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What to wear and carry when trekking to see the gorillas?

Many times a question is asked. What should one wear and carry when trekking to see the gorillas; what should I wear for gorilla tracking; what is the dress code for gorilla tracking; what should I pack for gorilla tracking; how should I prepare for gorilla tracking/ trekking?

While packing and preparing for a gorilla trek one should keep mind that the parks being visited are on a high altitude and it gets cold at night as well as morning mist. The trails being followed are small or no trails. This requires you to wear the right clothing and dressing well for the occasion which is Gorilla Trek.

At times any family group you visit while doing gorilla trekking, you may have to walk a long distance in steep, muddy conditions, or even in heavy rain.

Whatever clothes you wear for tracking, they are likely to get dirty as you slip and slither in the mud, it is always important to prepare yourself.  Carry as little as possible, ideally in a waterproof bag as you will be trekking in high altitude and for long distance.

While going for a gorilla trekking one has to be prepared. This is carrying the right tools or dressing right. Some mistakes that most travelers make while going for a gorilla trek is not being dressed right. Some wear shorts, sandals, a T-shirt, no day pack or water.

Going gorilla tracking is not a trip that one just wakes up and goes on the same day one has to plan in advance and get well prepared in terms what to wear and carry when trekking to see the gorillas

Waterproof Hiking Boots
It can be very slippery especially in the early morning hours if it rained. Lightweight waterproof boots for hiking will be fine.

You will often see the Rangers and Trackers wearing rubber boots or gumboots none of them will be wearing sandals, sneakers or other footwear that will not be comfortable and inappropriate as it will be harmful to you as you track the Mountain Gorillas.

Lightweight hiking boots will offer you good support, traction; stability and balance, as you carry on with the Gorilla Tracking. It will prevent you from sliding from time to time.

Clothing: Long Trousers, Long Sleeved shirts, Hat and Light Rain Jacket,
Long Trousers you will require long trousers and long sleeved shirt to protect you from nettles, thorns, branches and anything that might scratch you. While trekking tug your pants into your socks to protect you from fire ants.

A hat protects you from the sun, rain or other objects.

A light Rain Jacket or poncho in case the rain falls unexpected

The gorillas are widely used to people, therefore makes absolutely no difference whether or not you dress in bright or gentle colors, although out of respect for your fellow travelers you really should make the effort to wear proper clothes for the forest

Waterproof Daypack
A water proof daypack in which you pack your belongings is very important to protect them from water. You can also wrap Camera Equipment in plastic Bags to protect them. If you are a birdwatcher Binoculars will be necessary for you.  For gorilla trekkers your safari will be much directed, walking up the steep slopes and through the thick vegetation which will occupy much of your attention.

Carry at least two litres of water plus your packed lunch.

You will also need to pack a light rain jacket or poncho as you are tracking the tracking Gorillas in a rainforest and can rain any time
You can also make use of Ziplock Bags to cover anything you are trying to protect from water. The service of a porter can be used at a minimal cost to free up your hands and give you ample time to take pictures.

Cotton Gardening Gloves
Cotton Gardening Gloves comes in handy when pulling your-self up on the on vines and branches so as not to get scratched.

Gorilla Trek Walking Sticks
The Walking Sticks can be obtained at the lodges or places of entrance. They come in handy if traversing a difficult terrain while tracking Mountain Gorillas. When purchasing a walking stick you are supporting the local community.

Use a Porter to carry your Daypack
If you are carrying a lot of gear and food/water, porters are readily available in all the gorilla trekking areas. Make use of the trekkers, they will help you free some of your weight and move around freely. They only charge a minimal fee

Quick summary of what to carry on a What to wear and carry when trekking to see the gorillas?

  • Sturdy shoes are essential, proper high ankled walking boots are preferable
  • Gardening gloves which will be very useful when climbing steep slopes
  • Pants or trousers should be thick. This will protect you from insects and stinging nettles
  • Long sleeved over shirt to protect you from the morning chill, stinging nettles as well as insects
  • Long socks are ideal for tucking in your pants/trousers
  • A poncho or other waterproof jacket when the rain falls unexpected
  • Two litres of bottled water
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Covers to protect your camera
  • Binoculars which might come in handy for bird watchers

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