Uganda

Last updated September 23, 2021

Today’s Status, Looking Towards Spring 2022 — Yellow

Travel to Uganda is open, and all school grade levels started classes only to have the government order another complete closure that will likely last through the end of 2021. We are optimistic that the program will open again by Spring 2022, but we expect to have a program reopen for Summer 2022 at the latest.

Check below to get more details on some key aspects that we’re watching. Each of these components help us determine when we’ll be able to send volunteers to Uganda again (it’s stuff you’re going to want to know). Also, this info changes often. Our goal is to keep things current with weekly updates, so check back frequently.

Getting There

Entry is allowed for most travelers who either take a test upon arrival (and wait for their negative test results), or have proof of full vaccination (where you may be able to bypass the PCR test upon arrival, though it’s not guaranteed).

Airports re-opened in October, and visas are being processed again.

Flights to Uganda began happening in the Winter of 2021.

Daily Life

Uganda has seen its fair share of outbreaks before Covid-19: Ebola, Measles, Yellow Fever, and the Marburg Virus, just to name a few. Experts are saying their past experience is part of the reason they were so prepared and have seen success minimizing a COVID-19 outbreak. The country has kept casualties low and saw its first deaths months after other countries. 

Currently (as of September 23rd), Uganda has an average of 51.4 active cases per 100,000 people. 

Testing equipment and capabilities are available in Uganda, unlike some other African countries. In February, the President announced that vaccinations had begun for teachers and the elderly.

President Museveni issued a statement that announced the lockdown of schools will remain until essential workers (like teachers and those over 45 years) are vaccinated. It’s also looking like children between 12-18 will need to be vaccinated before schools can reopen. 

Most businesses are open and some public transport options are, too. After a lockdown ending in early August, markets and some shopping centers and other stores have reopened.  

Out & About

Right now, measures like wearing a mask when out in public is required, as is social distancing. Public transportation is generally up and running, just at half-capacity. Places of worship will remain closed for 60 days (potentially reopening in October), and outdoor sports are held without spectators. There’s currently a curfew until 7:00 PM.

When things open up you’re fine to white-water raft the Nile river, abseil down Sipi Falls, spot elephants, giraffes, lions, and more on safari, and do a few other favorite in-country adventures.

Additionally, our Local Coordinator anticipates our service projects surrounding springs for clean water are planning to be available for volunteers (pending any major, unexpected changes).

In past semesters, volunteers spent most of their vacation time in Uganda, and maybe one or two vacations exploring Tanzania or nearby Kenya. We’ll have to wait and see what the entry/exit policies are for surrounding countries and how that works with Uganda’s re-entry requirements. Things may change but for the time being, there’s lots and lots to see and experience in Uganda on vacation time.

Okay, now what?  Should I still apply for Uganda?

If you’re thinking “that’s all really good to know, but what does that mean for me?” we have some good news to share: time is still totally on your side.

We’ve seen policies change without notice that have made the difference between us thinking we’ll need to wait longer and helping us determine that a semester in that location is something we’re pretty optimistic about. Sometimes that has happened in the span of just a couple of weeks or even in a single day. We’re thinking a lot can change for the Spring 2022 semester.

So we say start your application now so that you’re ready when the time comes. We are going to need volunteers who are ready to go right when things change for the better, which is why we think it’s a good idea to have your application in (even if things potentially look uncertain right now). Time really is on your side.

We’re also here for all of your questions. We’d love to talk about deferring to a later semester if things still need more time or finding a country right now that’ll be a good fit for you. You can bet that once things open up, you’ll be the first to know!