Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 16 September 2019, 10:30 NZST
  • Still current at: 24 February 2020

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Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution in the Karamoja region in north-eastern Uganda due to the threat of banditry, violent crime and armed clashes.

Exercise increased caution within 30 kilometres of the border with South Sudan due to the threat of banditry and other violent crime.

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Uganda due to the threat of terrorism, crime and the potential for civil unrest.

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There is an ongoing threat from terrorism in Uganda. The Somalia-based terrorist group Al-Shabaab has carried out attacks in the past and continue to threaten attacks in Uganda due to its involvement in the military intervention in Somalia. Previous large-scale attacks have killed dozens of people in the capital Kampala. Authorities continue to issue alerts warning of possible threats and have implemented heightened security checks in public places.

New Zealanders in Uganda are advised to be security conscious at all times and follow any instructions or restrictions issued by the local authorities. Particular care should be taken in crowded and public areas known to be frequented by expatriates and foreigners.

Violent crime, such as armed robbery, banditry and carjacking occurs, particularly outside Kampala. Opportunistic and petty crime such as pick pocketing and purse snatching is common.

There have been incidents of food and drink spiking followed by robbery and assault in bars and on public transport. Extra care should be taken to ensure your food and drink is never left unattended. We recommend against accepting drinks from strangers or recent acquaintances.

New Zealanders in Uganda are advised to avoid walking alone or travelling after dark. Theft from stationary vehicles is frequent. If travelling by car, it is advisable to keep doors locked and windows up at all times and hide valuables from view. For safety and security reasons, you should avoid using matatus (minibus taxis),boda-bodas (motorbike taxis) and overnight buses.

No resistance should be given if you are the victim of an armed robbery or carjacking, as this can lead to an escalation in violence.

New Zealanders visiting Uganda’s national parks are advised to use reputable, registered tour operators. Armed attacks, kidnapping and security incidents have occurred in national parks. As the security situation in the parks can change with little warning, we recommend contacting the Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA) for the latest information prior to embarking on your journey.

Civil Unrest
Demonstrations occur from time to time in Kampala and elsewhere in Uganda, and sometimes lead to violence, often with little or no warning. We recommend avoiding all demonstrations, protests and political rallies due to the potential for violence. In the past police have used tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition to disperse demonstrations.

Ethnic and tribal tensions remain in the Western region bordering Democratic Republic of the Congo and there have been violent attacks and clashes between armed groups and security forces in the Kasese, Bundibuguyo and Ntoroko districts in the past. We recommend monitoring the media for the latest developments and seeking local advice before travelling to remote areas.

Maritime Safety
Large numbers of ferry passengers have died in accidents on Lakes Albert and Victoria in recent years.

The safety standards New Zealanders might expect of transport operators may not be of the same level as you would find in New Zealand. Sufficient safety equipment may not be provided and safety regulations are not always adhered to.  Ferries are often overcrowded.   

We recommend New Zealanders considering travel by ferry assure themselves of the vessel’s seaworthiness and safety equipment before travelling.  You may wish to consider taking your own lifejacket.

General Travel Advice
New Zealanders travelling or living in Uganda should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in Uganda are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The New Zealand Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is accredited to Uganda

Street Address Bole Sub City, Woreda 09, House No 111, Behind Atlas Hotel/close to Shala Park, (Namibia Street), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Postal Address New Zealand Embassy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Private Bag 18-901 Wellington Mail Centre 5045, Wellington Telephone +251-11-515-1269 Fax +251-11-552-6115 Email Web Site Hours Monday – Friday, 9am-12pm & 1pm-4pm Note In an emergency or if you require urgent assistance, please call the Embassy on +251 11 515 1269. Outside of business hours you will be redirected to an after-hours duty service.

See our regional advice for Africa

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Accredited New Zealand Embassy Ethiopia

Street Address
Bole Sub City, Woreda 09, House No 111, Behind Atlas Hotel/close to Shala Park, (Namibia Street), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Telephone: +251-11-515-1269

Fax: +251-11-552-6115



Hours: Monday – Friday, 9am-12pm & 1pm-4pm

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