Uganda Packing List – Essentials You Can’t Forget

Photo of a woman sitting next to her backpack, after consulting my Uganda packing list.

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. 

Important Documents

Passport/IDYellow Fever Vaccination
Credit CardsCopies of Documents
Visa application copyCash (many places don’t accept
credit cards and you’ll definitely
need to have Ugandan shillings on you)

Medications/Health

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 plugsTravelers diarrhea meds
BandagesIbuprofen/tylenol
OintmentVitamins
Whistle – for hiking/safetyProtein powder (for vegans or
vegetarians as meat is the primary protein)
Tennis ball – for rolling out
muscle knots
UTI meds
*Mosquito nets if your
accommodations don’t provide
them
Any other prescriptions you have
After bite ointment

Entertainment

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 gamesBooks
HeadphonesJournals
Yoga MatPens
Audio books/podcasts
(pre-downloaded)

Hygiene

ToothbrushWashcloth
Toothpaste tabsFloss
Quick dry towelNail clippers
Razor handle & blade replacementsShampoo & Conditioner bars
HairburshSunscreen
DeodorantMakeup
TweezersCleansing oil/Makeup remover
Nail fileTissues
Reusable Q TipChapstick
Hand SanitizerTP wipes
Empty Spray Bottle for essential oilEssential 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.

Clothing

Underwear (10 pairs)Socks (3)
Rain jacket (2) – heavy duty, &
lightweight foldable
Pants/joggers (3)
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)

Technology

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 & ChargerWaterproof Bag (2)
Phone & ChargerGoPro & Charger
Outlet adaptor (type G)Extra Flash Drives
Power plug converter (Uganda
standard voltage is 240 V & 50 Hz)

Miscellaneous

BAGS

Suitcase/backpackPacking cubes
Medicine BagMakeup Bag
Tech BagPurse
Day Back/BackpackTote bag

ECO-FRIENDLY GEAR

TupperwareSpork
Water BottleMesh produce bags
Reusable StrawsLife Straw (for filtering water)

Uganda Packing ListSpecial 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.
The ultimate Uganda Packing List with all the essentials you can\'t forget, for any length of trip. Hygiene, clothing, medicine, important documents, entertainment, eco-friendly items, and more. Also includes information on what to wear in Uganda.
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