What to wear on Safari in Uganda and Rwanda

Posted by on June 20, 2018

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

Being Practical:  What to wear on Safari in Uganda and Rwanda. What you are going to wear determines what you are going pack for your safari in Uganda and Rwanda. You are going on an experiential Adventure in the Wild of Africa, so you dress and pack for the occasion, just like you would for a trip


to New York, London, Berlin, or Paris. Packing is


determined by what you are going to wear. 

In Kampala – Kigali, Entebbe and even Jinja it is about dressing smart, on Safari it is about packing and dressing wisely and smart, the smart here is about your protection against insects, thorns, nettles, pesky branches, soldier ants.  Yes, you are in equatorial Africa, yes it is warm and sunny, however dressing for your safari is about your comfort and well-being and we know what kind of clothing works best for you.

Dress right for your Safari

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

Rwanda is located in what one 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.

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 kind of Safari.
There are the savannas in Uganda and Rwanda as in other African Locations but there are more Rainforests, Jungles, 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 here such as Primate Trekking, Volcano Climbing, 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 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 a 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 can buy one in Uganda or Rwanda for your safari and take it home. Many hats here are made from local materials and have that African Adventure touch to them.

Safari Hats are for your comfort and well-being.

  Leave the Camouflage and Brightly Colored Clothing at Home:

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.  In Uganda it i no longer allowed.

Leave your brightly colored Hawaiian Shirts, bright blues, black, vibrant colored clothes at home.  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 is painful as they suck the blood out of you.

Same with bright colors at night when mosquitoes are on the prowl…stick to Tans, Browns, Greens – in Africa while on a safari in Uganda or Rwanda stick to neutral colors – you will attract less pestering insects. (Ironically in Uganda – fatigues and military wear have become quite popular with younger women in 2017.)

 Make sure that your Clothing is comfortable and not too tight:

The key word to your safari clothing is the 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.

See what the rangers wear – long trousers, long-sleeved shirts-no shorts – the only ones you will be seeing wearing shorts are school-boys shorts are great around the lodge in  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, especially if you are eating outside.

 Neutral Colors for your Safari clothing:

Neutral colors are best while on safari in Uganda or Rwanda.  The color blue when it comes to shirts and tops should not be worn while in a Savanna 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.

Wear no white while on a nature walk or hike – it will be red-brown with dust.

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 Khaki trousers do.

Stick with Neutral Colors

 Sturdy 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 except inside of hotel going to Pool.

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 your ankles for you while hiking, trekking or climbing.

Please note – Rangers wear most Wellies – Rubber Boots – easy to clean, protection including against the especially rare snake bite.  (no client has ever been bitten by one, few have seen one, except a python on the road.

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

  Safari Rain Jacket or Poncho:

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 – in the mornings in Gorilla Trekking, Volcano Hiking, and the Rwenzori Mountain Foothills you have that morning mist which can be accompanied by a light drizzle.

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.

 Sweater for cold Mornings and Nights in the Highlands:

Yes, a sweater in the heart of Africa. It will come in handy during the cold evenings and nights in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga National Park, the Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Mount Elgon National Park.

In  Rwanda, you will need one around Volcanoes National Park. A sweater simply takes the chill off of a cold evening or morning.

Most do not pack a sweater or sweatshirt for their safari, only to regret it once that they feel cold here in Uganda or Rwanda.

Some even wear it at beginning of their hike and put it into their daypack once the sun’s rays have heated things up a bit.

Sweater or Sweatshirt for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla Park, Mount Elgon Park

 Wear effective Insect Repellent – that actually works:

RID Insect repellent in various forms, the good news is that it actually works against mosquitoes and tsetse flies.

The Bad news is that you cannot buy in North America.  It is an Australian Product that has been used since 1956.  It has won many tests against other insect repellents.

Clients of ours have brought it to Uganda and Rwanda for years and once again – it actually works.

Read more about insect repellents by clicking on the above link.  RID insect repellent receives high praises in being effective against both Mosquitoes and Tsetse Flies.  There are no Zika carrying mosquitoes in Uganda or Rwanda, though the Zika Virus was discovered many years ago in the Zika Forest in Uganda near Entebbe airport – the strain found in the US and South America is different from the one discovered here.


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 photography gear.

Use the daypack even on game drives and put the essential items you will be needed.  A Daypack is one of the best items to have with you on Safari.

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


Most will benefit from a good pair of sunglasses being in the tropics, especially out in the savanna on a game drive.

Personal note:  Never wore sunglasses in Africa since 1992, I felt that they interfered with what was before me.

Others will find them soothing, take them off in the presence of gorillas, chimpanzees, birding, water safari and nature walks when you encounter wildlife.

For most sunglasses are a must on a Safari in Equatorial Africa.  We do get a lot of sunshine, especially in Uganda, though temperatures are quite tolerable.

Many Tour-Guides highly recommend sunglasses to our clients and they put on theirs to find soothing relief from the strong Equatorial African Sun.

Sunglasses a must on your Safari

  What to wear and Bring Gorilla – Chimpanzee Trekking – Volcano Climbing – Hiking 

The Clothing, boots, hat are the same as for Gorilla Trekking, however, there are a few more to things to add-on to make Gorilla Trekking, Chimpanzee Trekking, Golden Monkey Trekking, Hikes, Climbs more comfortable that you do not need for a safari without Primate Trekking.

Protection is key on Treks, Hikes, Climbs.  When you are Gorilla Trekking you are literally off of the beaten path, often there is no path except what rangers hack out the morning of the Trek.  There are thorns, nettles, brush that can tear your skin, ants, flies and other critters that can make you miserable unless you wear the right stuff. – be sure to check out the page.

What to wear Chimpanzee Trekking

What to wear while Hiking and Climbing such as in the Rwenzori Foothills and Volcano Climbing

What children should wear on a Safari

What to wear in towns such as Kampala – Entebbe, and Kigali – if you spend a few days there last

 Luggage – Plan B for your Safari:

It does happen, most of the time it does not, lost luggage.  Here is a simple way to prepare for plan B.

What do you wear for a gorilla trek while your luggage is lost or missing, how do you prepare for such an occasion.

Here are some proven suggestions that work, have worked in the past and the safari went on in spite of lost, missing luggage.

In all cases, it arrived within 24 to 48 hours and we reunited you with your belongings for the rest of your time on safari.

In Case of Lost Luggage – Be Prepared.- we have a Plan B and no one has missed out on Gorilla Trekking or any other Safari activity

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

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