Gorilla trekking is without doubt the most famous exhilarating and thrilling tourist activity in Africa and world over. Gorilla trekking is truly one of the most sought after African safari experiences in every sense of the phrase. But this experience can as well turn out to be a night mare if not well planned, ranging from parking the right equipment and gear to the actual trekking encounter.
What you definitely don’t want is to be pondering about what you’ve packed, or encounter that awful sense of foreboding when you realize your new hiking boots or rather your water proof pants don’t fit that well. To provide answers to all your gorilla trek packing questions, we’ve put together a collection of essential equipment; what to take and what not to take – leaving you to enjoy every moment of your trek with less but only essential luggage.
Gorilla trekking permit
A gorilla permit is ultimately number one on the list of essential items to pack ahead of your gorilla trek encounter in Africa. Due to the fact that gorilla trekking is highly demanded, you are reminded to book a gorilla permit well in advance (at least 3 months in advance), either through a tour agent or by booking directly with responsible government bodies; either way, don’t forget to park it as you prepare to head to the mountain gorilla territory in the misty mountains.
In all the gorilla destinations Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo trekkers are required to present these permits to the park headquarters before proceeding for pre-trek briefing and to the jungle for the real adventure.
With the nature of the jungle, rain is expected any time of the day so no matter the season, a rain coat is recommended. This rain jacket is important because it can help protect the trekkers from rain water while deep in search of the humble mountain gorillas in their natural environment.
Since a gorilla trek is by far different from game drives in savannah areas, and it involves hiking in the jungle, on steep slopes and thick forest while searching for the gorillas. This is so challenging in terms of penetration and navigation through the vines, slippery rocks, mud and many other hard attributes of the jungle. Such conditions inevitably need hiking boots that are light and water proof so that at the end the experience won’t be a disappointment.
Bottles water & snacks
Gorilla trekking is an adventure that needs trekkers to be physically fit, and this means it needs enough drinking water and some energy giving snacks to fairly remain strong and be able to finish the long awaited trek. Some of the packed energy snacks can be nuts or dried fruits to keep the trekkers energetic.
This mighty be sound strange to you, but you surely need the gloves as your priority gorilla trekking essentials. Gorilla habitats in Africa include mountain rainforests, dense jungles that are full of thick, tangled vines and quite a few will always end up round your feet or dangling in front of you. In such cases, thick gardening gloves come in handy to protect your hands as you pull them away, and help you move any thick foliage aside as you stride through the jungles.
Medicine & Toiletries
Given that each person understands themselves better than someone else, because of the change in weather, environment and food; it is common that trekkers may contract Malaria, food poisoning, fever, etc. Therefore, it is recommended that they carry anti malaria pills, pain killers, and other basic medicine like insect repellents to safe guard them from forest insect bites. The recommended repellent is the DEET. Other recommended toiletries include; toilet papers, in case you may need to “pee” in the bush.
Use the one hour given to you maximally by getting the best images / videos and interact with the gorillas in different ways. It is for lifetime experience that a camera shouldn’t miss in your carry-on items when embarking on a gorilla trekking tour. Trek with a camera and make sure the batteries can sustain you or you can go with extra batteries.
Note that the camera should not have any flashlight and for the bird lovers, carry along a pair of binoculars to watch different bird species as you trek along to meet the gorillas.
First Aid Kit
This is an important item as well, which must include equipment such as rehydration sachets, aspirin, cold / flu / cough medication, anti-diarrhea medicine, antiseptic cream, lip balm, motion sickness pills, eye drops and any other pain killers.
The fact that this is an impenetrable forest, it is without doubt that a number of insects find here a safe refuge, such as mosquitoes, biting moths, tsetse flies. One should prepare for these as well, by applying insect repellant cream or spray to prevent the bites and stings.
Some of the items that one can also add on to the list of things to pack during a gorilla trek include sunglasses, long sleeved shirts / blouses, long trousers, sun hat, walking stick, etc. Having packed all the essential equipment, you are sure to embark on that long awaited Ugandan safari holiday to meet the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.