Safety Tips in Uganda

  • Warnings and Dangers
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by CatherineReichardt

Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Uganda

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    What changes when you cross the Rwandan border?

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Sep 21, 2013

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    What changes when you cross over the Rwanda/Uganda border? Quite a lot, actually. For one thing, the side of the road that you drive on, and in addition, the time.

    Rwanda was a Belgian colony, and so drives on the right hand side of the road, whereas Uganda drives on the left hand of the road, as befits the British colonial influence.

    Moreover, the two countries are in different time zones, with Uganda (being on East African Time, and GMT+3) being a hour ahead of Rwanda (Central African Time, and GMT+2). This works in your favour as you're crossing from Uganda into Rwanda (in which case you 'gain' an hour), but can be problematic going the other way, as you 'lose' an hour - this is particularly important if you're heading towards somewhere with a defined closing time.

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    Whose side are you on?

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Sep 21, 2013

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    Or, more precisely, which side of the road are you driving on? There are cynics who would claim that this is a moot point, as Africans drive in the middle of the road anyway (either because the road isn't good enough to have a choice, or because it's easier to mosey down the middle of the road) ... but I digress ...

    The issue is that whilst Rwanda - having been a Belgian colony and thus following Francophone traditions ... nominally drives on the right, Uganda was part of the hige pink expanse of the pre-independence British Empire, and thus, still follows the British convention and drives on the left.

    The upshot is that if you're driving across this border, on one side or the other, you'll find yourself driving on 'the wrong side of the road'. This can be disconcerting - especially if you're not used to it - and the simplest piece of advice that I can give to continually orient yourself is that the driver must remain on the side that is closest to the middle of the road.

    If I might offer some unsolicited advice, if budget allows, I would strongly recommend hiring a driver wih your vehicle, even though I'm someone who usually self drives in most other parts of the world. A driver will be familiar with local road conditions and driving habits, will be best equippped to talk you through roadblocks and will free you up to enjoy the journey. Often it's not all that much more expensive than self drive when insurance is taken into account, and it's certainly worth it for peace of mind, especially if your driver also doubles as a guide.

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    Road conditions can be treacherous in the mist

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Sep 21, 2013

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    When you get to Bwindi, you realise that 'Gorillas in the Mist' wasn't just a bit of Hollywood poetic licence: mist is pretty well a daily occurrence in this part of the world.

    Scenically, the mist adds an extra dimension to the landscape, and allows even the most staid of photographers to play around with their artistic composition. However, from a safety point of view, it can be downright dangerous if you're driving, particularly if you're not used to local road conditions. It's seldom a good idea to drive before dawn or after dusk in the developing world, for fear of hitting wildlife, livestock or pedestrians, and if you factor in the twisty, often slippery roads and precipitous terrain in this region, it's a recipe for disaster.

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    Some guidance for carnivores

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Sep 21, 2013

    Based on over quarter of a century spent travelling in Africa, I have come to the conclusion that the only commodity that you can rely on to be refrigerated is the beer!

    In the rural areas, it is rare to come across butcheries that have any form of refrigeration. As a result, the animal is slaughtered, butchered and sold immediately (unlike most first world countries, where meat would probably be hung/aged for a time before sale and kept within a cold chain).

    Depending on the adventurousness of your spirit and the robustness of your stomach, you may want to take this into account when buying street food or eating in small local restaurants. I can't say that it would put me off - good, local food is, after all, often very good and an important part of the travel experience from my perspective - but I would tend to veer on the side of caution, and would probably insist on my meat being well done to minimise the risk of stomach upsets.

    Because the meat has not been aged, you may find that it's also probably tougher than you're used to, which is also a function of these animals having lead a more athletic lifestyle than would usually be the case in the developed world. However, this shouldn't affect the taste (I would argue that this is how meat is meant to taste) and on the upside, it will at least not have been pumped full of antibiotics or growth hormones.

