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Pack These 5 Essential Items When Travelling to East Africa

Updated on July 7, 2018
centfie profile image

East Africa is a beautiful country. I have lived here for 3 decades.

East Africa consists of the following countries:

  • Kenya
  • Uganda
  • Tanzania
  • Burundi
  • Rwanda.

This is an outline of essential things which you must pack in order to enjoy your stay in these countries. Remembering to carry these items will ensure that you have fewer worries or regrets and your tour will be more memorable. The items you will carry largely depend on the type and nature of your visit, but these are essential items which you should never leave behind, whether you are visiting for business or pleasure.

This is just a simple guide to help you to come up with a checklist of the essentials. You will need to do more research concerning the weather, political climate, and disease outbreaks before travelling.

When you do decide to travel and you are considering to book a flight, or already have, remember to carry these items, or buy them when you arrive at your destination.

1.Protective attire or accessories

The ‘African sun’ can seem to be very harsh for visitors from some countries. Minimize your chances of getting a sunburned skin, or worse of, skin cancer. Focus on protecting sensitive areas of your body like the eyes, face, chest, arms, and shoulders. If you have white skin and you probably want to get a tan naturally, apply sunscreen lotion on the exposed skin before basking in the sun. The best time to enjoy the sun’s heat is during early morning hours or late in the evening when it is not too hot.

To protect your skin from direct sunlight, and the ultraviolet rays ensure that you have:

  • umbrellas
  • hats
  • sunglasses
  • sunscreen lotion


2.Bug creams/ ointments

Mosquitoes are the most prevalent insects in most parts of East Africa, although some areas are more prone to mosquitoes that cause malaria than others. The mosquitoes which cause malaria are the female Anopheles mosquitoes which mostly feed in the evening. In this regard, these items will be useful;

  • Mosquito-repellent creams
  • Mosquito-repellent lotions
  • Anti-malaria drugs (check with a doctor.)
  • Bug sprays
  • Mosquito nets

Apply mosquito-repellent cream or lotion when you are relaxing in the evening or if you are visiting an area with thick forest or marsh.

Also, make a point of sleeping under a mosquito net at night or using sprays that kill insects. In case you get mosquito bites you can use ointment which will minimize the itching. These ointments which minimize the itch of bug bites or repel bugs can be obtained in local stores or pharmacies in the countries you visit. A person who has never suffered from malaria can become very sick if they get infected. The last thing you want is to spend your vacation suffering from a preventable disease, so it is vital to take these preventive measures. You may also consult a doctor who specializes in tropical diseases (whether in your country or the country which you will visit) so that you can obtain anti-malarial treatment and professional advice about prevention of malaria and other diseases.

3.Warm cloths and light cloths

Most visitors notice the high temperature when they arrive in East African countries. However, it can get chilly sometimes, depending on the weather. However, there is no winter season (if you are escaping winter East Africa is the right place to be.) When you pack remember to include some warm attire for chilly days and some light attire for hot weather.

4.Gadgets for recording moments

Find a good camera. You would not want to miss shooting videos or taking photos of awesome scenery, people and moments that flash past you all the time. Always have extra batteries standing bye so that you do not get disappointed in the middle of a good day.

If you like to write you might want to carry a notebook or gadgets in which you can quickly note down what interests you. Other things you might want to note down could include, your daily routine and list of activities that you are scheduled to do, a few words of the native languages that you would like to remember, the name of your guides etc. Depending on how long you intend to stay, you could as well buy an English-Swahili dictionary or phrase book to aid in having conversations in Swahili, which is spoken in most of these countries.

5.Back pack

When you are exploring the terrain, it is best to be free of luggage, but sometimes you might have to carry essentials like water or snacks which cannot fit in pockets. A rack sack or backpack becomes essential because of it easier to carry during walks, mountain climbing or other outdoor activity that needs you to use legs rather than wheels.

NOTE: And do not forget your toothbrush!

© 2015 Centfie


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