Uganda

Last updated January 14, 2021

Today’s Status, Looking Towards Spring 2021 — Green

We are very excited to have volunteers in Uganda for the Spring 2021 semester.

Check below to get more details on some key aspects that we’re watching (it’s stuff you’re going to want to know). Also, this info can change often. Our goal is to keep things current with weekly updates, so check back frequently.

Getting There

As of October 1st, airports re-opened and entry is allowed for most travelers with negative COVID-19 test results. Your Covid test must have been taken (at most) 120 hours before departure from the first embarkation point.

Not being able to fly into the country has been a big roadblock, so we’re happy to see that opening up before Spring 2021.  This reopening is part of phase 1, with phase 2 rolling out sometime in January 2021. It’s projected that the final phase will be in March of 2021, which will mean operating the airport at full capacity.

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

Airports are open as of October 1st which was something we’ve anxiously been awaiting. Since things shut down in March, government announcements about borders reopening have been continually pushed back until now —  We’re very happy to see this roadblock removed for our Spring 2021 semesters.

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 January 14th), Uganda has an average of 54 active cases per 100,000 people.

Testing equipment and capabilities are available in Uganda, unlike some other African countries.

On October 15, schools opened for classes, for Junior High and higher grades. The President was expected to address the nation sometime in December to review how the initial re-opening has gone, but that has not happened yet. We hope it comes soon and at that time we hope classes for lower grades also would be open. In Uganda, the new school year starts in February (not September, like the US).

ILP has ways to restructure teaching, if needed in case younger-age classes are not fully open for our Spring 2021 volunteers.

Most businesses are open and some public transport options are, too. Shopping malls are not open, but the souvenir market in Kampala that ILP volunteers love to visit is! We’re seeing a mixed bag of things currently open, but are happy to see some of our favorite things to do in Uganda are available or are projected to be available soon.

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.  There currently is still a curfew in place (from 9:00 PM to 6:00 AM) and gyms, cinemas, and other establishments are closed. However, you’ll find things like shopping malls, arcades, supermarkets, pharmarices, salons, and more are open. Even indoor activities (like cinemas) have reopened, just with appropriate social distancing measures in place.

Tourists sites all over the country are open, which means 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.

Over the summer, officials from the European Union have declared Uganda’s parks officially open to tourism, a good sign before things officially opened up for the country in October. 

Additionally, our Local Coordinator anticipates our service projects surrounding springs for clean water are planning to be available for Spring 2021 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.

Can I still apply for Uganda?

Absolutely! As outlined above, we are so excited to have volunteers here for. Spring 2021 semester. So if you’re looking to volunteer for later semester, we’d recommend getting a jump on your application. 

Especially for a country where our volunteers make such a difference in and out of the classroom, we are so excited for volunteers to be back in Uganda! 

What is traveling and living in Uganda like right now? 

For Uganda, things have remained relatively unchanged. They’ve done a good job handling the virus levels, and now that the airport is opening up and tourism is returning, there are signs things are back on track for life in Uganda. We’re seeing similar precautions you’re taking at home (like wearing a mask and social distancing). Just like there is a risk to go out in Utah right now, there will be risks to traveling anywhere, including Uganda.