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    You have to be over 18 to go gorilla trekking

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Sep 21, 2013

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    Chances are that if you're in the Great Lakes region, gorilla trekking will be high on your 'To do' list, and with good reason, as it's a unique and extraordinary experience.

    As we were travelling with our children (aged 6 and 9 at the time), one of the details that we had surprising difficulty in clarifying was whether there was an age limit for gorilla trekking. In fact, you are not allowed to go gorilla trekking unless you're 18 or older, and as you need to present your passport at the muster point where you assemble prior to the trek, you'll be found out if you've been dishonest on this count.

    Nine hours later, I could quite understand why the age restriction is imposed. Although you may be one of the lucky few that sees gorillas after a gentle half hour amble into the forest (something that is apparently more likely on the Rwandan rather than Ugandan side), most people have to trek for several hours before they find the gorillas - in our case, 3.5 hours of hard slog on the way there, and 3 hours back. The trails are well laid out and maintained, but the terrain is steep and the vegetation is extremely dense (note to self: next time you decide to trek through somewhere called 'Bwindi Impenetrable Forest', give a little more though to why it's so named!).

    Once you find the gorillas, the trackers will hack a rough path through the undergrowth with machetes. This will almost certainly mean some intense scrambling up/down steep slopes, where having an adult stride is a real advantage (as a short person, I found it more challenging than the taller members of our group, and a child would really struggle). Once you begin the trek, there is no option to turn back or wait by the trail until the group returns if you're too tired to continue, and although many people may be mentally repeating the childish mantra, "Are we there yet?" to keep them going as they trudge along, a whining chorus of this sentiment wouldn't be tolerated when you're trekking what are essentially very shy animals.

    In summary, you need to be motivated by an intense desire to see the gorillas, backed up by good physical fitness and stamina, and although the 18 cutoff is probably harsh to animal obsessed 16 or 17 year olds, the line has to be drawn somewhere.

    If you are planning to travel in this region as a family, my earnest advice to you would be to make them aware of this limitation as early as possible (preferably in the planning stage). Bear in mind that the gorillas are the iconic image for tourism in the Great Lakes region, and your children will expect to see them unless you're brutally and repeatedly blunt about telling them otherwise. We found that ours reluctantly accepted the situation - which was easier to explain because they were so far below the age limit - and it helped to ease their disappointment when they saw how exhausted we were on our return and looked at our photos to confirm how difficult the hiking had been.

    The upshot is that if you're travelling as a family and do decide to go gorilla trekking, you'll need to make an alternative plan for your children. Expecting them to wait patiently at the muster point for anything up to eight hours is neither kind nor realistic (especially if they're disappointed at not being able to join you), so you'll need to have consulted with your tour company/guide well in advance to identify an alternative. In our case, we were staying at the amazing Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, and arranged for one of their staff to take the kids and experience life in her village for the day. They had an utterly wonderful time - arguably the highlight of their entire trip - and a fabulous time was had by all!

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    Many roads are slower going than you think

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Sep 21, 2013

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    As is the case with all of the countries in the Great Lakes region, there is no direct correlation between distance and travel time, and you can come horribly unstuck by assuming at the planning stage that you'll be able to cover more ground than is actually possible. We certainly found that distances took much longer to cover in South West Uganda than we had bargained on, as although the roads are scenic, they are often slow going, and as a rule of thumb, I wouldn't plan on being able to cover much more than 60km/h.

    An over ambitious schedule means that you spend too much time in the car, and too little time experiencing the sorts of things you've come to see and do. Unfortunately tour operators in Africa are often too eager to please and don't push back hard enough on this point - as a result, they may agree to crazy schedules which ultimately doesn't benefit anyone. If you sense reluctance on the part of the operator whilst you're debating your itinerary, it would be advisable to open the door to their input by asking, "is this doable?" - after all, they're the local experts.

