This page is a response to the numerous emails I receive asking about Mountain hiking in Uganda ... and particularly what to bring for a hike.
... But whichever you decide to do, Mountain hiking in Uganda can be quite challenging ... perhaps not that exhausting as you would imagine. There is just a lot to see and do that spice up your hike. Take for instance, Mountain Elgon and Mountain Rwenzori are part of National Game Parks in Uganda which therefore give you opportunity to watch the wildlife as you go about your trek.
And the one thing for sure about mountain hiking in Uganda - and probably everywhere else, once the thrill and excitement kicks in, you will yearn for that moment when you conquer that highest peak.
Some of what you put into your bag will be individual / personal requirements - stuff you can't do without; your medication, any items with a special attachment etc ... Put these in the bag first.
Moving on to the essential for mountain hiking in Uganda;
For starters, stock up with enough equipment and supplies - once the rubber hits the road, you will not have opportunity to restock. You will only survive on what you will have brought with you. You might be able to hire some essential climbing gear at the trailheads ... but you're probably better off not relying so much on this - unless of course the equipment is quite heavy!
Warm clothing and a decent 4-season sleeping bag are essential. It can be, and it's indeed chilly and wet out there. At 3000m - 4000m, you dare not underestimate the equatorial chill. Have a good raincoat, waterproof over trousers, a woollen hat (one of those good winter ones will do) and have some plastic bags (very often they come in handy especially if you have to separate the wet and dry cloths in your rucksack).
... And yes! did I just say rucksack? ... or is this one of the very obvious! Have a good durable one that can stand tuff conditions . Not one that will lose all its straps halfway into the trek. There are some good brands out there.
Bring plenty of snacks and sweets. A few bars of chocolate would do but I doubt if they would survive the heat before you get to the cool heights - you might end up with everything covered in chocolate!
Depending on how high you plan to go, you will need proper walking/hiking boots - quite essential for mountain hiking in Uganda! and for the boggy valleys, walking gumboots are preferable. Sun glasses of course, sun cream, lip salve and a flash light.
Lest you forget! First in the bag should be the camera - You don't want to miss out on those 'kodak moments'. Bring loads of films or if you are using the modern digital ones, then have lots of storage space, flash disks etc ...
If you turn up and your rucksack is quite heavy, porters can be hired to carry your backpack up the ranges and back. Unfortunately they will only do a maximum of 15kg to 18kg and you will have the rest. So find ways of light travelling.
For the anglers, you might get chance to do some sport fishing - say at the Sipi falls in Mt Elgon National Park. It's wise to bring your own fishing equipment.
Cycling too can be exciting. There might be cycling trails organised. There is one at Mt Elgon that starts at the Sipi trading centre - quite adventurous! Bikes can be hired at the Sipi River Lodge ... but just incase ... you can come along with one of those light ones that can fold away easily.
... And here is something you could easily laugh about but could turn out to ruin your memorable mountain hike; Charge your camera and phone at every opportunity - It can be annoying that just when you see that thrilling moment/ view, the camera shuts down! ... take caution!
I hope you have a lovely time and let me know how your mountain hiking in Uganda goes.
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