Heading to Uganda and wondering what to pack? Here’s what I’m bringing on my three month trip to Kampala and Jinja. Hopefully this Uganda Packing List will make it a breeze for you to prepare for you trip.
Say what? If you’re surprised to hear this news from me, here’s a little backstory.
Recently my boyfriend and I have added some new destinations to our travel itinerary. Christian got a job as a global health coordinator working with teams in Indianapolis Indiana where we currently live and Uganda. In his role, he travels back and forth several times spending about half of the year between Kampala and Jinja, and half of the year in Indiana. I get to join him on his next trip to Uganda (and hopefully many others). We will be there from October through December, what is considered the rainy season there.
Anyway, I’m sharing what I’m packing and hope to provide updates and modifications after my trip ends.
|Passport/ID||Yellow Fever Vaccination|
|Credit Cards||Copies of Documents|
|Visa application copy||Cash (many places don’t accept |
credit cards and you’ll definitely
need to have Ugandan shillings on you)
Uganda is a country that has malaria infected mosquitos and you’ll need to prepare accordingly. Make an appointment with your doctor or a local travel clinic to get an anti-malaria prescription. If you’ll be there for a while, or want to dive in to the local food scene and frequent restaurants off the beaten path, I’d also recommend getting some anti-diarrheal medications for the inevitable.
If you live in the US, prescriptions can come with quite a price tag – but they’re really always worth it. Download the app Good RX and see if there are any coupons for the meds you need – I was able to save literally hundreds of dollars on the meds I purchased which meant I could afford a much better type of malarial medication than I otherwise could pay for out of pocket.
I’ve gotten Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) before while traveling and they’re incredible uncomfortable. If your stay is more than a week or two and you know you’re prone to them, ask your gynecologist to write you a prescription so you have antibiotics on hand should you need them.
|Mosquito gear (Spray, wipes)||Anti-malarial meds|
|Ear plugs||Travelers diarrhea meds|
|Whistle – for hiking/safety||Protein powder (for vegans or |
vegetarians as meat is the primary protein)
|Tennis ball – for rolling out |
|*Mosquito nets if your |
accommodations don’t provide
|Any other prescriptions you have|
|After bite ointment|
There are several studios in Kampala and it’s always nice to have a mat for working out, yoga or otherwise!
|Small board games/card games||Books|
|Audio books/podcasts |
|Quick dry towel||Nail clippers|
|Razor handle & blade replacements||Shampoo & Conditioner bars|
|Tweezers||Cleansing oil/Makeup remover|
|Reusable Q Tip||Chapstick|
|Hand Sanitizer||TP wipes|
|Empty Spray Bottle for essential oil||Essential Oils (lavender, tea tree)|
What to wear in Uganda
If you’ve never been to Uganda you might be at a loss for what clothes to pack or what’s appropriate to wear. The women here dress somewhat similarly to the United States (at least in the city) on an average day, though most are a bit dressier than I might typically be.
At the Bushpig hostel where we’re staying, the female staff wear jeans and the Bushpig t-shirt to work or jeans/slacks and a blouse, sometimes with a leather jacket or a blazer. Sandals, slip on shoes, or ballet flats are common. At work it’s more formal, with most women wearing skirts and a blouse, or a work dress. The women tend to be on the curvier side so while the skirts are always knee-length or longer, it’s not uncommon for the skirts and dresses to be very form fitted. This is especially so with night-wear when going out to clubs or for nice dinners.
During the morning and evening hours mosquitos can be a major nuisance so most people wear long sleeves or long pants even though it’s typically quite warm. Short sleeve shirts and tanks are fine to wear though – just make sure you cover up with bug spray! In areas like Jinja or Tororo where the malaria rates are higher and mosquitos are worse you might want to keep more covered to avoid any bites.
On the whole, fabrics are a bit more colorful and bright patterned dressed, skirts, or blouses are popular (a bit of a change from my daily black attire). You don’t see many people with messy hair or makeup though, and bright lipstick is a popular accessory.
What clothes you choose to pack for Uganda will depend on where you’re staying and what you plan to be doing. If you’re working, or going out to fancier places often, consider bringing some more formal attire to blend in. However, if you’re living at the hostel like myself or doing a lot of adventure hiking, joggers and tshirts will be fine.
Note that while wearing tight fitting pants isn’t hugely inappropriate, you may attract a lot more attention from the males in leggings, especially if you’re a solo female traveler, or walking after dark. Plan accordingly.
|Underwear (10 pairs)||Socks (3)|
|Rain jacket (2) – heavy duty, & |
|Shorts (1)||Bras (5) – 2 sports, 1 bralette, 2 cups|
|Tank tops (3)||T shirts (5)|
|Skirt (1)||Flip flops and/or shower shoes (1)|
|Hiking shoes (1)||sandals (1)|
|Dress shoes (1)||Leggings (1)|
|Walking Shoes (2)||cardigan/sweater (2)|
The extra flash drives prevent you from running out of room for photos and videos. There are also places in the city where you can download tv shows and movies to your flash-drive in lieu of streaming Netflix or Youtube.
|Laptop & Charger||Waterproof Bag (2)|
|Phone & Charger||GoPro & Charger|
|Outlet adaptor (type G)||Extra Flash Drives|
|Power plug converter (Uganda |
standard voltage is 240 V & 50 Hz)
|Medicine Bag||Makeup Bag|
|Day Back/Backpack||Tote bag|
|Water Bottle||Mesh produce bags|
|Reusable Straws||Life Straw (for filtering water)|
Uganda Packing List – Special Notes
- Extra tote bags are easy to roll up, take up virtually no space, and are SO useful upon arrival! They also helps you be more a sustainable traveler by reducing your plastic intake when shopping.
- My day bag is my personal item on the plane. It’s a smaller day backpack which I wear on the front with my valuables, so I can rest my arms on it and keep it in sight at all times.
- I bring a small bag for medicine, makeup, and my tech supplies. The more you separate your items into (logical) compartments the easier it is to pull something specific out of your backpack without making a complete mess.
- I have an IUD and no longer get my period, so I don’t have to include menstrual products. However, you should absolutely add this to your list if you get your period.
- I packed a lot more shoes than I normally would because we’re staying for so long and we’re in the same hostel for nearly the entire time. If I was moving around more often or visiting for a shorter time I wouldn’t have so many duplicates (like hiking shoes and tennis shoes, or sandals, flip flops, AND slip on shoes).
- It’s rainy season this visit so I wanted to bring both rain jackets, especially because my lightweight one can easily fold up into my purse or day bag taking up very little space.