    If you have organised a driver/private tour and realise once you're there that your itinerary is too gruelling (or if you're in a group and all agree that you've bitten off more than you can chew), don't be afraid to ask your guide if it can be scaled back. Responsible tour operators should have good relationships with the hotels and other service providers they deal with, and you may well find that you can make changes to your schedule whilst you're on the road without incurring heavy penalties.

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    Watch out for what's in the undergrowth!

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Sep 21, 2013

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    This may sound like the lame working title for a Z grade horror movies, but if you decide to venture into the rain forest, then you're well advised to be wary of what might be lurking in the undergrowth and heed the directions given by the guides that accompany you.

    This photo was taken when we were on the return hike from our gorilla encounter at Bwindi. Each group of tourists is despatched to find a particular habituated group (one of the reasons why the numbers are so limited), and we'd already been lucky enough to find 'our' group and spend a precious hour in their company.

    After a few minutes, our guide called us to an abrupt halt. Why? Well, we couldn't see anything ... but he could. Sitting less than 5m on at the edge of the path and concealed by vegetation was an ENORMOUS silverback gorilla, so we'd clearly stumbled over another group (see other photo). Obviously you don't disturb the big gorilla in the jungle, so our guide hacked a detour around the path, and we proceeded with caution.

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    Ant Prophylaxis For Reluctant Prey

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Sep 21, 2013

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    Rain forests are amazing places with enormous biodiversity significance and very powerful advocates (think Sting, just for starters), but that doesn't mean that they're necessarily very hospitable to visitors.

    Ants are a particular case in point. These little buggers have HUGE jaws in proportion to their body size, and once you have them on your skin, they'll continue to savage you until you shake them off or they die (or both). And in the case of the gorilla trekking we did in Bwindi, there were a couple of short nightmare sections where we had to scale very steep slopes covered with slippery mud with troops of ants thrown into the equation just for variety.

    So, for what it's worth, here are a few pointers on Ant Prophylaxis For Reluctant Prey.

    First, never stop in the rain forest without first checking to see what you're standing on. If the forest floor is covered in ants (or indeed, anything mobile), then move on swiftly. This can take some discipline, especially if you have just spotted a gorilla, but once these critters are in your clothing, it takes major effort to dislodge them. And if you see large sections of the forest floor ahead that are covered by ants, it is permissible (and indeed advisable) to sprint across these sections.

    Which brings me to my second point. Make sure you're wearing long trousers and closed shoes (preferably hiking boots) and that your trousers are tucked into your socks. Yes, I know it's not a good look, but being jungle-ready seldom is, and it's a lot better to look like a prat than be eaten alive.

    Thirdly, despite your best precautions, chances are that you'll be bitten by something in the forest, even if it isn't ants. So be prepared for the eventuality and make sure you've packed an anti histamine cream (Anthisan is my preferred product) so that you can at least alleviate the itching. If you have a history of allergic reactions to insect bites, then also be sure to pack some anti histamine tablets, injections or whatever you know works for you.

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    Just because it's poor doesn't mean it's cheap

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Sep 21, 2013

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    A question that often gets asked on the travel forum is whether it's cheap to travel in Africa - the assumption being that because the vast majority of Africans are poor, it must be affordable for the traveller.

    In fact, the converse is true: unless you are prepared to live like a local person AND have a lot of time on your hands, travel in Africa is seldom cheap, and can often be downright expensive.

    This apparent contradiction starts to make sense when you consider the contributing factors. The most obvious is the vast majority of Africans live below the poverty line, and are reliant on subsistence agriculture for most of their food. You can buy food in markets, but often even the basics - let alone the more luxury products and the imported stuff that you'll be used to as a foreigner - it is often gobsmackingly expensive. This is particularly the case in densely populated areas such as the Great Lakes region, which has huge competition for agricultural land and a dire shortage of animal protein. In nearby Burundi for example, tilapia fish on the bone costs USD5 a kilo in a country where the average person lives on less than USD1 a day.

