How To Avoid Getting In Trouble In Uganda

How To Avoid Getting In Trouble In Uganda

One of the things that can ruin your travel experience is bumping into unexpected trouble. Unfortunately, this is often as a result of ignorance about the generally accepted customs and laws.

However with a few insights about the dos and don’ts or pros and cons of travel and tourism in Uganda, you will smoothly traverse the pearl of Africa with the help of the tips below.

  1. LGBT

Lesbians and gays are believed to be part of every community everywhere in the world, However, there is a huge difference between LGBT being publically acceptable and it is practiced.

No one might stop you from falling under any of the LGBTQ+ categories, but publically displaying any of the above identities in Uganda might land in serious problems since most of the communities in Uganda are anti LGBTQ+

Homosexuality carries more stigma than being a lesbian and on a bad day can land you behind closed bars. However, in case your country has an embassy in Uganda, you will be assured of protection in case any legal claim comes up.

There are bars that are secretly known as hangs outs for LGBTQ+, and in such places, you will be free to act in whichever way you feel like without any restrictions, but serious trouble may boil up for you in case you try acting the same way in some hangouts.

  1. Drinking Alcohol

Drinking is not illegal in Uganda, so if you are the kind that cannot go an hour without a sip! You are in a safe place. However, like elsewhere in the world, terms and conditions apply

Uganda has several laws in regard to alcohol only that they are rarely enforced, but on a bad day, driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal whether you are drunk or not.

  1. Drugs

Drug abuse is one of the growing practices in Uganda with victims ranging from high school and college students to top celebrities in the country.

Cannabis is the most popular drug mainly consumed through smoking; however, its effects are not as far-reaching as Heroin, Cocaine, Marijuana, synthetic marijuana, Ecstasy, LSD, and inhalants.

Though all these drugs are available in Uganda, their consumption is illegal. If in any case you are caught with any of the above drugs, you will be put behind closed bars.

  1. Shisha Smoking

It is not illegal to smoke in Uganda, how there are tight measures and procedures that have to be undertaken in case you are to smoke. Though several citizens who go against the 2015 Tobacco act are rarely convicted, the law states that you should only smoke 50 meters away from the public.

The law also bans the sale of electronic cigarettes and flavored tobacco for water pipes (Shisha), which have become popular in most of the night clubs within Kampala and its suburbs.

For the above reason, it is important to take caution because you are likely to find Shisha in some bars though it is illegal. On a day when the police is doing its night patrols, you might fall victim of a two months imprisonment or a fine of US$135 or both.

  1. Rape

Uganda has been ranked the safest country in East Africa for several years; however, this doesn’t imply that there are no rape cases. According to the Uganda police general report for 2018, they recorded 1572 rape cases all around the country.

Most of the rape cases are often organized crime or incest cases; it is not common to encounter a rape case out of the blue. Most of the cases are related to vengeance due to investing in a relationship that yields no fruit at the end.

There are always police patrols around Kampala making it secure however the city suburbs are not equally safe more so off the main streets. However, on a bad day, you are more likely to lose your phone, money, and bag than getting raped.

  1. Con-men/ Trick stars

The list of ways in which you can be conned is endless, however, the easiest way to keep safe is to avoid buying into any idea that yields unbelievable returns/profits or unbelievable discounts.

This is common in car hire business, where you can get an offer that is way too low the normal hire tag or accommodation that only ruins your experience instead of saving.

  1. Abortion

Often at times, people invest in holidays and safaris to get away from their stressful life or relationships. You may not notice a pregnancy in the first weeks after your wrecked relationship only to notice a few days upon arrival in Uganda.

You might be tempted to consider an Abortion not knowing it is an illegal practice in Uganda unless a doctor recommends it for its indispensability to your survival and health. Outside such instances; abortion in Uganda is illegal though pharmacies sell drugs for abortion for the sake of those who do it legally under the doctor’s prescription.

The easiest way to avoid being on the opposite side of the law in Uganda is avoid abortion.

  1. Porn

Porn in Uganda is illegal, therefore if you have any printed porn material; it is advisable to consider leaving it behind while traveling to Uganda. This also applies to buying CDs and DVDs of porn in any movie library around town.

However though porn in Uganda is illegal, several porn sites are not really blocked and even if some are blocked, people still use VPN to access all the materials they would wish to access online.

  1. Sex

No one can limit you on how and where you can have sex in Uganda, but bloggers and reporters are always on the lookout for news. If you are not careful you might be the next big headline and in such an instance police will surely get involved in case of having sex in public spaces.

Like porn, prostitution is illegal in Uganda, but it is one of the laws that are never enforced unless someone has an interest in you. There are also high chances of encountering sexually transmitted diseases. It is also important to consider using a condom.

  1. Driving Off-road

The moment you reach Kampala, you will encounter countless reckless drivers most of which will be driving off-road in case of heavy traffic. You might be tempted to follow the trial only to have your driving permit booked for an offense as well as paying a fine of about US$70

Land Cruiser V6, Petrol, Cc3340, with Pop-up roof

Land Cruiser V6, Petrol, Cc3340, with Pop-up roof

It is also important to keep watch for the Boda Boda (Motorcyclists) you might scratch every Conner of the car in case you are not vigilant

See also Uganda Safari Etiquette