Gorilla trekking in Uganda and/or Rwanda is at the top of many wildlife lovers’ bucket lists. Trek duration and distance can vary widely, but you can expect rugged conditions, steep terrain, dense vegetation, and high humidity.
Below is a list of gear that’s essential in making your gorilla trek more enjoyable.
- Lightweight, quick-dry long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
- Coated gloves, e.g. gardening gloves are a must. Spiky plants and stinging nettle are common and your hands should be covered to minimize irritation when you grab on plants along the hike.
- Also a must. The same idea as coated gloves, but for your lower legs.
- Hiking boots or sturdy trail shoes. Plan to bring the shoes you typically hike in and that are already broken in.
- Compact, lightweight rain jacket.
- Camera bag/ backpack. This piece of gear is a good idea in case of rain and you can store accessories like extra batteries and multiple lenses. If you’re worried about carrying a backpack during the hike, porters are available to carry your gear (additional fee/gratuity applies). If your bag isn’t waterproof/ resistant, consider bringing a rain cover.
- Versatile lens, e.g. 18-300 mm. Expect the gorillas to be close so a long lens may be too much. You don’t want to be changing lenses once you’re time with the gorillas begins.
- Water bottle with strap in case you have a porter carry your camera bag.
- Snacks, e.g. granola, bars, jerky. You can’t have food with you during your gorilla viewing session, but you can snack before and/or after.
- If you typically carry binoculars while hiking, plan to bring them. You are on safari so there are opportunities to spot other animals during your trek.
- Hat and/or sunglasses (optional). You’ll likely be hiking in dense forest but having these on hand is a good idea in case of sunny conditions. A rain hat will provide shade as well as repel water.
Consider hiring a porter during your trek. The cost is approximately $15-20 USD per porter. Your porter can help make your experience more pleasant by carrying some of your gear and providing assistance during steep parts of your hike. This also helps stimulate the local economy, encouraging gorilla conservation.