    The same thing is true of accommodation: unless you are comfortable staying in a basic hut with no electricity, running water, sanitation or security, prepare yourself to pay a huge premium. The cost of constructing 'Western style' accommodation is disproportionately costly in places like Burundi - which doesn't produce its own cement and is reliant on importing cement from farflung places like China. Given the risk of having your valuables stolen or contracting medical conditions such as malaria or waterborne diseases that could be life threatening (particularly to foreigners), I don't think that it's an unreasonable expense, but it adds up very quickly.

    Equipped self catering accommodation of a standard that would appeal to most Westerners barely exists outside the major tourist destinations of Southern Africa, so if you intend to contain accommodation costs by cooking for yourself, you'll probably have to camp and be prepared to bring your equipment with you.

    Transport is perhaps the one aspect of travel in Africa that can be cheap: but only if you have loads of time on your side. The networks of buses and minibus taxis are usually extensive, but the time it takes to travel what appear to to be relatively short distances are disproportionately long. Partly it's a function of poor road conditions and/or difficult terrain, often it's due to poorly maintained and overloaded vehicle (which poses a significant safety hazard) and the fact that they usually stop in every little village en route doesn't help. If there are borders involved, then things get even more problematic: likely it will take an age to clear customs and immigration, and it may often be necessary to switch from one vehicle to another as services often only operate in country.

    If you are on a reasonably tight schedule, the only ways of travelling swiftly and reliably are to hire a vehicle with a driver - expensive in a countries where both vehicles and fuel are imported and are generally subject to huge import tariffs - or to fly (usually only practical between major centres).

    Lastly, in most emerging African tourist destinations, numbers have not yet reached the critical mass required to generate either economies of scale of competition. For this reason, your ability to 'shop around' is usually limited, and the differentiator between tour operators is usually quality of service and the standard of accommodation offered (which ranges between expensive and hugely expensive). Do your research, and if one option seems unusually cheap and too good to be true, then it probably is. Such is the case with the unscrupulous Kennedy Nari Ndayisenga of Hakuna Matata Safaris, an operator who leave sbehind him a trail of unhappy clients whom he has cheated and let down.

    In summary, is Africa a cheap place to travel? Sadly not. Is it worth it? Absolutely!

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    Managing the yin and yang of mozzie coils

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Sep 21, 2013

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    Make no mistake, malaria is a killer, and although there are fewer mosquitoes in the cooler highlands of Uganda, you need to consider the entire country as being malarial and take appropriate precautions.

    Regardless of the effectiveness of whatever malarial prophylaxis you're taking, the best precaution you can take is to avoid getting bitten in the first place. So, in addition to religiously popping your malaria muti, you should be slathering yourself with mosquito repellent, covering up with long sleeved shirts and long trousers between dusk and dawn and taking particular care not to get bitten when you're sleeping. That means sleeping under mozzie nets (where possible) and using mozzie coils.

    That said, why would I be recommending devices as primitive as mosquito coils when travel shops are full of all sorts of clever gizmos that you can plug in to keep the pestilential little buggers at bay? Well, the simple, unvarnished truth is that unglamorous mozzie coils are effective in almost every setting - regardless of how primative your accommodation might be. Moreover, they don't rely on an external power source, which in a country plagued by such an unreliable electricity supply as Uganda, is absolutely vital. And, as though they didn't already have enough going for them, they are also cheap as chips and almost always available in malarial areas.

    I always travel with several packets of mozzie coils, because they are brittle and tend to break easily, especially when you are trying to ease the 'yin' and yang' parts of the coils apart. This is not as easy as it sounds, and takes some practice before you become proficient: I find that it's easiest to start in the middle and press gently along one coil to separate them. This is a task best done slowly and in good light before you decide to imbibe alcoholic beverages - trying to achieve this in the dark when you've had 'one over the eight' is bound to end in tears ...

