You are excited about experiencing a once in a lifetime trip to Uganda. You have your ticket ready and are now pondering what to pack. Your itinerary from your tour agent Nkuringo Safaris mentions that you will be trekking the mountain gorilla at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You also notice game drives, chimp trekking, nature walks and many other activities are included in the itinerary.
When packing, you must consider the size and weight of your luggage. If your itinerary involves flights in a charter plane, you’ll need to pack extra light to comply with baggage restrictions limited to 10 to 20kgs (depending on the plane). Some lodges provide laundry services, so you can bring fewer clothes. You can, however, coordinate with your tour company to keep your excess luggage or have it delivered to your lodge.
Are you wondering what to pack that will make your trip much more comfortable and enjoyable? Yes, read on.
You need to capture every magical moment. Get a good long range camera that allows you to capture a great level of detail in a photo. One that also allows you to shoot in low-light conditions because you will be trekking deep in the forest. You can also easily capture images of wildlife that are a bit far from you during game drives. Don’t forget to carry spare memory cards and batteries as you will want to take lots of photos.
For optimum viewing of wildlife and birds, binoculars are a must. You may borrow your safari guides pair if you don’t have your own.
The terrain in Uganda is comprised of hills, dirt roads, and mud. A sturdy pair of hiking shoes makes exploring these exciting activities light work.
After a long exciting walk and trek, your feet will probably be in agony. You would want to change into open sandals and let your feet breathe and relax.
Uganda enjoys tropical climate and rainfall is expected at any time. You must be prepared for this – bring your poncho! Make sure that you also have a waterproof cover for your backpack, to keep valuables dry.
Avoid white clothing as due to the red soil and mud you will encounter, they will never be white again! Pick neutral colors for optimum camouflage in the bush. Get loose-fitting and lightweight clothes that keep you cool and will dry quickly if you get caught in the rain. Long sleeves and trousers are recommended to prevent mosquito or insect bites during trekking and to keep dust off when navigating the roads. The nights can be chilly and cold thus having some warm clothes to put on at night is welcomed.
You need plenty of socks to change with each day’s activity that involves a lot of trekking. You probably won’t have time to wash them but if you do, they may not dry. The nights tend to be cold and a pair of socks makes nighttime cosy and comfortable.
Again, the sun can be a little harsh and fierce on you. A hat or baseball cap will shield you from it.
Uganda, being on the equator can sometimes be hot. The sun is always up and you wouldn’t want to bake under it. Protect your skin with sunscreen and prevent the harsh sun rays from burning you.
Spraying yourself with insect repellant before you venture off on the adventure will keep bugs away. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and trousers can also prevent this.
In the course of your trip, you may be booked into a lodge with a swimming pool. These facilities are usually complimentary for in-house guests and if you have time, you can relax under the warm African sun alongside the pool. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
Most lodges and hotels provide basic amenities but don’t forget to carry your own toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, deodorant, sunscreen, lotion, shower gel, tampons (ladies) and other personal amenities.
If you have booked and planned your trip with a tour company, you will probably have already paid for most of these activities. You may need personal funds for buying souvenirs. Do not show where you put your money in public. If leaving for an activity, you must lock them in the safe or could check in your valuables at the lodge reception, depending on the lodge policy.
Most lodges have access to the internet and in the evening after an exciting day of venturing, you can update your travel memoirs and friends on your trip.
Availability of drugs is uncertain though most lodges and your tour vehicle will have a basic first aid kit on hand. Please carry any prescriptions and over the counter medication that you need. You should also carry antimalarials, antihistamines for bug bites and allergic reactions, painkillers, cold and flu medication, diarrhoea medication, band-aids and antiseptic cream. Ensure that you receive necessary inoculations and vaccination and obtain the International Vaccination Certificate.
Most lodges are eco-friendly and lighting will be limited. You will need a flashlight to manoeuvre around.
You need a supply of these to keep your dirty laundry separate from your clean clothes.
You will use this for washing your hand when there’s no water.
If you wear contacts, it’s often too dusty to wear them comfortably.
Before leaving, do you have your passport with a blank page for the Uganda Visa? Do you have comprehensive travel insurance? Do you have your sunglasses – you won’t want to be forgetting these.
Well then, you’re all set to enjoy your magical trip to Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.