What to pack for a Gorilla Trek

The Gorilla Trek is something you will probably only do once so you want to make sure you get it right. Having just returned from my hike, I sat down and compiled the ultimate Gorilla Trek Packing List.  The Gorilla Trek is the ultimate adventure and complete privilege to complete. I loved every minute of my Gorilla Trek, a trip I did last month with Tucan Travel. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t a breeze. It was hard. It was made tougher by the adverse weather conditions which we experienced, not unusual for Uganda, but definitely different to the mild weather I am so used to living in the UK. Below is my ultimate Gorilla Trek Packing List.

Once completing the Gorilla Trek and while enjoying an east African beer around the campfire that evening, it was easy to contemplate on the experience and wonder whether there was anything that would have made the experience easier, or whether I had something that already did that. Below is what I came up with.

1 Good Walking Boots

This may be obvious but there will be plenty of people out there who will try to chance it in sneakers or trainers. Good walking boots are number one on my ultimate Gorilla Trek Packing List for a reason. I may sound like a broken record saying this but never have I found good sturdy walking boots to be more essential. I wore mine to work for the weeks before my tour began and I was confident that they would not rub. Hiking through the jungle, you are not walking along any trail. In some places, the rangers cut out a route specifically for you. Your walking stick (if you choose to get one) may test the ground ahead but but at times, you don’t know where you are stepping and you must still have the grip to not slide down the mountain.

2: A small and comfortable rucksack

Your Gorilla Trek can range from 15 minutes in length to six hours. Mine was a comfortable three and a half hours. During the hike, it is important to have both hands free to hold on to vines or branches. You do not need a bag swinging and banging at your leg as you do so. It is also important that you get comfortable rucksack as the last thing you want is a long hike with backache.

3: Waterproofs

Okay so not as essential as above but this is definitely something to consider when travelling in Uganda, particularly in the rainy season. As in most countries that have a rainy season, in Uganda it only rains for a short period of time. When it rains though, it pours and if it rains during your hike, there won’t be much cover but trees and leaves. When cowering under a tree with my valuables in my waterproof jacket pocket, I found myself wishing I had a waterproof cover for my rucksack. My valuables were safe in my pockets but the contents of my bag were soaked.

4: A USB Stick

This is not something specific to a gorilla trek but an essential for all Group Tours.  Despite having done several group tours in the past, this time I failed to bring a USB stick with me. You may want photos of the gorillas or group photos that someone else captured and on those long travel days, it is much easier to transfer the images on to a memory stick than continually badger someone to send over the images on your return.

5: Clothes you don’t mind getting ruined

After slipping on the sodden ground and bouncing off the mud, the dirt was ingrained in the pores of my trousers. Since returning I have washed these trousers twice but the smears of mud, although faint, remain. Make sure you either buy good quality trousers that don’t stain easily or cheap ones which you are prepared to throw away. While I don’t want to throw out my gorilla trek clothing, the only thing they are good for now are similar hikes or excursions.

Jess travelled on Tucan Travel’s Gorillas & Game Group Tour.

About the Author: Jess is Communications Coordinator for Tucan Travel. She has travelled independently and on group tours through Central America, Africa, North America, Israel and Europe. You can find her on  or read her other contributions here.

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