    You then need to push up the little pin from the little metal stand that comes in the packet so that it's at 90 degrees to the base, and carefully push the pin into the little slot in the coil - again, it's easy to break the coil at this point, so proceed gently and with caution. Once this manoeuvre is complete, you are ready to light the coil. It will initially burn with a flame, but in a few seconds, the flame will go out, leaving a smoking 'stump'.

    Quite apart from being messy, you need to bear in mind that the ash that falls off the coil as it burns is extremely hot, and will sear most surfaces that it falls on: something that is unlikely to endear you to your hotelier. To avoid this happening, I find that it's best to place the coil onto a metal or glass surface (most rooms in the developing world still come equipped with an ashtray). At the other end of the spectrum, don't be tempted to place them on the sole of a flipflop, as I once nearly burned down a tent this way, narrowly avoiding asphyxiation in the process due to the noxious fumes liberated by burning plastic ... not my finest hour! [blush]

    A couple of very obvious last points, which i mention because they are so obvious that you could easily overlook them. Firstly, each packet (which usually contains 10 coils) only has one coil stand, so however short your trip, sharing a packet of coils between two people sleeping in separate rooms isn't possible unless you bring an extra stand. For this reason, I tend to save coil stands after I've finished a packet of coils, and pack a few spares just in case, as they're elusive little gubbins that can easily get lost in your luggage. Oh yes, and bear in mind that you need to bring matches or a lighter too ... ;)

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    Suggest you eat lunch on the hoof: service is slow

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Sep 21, 2013

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    If your decide to do a tour of Uganda - or indeed, anywhere in the Great Lakes region - with a safari company, chances are that the package will be all inclusive and will feature lunch.

    This sounds good in principle, but in practice we found it a nuisance. Firstly, we're not used to eating large lunches, and the generous portions at breakfast and lunch meant that we were really only interested in a snack and a drink in the middle of the day.

    Far more significantly, service in hotels and restaurants in this region is abominably slow, even by African standards for reasons that I can only speculate on (for what it's worth, my theory is that the kitchens don't keep much food in storage and only send out for certain perishable ingredients once they have been ordered). You can wait up to an hour for your food to arrive once you've ordered, and even the 'fast food' options such as toasted sandwiches or soup of the day can routinely take 30 minutes to arrive. This means that lunch stops can easily stretch out 1.5 hours, which can take a chunk out of the day which you can ill afford if you're on a tight itinerary.

    One other unwelcome source of delay is that often what you order turns out not to be available. However, for reasons that I don't begin to understand, you're not told this immediately, and it take a considerable time for the waiter to deliver the bad news, thus further adding to the delay. For example, we had one occasion where we were only told that an item wasn't available after 20 minutes, and then had to go through the whole drawn out exercise of ordering an alternative.

    Our perspective on things is that we didn't travel all this way to spend out time looking at the inside of restaurants, and so after a few days, we asked our guide whether we might opt for packed lunches instead. This turned out to be a much better option, as we could choose a picturesque place to have our picnic, and didn't have to worry about service delays. The packed lunches were perfectly adequate - if somewhat unexciting - and if you're travelling with children, have the benefits of being allowing them to be eaten in 'installments' whenever they get hungry.

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    Not a good place to be gay

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Sep 21, 2013

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    Whilst I have been almost overwhelmingly positive about Uganda as a tourist friendly destination, the one discordant note is its hostile attitude to gay people.

    Uganda is probably the most homophobic nation in sub Saharan Africa - at least in terms of its legislation - which is a hard fought title on a continent that is still depressingly homophobic. In 2009, a private member's Bill was brought before the Ugandan parliament to make ''aggrevated homosexuality" a capital offence, and the damning lack of vocal opposition from most parliamentarians suggested that this may well be reflective of the majority view. After initially expressing his support for the Bill, President Musaveni then moved to publically distance himself from it once he had been threatened with the withdrawal of significant tranches of foreign aid.

