Uganda Safari Etiquette

Uganda Safari Etiquette

Have you ever interacted with a stranger only to later find out how foolish you looked in their eyes, not because you did something too weird, but simply because  your behavior  and perception of socially acceptable behavior is contrary to what is generally acceptable in that community.

It is this particular reason that it is important to learn about etiquette in any community before making a clown of yourself. Etiquette simply means generally acceptable social behavior

According to Virginia Cary Hudson; “etiquette is what you are doing when people are seeing and listening”

Unfortunately, most of the people assume etiquette to only fit in the confines of the work place. However they forget that just like a work place is a community of people, there several communities outside the work place ranging from Driving/Road community, Telephone community as well as safari communities.

Safari Etiquette


Tipping is not rooted in the culture of Uganda, but over the year after long interactions with foreigners, there has been an adoption of the tipping culture more so in the tours and travel industry.

In other words, it would totally look weird for you to visit a restaurant; make an order and leave without tipping. Furthermore, you have to be mindful of how much you tip, some tips such as of UGX1000, UGX2000, UGX500 may seem like an insult unless they are just keeping the balance.


Up to date, most of the Ugandans are still repulsive to trans-gender. This implies that whoever falls in this category is likely to have negative treatment from most of the Ugandans.

To such individuals, we would recommend self drive safaris/tours to avoid the direct resentment that comes from being trans-gender. However in towns like Kampala, Entebbe, Jinja; people tend to mind their own business thus not likely to face the same resentment you would face in the villages.

Respect and Courtesy

Differences are some of the common occurrences as long as you are dealing with human beings. In some instances, you might be right and in other instances, you are likely to be wrong.

For examples, toppling a car upside down may cost you over US$1000 which is commonly part of the contract, unfortunately in such instances, visitors usually through in your face their reputation and nationality forgetting that you even had a contract.

Such instances end up at the police and at times delayed flights for the visitors. It is wise to tone down and negotiate with the car hire company in case they are willing to listen to you.

Advice to smokers

Though most of the laws in Uganda concerning drinking and smoking are not commonly enforced, smoking is not a generally acceptable practice in Uganda. It is one of the things that usually arouse offence among most of the non smoking Ugandans.

For this reason; it is advisable to keep a distance when smoking, avoid smoking hired vehicles, as well as smoking indoors. There are commonly designated places for smoking in hotels and other public places

Public transport means

It is always important to consider travelling with small bills of local currency to avoid big currency scandals that often arise with the Taxi conductor or delays caused by lack of ‘change’.

Camera Etiquette

It is advisable to mute your camera as well as keeping your flash light off whenever you are taking close range photos of wild animals

Carrying Gifts

It is advisable never to give money to children in the tourist destinations since it only encourages them to keep out of school expecting to receive the same from more tourists.

In case you considering to offer help, let it be a commitment for a given period of time or consider putting your money in Non government organizations carrying out an initiative of your choice.

Game drive Etiquette

Keep in the vehicle while on a game drive. This is because you are interacting with wild animals; any un-necessary movements outside the car may cause non anticipated outcomes.