What to wear on Safari in Uganda and Rwanda

Posted by on November 29, 2015

What to wear on Safari in Uganda and Rwanda – Best Advice

Keep it simple – Plain and Practical for your comfort while on Safari in Uganda and Rwanda

A difference between Uganda – Rwanda and other countries in Africa is the location – though located on the What to wear on Safari in Uganda and Rwandaequator – Uganda is higher in elevation than most countries and more bio-diverse.

Rwanda is located in what could call the Highlands of Africa and like Uganda is different in what is needed for Safari clothing since in Rwanda there is only one Savannah Park while all other parks are parts of montane forests, volcano foothills and rolling hills.

Both in Uganda and Rwanda it is about Gorilla – chimpanzee and other primate Trekking

In both countries you can hike and climb, mountain bike and not your typical African Wildlife Game Park.
There are the savannas in Uganda and Rwanda as in other African Locations but there are more Rainforests, Jungle, Mountains, Lakes and Rivers.

The list of what to wear on Safari in Uganda and Rwanda should fit the activities that you take part in while  Primate Trekking, Volcano Climbinh, Mountain Climbing, Hiking, Biking, Horseback Riding or Birding.

The list of clothing below is for most Wildlife, Primate, and Birding Safaris in Uganda and Rwanda including things not to wear on an African Safari in Uganda and Rwanda.

What to wear on Safari in Uganda and Rwanda – Clothing – Shoes – hat and what to leave Home

 wide-brimmed-safari-hatWide-Brimmed Safari Hat

A wide-brimmed Safari Hat comes in handy for blocking out the Tropical Sun especially if you are going on Walking Safari or Horseback Riding Safari.You will always find it useful on gorilla, chimpanzee treks, forest walks, boating on Lake Kivu, Lake Victoria, Lake Bunyonyi or Lake Mutanda.

A wide-brimmed safari hat will also be most useful while on a fishing Safari in Uganda in Murchison Falls along the Nile.

Hats can be bought in your home-country and you can wear it on the trip here or you ban buy one in Uganda or Rwanda for your safari and take it home. Many hats made here are from local materials and have that African Adventure touch to them.

 no-bright-colors-pleaseLeave the Brightly Colored Clothing at Home:

You are going on an African Adventure Safari and not on a cruise in Caribbean or for a time in Hawaii.

This is Africa where colors abound and are seen in flowers and birds of every hue – no help needed and wildlife do not take kindly to  such clothing.

Brightly colored clothing on the savannah attracts tsetse flies and they are a pesky bunch – especially if the color blue is worn. There have been no cases of sleeping sickness reported in recent years, however the bite of a Tsetse fly in painful as they suck blood out of you.

Same with bright colors at night when mosquitoes are on the prowl…stick Tans, Browns, Greens – in Africa while on a safari in Uganda or Rwanda stick to neutral colors – you will attract less pestering insects.

 no-camouflage-clothingNo Camouflage clothing for an African Safari:

Bring your civilian clothes and leave your camouflage clothing at home. Wearing any semblance of military clothing in most part of Africa including Uganda and Rwanda is a bad idea.

Recently a Ugandan newspaper printed an edict from the Government regarding unauthorized wear of military clothing and that included entertainers wearing such clothing unless authorized by the government.

You will see enough uniforms in both countries – police, military, even wildlife rangers – leave your camouflage clothing at home. If you are on a family safari with young children, they will be tolerated, but for their protection put neutral color clothing on the children.

no-Bwana-outfitsNo Bwana Big Hunter Outfits:

Pith Helmets and big hunter outfits are long gone in Africa – it is the day of the conservationist in Africa – today hunting for big game still exists in places – we only do the kind of safari where the only shooting is done with a camera and the only thing we take are memories and the only thing we leave behind are footprints.
Bwana Big Hunter Outfits or its replicas are simply out. Wear sensible clothing in Africa while on Safari – you will be glad you did.

Take a look as to what your safari guide wears, sensible clothing-also the Rangers in Uganda will most often wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirt for protection from nettles, scratches from thorns and branches, but the only ones with the Bwana Oufits will be Westerners.

wear-comfortable-clothingMake sure that your clothing is comfortable and not too tight:

The key word to your safari clothing is comfort and one could add protection.  Though you will be in a tropical climate in both Uganda and Rwanda – the right clothing will protect you.

Loose and comfortable clothing on a safari, on a gorilla trek or hike is important.

Long-sleeved shirts and long trousers such as jeans are best for you to protect against scratches, insects bites and even nettles.

Shorts are great around the lodge jn  the day-time, but on a nature walk or hike – loose fitting, long-sleeved shirts and long trousers are best for you and that includes dinner at night.

 Safari-ShortsSafari Shorts:

Safari Shorts are great on things such as game drives, long trousers are best however when you get out of the vehicle for protection against scratches, insect bites and nettles and rarely seen snakes.

Comfortable Khaki shorts are great for manyday-time activities on safari tht do not include getting out of the vehicle for a nature walk, hike, boat safari as the one going up the Nile at Murchison Falls Park.