    As a result, the Bill had not progressed at the time of writing (August 2013), but there are still hefty prison sentences for gays. Perhaps more importantly, the social stigma that those homosexuals brave enough to live openly as gay have to bear is oppressive, ranging from unprovoked violence to being thrown out of school and summarily fired from employment with precious little right of legal recourse.

    So, what does this mean for gay tourists? Well, whilst it's fair to assume that tourists will generally be treated with greater deference than locals, needless to say that this is not the place for public displays of affection. Out of interest, I did ask our tour operator whether he'd had gay tourists, and his response was that they'd had some, but they'd been discreet about their relationships and hadn't encountered any problems.

    Gay activists and others sympathetic to their cause will need to make up their mind whether a country that represses its own people on account of their sexual preference deserves to be rewarded with their tourist dollar.

    P.S. The photo of Adam Lambert is included because I needed a graphic and he just happens to be a high profile gay man (and gay rights activist) whose music I adore. I think it's fair to speculate that he won't be performing in Uganda any time soon!

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    18% VAT imposed on up-country accommodation

    by CatherineReichardt Written Aug 19, 2013

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    This morning (19 June 2013), I received the following notification from the our operator that we used in Uganda:

    "It was in mid-June that the Finance Minister of Uganda, without prior warning, strapped an
    18% VAT on all up-country Ugandan accommodation. This does not mean an 18% tax on safaris as a whole, but only on accommodation located outside the city of Kampala.

    "Many meetings have taken place behind closed doors. With Uganda's tour operators leading the fight to revoke this ridiculous, untimely, and ill-considered law. Alas, the tax does exsist, and we have no choice but to include it in new prices and collect it."

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    Beware of Kennedy and Hakuna Matata Tours

    by CatherineReichardt Written Jul 1, 2013

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    This is a warning for potential travelers to the Great Lakes region (Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Burundi) NOT to use the services of Kennedy Nari Ndayisenga or his tour company, Hakuna Matata Tours & Travel. Put bluntly, Kennedy is a liar, a scammer and a thief who will think nothing of stealing your money and cannot be relied upon to deliver on any promises or commitments that he might make.

    We decided to engage Kennedy as a tour guide based on some very positive recommendations from highly respected members on the Virtual Tourist website whose advice is usually reliable and accurate. These highly complimentary reviews were written by individuals who are extremely well travelled in Africa – however, looking back at these positive reviews, I note that these refer to tours run by Kennedy several years ago.

    If you Google either Kennedy or Hakuna Matata Tours & Travel, you’ll find a large number of positive reviews on his tours and service. Part of this coverage results from the fact that Kennedy has an IT background and has a genius for self promotion by placing highly visible blogs and reviews, but also seems to reflect the fact that at one point, he actually did provide good service. As we learned to our cost, this has sadly changed.

    Our personal experience is as follows. Our family was due to travel to Rwanda just after Christmas 2012 and we agreed a provisional itinerary with Kennedy, subject to confirmation after he had secured permits for gorilla trekking. In late November, he confirmed that he had managed to reserve permits to trek gorillas on the Uganda side of the border and asked us to pay a deposit of US$2140 to secure the permits, which we forwarded by Moneygram on 30 November 2012. We were notified that the money had been collected on 3 December 2012, after which he went silent, and all attempts to contact him via e-mail and both of his cellphones went unanswered.

    After a concerted effort, I finally managed to contact him by e-mail. He claimed that he had been unable to contact us as he had been caught in an altercation on the DRC side of the border with Rwanda, in which his vehicles were damaged and his cellphones stolen: as this tallied with media coverage of unrest in this area, we were gullible enough to believe his story. In subsequent highly emotional e-mails, he claimed that he had barely escaped with his life and begged us to pray for him. Naively, we responded sympathetically and offered to postpone our trip until Easter to allow the situation to calm down and give him time to get on his feet again.

