you are concerned you’ve been infected, visit a specialist infectious disease clinic and request a blood test.

Top health warnings for a Uganda Safari

Yellow fever

Travelers need to have a yellow fever vaccination before arriving in Uganda and must carry their certificates with them. It needs to be presented to the immigration official on arrival in Uganda.

Yellow fever is spread by infected mosquitoes. Symptoms are similar to malaria ranging from flu-like chills and fever to server hepatitis and jaundice. If left untreated or not diagnosed early, the disease is life-threatening.

Ebola & the black plague

Uganda made international headlines in 2008 when there was an outbreak of Ebola in the western district of Bundibugyo. The northern districts to the west of the Nile River have experienced sporadic outbreaks of the black plague. The government of Uganda has intensified methods to control these outbreaks and they don’t present a real threat to foreign tourists visiting the popular destinations for gorilla trekking in Uganda. However, it’s wise to check the press for updates on these infectious diseases and check with your travel agent if it’s safe to visit if there is a reported outbreak.


The risk of contracting HIV is extremely high but only a concern if you have unprotected sex or receive a blood transfusion in the region. Always use a condom when having sex with anyone on a holiday in Uganda who’s not known to you and a trusted partner.

Top health warnings for a Uganda Safari

Tap Water

It’s advisable that you don’t drink tap water in Uganda unless it’s been filtered, boiled, or disinfected with iodine tablets. Rather opt for bottled water from a trusted source. Avoid drinking water from streams, rivers, and lakes as a precaution against contracting bilharzia.


The majority of places in Uganda have Western-style flushing toilets. Uganda’s popular tourist hotels and safari lodges have clean, quality toilet facilities. It’s only in the more remote areas that you’ll find public ablutions that are fairly unsanitary. Avoid sitting on the seats and always wash your hands after a visit to a public toilet.


The following vaccinations are recommended by the World Health Organisation for Uganda: diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and hepatitis B. Consult your doctor or travel clinic for advice on the following vaccinations for Uganda: hepatitis A, meningococcal meningitis, rabies, and typhoid. Proof of yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for travel to Uganda.

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Katland Safaris


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