Most intending trekkers tend to assume gorilla trekking to be picnics where they can carry anything that they wish. Gorilla trekking is by far unique on its own and tourists need to carry the right gorilla tracking gear so as to achieve that long time dream in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Southwestern Uganda.
Below is a list of items that visitors can carry on gorilla trekking in Uganda.
Long sleeved shirts/T-shirts/tops
Gorilla treks start early in the morning and this means chilly conditions are unavoidable depending on the season of the year. But most importantly you need carry long sleeved shirts to keep you warm throughout the trek. Long sleeved shirts do not only safeguard you from the chilly morning but they can also help to protect your arms from stinging nettles or falling branches, thorns, harmful plant species, vines among others. Equally, T-shirts are worth carrying since they can easily dry incase it rains when you are trekking gorillas. Visitors are always encouraged to carry clothes that match with the environment and not those with shouting color.
Quick dry pants serve better for most of the hikes and treks. They are useful in protecting the legs from injuries especially from the forest insects, branches, nettles and the thorns. Shorts are not recommended for this gorilla trekking and even those bulky tiring wet jeans and kachi may not be so helpful for you while on a trek to view mountain gorillas. When it rains, surely you will face it tough hiking through the steep terrains while on a wet jean or kachi. Jeans take long to dry compared to pants that can easily dry and visitors can keep tracking mountain gorillas in the wild.
While trekking gorillas in Uganda‘ s jungles, we should bear in mind there are biting ants and getting out on your pants tucked in your long socks is indeed useful for you to safeguard yourself from stinging insects and ants. The guide will also remind visitors to tuck in their trousers. Understanding this in advance is very important other than being taken abruptly at visitor centre when you do not have any.
Water proof day pack
While planning for your gorilla trek in Uganda, it is advisable that you come with waterproof day pack given the nature of the weather in gorilla habitat. Waterproof day pack can help keep your luggage and other items from getting wet when it rains. A day pack is useful especially for keeping your travel documents, drinking water and energy giving snacks that are all necessary to carry while tracking mountain gorillas.
Waterproof hiking boots
Gorilla trekking involves hiking and trekking through the steep slopes and visitors are required to come with light hiking boots that can protect them while tracking gorillas. We recommend light weight hiking boots because they can keep you stable on steep terrains, support and traction while trekking. They should fit well and make you more comfortable while hiking through the terrains of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. It is unwise for you to think of carrying saddles on gorilla trekking because they can easily make you slide and you fall down due to slippery and muddy terrains which in turn can injure you.
Light rain jackets
Rain jacket/poncho shouldn’t miss out in your packing list. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park experience rainfall at any time and as a visitor, you need to be well prepared to overcome any weather patterns. It is hard to tell when it can rain and because of this you need to have a light weight rain jacket to protect you from rain while tracking mountain gorillas in the wild. Whereas most tourists have preferred visiting Uganda for gorilla trekking during the dry season (June, July, August, September, and from December to February) with a view of dodging wet season in March, April and May, they forget that the gorilla habitat is largely a tropical rain forest which means they have to expect rains at any time.
Covering your hands from injuries is very important. Gorilla trekking is done in the dense jungles of Uganda, chances are you may fall down and this will require catching grip from the nearby plant species. Some of these plant species produce harmful substances or you encounter stinging insects from the forest and the only way to protect your hands from all these through wearing a gardening gloves. The gloves should be made of cotton. While putting on your gardening gloves, make sure that they are padded on the fingers and palm.
You will need some cash to spend and the best way to carry it is by getting a water proof bag that will ensure that your money is safe. Your money belt should be made of cotton so that you are in position to carry it around your body to avoid sweating. You can first put on your money belt and after cover it with a safari cloth to offer more protection to the cash. Avoid exposing your money belt to theft by putting it on top of clothes! The money belt can also help you carry other documents like a passport or copy of it, emergency phone numbers and international immunization card.
