A Girl Travelling Alone in Uganda is a discussion posted on Lonely Planet’s member forum by Zvoncica, one of the users on the platform. We adopted it for our users so that we can share raw information of women who travellel to Uganda. Unedited, this post may be 10 years old but, you know, Africa does not change as fast as the western cultures, so many of these answers still apply. You can check out the original forum post on Lonely Planet. But if you’re on-the-go, read on …
I’m planning to travel to Uganda next year and I’m wondering how is it for a single woman to travel in Uganda. I know it can’t get more uncomfortable than in India (for those who’ve been there-you know what I’m talking about) but I’ve never been to Africa before so I would like to hear from women who have been there alone how is it.
I almost thought I was reading a post by me, but I live in Bangladesh. I will be there in January. I am working most of the time but I really want to go to a good hike for a few days. I need less people and more environment! I will let you know how it goes for me!
I have been travelling alone in Uganda for 4 months and have had no problems at all. It is definitely a suitable place for a single female traveller and you will be made to feel most welcome. Naturally you will get a lot of attention but that’s more because you are white (if you are white!) than because you are female and a quick “I’m fine, how are you, thank you but no” is all it takes for people just to wish you a nice day. Sometimes someone will fall into step beside you just to chat but a cold shoulder will sort it out, I’m not sure how persistent they will be if you are not suitably cold though, I have not got chatting to anyone on the street. I must admit, I find the persistent attention from boda boda drivers and matatu taxis irritating as they all pull over as they pass you walking down the street but after 4 months I now just wish I was black so nobody would notice me! The attention from children is nice though as they all want to touch you and almost never ask for money which is nice.
One thing to be aware of is giving your mobile number either to individuals or even at hotels etc, once someone gets it, if they like you they will ring you persistently (or “flash” you – ie, ring and hang up in the hope that you will ring them back). Often they just ring for a chat but it is pretty annoying if it is late at night and you met the person briefly in passing at a hotel reception or something.
I would not do any travelling after dark alone under any circumstances but maybe I’m a little paranoid about that. I have heard locals being mugged (in Entebbe town) and it’s not a nice sound so I am super cautious now. If you have any kind of accident, prepare to pay for help, if you do, you will probably receive great help but if you don’t and if you are in any way vulnerable you may be robbed instead.
Don’t worry about what you wear, I had read that shorts and short skirts etc were a no no but that is definitely not the case, wear whatever you would wear at home and it will be fine, you won’t offend anyone, at least, not in towns, maybe if you went to someones house for dinner or something it would be different. If you smoke outdoors you will be mistaken for a prostitute even if you are in jeans and an anorak! So it’s better not smoke in public but wear what you want!
Overall though, I haven’t been to India and don’t know what it’s like there but have heard that hastle is really annoying and persistent – you won’t meet any of that in Uganda, the welcome is great at the outset and just mildly annoying after time.
Good luck with the travels.
Haha, Thank you for that information!
I live in Bangladesh….you think India is bad….come to Bangladesh……I have yet to meet someone who says otherwise after visiting both! In Peace Corps India was known as the “land of plenty” “land of peace and quiet” due to availability of items and how people left you alone….
I am going to Uganda the month of January to work and well your information is great! I am white, blonde and I know I will stand out. I hope it is not like here though. We shall see!
If you think of any other Do’s and Don’ts they are very helpful!
I was in East Africa last yr for 2 months, travelling a a lone female. I never felf threatend at all but you do need a lot of common sense which it sounds like you have.
Africans dont really understand why you would be travelling alone as a female so best to tell them you are meeting you boyfriend/husband somewhere, or he is in a meeting so you are taking a look at the area. They are just curious and interested in you because your white and they give you an almost celebrity status. The Ugandans are the friendliest people ive met so just go for it and have a wonderful time.
I agree totally with what missfifi has said. I agree not to go out after dark. I know some people that did, some got mugged and some think its fine. I personally wouldn’t risk it…..is it worth ruinning your holiday and experience of africa? As for clothing, I covered up, partly so as not to get burned and partly so as not too atract any more attention that necessary. Knee length skirts and t-shits are fine, maybe even vest tops in cities.
Just a quick response to the poster that said it was okay to wear whatever you want…
That is sort of okay in Kampala (as Kampala is a very westernized/”modernized” city) but anywhere outside I would definately recommend covering up! ESPECIALLY if you go into small towns and villages. Outside of Kampala you will HARDLY EVER see a woman wearing pants (and never shorts or short skirts!) so its probably best to dress similarly. I believe this is important for a couple of reasons; first, you don’t want to attract any more attention than you already will by being a foreigner (trust me, the attention is a bit annoying!) and secondly, just simply out of cultural respect. So many travelers pay no attention to how the way they dress when they are a guest in a country affects the kind of respect they are showing.
Just something to think about! 🙂
came across your thread and found it very relevant for the uganda trip i’m planning for may/june. also female and traveling to uganda alone to do some research/safari tours. any tips on places to stay in kampala (homestays, hotels), safety, communication with family back home, etiquette, etc. would be much appreciated.
I’m so glad you posted this question & I’ll be really interested in hearing how people’s trips go. I’ll be in Kampala in August on a work-related trip and am trying to take advantage of the situation and see some of the country. I will be alone & while I’ve traveled to various countries in the past, I really haven’t done much international travel on my own.
I’d love to hear about people’s tips and experiences. Thanks in advance!
Hey am patrick medical technologist from ugandan seen posts i guess u guyz like uganda yeah its a nice country dats why its called da pearl of africa huh.we are nice and friendly people here anyone wana contact me dats email address email@example.com feel free contact me okay
First of all i appreciate all that travelling to uganda. I would like to correct that saying that i’m a white. look here is the thing about we the Ugandans. Uganda is a blessed country in E.Africa, people here a so social that they can just talk to any one no matter who you are.Its not saying about where you are from.I would like you to come and check it out by your self. One important thing is that the country is safe to any one. come and have fun, seen wild animals before? come have a look.
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