GORILLA TREKKING PACKING LIST
Packing Lists | Read Time: 10 minutes
Gorilla Trekking Packing List – Table of Contents
“What should I bring to Gorilla trekking?”
If you have this question, you have made it to the right page. I have compiled the ultimate gorilla trekking packing list for you.
In this “Gorilla Trekking Packing List” guide, I let you know what to pack for gorilla trekking so you don’t make the mistake of showing up in shorts and sandals.
To find gorillas in their natural habitats, you have to trek through thick vegetation in the rainforest. Oftentimes there is no trail, and guides even carry machetes to cut through the terrain. It’s important to be prepared and bring the right items.
I have gone on gorilla tours in both the DRC and Uganda, and it seriously is one of the best activities I’ve ever done.
P.S – I am returning to Uganda to run a group trip in 2022.
The endangered mountain gorilla population has slowly been increasing. Currently, 1000 gorillas live across Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks in Uganda, Virunga National Park in the DRC, and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
Gorilla tours are expensive, but the experience is worth it, and the tourism dollars help with the conservation efforts.
This gorilla trekking packing list is built from:
- personal experience trekking in the DRC and Uganda, &
- input of my local friends who organize gorilla tours.
Although the landscape varies slightly depending on the park you visit, this gorilla trekking packing list applies to Uganda, Rwanda, and the DRC.
Note: The hikes in Uganda are more strenuous and tend to take longer.
Gorilla Trekking Packing List
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WHAT TO WEAR GORILLA TREKKING
Before I go into the detailed list, here’s an infographic of the main items I recommend. You can find a link for each item below.
Infographic: Gorilla Trekking Uganda – What to Wear
a. gardening gloves | b. Long-Sleeve Shirt | c. Waterproof Pants | d. Poncho | e. Trekking Boots | f. headband | g. Insect Repellent | h. Selfie Stick| i. Water Bottle | j. Bio-Degradable Toilet Paper
Boots for Gorilla Trekking
It’s possible to go in regular sneakers, but waterproof hiking boots are highly recommended because you never know which terrain you will be in. Trails can get muddy, and it’s possible to hike up to 8 hours. Hiking boots provide ample ankle support.
In Uganda, we had to follow gorillas down a hill filled with vines. I was thrilled to have hiking boots!
Gardening Gloves For Gorilla Trek
This might seem overkill, but remember, you are in a rainforest and not following a trail. Gardening gloves help navigate through thick, tangled vines and allow you to grab onto plants and tree branches for support while hiking. Gloves are helpful and provide protection from nettles and thorns.
When I trekked the DRC, gardening gloves weren’t needed because the vegetation was manageable, but gloves are recommended for Uganda and Rwanda.
Clothes for Mountain Gorilla Trek
Wear clothes that blend in with nature, like greys, browns, and greens. DO NOT wear bright colors, camouflage, or animal prints. You don’t want a silverback to mistake you for a leopard.
- Long Pants: Long trousers will protect you from things like scratches and ants. If the pants are water-resistant, that’s even better.
- Long-Sleeved Shirt or Jacket: Even if you get hot, it’s wise to protect your arms from insects and plants with thorns.
If you are looking for breathable and sustainable clothing, I recommend the brand Koup. I love their shirts, and honestly, if you purchase the long-sleeve shirt, you don’t have to stress about getting too hot. The fabric is very light! They have shirts for both men and women.
- Optional: Short-Sleeved Shirt: If you want to wear layers, you can also get a short-sleeved shirt. Note: exposed skin will get scratched, but there are parts of the hike where you don’t have to worry about spiky thorns and insect bites. I also recommend Koup.
- Leg Gaiters – Don’t know what a gaiter is? Neither did I, until I went gorilla trekking! Leg gaiters are recommended for Uganda and Rwanda treks. Gaiters help keep all the critters away from getting underneath your socks or pants.
