What To Pack For a Gorilla Trekking Safari
It’s great to know that you’ve put together a gorilla trekking safari. Otherwise, that’s why you’re here to find out what trekking gear you should pack for your trip. If you haven’t put together a trip, check out some of our recommended ones that can be customised to your liking and travel budget.
What to pack for a gorilla trekking safari is not a detailed list that should send you panicking and calling all your travel friends. They’re just a few items in addition to what you usually included in your travel luggage. You need to watch out for your protection from unfamiliar hush weather conditions, COVID-19 SOPs, photography gear, and a couple of other non-essential staff.
The Gorilla Trekking Safari Packing List
Here’s a quick look at the list
- Facemask & Sanitizer
- Hiking Boots.
- A Pair of Gaiters
- Hiking Gloves
- Waterproof Jacket
- Long-Sleeved Shirt/Blouse
- Hiking Pants/Trousers
- Energy Snacks
- Cameras and Extra Batteries
- Pair of Binoculars.
- Light Backpack
Face-mask & Sanitiser
You’re most probably travelling post-COVID-19 and have noticed how the world responds to protection against the deadly disease. It’s no different from trekking in the gorilla sanctuary.
In addition to other SOPs, a facemask is mandatory when visiting with the mountain gorillas. Because gorillas are easily susceptible to human diseases, you’ll be required to wear a facemask at the briefing point, remove the mask while trekking, wear a fresh facemask when with the gorillas. You’ll only be allowed a minimum of 10 meters from the gorillas and avoid contact.
Mountain gorilla trekking occurs in tropical rainforests on the foothills of gigantic mountains where the terrain is rugged, and the forest floors are muddy and sticky damp. Your best foot forward should be wrapped in a lightweight waterproof hiking boot to avoid contact with the unfamiliar dirt dwellers and keep you upright on uneven ground.
You will be hiking through impenetrable jungle growth with no marked out trails. Your hiking boots will also protect you from crawling bugs and sharp objects. You don’t have to worry about these things while engaging your jungle excitement and meeting unknown species in the thick misty jungles of the mountain.
Pack a light pair of boots that doesn’t squeeze on your toes and fits well enough to be ignored during your gorilla trekking excursion.
A Pair of Gaiters
Bugs, water, dirt and pebbles have a way of sneaking into even the most waterproof boots. To prevent this, put on some gaiters. Gaiters cover the vulnerable tops of your footwear to protect your feet from the jungle floor elements entirely.
The tropical jungle floor has all kinds of crawling bugs. The most notorious is the red safari ants that creep up your legs and bite the most discomforting places invoking the most innovative dance at the wrong hour. Beside ants are sticky plants that could give you a discomforting irritation to your legs.
To keep these creepers out, buy fitting gaiters of about 8-12 inches tall. Otherwise, your guide will ask you to tuck your trousers inside your socks to protect you from the bugs. You don’t want to look that ridiculous on the trail.
Just to remind you again that you’ll be trekking through the thick jungle, with your leading guide cutting your path with a machete. Some branches may be covering your path, and you may reach out and touch it to clear your path. Considering you’ll also be trekking through uneven, slippery terrain, you most probably will be holding onto plants to stabilise. If you happen to touch some itching plants, trees, or even climbing trees, you may be harmed.
A pair of small-fitting hiking gloves is one of the main things you should pack for a gorilla trekking safari. Hiking gloves will protect your hands from unexpected harm or irritation.
Every trekker is usually given a walking staff at the trailhead to stop them from slipping and sliding while trekking the uneven jungle terrain. Tightly holding the walking stick may bruise your palms, so including gloves on your gorilla trekking packing list is a great idea.
Consider including a waterproof jacket or poncho in your gorilla trekking packing list as it is crucial as far as gorilla trekking gear is concerned. Mountain gorillas live in tropical rain forests and as such, it rains throughout the whole year. You can not accurately tell when it could rain, so you need a waterproof jacket to stay dry.
