Seeing the endangered mountain gorillas of Uganda or Rwanda is a real once-in-a-lifetime experience. Nothing can prepare you for that magical moment where you catch your first glimpse of a Silverback and his family just a few feet in front of you, completely in the wild. The privilege to see these incredible animals requires some hard work. You will be trekking through thick jungle foliage as your guide paves the way with his machete. It can take anything between an hour to six hours to find the gorillas, depending on how deep in the forest they are hiding. It is important to be well prepared ahead of your trek so we have put together a handy guide for the best things to pack for the Gorilla Trek.
Arguably the most important item of clothing on this list. The terrain you will be trekking on will be steep, uneven and muddy, so boots with support and grip will serve you well.
As you will be trekking through the forest, chances are you will be brushing up against trees and potentially slipping over. Long trousers will keep you protected from any rogue insects or prickly branches. We recommend getting hiking trousers with detachable legs – so once you have finished your trek you can cool down by removing the lower leg!
Two words – fire ants. No-one wants the saying ‘ants in your pants’ to come true and the best way to prevent these stinging critters is by tucking thick socks over your trousers.
The trekking will involve steep climbs and vertical descents and sometimes you will be inclined to grab onto whatever branch is nearest for stability. On top of this, if you do happen to slip, it is much more comfortable if your hands are protected. We recommend gardening style gloves, alternatively you can often hire them at the start of the trek but it may be cheaper to bring your own.
It is a good idea to wear a long-sleeved top, that is breathable for trekking. You may also want to pack a light waterproof jacket in case it rains during your hike.
Water & Snacks
It is very important to keep hydrated on your trek, so make sure you bring enough water in your daypack. You may also want to pack snacks or a small packed lunch from your hotel to eat during your trek.
When you book your gorilla trek, you will be required to submit your passport details. On the day of the trek you will need to take your passport with you to validate your entry.
Ok so you can’t pack this one, but you can hire one at the start of the Gorilla Trek. For $15 you can hire a local porter to assist you on your trek. They will help you balance and will support you if you are struggling. As well as helping you, you are helping them, putting money into the local economy.
Camera & Memory Cards
Worst case scenario – you have trekked five hours and finally find a family of gorillas. The babies are swinging from the trees while the Silverback is inspecting you while holding court with his family. And then, the unthinkable happens – you run out of space on your camera. This is one experience you will want to capture on film so make sure you bring your camera or phone with enough space for photos!
Nevertheless it is also important to enjoy the Gorillas without staring through the lens. In the hour spent with them make sure you take some time to watch and observe – it really will be a memory that will last a lifetime.
Tucan Travel offer the Gorilla Trek in Uganda on a number of group tours. You can view them here.
About the Author
Rosanna is the PR Manager at Tucan Travel. She undertook the Gorilla Trek in February 2018 on the Rwanda to Masai Mara tour.