Camera and other accompanying equipment
You can imagine traveling up to the misty valleys of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and at the end of the trek you go back without any pictures. This is not good! You need a better camera in order to utilize that one magical hour that the park management allows you to explore the reality about these mighty wild creatures and memories for life. The magical hour is not only for you to learn the feeding, nesting, gestation and body gestures which describe general behavior of these remarkable primates in the wild but it is also the only time that you have to take as many photos as possible. Not taking any pictures may mean you have done yourself a disfavor! Cameras without flashlights are the best and most recommended for gorilla trekking in Uganda and for cases where your camera has a flashlight, you are advised to turn it off so as to avoid irritating gorillas. They should be well equipped with their items like camera memory cards and lenses cleaner to maintain the camera lens clean.
Extra batteries for the camera
Imagine being in forest for that long and your camera blanks out at a time when you are taking pictures, this should not happen to you! You need extra batteries to help you replace the one that runs short of power. Where possible, carry a good charger so that you keep charging it.
You may wonder why carry binoculars on gorilla trek. Is it a birding safari or game drive? Gorilla trekking in Uganda doesn’t mean that you view only mountain gorillas. There are more than 350 birds in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest some of which you will be able to sight while on gorilla trek.
Given the nature of gorilla habitat, you should expect forest insects like tsetse flies and mosquitoes. With your insect repellent, you can reduce rate of malaria spread from mosquitoes by simply accessing DEED OR RID. These insect repellents can be purchased online and you can apply with clothes as well. Others include citronella soap that acts as soap and as insect repellent and it is useful since it also acts as an anti bacterial soap to the body.
New environment may also come with sicknesses related to malaria that is why visitors are required to carry some tablets and malarone without forgetting Doxycycline. These have been sighted as the most effective on malaria treatments. This will also mean that you come with your medicine bag containing all your medication. But you need to first consult with your doctor on which malaria pills are worth carrying on safari to Uganda.
First aid kit is also vital in case of any injuries. Even if tour guides may carry first aid kits with them, you too need to be well prepared before getting any other help.
Water and energy giving snacks
Imagine you have traveled for gorilla trek and at the end of the day you are put in a stretcher because you lost energy to walk, it helps but it also comes at a cost. Trust yourself that you can make it up to the end of the trek. You need a bottle or 2 of water to keep you hydrated all the time to trek through that breathtaking terrain of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Never forget to also come with energy snacks or boosters like nuts or dried fruit to keep your energy up while trekking. It is not certain when the hike through the jungle can end since it can take visitors up to 5 to 7 hours. This doesn’t mean that when you engage in short hike, you don’t stop for lunch. Shorter hikes equally will require visitors to have some food to keep them moving. You can remind the people in the lodge where you will spend a night to pack for you some lunch.
Hat and sun glasses
Some times the sun can be hot and strong rays may affect your eyes. A hat and sun glasses can do better for you to protect your head and eyes from the scorching sunshine.
Pack some toiletries
There are various things that you can pack in your bag some of which are toilet paper. It sounds obvious but in most cases very few people are able to carry their own toilet papers. Situations like running stomach can occur and you will need to help yourself while still in the forest. You can not avoid this because the toilets can be far located in the visitor center and when you calculate the distance, you may not contain it till you return. At this point, toilet paper is very useful for you to clean your body after easing yourself in the jungle. But you must dig a hole so as to burry your waste products. It is not wise to use leaves for cleaning your self after easing.
Gorilla trekking permit
Visitors are never allowed to track mountain gorillas without gorilla permits. Gorilla permits are a must to have on gorilla trek in Uganda. Most visitors become excited to the extent that they forget packing their gorilla trekking permits and after reaching the destination that is when they can realize that they did not carry their gorilla permits. Do not be bounced back because you forgot your gorilla permit!
In conclusion, there are several items to be carried on gorilla trekking in Uganda. Knowing these items guides travelers while planning their packing list for gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda. They include clothing, foot wear, equipment and important documents like gorilla permits and passports among others.