What gear is needed for a gorilla trek? When you think of visiting Uganda, Rwanda or Congo for gorilla trekking, first, you must put into consideration the type of gear to carry. Gorilla trekking is a unique primate adventure and requires adequate preparation which includes packing the right gear. There are only 4 African safari parks to be visited to enjoy up close and personal with the rare mountain gorillas in the wild.
The 4 parks to locate mountain gorillas include Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, & Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda (the pearl of Africa), Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and in D.R. Congo, explore Virunga National Park. Each of these parks has fully habituated gorilla groups and every group is led by a silverback –a mature male mountain gorillas.
Mountain gorillas share over 98% of their DNA with humans making them very susceptible to infectious human diseases. Aside from observing the set guidelines and regulations, there are a number of items visitors should have for gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda.
Gear for your gorilla trek
Sturdy & waterproof hiking boots/shoes
Good hiking boots are a must-have on any gorilla trekking tour whether you are visiting Uganda, Rwanda or Congo. Waterproof hiking boots are essential for gorilla tracking regardless of the season. Gorillas often stay in the higher elevation and before you locate a family of these apes, you engage in a long day hike/trek through the forest and steep slopes.
The advantage with waterproof hiking boots/shoes is that they get you protected from the muddy ground and make you easier hiking the steep slopes. When choosing hiking boots, consider the lightweight and should offer firm grip when walking on the ground or should have your feet protected from any piercings.
Your gorilla trek entirely involves walking through the tropical rainforest unlike game drives where you spend most the time in your 4×4 safari vehicle. Gardening gloves are needed for a gorilla trek to protect your hands from thorny, itchy plants when you touch as you try to find support.
Gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo inhabit the dense tropical forests, areas that experience heavy rains. Whether you plan to visit gorillas during the dry or wet season, rain jacket shouldn’t be left out to protect you from rains.
Waterproof daypack is needed for any gorilla trek in Africa. Daypack is essential for carrying some of your items cameras, permits, bottled water, and others. A waterproof one is ideal to secure your documents plus other items from getting wet while you are on a gorilla trek.
Trekking gorillas involves navigating through the rainforest and these areas harbor all kinds of insects including mosquitoes and tsetse flies. The insect repellent is required to protect you from biting insects when trekking gorillas.
First aid kit
A basic first aid kit plays a significant part when it comes to gorilla safaris in Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. In your first aid kit/box, there should be some insect bite ointment, liniments, painkillers, diarrhea, anti-malarial tablets, bandages, and others.
Walking poles are essential for support as you walk through the slippery, muddy and steep slopes. The trekking poles are available at the park offices or alternatively, you can request one from your respective safari lodges.
Camera & additional batteries
Cameras shouldn’t miss on your packing list of gorilla trekking gear. You will require a good quality camera for taking clear pictures and being long day adventure, you will need extra batteries to cater for cases when the original one dies off.
Other items to carry for a gorilla trek
Gorilla permits are needed whether you are visiting Uganda/Rwanda/Congo to see mountain gorillas. A permit is required across all gorilla safari destinations and in Uganda; a single permit goes for USD 700; in Rwanda prepare USD 1500 per person and USD 400.
Long sleeved are required and make sure that you carry light ones that can dry fast if it rains on you or when washed. Consider carrying environmentally friendly shirts and avoid shouting colors as they can scare away gorillas.
You need long trousers that can protect your legs from scratches and itchy plants when walking through the forest.
A pair of socks is needed and should be of good quality. Before you set foot into the forest to search for mountain gorillas, you will be advised to tuck the trousers into trousers to avoid scrawling insects from entering.
Packed lunch or snacks
Gorilla trekking is a long day search for gorillas and being an energy demanding adventure, you must keep fit through. This is possible when you have some packed snacks or lunch plus adequate drinking water.
The sunglasses are essential for protecting your eyes from direct sunburns or even from foreign materials.