Uganda’s Borders Have Reopened — Just Keep 32 Feet Away From the Gorillas

tourist cruise boat by the Nile River

Six months after closing its borders to help stem the spread of coronavirus, Uganda is welcoming tourists back to its lakes, mountains, and national parks — as long as they can stay 32 feet from the gorillas.

Uganda has reopened its borders and national parks to international travelers able to produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of their arrival. Visitors to Uganda will also  have to pass health screenings including temperature checks. Anyone showing symptoms of an infectious disease will be taken to a local hospital’s isolation unit by ambulance.

Passengers will again need to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their departure from Uganda and submit to additional health screenings as they exit the East African country. Uganda’s tourism ministry is advising travelers to arrive at airports at least four hours prior to departure to allow sufficient time for exit health screenings.

Uganda is requiring all travelers to wear masks covering both their mouths and noses while traveling through its airport or visiting its 10 national parks. Inside airport terminals, Uganda is requiring that people keep at least five feet from one another. It’s requiring six-and-a-half feet of distance between people visiting national parks, and charging tour guides with making sure visitors keep at least 32 feet from any primates they encounter.

Before entering national parks, travelers will have their temperatures checked by no-touch infrared thermometers. They’ll face additional temperature checks as they’re exploring and be required to wear masks at all times. To enter a national park in Uganda, each visitor will need to bring at least two fresh N95, surgical, or double-layer cloth masks with filters.

Uganda is home to more than half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas. Travelers are often drawn there by the opportunity to see Africa’s Big Five — lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo — plus chimpanzees and endangered gorillas.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets, and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

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