Gorilla trekking is among the most popular wildlife experiences in Africa, seeing mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Standing just 7 meters away from your hairy cousins, gorillas being most peaceful animals to let tourists spend 1 hour together on a guided trek with expert guides and rangers in their natural forest is a memorable experience.
Planning for gorilla trekking, you must forget about experience of going in game drive vehicles, gorilla trekking requires physical fitness and active hiking over steep terrain. Therefore, anyone going for a gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda, Uganda or DRC must plan a head and get the mental and physical wellness prepared for the brave.
Here are the things to wear on your gorilla trekking safari:-
Dress in sturdy foot wear such as hiking boots or rubber boots that cover up the ankle-knee joint. It’s so important to be ready for muddy trails, deep trenches, sharp rocks and tangled vegetation. Because you have to walk through all that, it’s also recommended to wear gators that will keep you stay dry together with wool stockings underneath. You’ll observe what most porters and guides wear rubber boots which they know will quickly be cleaned and get dry. Though, you are guaranteed for lodge or hotel staff to clean your boots for dying in case you are preparing for another trek or safari.
Wear long pants made of quick drying material like kaki which prevent you from stinging nettles and thorny bushes. Gorilla trekking may be easier during dry period however, during the wet season in April to May and October to November; trekkers must wear waterproof pants on top of their normal trousers. Even during dry season, it’s not advisable to wear shots as weather changes and may bring you unhappiness.
Gorilla trekkers also need to wear long sleeved shirts or T-shirts which are warm. Because you are not sure of the time you might spend in the forest so trekkers usually experience heat during walking but later as the gorillas are found, be assured for coldness. It’s so important to have additional warm sweater and a rainproof jacket because rainfall in gorilla national parks can fall any time of the day.
I will emphasize waterproof jackets because they also help to protect your cameras and keep you dry in case of thunderstorms.
Trekkers are also recommended to wear a neck towel, bush hut with neck strap or head cover to prevent dew drops or spider webs from your head and face.
As much you need to protective gears for your safety, we also recommend gardening gloves since you’ll be griping vegetation with stinging nettles or thorns.
On top of the right wearing gears, you must pack enough food and at least 3 liters of drinking water. Others like to pack energy giving drinks or snacks but the main reason is to keep you energetic and walk up to the gorilla families. Gorillas move freely in search of food/vegetation hence you never know when you return from the forest.
Again once you have entered gorilla national parks, there are no places to buy your favorite drinks or food. However, most of the lodges or hotels usually pack food for their clients. Unless you have own eating habits, it will require buying that food a day before your gorilla trek.
Another important thing to note is you to let your gorilla trekking guides know about your trekking capacity. Usually early morning trekkers report to gorilla trekking centers for registration and briefing. In the process, gorilla trekkers are encouraged to speak up with guides so they can assign to you a habituated gorilla family that is easier to trek. This is done because of the impossibility to book gorilla permits for specific gorilla families and the fact that all have unique. Trekkers are not guaranteed of the best gorilla family to trek often times due to the frequent social compositions of gorilla families. Days are different, gorillas may feed near the park boundaries or deep in the interior of the forest hence better know your hiking capacity to avoid disappointments.
Trekkers also need to have a small day pack. It’s good for you to keep camera and its equipment such as batteries, lenses and or binoculars because photographing gorillas is your major aim. The day’s pack also keeps your water, food and other items like insect repellent and personal medicine. This is why you need to hire a porter at the beginning of your trek. Porters can assist you to hike steep slopes on top of carrying your backpack.
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