    This was a big mistake, as from this point on, our trust and sympathy was systematically exploited and abused. Kennedy proved impossible to contact throughout January, and I only managed to track him down via his Facebook account.

    He gave me yet another cellphone number to contact him on and I had a brief conversation with him, during which he informed me that he was conducting a tour in Uganda and would respond to me when he returned to Rwanda at the end of the week. Of course, he never did respond, but did send me an offer to become his ‘friend’ on Facebook, along with an invitation to view the photos he’d taken of his involvement in ‘peace talks’ he was participating in Kampala, Uganda.

    After several unsatisfactory telephone conversations (always initiated by me), I told Kennedy that I did not trust him to look after myself and my family, and notified him that I wanted a refund of the deposit that we had paid him. Predictably, he became even more evasive after this point, making unspecific statements about the fact that he could only refund me ‘next month’. He promised to e-mail me the specifics of repayment (which, predictably he never did) and feigned surprise when I contacted him to confirm that the promised e-mail had not arrived. Communication ceased altogether when I pointed out that I was using our Facebook correspondence to establish a ‘paper trail’.

    By this time, I realised that we had been scammed, and followed up with another respected member of Virtual Tourist whose name I recognised from his Facebook friends list. In fact, she had not followed through on the tour that she had discussed with Kennedy, but directed me to postings on TripAdvisor, including
    this link

    or or this link

    These discussion threads confirm that Kennedy has scammed many other tourists, and that his modus operandi is consistent. Even worse than the tales of people like us who have lost substantial deposits are the accounts of the disastrous tours that Kennedy has ‘organised’ over the past few years, where tourists have had their much anticipated ‘trip of a lifetime’ ruined by his failure to book hotels, secure trekking permits, provide a roadworthy vehicle and/or pay his guides (some of whom have even had to cover costs out of their own pocket despite having paid for their tour in full).

    Further research has indicated that neither Kennedy nor Hakuna Matata Tours& Travel are members of the Rwanda Tour and Travel Association. A phone call to the office in Gisenyi through which gorilla trekking permits are issued also confirmed that he is considered to be an untrustworthy and unreliable operator.

    A subsequent Internet search turned up the following warning has been issued by the Virunga National Park in DRC: “The management of Virunga National Park would like to inform potential visitors that we advise against using the following travel agency: Hakuna Matata Tours & Travel. We have had multiple complaints from visitors using this travel agency and are now actively boycotting them.” (click here for more detail).

    In closing, I would highlight that we are not naïve tourists who were caught short venturing forth into the developing world for the first time. Quite the contrary, since we have lived and worked throughout sub Saharan Africa for over 25 years, and this is the first time ever that we have ever been scammed. Because we are experienced ‘Africa hands’ and placed faith in recommendations from trusted associates on Virtual Tourist, we felt that we had done proper research and had identified a reliable service provider. However, in hindsight, our mistake was that we neglected to follow up on more recent references.

    If it is possible for Kennedy to scam people like us, then how much easier is it for him to take advantage of tourists from overseas who are visiting the region for the first time?

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    Disastrous conditions of the roads

    by croisbeauty Updated May 4, 2012

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    All this pictures were taken in the city of Kampala and its outskirts. What you see is what you can expect if driving in Uganda.
    I rented car, on my ariving, but never left Kampala with it! The roads in Kampala and its outskirts, where I stayed, are in disastrous conditions. The very first picture indicates very clearly what is the main problem on the roads, such a huge pot holes, one after another, which normal driving render impossible. Trust me, it is worst than a nightmare and extremely dangerous. Besides pot holes, one have to watch the matatus and boda-bodas because they drive madly, violeting all driving rules, and respecting nothing and nobody.

    driving conditions Kampala under the heavy rain very dangerous driving conditions if raining outskirts of Kampala street in a residental area of Kampala

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