What to Pack for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda?
The comprehensive gorilla trekking packing list, from boots to gloves and apparel, ensures you are as comfortable as possible during your gorilla trekking expedition.
Gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! However, in order to fully appreciate the experience, you must arrive prepared. Although Uganda has a tropical environment, the mountain gorillas reside at a high altitude, where the temperature drops dramatically at night and remains cold well into the morning. Mist and rain are typical throughout the year, and daytime hours are generally humid and cool.
Trekking with gorillas is not for the faint of heart
A gorilla journey takes you through dense tropical rainforest. So don’t expect a leisurely stroll over well-marked paths. Instead, the guides and porters hack through the woods with machetes to clear a passage for everyone.
In addition, the trails are steep and slick. You’ll have to scramble over logs and boulders, grip vines and creepers (which can be thorny), and wade over streams at times. There are also stinging nettles and insects like soldier and fire ants (their names should give you pause!).
As you can see, if you want your gorilla trekking excursion to be memorable for the right reasons, you’ll need to dress appropriately.
Here is our comprehensive selection of gorilla trekking apparel to help you pack and prepare for your trip.
We recommend that you wear long pants. It’s even better if you can get a pair that’s water-resistant. To prevent insects such as fire ants from creeping up your legs and attacking you, tuck these into your socks or boots.
A long-sleeved shirt
Long-sleeved shirts are an excellent idea to keep you warm throughout the first few hours of your walk. They also provide protection from insects, nettles, and scratching branches and vines.
Choose a neutral-colored shirt, such as khaki, green, or light brown. Bright colors should be avoided (it’s difficult to be an unobtrusive gorilla observer in a neon pink parka). Blue and black are also not recommended because, believe it or not, they might attract insects such as tsetse flies.
Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots
A solid pair of hiking boots is one of the most critical parts of gorilla trekking clothing. This is not a trek you want to attempt in your sneakers or sandals. The routes are muddy and slippery, and trekking requires strong traction. Hiking boots support your ankles, provide balance and stability, and keep you safe from thorns and insects. You should buy and wear your boots ahead of time so that you don’t end up with sore or blistered feet on the walk.
During the freezing early morning start of the walk, a nice pair of thick socks will keep you warm. Tuck your trouser ends into your socks as well. This keeps insects from creeping up your legs while hiking, as well as provides additional protection from stinging nettles.
We recommend bringing gardening gloves with you. Yes, you read that correctly. This is, in fact, one of the most critical items in your gorilla trekking gear. Gardening gloves are usually made to protect your hands from thorns, which is exactly what you’ll need on a gorilla climb. To aid yourself up or down the mountainside, you must frequently grasp hold of branches and vines.
A lightweight rain jacket or poncho
In southwest Uganda, rain falls throughout the year, with showers most common in the morning. While trekking, a lightweight rain jacket or poncho will keep you dry and comfortable.
A wide-brim hat
On a gorilla trek, you won’t constantly be walking under trees, and when the morning mist clears, you’ll need a hat. Keep in mind that you’re at a high altitude, thus the sun is brighter.
Furthermore, a hat not only shields you from the heat, but it also shields you from rain and stray or flicking branches. You also have fewer leaves and twigs in your hair when you return to base.
You should shield your skin from the sun, which is related to the previous point. Around midday, the rays can be very harsh (remember the altitude?). If you’ve followed our recommendations, the majority of your body will be protected, but your face will require a squirt of sunscreen. We also recommend keeping a sunscreen stick in your backpack so you can reapply it as needed (gorilla treks are sweaty affairs, given the high humidity of the rainforest).
Have you noticed how much we talk about insects? Insects abound in the rainforest, so bringing an insect repellent like RID or a citronella-based repellent is a smart option to keep your walk comfortable. Keep some in your backpack in case you need to reapply.
Please bring a reusable water bottle filled with water with you. Perhaps a tiny bottle of water flavored with a rehydration mix as well. As previously said, you may anticipate to sweat a lot during the walk, and your electrolytes may become depleted. It’s best if you drink a lot of water. If you’re concerned about the weight, keep in mind that porters are available to carry your luggage and assist you along the way.
These days, a phone’s camera is usually adequate, but if you have a better camera, we recommend taking it with you to capture these once-in-a-lifetime events. The night before, make sure your phone or camera battery is fully charged. If your camera is battery-powered, we recommend bringing a spare battery with you.
Also, before going to Uganda, make sure you have all of the essential charging cords (as well as an international adaptor, if necessary). You don’t want to be standing in your hotel room furious about a dead camera in the middle of your trip.
Malaria prevention medication
Malaria is a serious problem in Uganda. Consult your local doctor or a travel clinic to choose the best prophylaxis for you. Malarone and doxycycline are the most prevalent.
Do you still have unanswered questions after reading this blog post? Please contact us and we will gladly assist you in any manner we can.