Are you planning to spend your next holiday in Uganda or Rwanda and you do not know which items/gear to carry? Whereas most African safari destinations are mostly popular for their amazing savanna wildlife experiences, things are a bit different with African safaris in Uganda and Rwanda. Safaris in these two destinations are mainly rotate around mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, the rare golden monkeys and many other unique primate species as well as hiking adventures in most of the hiking trails in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and volcano adventures that are done in most of the Virunga Mountain ranges. Depending on what your travel interests are in Uganda and Rwanda, you are encouraged to pack based on the tour activities that you intend to engage in or based on the purpose of your safari. Always ensure that you pack lightly to avoid overload, there is no need for you to pack an entire house and yet you intend to spend fewer days in a destination. Besides, the weather and climatic condition in Uganda and Rwanda feature among the most significant factors that you should consider while planning on what to pack for your trip.
Below are some of essential things that you need to carry on your safari to Uganda and Rwanda.
Clothes for you to carry
A fact that Uganda and Rwanda are mostly known for mountain gorilla trekking safaris, you certainly need to pack wisely for your trip. Mountain gorillas mostly live between altitude 2200 and 4300 and given the nature of their habitat, visitors have to expect rains at anytime of the day whether it is a dry or wet season. Due to this, you need clothes that suit within the kind of the weather at these creatures’ habitat. Besides, they should also be matching with nature-preferably green and avoid any shouting/bright colors that can distract or catch the attention of these wild creatures. Long trousers and long sleeved shirts/T-shirts are better as they offer protection to your skin especially for falling branches, vines, thorns, nettles, insects and many more. You will also need long trekking socks but should be thick, trekking pants, shorts for relaxing while at the lodge but not for gorilla trekking or even nature walks otherwise you will be disturbed by insects. Other items include wide brimmed hat, bathing suits as some luxury lodges and hotels have swimming pools or if you are interested in swimming while in Lake Mutanda, Lake Bunyonyi in southwestern Uganda or Lake Kivu in Rwanda.
Rain jacket/poncho, this is another significant item that is worth carrying on your trip to Uganda and Rwanda. A rain jacket will protect you from getting wet due to heavy rainfall. Given the kind of habitat where most of the primate adventures and volcano climbing safaris in Uganda and Rwanda are conducted, this should be a must in your packing list. Expect it to rain whether it is a dry or wet season especially in tropical rainforests such as Kibale Forest, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Nyungwe Forest as well as the Rwenzori Mountain ranges, Volcanoes National Park and other areas.
Equally don’t forget your sweaters. It can be very cold in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest; Volcanoes National Park especially very early in the morning and this is the time you are expected to report at the park headquarters for morning briefing about rules and regulations for gorilla trekking. You need a sweater to keep you warm during the cold morning and in the evening.
Anything can happen at anytime given the nature of gorilla habitat. You may fall down and the immediate solution is for you to grab the nearby plants some of which can be itching or thorny that is why you need gardening gloves to offer protection to your hands during such occurrences.
Waterproof hiking boots that are light weight and comfortable in your legs should be a must to include in your packing list. This will help you while hiking through the thick forest and steep slopes. They should offer you adequate support on your ankles as you hike. Besides, you need at least a pair of good shoes for walking around town area, sandals, flip flops but not for going out.
Sunglasses are vital especially in protecting your eyes from the sun and wind.
Bottled water and energy giving snacks
Gorilla trekking entirely involves hiking through the bamboo forest and the steep slopes. A fact that gorilla trekking is a strenuous adventure, you need to have enough drinking water to keep them hydrated and snacks to boost their energy. This adventure usually lasts from 3 to 8 hours depending on visitors hiking speed, location of gorillas and nature of the habitat.
Camera, memory card and additional batteries
This applies in most safaris not necessarily gorilla trekking or chimpanzee trekking alone. It really hurts for you to find what you have been longing to see and that moment finds you without a camera and you end up watching the rest as they take photos. You need a good camera and if you are a primate enthusiast on safari to Uganda and Rwanda, your camera should have no flashlight and if it has, you are advised to turn it off when taking the photographs of the gorillas or chimpanzees otherwise you will irritate them something that can spoil your experience in the habitat. Other equipment and gadgets that you may need include extra battery just in case your camera runs short of power, binoculars, memory cards for the camera, electric items especially with voltage ranging 220 to 240 and British plugs are normally used in most of the safari lodges in Uganda and in Rwanda, consider European plug in. You may also need a rechargeable torch or flashlight just in case power disappears at night and the place becomes dark.
Other necessities that might be of great help to you include insect repellents especially the RID or DEET bottle that can also be purchased online-this works best against mosquitoes and tsetse flies; prescribed medicine especially anti malarial regimen, citronella soap, sun blocker cream, toiletries, small first aid kit and many more.
You may also need a waterproof daypack to help you during a game drive a fact that it accommodates most of the items and your important documents. If you are interested in hiking, nature walks, chimpanzee, golden monkey or gorilla trekking, a daypack should be a must for you to have to help you carry most of the required things especially water, lunch, energy giving snacks and everything that is required of you.
For ladies, money belt is of great significance for you to keep your money safe. It should be cotton made and you can put it on and after cover it with clothes and people can’t see it easily. It helps you keep emergency phone numbers, your international immunization card, copy of your passport and other important items.
As well, never forget your passport and gorilla/chimpanzee trekking permit and any useful document that will be asked while you are at the destination.
In conclusion, unlike other African countries, packing for African safari to Uganda and Rwanda is a bit unique. Due to this, visitors are encouraged to consider essential items first when packing for a trip to Rwanda or Uganda and this should be based on purpose of your travel and the kind of weather in the destination of your choice.