Great question and usually the first thing I get asked when I tell people I often travel to Africa with African Volunteer Vacations.
There’s still a huge misconception that Africa isn’t safe and this is mainly due to the fact that still quite a lot of this gorgeous continent is classified as developing. This is a huge generalization and problems in Africa aren’t universal.
Africa is the second biggest continent on the planet so when you do read about danger or disease associated with Africa its important to first get your facts right and do more research rather than just reading one news article. When you see the devastation the genocide left in Rwanda in 1989 in news papers you tell yourself this is what the whole of Africa looks like. One word-wrong! Secondly find out if the country your wanting to volunteer in in Africa are having those issues. For example the tragic outbreak of Ebola was isolated to West Africa, but because you heard the word Africa you most likely generalised this to the whole of Africa. This is so easy to do because the general media don’t talk about the animal conservation programs that happen, or how incredible it is to go trekking to see wild gorillas, they focus only on the negative stories. This is a sad fact.
Another misconception is that Africa is dangerous and violent. This idea is spread mainly through the media. Most peoples only exposure to Africa is through the news and newspapers who mainly once again focus on the bad news stories. The truth is violent crimes against tourist are rare. Our volunteers are based in Uganda, East Africa. Ugandans are known for being extremely welcoming, warm and hospitable. They are hugely appreciative of all the work volunteers do for their communities and will go out of their way to make your stay as safe as possible. Even going for walks with you around the town when you buy a bottle of water or drop you back home after your placement, and they do this to make you feel safe. In all the communities I’ve toured (I’ve been to every single placement we offer and met with the locals) I’ve never once felt unsafe-out of place yes (especially in the rural towns, blond hair, blue eyes I stick out like a sore thumb) but never unsafe. Heck- I have a lovely family back home, I wouldn’t travel somewhere if I didn’t feel safe.
All in all, you shouldn’t fear travelling to Uganda any more than you would the rest of the world. Myths about Africa being dangerous and unsafe are spread through the media. Best thing to do is travel around in groups and always have your wits about you.