Uganda, in East Africa is a must on your bucket list and not only for the Gorilla’s! Below our packing list for a typical safari trip of 10-14 days.
Before you go
It is important to do these necessary preparations before you go on your safari trip:
- International passport (valid for at least another 6 months)
- Visa: you can apply online upfront or pay at arrival (50 US $). Although if you arrange your visa upfront, you still have to cue and get your picture taken at customs.
- Make a doctor appointment (at a tropical institute) for
- Injections: hepatitis and yellow fever. You receive a mini yellow booklet after your injections, you must take it along and show it upon arrival.
- Pharmacy: malaria tablets, mosquito spray, sunscreen and general medicines for headache and stomachache related issues could come handy. We also took sleeping pills for the overnight flight.
- In addition to malaria tablets and mosquito spray, a mosquito net could be handy when your lodge does not provide it (safety first).
- US Dollars. Change it at Entebbe airport for Shillings.
- Belges en Route tip 1: Both big and small notes are handy. You get a better exchange rate for Ugandese shilling for big notes. Small notes are useful for tipping
- Belges en Route tip 2: It is better to change to Shillings as Africans tend to charge more for US dollars than Shillings (eg. restaurants decide the dollar exchange rate, which is always on your downside)
- Earplugs: Africans have a thing for loud music & late night parties and when being on safari, you tend to go to bed early (before 22h). As you can imagine, that’s not a perfect combi. So earplugs are your best friend that moment.
- Take a picture of your passport and Yellow booklet (or scan it) and email it to yourself. In case it gets stolen or lost, you will always have access to your documents. It’s also good to have a copy of your passport somewhere in one of your travel bags.
You really have to live the moment and enjoy every minute but also capture those beautiful safari moments!
- A professional camera with a telephoto lens is highly recommended , that way you can zoom with high quality on the animals which are sometimes far away. II have a Nikon D5300 with 200mm lens, but for my next similar trip I will rent a 400mm lens.
- Smartphone and selfie stick
- GoPro for videos
- UK charger
Be ready to get dirty! As Africa is a dusty continent, your fresh new t-shirt will not look the same after 3hours. Of course the timing of your trip could influence your outfits a bit, but these are the essentials for your trip!
Safari & other:
- 1 or 2 pairs of sneakers
- More than 1 shorts is a must (I had 3 shorts with me but could have used 4)
- A fresh t-shirt a day is certainly a nice to have
- Long pants for the evening
- A safari print is funny for the pictures, check out my zebra sport leggings 😉
- Long sleeved pull and a sweater (it could get chilly in the evening)
- Rain Jacket and/or light jacket (I had both with me and was particularly happy with the light jacket, so if you have to combo, that’s a winner)
- A long dress/skirt or jumpsuit for the evening
- Bikini / swim shorts
- A towel for occasional swimming
- Walking shoes & socks
- Walking pants or comfortable jeans (I wore a chino)
- Sports t-shirt (I was super happy with my sports t-shirt, as we walked for 8 hours, although the average is 2 to 3 hours)
- Long sleeve pull
- Rain jacket
- Gardening gloves could be handy too (against the thorns)
Accessories & practicalities
- Uganda travel map (from your travel agency?)
- Uganda travel guide? we didn’t take one as 2 friends already had a travel guide with them
- Binoculars are a must! (borrow it from friends if needed)
- Headlamp (as there is not always electricity at night)
- Sunhat or cap
- Travel bottles for your soap, shampoo & make-up removal (from Hema for instance)
- Book or magazines for the relax moments (usually after lunch)
- Playing cards / uno / times up
- Small backpack with your essentials for in the jeep
- Shampoo & hair conditioner (the water is different than Europe so it could affect the state of your hair)
- If you’re a big fan of sweets and/or sour, it’s a good idea to bring your own favorites (e.g. Haribo bears or Pringles)
What can you bring along for locals?
To be honest, there is a paradox as they don’t want to promote the image of westerns being on a human safari. Supposedly this could have a reverse impact as Africans tend to get used to it and not become entrepreneur and self-sufficient but rely on gifts from tourists. Nevertheless you can make a difference for the locals, and especially the children, with providing food, water and clothes. Also important to check with you driver to be sure he is comfortable with your generosity. It is less encouraged to give cash, as the chance is real that men use it to buy alcohol instead of providing food for the family.