  • however do not forget to spay exposed skin and legs with a good insect repellent.

The key to clothing on a safari is comfort plus protection.

Neutral-ColorsNeutral Colors for your Safari clothing:

Neutral colors are best while on safari in Uganda or Rwanda.  The color blue in regards to shirts and tops should not be worn while in a Savannah Park.

Blue attracts the pesky Tsetse flies.  There have not been cases of sleeping sickness in recent times in Rwanda or Uganda – however Tsetse flies can be annoying – stick to neutral colored clothing.

Neutral colors may not be the most fashionable but they provide the best protection.

Blue Jeans are fine and actually a good choice since they are sturdy and do not show dirt as much.

 Water-Proof-Hiking-Boots-for-Gorilla-trekSturdy Shoes – Boots for your Safari:

Forget sneakers – unless you wear them around the lodge – flip-flops are not worn in Rwanda as a measure to protect people against Jiggers.

If you are going on a gorilla trek or chimpanzee spotting adventure – you will need a good pair of hiking boots for your protection, for traction and more.

Sturdy footwear is most recommended for your safari and waterproof hiking boots are the best protection for you while hiking, trekking or climbing.

For Gorilla Trekking, Chimpanzee Trekking, Volcano, Rwenzori Mountain Hikes – a good pair of boots is the right footwear.

 Safari-Rain-JacketSafari Rain Jacket:

A rain jacket will come in most handy on Gorilla or chimpanzee Treks in Rwanda  or Uganda.  You will have the tropical sun but you are also venturing into the rainforests and a light rain jacket can come in most handy to protect you against the rain.

You can also use a poncho which will protect you equally well against the rain.

You may come here during our dry season but it still rains in the rain forests, it is a rainforest and even during the dry season you might have some early morning or night rain.

 cotton-underwearCotton Underwear:

Pack cotton underwear which is most comfortable, along with cotton sock.

Laundry Service is available at most lodges – however it is recommended that you wash your own underwear since there is a cultural taboo about washing someone elses underwear.

You can purchase a small packet of detergent like Omo and normally the things dry overnight in your room,  Cotton underwear is also the most comfortable for safari wear.


Bring a daypack for your nature walks – gorilla treks – chimpanzee treks.  You can fit all the things you will need for the hike or for the day.

You can also pack your rain jacket or poncho in it, drinking water for the occasion, your packed lunch and more.

A waterproof daypack would be best if you are packing some ph0tography gear.

Many use the daypack as a carry-on while on the plane coming to Uganda or Rwanda.

things-to-leave-at-homeThings to leave at Home:

There are things to leave at home – Business Suit unless you are combing a business trip with your safari.

Mini-Skirts – not recommended in Uganda or Rwanda during the day.

Do bring a nice dress, or slacks and shirts for those special occasions.  Leave your fancy jewelry at home and buy some locally made jewelry.

Most over-pack their suitcases – best advice – leave the kitchen sink at home.

Pack light and simply for the occasion.

What to wear on Safari in Uganda and Rwanda that takes in Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda

is considerably higher up, cooler at night in the mornings and there is often a mist over the ancient Forest, hence the phrase – Gorillas in the mist)

  • Light Rain Jacket
  • Backpack for lunch and for water – and anything else ( 2 liters of bottled water recommended)
  • Extra Batteries for picture-taking – some camps do not have electricity such as Nkuringo Gorilla Camp except in two cottages. (great place and you will not even think about electricity – it is about location and scenic views.
  • Boots that can go through some muddy trails.
  • Long Trousers
  • Long sleeved Shirt
  • Some People bring Garden Gloves to pull themselves on branches or vines. ( there can also be some pesky nettles).
  • You can bring a walking stick if you have one at home, here it comes in handy, or you can get a local one while Tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
  • Do not forget to take along a packed lunch.

Nearly the same would apply for Chimpanzee Tracking – it is however a bit warmer – but long-sleeved shirts are great. While hiking at Bigodi Wetlands you can rent Gum-boots.

Foothill Hike in the Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon and Volcano Climbing or hiking at Mgahinga Gorilla Park such at Batwa Forest Trail, Border Trail and Golden Monkey Tracking.

  • All the above are day hikes and your clothing and equipment needs are very different from the 6-8 days of Climbing the Rwenzori Mountains or the 4 day climb of Mount Elgon
  • You will need a light rain jacket (if it rains – it does not last long)
  • Hiking Boots is a must
  • Long Sleeved shirts
  • Long Trousers – for Rwenzori Foothill Hikes – comfortable Shorts are fine but not for Volcano Climbing in Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
  • Walking Sticks are nice – you can always get a local one.
  • Backpack
  • 2 liters of bottled water and a packed lunch
  • for volcano Climbing those Garden Gloves can come in handy.

What to wear on Safari in Uganda and Rwanda It does not matter whether you have the latest Brand Names, just functional and comfortable clothing that will keep you comfortable on Safari. Remember to pack it light and most of the above clothing is easy to wash and easily dried. Enjoy your African Safari in Uganda and Rwanda

If you have question as to What to wear on Safari in Uganda and Rwanda for your safari with us – please contact us.