Mountain gorilla trekking is exceptionally one of the rarest experiences in the world. A trek to view a gorilla of Great Apes in the wild comes at a cost and also physically demanding. There are about 900 mountain gorillas left in the whole and only concentrated in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park in Southwestern Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Northwestern Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Trekking to the thick jungles of Africa to encounter these rare species requires tourists to be totally prepared. While planning your safari, makes sure you focus on the items that matter to your adventure. You are advised not to pack as if you are traveling for wild viewing in queen Elizabeth national park or picnic tour in Uganda! For this lifetime adventure, below are some of the crucial items for you to include in your packing list.
Clothing and shoes for gorilla trekking
Long sleeved shirts/sweater
Given the fact that gorilla destinations largely feature tropical rainforests and your trek starts early in the morning, you will certainly encounter a cold breeze from the thick forest and the misty valleys around the gorilla habitat may need you to have long sleeved shirts or a sweater to offer you warmth during chilly moment. And while you are deep inside the forest, a long sleeved shirt or T-shirt is very crucial as it will protect your arms from falling branches or stinging insects. Depending on the season when you wish to travel to par take this thrilling adventure, a short sleeved shirt is ideal especially when it is warm day as you relax around.
Long pants or trousers and socks
While in the forest tracking a group of these impressive wild creatures, chances are you will encounter thick vines, scratchy brush, and falling tree branches and that is why long pants are very vital as they safeguard your legs from such cases. It also allows you to freely hike through the forest while the legs are covered. This goes along with long socks and when you are at the park headquarters for briefing, the park official or your tour guide will advise you to tack in your trousers or pants into socks before setting off to the forest to look out for a group of mountain gorillas.
Given the nature of gorilla habitat, rains should be expected at any time of the day whether in the dry or wet season. A rain jacket is very vital since it can protect you from rain water while in the forest searching for these spectacular primates in their natural habitat.
Gorilla trekking will take you through a dense vegetation while in the jungles, you either find a trail or none but trackers will be there to clear for you way. And higher chances are that at one point you will need support and the only option is that you will grab the nearest plants or tree species around and at the end you realize they are harmful to the body. But with gloves at hand, you will be safeguarded from such cases especially when you fall down and you need to catch grip.
Light hiking boots
Mountain gorilla trekking is totally different from game drives in savanna national park. It involves hiking through thick vegetation and steep slopes and all these require some grip while looking for gorillas in the forest. The terrain can be that challenging for you to navigate through as it comes with vines, slippery rocks, mud and many more which need you to have hiking boots that are water proof and light weight rather than saddles or ordinary shoes for office work.
Toiletries and medicine
While on safari, you realize that it is only you who understands yourself better than any one else and given the fact that you will encounter change in environment, chances malaria attack mighty be hard to run away from. You are required to consult with your doctor who should offer you the malaria pills to carry to help you while on your trek or inquire from the doctor the possibilities of protecting yourself from malaria while in any of the four national parks.
No one wishes to fall sick in the destination that is you are encouraged to come with insect repellants to safe guard you from the biting mosquitoes. Among other repellents, you are recommended to have at least DEET.
In most cases, women are always very keen about this item compared to men but all in all, a toilet paper is very crucial for you while in the forest given the fact that there are toilets in the forest except at the park headquarters. You will need a plastic bag to help you carry some of these small items.
Camera and batteries
With only one hour that is given to you to strike your imaginations and explore more on the behavior of these Great apes, a camera should be a must to have item in your packing list. It will be sad for you to see the rest of the members take photos of huge silverback gorillas at that magical hours and at the end of the end day, you walk back without any evidence that you tracked. As well, you need extra battery to help you replace the one that runs out of power as you take photographs of the mountain gorillas while in the forest. It is such exciting and a memorable moment to capture the pictures of these impressive creatures while in their natural habitat which is why a camera should be a must for you to pack. Your camera should have no flashlight and if it has, you are advised to turn it off while taking photographs of the mountain gorillas.
A pair of binoculars
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi, Mgahinga National Park, Volcanoes National Park or Virunga National Park doesn’t mean only hiking to see the rare mountain gorillas but also you will have a chance to sight some forest bird species which will make up part of your experience in the forest.
Gorilla trekking permit
In most cases, trekkers become excited and at the end they forget that they are supposed to carry gorilla trekking permits for their actual treks in Uganda, Rwanda or DRC. You will be required to present your permit at the park headquarters before you proceed for an early morning briefing, and not to forget your passport.
While on gorilla safari, higher chances are that you will meet a number people including guides, waitresses, waiters, community residents who will perform cultural dances for you, porters and many more, this means that you will need to give them some tips and a local currency is very important in that they may not need to look for a forex bureau or you need to purchase some souvenirs or even when it comes to hiring a porter who will help you carry your heavy luggage.
Bottle of water and snacks
Gorilla trekking is one of the most strenuous adventures that need you to be physically well, and this means that you will need enough drinking water and energy giving snacks to help you complete the hike successfully. You can pack some nuts or dried fruits to keep you energetically well.
Other items for you to include in your packing list are sun glasses, hat, walking stick but this will be obtained from the park headquarters, first aid kit, waterproof day pack to keep your document and many more.
In conclusion, gorilla trekking is one of the strenuous and breathtaking adventures and yet also the most emotional experience that comes once in a lifetime. For interested trekkers, they are required to be prepared for this lifetime experience in Africa’s thick tropical forests. The above packing list is therefore intended to guide as you plan your gorilla safari to Africa.