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Practical Travel Tips

Travel tips for Uganda & Rwanda

Following health tips during Uganda and Rwanda safaris safeguard tourists from getting sick but this doesn’t mean that you will become sick when you visit Uganda or Rwanda. Whether you visit a European or African country from another continent, there are high chances that you will become sick for a number of reasons including the new environment itself. The following are the health tips for Uganda-Rwanda safaris;

Getting immunized

Being immunized is one of the important health tips for Uganda-Rwanda safaris and for Uganda and Rwanda, a Yellow Fever immunization certificate is required prior to entering the borders of the country. Besides yellow fever, other diseases you need to immunize against are Typhoid, Hepatitis A and B, Meningococcal Meningitis, and Rabies although they are not compulsory.

Prevent Malaria

Malaria has always been a big threat to tourists visiting most African countries with Uganda or Rwanda inclusive. However, areas of high elevation (over 3000 meters above sea level) are free from malaria-causing mosquitoes. Most Safari Lodges and hotels in mosquito-prone areas in Uganda and Rwanda offer insecticide-treated mosquito nets but you can personally prevent malaria by using anti-malarial medicines like Malarone, Mefloquine, Larium, and Doxycycline. Wearing long-sleeved shirts/tops, trousers, and neutral colors will protect you from being bitten by mosquitoes.

Bilharzia prevention

Some Lakes and Ponds in Uganda are infected with Bilharzia-causing snails and thus it’s important to avoid swimming or bathing in Lakes but instead do it from Lodge and hotel swimming pools.

Avoid drinking tap water

Another health rip for Uganda safaris is to avoid drinking and even brushing teeth with tap water. Also, avoid ice cubes and locally packed juice that are made with un-boiled water. Therefore opt for bottled water for drinking and brushing teeth, which is usually offered to tourists during the safaris.

Pay attention to travelers’ diarrhea.

Travelers’ diarrhea is one of the commonest sicknesses for tourists undertaking safaris to Uganda and Africa in general and to avoid this, travelers are advised to eat hot food and avoid eating street foods. Avoid street salads and fruits but instead, opt for the ones prepared and served in Safari Lodges because these facilities usually follow strict food handling procedures.

Sunburn prevention

First-time tourists to Uganda usually experience sunburns resulting from the scorching equatorial sunshine and to prevent these burns, it’s advisable to carry and wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses to protect the head, skin, and eyes from the sunshine. Also, make sure to have lotion at all times.

Packing a first-aid kit

First-aid kits are important for Uganda safaris and should have plasters, bandages, anti-malarial drugs, liniment, and anti-vomits among others.

Purchase travel insurance

Additional protection through travel insurance is also an important health tip for Uganda safaris because you never know when calamity strikes. You can fall and get injured while hiking for instance or even in the bathrooms but once you are insured, the insurance companies will cover you during such incidences.

Ensuring physical fitness

Ensuring basic physical fitness before the safari will make it a little easier to participate in physically demanding activities such as gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking, mountain/volcano/hill climbing, mountain biking, and golden monkey tracking among others.

Gorilla trekking tips

With gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda, the visitors should be at a trekking point at 7:00 am for gorilla briefing that will provide you with the guidelines or rules to follow during trekking of mountain gorillas. With Rwanda and Uganda, once you miss the briefing, you don’t take part in the trekking. The visitor has got the choice to decide which group of gorillas they would like to visit. Each group is associated with an easy, medium, or tiring hike, so it depends on your physical ability. A group of 8 members per day is able to visit each gorilla group in Rwanda or Uganda for only 1 hour. Gorilla trekking starts in the morning and ranges from one to eight hours of hiking depending on the movement of a specific gorilla family.

Rwanda and Uganda Gorilla trekking rules include;

Following the guide’s instructions! The guide leads the visits to the gorillas every single day and is also familiar with the gorilla environment.

  • Always keep with the group since you can easily get lost in the jungle. The group moves at the pace of the slowest person. When in the presence of the mountain gorillas, don’t disperse to get a better view, always stick to your group at all times.
  • Don’t trek mountain gorillas when you are sick. Inform your park warden and you will be refunded your money for the gorilla permit.
  • Don’t leave rubbish in the forest. The gorillas are very much vulnerable to human infection. It’s also necessary that you trek out anything that you brought in.
  • Always don’t make noise when with the mountain gorillas since this irritates them.
  • Always keep a safe distance from the mountain gorillas to avoid disease transmission. Gorillas can easily die from human diseases as they have no immunity to human transmitted infections.
  • Don’t try to touch or hold eye contact with the mountain gorillas. They are wild animals and can easily reach back.
  • You are not supposed to use flashes at any point in the trekking experience. The flashlight can make the gorillas feel threatened and can cause them to become violent.
  • The trekkers are recommended to wear long-sleeved cotton and long pants to the fact that the forest is full of thorny plants. Also, carry garden gloves to protect your fingers when trying to hold onto the vegetation for support.

What to wear for a gorilla trek in Rwanda and Rwanda;

When planning for your trekking safaris to see the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, Bwindi National Park, and Mgahinga National Park, we advise you to come up with a few things that are so useful for you to have the best experience that involves trekking / Hiking of mountain gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda. Below is the list of vital clothing needed for the trek;

  • Have a small backpack for carrying water, packed lunch, camera, and binoculars.
  • You also need lightweight hiking boots for the activity/ strong waterproof walking boots good for the nature and altitude of the forest.
  • Take a light jumper and a lightweight breathable waterproof jacket/ trousers as the temperature is variable and weather conditions can change.
  • Always have lightweight long wool socks which are comfortable for a mountain tropical forest
  • Carry a few long-sleeved shirts/ trousers. Always ensure that you trek in your long-sleeved trousers/ shirts to avoid insects like safari ants entering your trousers.
  • Sweater for cool evenings as well as the chilly mornings due to the nature and altitude of the place
  • Bush hat with a brim for sun protection. Always carry a hat to protect you from the strong sun rays.
  • You also need to carry sunglasses, sun cream, to help with the strong sun rays.
  • You will also need a video/photo camera, extra lenses, and reserved batteries.
  • The films and torch Led models that are light in weight and have good battery life.
  • Insect repellents to protect you from mosquito bites as well as garden gloves to protect your hands from sharp edges
  • Lastly, porters are so vital during any trek and these will give you support when the slopes become steep.
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