Since day porters are very affordable, you can pack all the recommended gorilla trekking clothing, equipment and water, without having to worry about how you will carry it.
Here’s my recommended packing list for trekking the gorillas:
- Walking boots or shoes (boots are better because they have better grip and support your ankles on hilly terrain)
- Breathable waterproof jacket and trousers. Even if it doesn’t rain, the ground and vegetation are generally wet. Wearing waterproof trousers means you can kneel to get gorilla photos or slide down slippery slopes.
- Long-sleeved shirt (to protect yourself from tree branches, the sun and insects)
- Gaiters (or long socks) to tuck long trousers into (to correct legs from scratches and keep insects out)
- A fleece or light wool sweater
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and sunhat
- Gloves to grip the vegetation (dime store or ‘pound shop’ gardening gloves are perfect!)
- Camera equipment
- A walking pole. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend taking up the offer of a walking pole or stick. Sometimes the lodge provides them, other times, the guide may cut one for you from bamboo. Even one pole can be a big help for climbing up and easing yourself back down steep or muddy hills
- Include plenty of water. Hydration is very important. Your lodge should provide you with a packed lunch and drinking water. (Don’t be afraid to ask for more than one bottle!)
- Tips (at your discretion) for your rangers and porter
- Lastly and most importantly: don’t forget to take your gorilla trekking permit and your passport (or the identification you used when reserving your permit). You will need to show your ID at the pre-trekking briefing.
- Pack all of this in a small backpack
Mornings in the mountains and volcanoes can be cool and nights can be cold. You will probably experience mist and quite possibly rain while you are checking the gorillas. It can also get quite hot, from the sun and/ or the hiking uphill. Layered clothing is recommended, ideally the ‘wick-away’ moisture type.
For gorilla trekking stories and Uganda and Rwanda travel advice, click on the hyperlinks in the Ultimate Guide to Mountain Gorilla Trekking. Still got a question? Contact the Muzungu.