Many clients prefer travelling in the drier months of June, July, August and the beginning of September to avoid the rainy seasons of March, April and May. However, rain can come down any time in the tropical rain forest.
When deciding on what to pack for your gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Volcanoes National Park, a Rain jacket or Poncho should be one of the significant items in your luggage.
The gorilla jungle differs greatly from the savannah plains because you will be trekking through brush and bushes. If your skin’s sensitive to touch and scratch, then a long-sleeve hiking shirt should be on your gorilla trekking packing list.
Not only will the extra fabric protect your skin, but in the wet-coldness of the tropical rainforest, the extra sleeve length will provide more insulation.
What you out to pack for your gorilla trekking gear is a Merino Wool longsleeved shirt or blouse. Although it’s the most expensive option in hiking shirt fabric, merino wool specialises in being breathable and wicking water away from your skin.
Another bonus is that the fabric has natural antimicrobial properties that help prevent odours from building up when hiking up the steep slopes of the gorilla jungle. So, for your gorilla trekking experience, this could be a good investment, as you could get away with sweating and not repelling your fellow trekkers with your order.
The next best choice for your gorilla trekking packing list is trekking pants made of polyamide/polyesters. Contrary to the popular notion, they are breathable and let your sweat evaporate quickly. That’s how they’ll keep you cool during the trek.
It’s not recommended to hike the gorilla jungle in shorts or skirts because of the creeping bug that could crawl up your legs and thorny plants that could damage your skin. Trousers will protect your legs effectively during the trek.
Gorilla trekking can take from 30 minutes to eight or so hours, and that’s why a certain level of fitness is required. To add to that, we advise that you carry some energy giving snacks as supplements.
Before departing from your lodge, you need to carry your packed lunch and lots of drinking water as you never know when you will return.
You can buy your energy bar or snacks at any supermarket in Entebbe, Kigali, or Kampala before you head into the gorilla territory. Ask your guide to stop by a good supermarket with international snacks just after they pick you up from the airport.
Cameras and extra batteries
Photography is an essential component of your gorilla safari, and thus, make sure that you have your camera ready, charge your batteries very well. If necessary, carry extra batteries as you will need to take as many photographs in the one hour you will have with the gorillas. Please make sure that you switch off your flash while taking gorilla photographs.
Light Waterproof Backpack
You will need something to carry all this stuff. Your gorilla trekking packing list should include a light backpack to carry your packed lunch box, snacks, insect repellent, extra facemask, photography gear and a few other little things.
A waterproof backpack is efficient in keeping your stuff dry and will leave your hands free for hiking and keeping your body in balance.
The rainforests are breeding grounds for various bugs that may cause severe irritation to your skin. To keep the bugs off any uncovered part of your body, you can use bug repellent spray. Pack a small bottle.
Pair of Binoculars
Don’t forget that you are on a safari and you want to have clear views of everything. Bwindi Impenetrable National park is home to over 350 birds, chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, among other primates, forest elephants and buffaloes, so during your trek in search for the rare mountain gorillas, you will have a chance to spot some of the above.
Porters for your gorilla trek
This is an extra optional item, and we advise all our clients to take a porter for their gorilla trekking. As earlier noted, gorilla trekking can be strenuous and thus, you will need someone to give you a push or a pull on the way to the gorillas.
These porters go for a fee, but it is worth it. Remember that these porters are school going students either on their vacation or have been chased out of school due to school fees. By paying some money to have a porter with you, you will directly contribute to community development.
Booking a gorilla trekking safari
Encounter Africa is a team of local expert that knows their way around organizing gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda and Rwanda. We have been doing this since 2003 and have the expertise to help you plan a perfect gorilla safari. We’ll take care of all the ground handling, including the gorilla permits, accommodation, meals, transport and also help you with your gorilla trekking packing list.
Please send us an email (email@example.com) with any of your request related to gorilla trekking, and any of our local experts will be glad to jump in and help you all the way. Or use any of our contact resources to inquire with our office directly.