GORILLA TREKKING PACKING LIST
Packing Lists | Read Time: 10 minutes
Gorilla Trekking Packing List – Table of Contents
Ok – I am happy that you have made the best decision to see silverback gorillas and their families in Africa! In this 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.
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. I am planning to return to Uganda to run a group trip in 2022. To look at a previous itinerary, click here.
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.
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.
You have made it to the right page, if you have the question:
“What should I bring to Gorilla trekking?”
since I have compiled the ultimate gorilla trekking packing list for you!
This gorilla trekking packing list is built from 1) personal experience trekking in the DRC, and 2) 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.
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 like 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 on to plants and tree branches for support while hiking. Gloves are helpful and provide protection from nettles and thorns.
When I went trekking 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. Click to see my recommendation.
- Long-Sleeved Shirt or Jacket: Even if you get hot, it’s smart to protect your arms from insects and plants with thorns. If you are looking for breathable and sustainable clothing, I recommend the brand Koup.
- Optional: Short-Sleeved Shirt: If you want to wear layers, but exposed skin will get scratched. 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.
- Rain Jacket or Poncho: No matter if you trek in the dry or rainy season, you are in a rainforest, so rain is unpredictable and can fall at any time. A rain jacket is handy.
- Headband and Hair Ties: I recommend getting a bandeau since it has multiple uses (headband, scarf, mask)
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.
- 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:
- 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
- Money Belt
- Yellow Fever Vaccine Card
- Gorilla Permit (Your tour company will provide)
PRE/POST TREKKING ESSENTIALS
Here are 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 they are comfortable, have cool designs, and it doubles as an inconspicuous purse! Click here to purchase
- 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
- 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 important things to pack. There are many creepy crawlers in Bwindi, so you want to make sure no ants are climbing 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 cold 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 7-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 it can get colder. Bring a sweater for cold evenings. Also, gaiters are recommended to protect from stinging nettles.
Q: What To wear Gorilla Trekking in DRC?
My trek in the DRC was fairly 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)
Q: What travel insurance to buy?
I always purchase the Allianz Travel Insurance plan. I have made several claims and always get reimbursed. 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.
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