Uganda was famously named the Pearl of Africa by Winston Churchill and with all reason! This country and its destinations offer a fantastic combination of jungle, green valleys and tall mountains!
In the Mountains of the Moon which form part of the Rwenzori National Park, you will find the source of the river Nile and the city of Jinja which has one of the best white-water rafting channels in the world! In addition, Uganda has a substantial portion of the second largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Victoria, which overlaps with Kenya and Tanzania. When in Uganda you MUST visit the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, there you can go on a guided hike to find the endangered silverback gorillas and see them in their wild habitat. Also let’s not forget that it's an exciting time to visit this part of Africa as it has been recently reported to be the new whereabouts of the origins of the human race!
In the past, Uganda was considered as part of the Great Rift Valley, now called East African Rift, in which the African plate is in the process of splitting into two separate plates, but let’s not worry too much about this because this rupture will occur in roughly 10 million years! (remember Pangea?)
So without further ado, let's get to it!
1- BOOK AN AMAZING SAFARI!
The options are huge and I mean it! Here are some suggestions that might narrow it down:
- GORILLA TREKKING IN RWANDA AND UGANDA
- GORILLAS & RHINOS IN DEPTH
- A 7-DAY TOUR OF UGANDA WILDLIFE & APES SAFARI
- 14 DAY, A CLASSIC DISCOVERY TOUR TO UGANDA
2- VISA & REQUIREMENTS
A single entry visa is valid for three months from the date of issue. It costs $50 dollars at the entry point which will mainly be Entebbe International Airport. Fees must be paid in cash (exact amount, no change!).
Every visitor will be required to carry a passport with validity beyond 6 months and be sure to bring with a certificate of your yellow fever vaccination! Speaking of vaccinations:
3- MEDICAL PREPARATION
Every country in Africa has specific vaccination requirements. The best option for you is to go to your travel doctor and find out which shots you need to get to be covered. Be cautious and dont be lazy! Go 4-6 weeks before your trip. Make sure you are up to date with your Tetanus, Chicken Pox, Polio and your yearly flu shots. For most countries in Africa there is high risk of infection with things like food and water so be preventive!
After consulting with our travel doctor we were suggested to get the following vaccinations:
- HEPATITIS A: This vaccine is highly recommended, you can get the disease through contaminated food or water, regardless of where you are eating or staying. 43$
- MALARIA: You will need to take prescription medicine before, during and after your trip to prevent malaria. Your doctor will let you know which medicine is right for you. Most doctors recommend Malarone. There has been reports of side effects such as fever and headaches that can occur within 10 days after starting the treatment. We paid 35$ for 8 pills.
- TYPHOID FEVER: Also through contaminated food or water. This vaccine is highly recommended. 25$
- YELLOW FEVER: Is a risk in Uganda, so the vaccine is required with proof at your entry point. Since this is a common one it can be free in most care centers.
4- PACK LIGHT & BE PREPARED
Packing for an African Safari is somewhat different to any other trip you'll ever go to!
It is very probable you'll get dirtier than usual with very little chance to wash your clothes so lets get our safari mode ON and do a quick list of all the essentials!
Let’s just say this list is UNISEX!
- 4 t-shirts
- 2 long sleeve shirts
- 1 sweatshirt/fleece
- 1 pair of comfortable shorts
- 2 pairs of cotton trousers/pants
- 1 cotton wrap (great to wear during the afternoon siesta, buy locally if you can)
- 2 pairs of socks
- 4 pairs cotton underwear (you can wash and dry overnight)
- Very thin waterproof raincoat if traveling during the wet season
- Sunglasses (for the dust as well as bright sun)
- Flannel pajama pants for the chilly nights
- Hat with chin strap (to avoid it blowing off your head and into the bush)
- Lightweight, durable, waterproof hiking shoes
- Flip flops or sandals for around camp, (or to wear in the shower)
Remember that in a Safari you'll probably be constantly changing locations and moving around so be practical and travel light! God knows there's a zillion things that you feel you MUST bring with you but remember, this is a safari! Get ready to leave your books and favorite toiletries behind! We can't express this enough, travel LIGHT!
For more clothing options be sure to check out Craghoppers World Travel Clothing!
5- GEAR UP!
If you are gonna be taking photos and video, which we highly recommend you do! Don't think "well I got my phone". Instagram is great, but for a trip like this at the very least you are gonna need a basic point and shoot camera to capture this amazing adventure in stunning quality! If you are not a professional there are lots of cheap options out there with good megapixel count and semi automatic modes. However, if you are serious about photography and videography like us, then the following tips might interest you!
- Binoculars (you will be getting close to animals but for that great shot you'll want to be able to spot them from far away to be ready!)
- A Good camera. DSLR’s are the best option, but don't freak out if you see people changing lenses and such. There are plenty of lighter cameras with integrated zoom lenses and manual controls out there! We recommend anything with +12 megapixels!
- A GoPro. Fun, versatile and easy to use. Make timelapses, take photos, slow motion video and dont forget to get it wet!
- Tripod! If you have a light option then bring it with you! Nobody likes the perfect blurry shot of a zebra! Stabilize your camera if you have time! If a tripod is not an option then use any surface you can find. You'd be surprised to know how many professional photos have been taken from on top of a rock or a jeep or someones head!
- Extra Batteries. NEVER run out of juice!
- Compact flash cards! Lots and lots! Specially if you are shooting video!
- A portable hard drive. Back up your material! There are some great slim hard drives thinner than your iphone!
- Back up your gear. Your favorite lens or camera might one day fail you (usually always on the job!) So make sure you bring an extra body and another trusty lens, even if its the kit lens for those prime lens users out there. We can't stress this point enough!
The African Safari experience will change anybodys life. We'll keep you up to date and share with you all our experiences, photos and videos. We hope these tips help you on your next safari trip! Remember to like, share and subscribe for more!