- Headband and Hair Ties: I recommend getting a bandeau since it has multiple uses (headband, scarf, mask). For hair ties, you must purchase from Soulvation Society. These hair ties are comfortable and versatile – they double as bracelets, so more bang for your buck! Plus, the company is owned by a bad-ass female #SupportSmallBusinesses
WHAT TO PACK GORILLA TREKKING
Tip: Hire a porter, so you have less weight on your back, and you can help support someone local.
Toiletries and Medicine
- Malaria Pills: You can pick these up at a local pharmacy.
You can purchase malaria pills from Runway Health
- Biodegradable Toilet Paper: You can be trekking up to 8 hours and nature is your bathroom. Pack some toilet paper.
- Insect Repellant: I like using repellent wipes because I can put them in a carry-on
Gear + Other Essentials
- Camera: This is a once in a lifetime experience! Bring a good camera to capture this once in a lifetime experience. I recommend the Sony Alpha A6000. It’s a mirrorless camera that is great for beginner photographers.
- Selfie Stick: Who doesn’t want a gorilla selfie?! Smartphone cameras are a great way to catch a selfie. When I was in the DRC I used the Pixel 2 phone and captured photos like this:
- Binoculars: Although not necessary for gorilla trekking, it’s wise to have binoculars if you are going on other safaris throughout Uganda. The binoculars linked below also have a universal phone adaptor, so you can easily take pictures through the binoculars.
- Lunch or Snacks – Gorilla trekking is unpredictable, it can take 30 minutes or 8 hours to find a family. You can purchase some energy-producing snacks once in Rwanda or Uganda.
Documents and Money
- Passport (with 6 months validity)
- Local Currency: to tip your guide ($10 for each guide)
- Money Belt
- Yellow Fever Vaccine Card
- Gorilla Permit (Your tour company will provide)
PRE/POST TREKKING ESSENTIALS
Here is a list of items that will be useful to have before and after the gorilla trek.
- Sweater: Yes, even in Africa, you need a sweater. It can get cold in the mornings and evenings in the parks.
- Travel Scarf: Another option to keep you warm. I love the WayPoint Goods travel scarf because it’s comfortable, has cool designs, and doubles as an inconspicuous purse!
- Shorts: Wear comfortable shorts to relax in
- Pajamas: To get a good night’s sleep
- Sandals: Chacos are my go-to travel sandal. They are extremely practical and long-lasting. I wear mine almost every day.
- Swimwear: Many of the hotels have pools to enjoy after a day of trekking.
Q: What To Wear Gorilla Trekking In Uganda?
If you are looking for an Uganda packing list, tall socks are among the most essential things to pack. There are many creepy crawlers in Bwindi, so you want to make sure no ants climb into your shoes. I also recommend gardening gloves and hiking boots since the trek takes longer in Uganda. Mgahinga National Park is at a higher altitude, so it can be colder than other parks. Be sure to bring a sweater for chilly evenings.
Also, Gorilla trekking is not the only attraction in Uganda. I recommend spending at least one week in Uganda to explore the beauty of this underrated country. I am hosting a 8-Day tour throughout Uganda; click here for more details.
Q: What To Wear Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda?
Volcanoes National Park is at a higher altitude so that it can get colder. Bring a sweater for chilly evenings. Also, gaiters are recommended to protect from stinging nettles.
Q: What To wear Gorilla Trekking in DRC?
My trek in the DRC was pretty easy and only took an hour. Gardening gloves are not necessary.
Q: Do I need to bring anything extra due to COVID?
- A Negative covid test ( taken 72 hours prior to arrival in Uganda)
- A mask (preferably a surgical or N95 type). The DRC always required a mask even before COVID, to protect the gorillas against human viruses.
Q: What travel insurance to buy for gorilla trekking?
RoamRight is a great, affordable insurance option with excellent customer service. RoamRight annual plans start at ~$200 per year, which is wise if you go on more than one trip per year. It’s $135 for an annual plan.
I hope this gorilla trekking packing list was useful! In the comments, let me know if you have any questions.
Also, congrats! You have made the best decision to see silverback gorillas and their families in Africa!
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