Everyone wants to go gorilla trekking in either Uganda or Rwanda. It is perhaps the most popular tourist activity in East Africa today. The fact that gorillas are considered endangered species, and found only in a select few places is probably one of the reasons why many people are rushing to see them. There’s no bigger motivation than the threat of extinction!
So while people from all across the world are saving up for gorilla trekking safaris Uganda and Rwanda are very happy tourist countries reaping the benefits of what nature so generously gave them.
As you make your plans to join the hundreds of people hoping to see mountain gorillas up close and in person, you need to be prepared for the trip; mentally physically and of course well equipped. Preparation also includes having a gorilla tracking appropriate wardrobe.
Here’s some wardrobe advice for gorilla trekking.
Gorilla trekking happens mostly in areas of high altitude. The Virunga volcanoes in Rwanda and Uganda stand at high altitudes which makes the areas cold, and rainy, and humid. So as you pack clothes for your trip keep the weather and temperatures in mind.
As with most cold areas the key to staying comfortably warm is layering. Don’t go out in the forest with just a thin vest and one chunky jacket. Layer your clothing, that way you can peel off or add a layer as the temperatures change.
Dressing for gorilla tracking you can start with a shirt, preferably of synthetic material, cotton t-shirts tend to get muggy and irritating. Carry long sleeved shirts; these will protect you arms from insects bites and hanging branches when you tek off all the other layers. Second layer should be a fleece or something equally light and warm; third layer should shield you from the rain. Think a water proof jacket, or a rain poncho. Dressing up is that simple.
So as you pack include comfortable shirts, a fleece or two, a rain jacket. That should keep you warm, and you can peel off the layers as and when the temperatures begin to up.
For trousers; while you could wear you jeans and still have a memorable trip, jeans are not quite ideal. They get drenched and heavy if it rains, and dark jeans attract some dangerous insects. Cargo pants with their numerous pockets, neutral colors and comfortable fabric are the way to go. These are ideal for tracking. Look for pants in synthetic materials. Those should work fine. You can wear waterproof pants on top of your regular pants, but that’s not always necessary.
It doesn’t matter what time of the year you make your trip, always prepare for the rain. Rainforest such as Bwindi receive unpredictable rains.
For your feet you need boots and socks. You will be trekking through bushes and forests; you will navigate a couple of rocky paths and come across mud paddles. You need the right shoes for all of that. Sturdy leather hiking boots that are high preferably above the ankles and well broken in are what you need.
You want to protect your hands, your head and shield your eyes. So carry a pair of hand gloves, garden gloves can do.
Sunglasses are good for shielding your eyes from the sun when it comes out, but can also protect them from the gusts of wind. You can carry a hat too, or a cap.
Your gorilla trekking attire is complete. Add a pair of binoculars, a snack and water, camera and batteries, a guide, a porter to carry your bags, and of course a gorilla permit and you’re good to go and enjoy your time with the magnificent mountain gorillas.
As you pack, feel free to include clothes and shoes for relaxing around the campsite or lodge. You could even pack a swim suit. It might be a gorilla safari trip, but you will have some down time to chill out and just relax. You want to have the right clothes for that as well.
Enjoy your gorilla safari!