Are you planning to visit Uganda for any kind of Safari, and you are confused on what to carry/pack for a memorable safari experience? Remember that the first step in achieving the best safari experience is packing right and light. But worry no more because with this article, your packing is made easier. What to pack depends on the time of the year you are visiting and most especially hat activity you are travelling for. Are you tracking for a gorilla trekking safari, or is it a wildlife viewing safari (game drives) or a bird watching safari? Whatever the safari, the following are the basic things to add on your packing list for a Safari to Uganda;
A passport should be the first thing that you pack if you are planning for a Safari to Uganda. This can be acquired from the Foreign Embassies within your home countries
A Visa is also a must-have for all tourists travelling to Uganda except Citizens from countries that are Visa exempt such as citizens from East African Community members states (Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania) Angola, Bahamas, Cyprus, Comoros Antigua and Barbuda, Belize and Solomon Islands among others. For more information about Ugandan Visa requirements or if you are not sure whether your country is Visa exempt or not, check http://gov.ug/content/requirements-entry-uganda to confirm.
Vaccination certificate against yellow fever
An inoculation certificate against yellow fever is definitely needed when considering to travel to Uganda for tourism or any other purpose.
Before travelling to Uganda for any kind of safari, make sure that you first obtain a travel Insurance. Much as most safaris in Uganda are conducted in the company of armed ranger guides, you never know what can happen either on the road or in the National Parks.
Long Trousers or long skirts (for women)
This is very crucial if you are travelling to Uganda for a gorilla trekking safari, nature walk or a bird watching safari to protect your legs from the stinging nettles and other insects or tree branches. Tourists travelling for game drives or a trip within the urban centers do not necessarily need long trousers; actually shorts can also work for you. Long trousers or skirts for women are preferred to the short skirts or shorts because the latter is culturally inappropriate within most rural areas of Uganda
Short sleeved shirts/blouses and T-shirts
You have to pack these too especially if you are travelling for game drives and also ideal for relaxation at the Safari Lodges.
The type/nature of shoes also depends on the nature of safari you are visiting Uganda for. Waterproof hiking boots are very handy for gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking, nature walks, Volcano/Mountain climbing or even bird watching. Strong leather shoes and Flip-fl0ps can be packed for community walks or during game drives
Long socks, preferably cotton fabrics are also important are a must-have when travelling to Uganda for a Safari. if you are heading to the forest for nature walks or gorilla treks, it is always advised to tuck in your trousers into the socks to prevent the Safari Ants or other insects from entering into your trousers/pants.
This is very crucial for most safaris in Uganda especially safaris to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park for gorilla trekking, Rwenzori Mountains or even Mount Elgon that can get really cold in the evening or early mornings. This applies to both rainy and dry seasons, but for the former you will need heavy and warm sweaters and scarfs.
A money belt is handy for carrying your passport and even money that you may need for tipping and buying snacks, souvenirs or any form of services.
You must pack gardening gloves especially for gorilla trekking because you will need them to protect your hands from getting injured as you support yourself with tree branches or stinging nettles.
A Hat and Sunglasses
These are very important during the dry season to protect your head and eyes from the scotching sunshine.
Swimsuit (Swimming costume)
Because most of the Safari Lodges have swimming pools, these suits will be handy for relaxation especially after a long tiring day during gorilla trekking or Chimpanzee tracking.
You need to pack cameras especially rechargeable ones with enough batteries. It should be noted that in most places in Uganda, UK plugs can be used hence you may need a converter plug. A fast film is the best for Mountain gorillas because you will need to capture so many interesting moments.
Insect repellants are also must-pack for a safari to Uganda especially for gorilla trekking and Chimpanzee tracking safari because the jungles contain so many insects especially Mosquitoes and the recommended insect repellant is RID.
First Aid kit
You will need to carry a simple and light first Aid Kits but with essential things like Bandages, Imodium, liniment for muscle strains, anti-bacterial cream, aspirin and other pain killers, anti-diarrheal and anti-malarial medicine, Anti-septic, band-aid, cold medication
Toiletries and a toilet bag
The toiletries that you need to pack include hand-sanitizers, lotion, sanitary towels, Razor blades preferably Gillette, Shampoo and body wash, tooth paste and tooth brush, toilet paper, anti-bacterial soaps, facial cleansers and deodorants among others.
This is very important for any kind of safari, be it a nature walk, bird watching safari (very necessary), game drive or even gorilla trekking where different attractions need to be sighted.
You may require small flashlights incase power blacks-out. In Africa especially Uganda, power blackout is a common scenario and within the National Parks where mostly solar energy is used, power can sometimes be put off late in the night.
In conclusion, for anyone travelling to Uganda for any kind of Safari, it is important to carry long sleeved shirts, rain jackets, sweaters, long trousers, hiking boots, long socks, gardening gloves, a backpack, cameras and binoculars because a memorable safari experience can be achieved by paling light and right.