Essentials for Gorilla Trekking
Essentials for gorilla trekking are the key requirements that are a must carry for a successful gorilla trekking safari. The activity itself is a thrilling experience that involves hiking through a dense forest of a mountainous nature since the altitude can go as high as 2607m above sea level in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park whereas the Volcanoes National Park has an altitude that surpasses 3000m above sea-level. The forests have thick vegetation, and Bwindi Impenetrable forest definitely doesn’t have its name for nothing. It is therefore very important to have the following items that are very essential for you to have a successful adventurous gorilla trekking experience;
Valid Visa and Passport: For one to be allowed into most countries, one ought to have a passport and a visa that permits one to be in a given country for a given period of time. One can get a VISA online or directly from the airport. You can choose to have a tourist visa for a particular country or maybe choose to have an East African visa that allows you to visit three different countries say Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda.
Gorilla Tracking permit: A gorilla trekking permit is a card that is issued to a person intending to track gorillas in any country. In Uganda, these permits are issued by the Uganda wildlife Authority but one can get them through a trusted tour operator. Without a gorilla tracking permit, one cannot track the gorillas, it is therefore very important to make sure that you purchase them as soon as possible, at least three months in advance actually.
Now that you have the most important documents with you or are assured of getting them upon arrival from your trusted tour operator, the next important thing to do is to pack correctly for your gorilla safari. You need to make sure you pack the right trekking gear for your gorilla safari, which gear is often the same for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga National Park in Uganda as well as Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The list below is for gorilla trekking only, but if you have your gorilla safari combined with a wildlife safari then you will need to include more items, oftentimes light clothes.
Below is a list of essential items to pack for your gorilla safari;
Long safari-style trousers: Irrespective of where you are tracking gorillas from, you should know that the vegetation is thick, lush, high and filled with bushes and tree branches. Wearing long safari trousers will help you return from your trek not covered in bruises, scratches, and rashes from reactive plants like nettles. Pack colors that abound in the wildlife to camouflage ad minimize the impact on wildlife. White is a mistake to carry as they will be black from the mud and green from the vegetation. When choosing the right trouser, consider that they can be easily tucked into socks and you can trek up and down mountains without limitation of movement.
Long safari-style shirts or t-shirts: The weather patterns change drastically in these regions, packing a shirt or t-shirt that can keep you warm when it is important but it should not also suffocate you in case it gets warmer. When choosing the right shirt, opt for a long sleeved one to protect you from the plants and bushes.
A rain jacket or a waterproof jacket: This can be named the most essential item for the fact that in these lush and green forests that the mountain gorillas live, rains fall at any time of day, even during the dry season! When choosing a waterproof jacket for your gorilla trekking safari, make sure;
- That your waterproof jacket is light more so if you are visiting during the dry months of the year as it can get very very warm. Do not, however, buy that very lightweight and paper-thin jackets because they just will get pierced by the many braches and vegetation that you will be walking through.
- That the jacket has a hoodie so your head and body stay dry should it rain
Waterproof hiking shoes with a grip: This is one of the most important Essentials for Gorilla Trekking. The type of shoes you carry are a big determinant of your hiking experience. Choose hiking shoes that are comfortable and waterproof, say the waterproof Gore-Tex hiking boots. They need to be ankle high such that you keep dry should you step in mud, puddles, rivers or if it actually rains. Please do not consider carrying hiking sandals or open shoes.
Waterproof backpack: All of your important things like the camera, passport copies and the like will be stored in here. Carrying a waterproof bag will keep them dry.
Extra high and thick socks: These come in handy particularly if you are tracking gorillas from Bwindi. Standing still even for a minute will have all sorts of crawlies climbing up your legs, some of which are harmful and can give you reactions like the red fire ants. These socks should be easily tucked over your trousers.
Gardening gloves: These gloves come in handy that you can have leverage when grabbing parts of the forest vegetation, especially in Rwanda.
A safari hat/cap: You might need to carry a hat that can shade you from the sun. it can be scorching if it wishes to.
Extra snacks and water: Before setting off for your gorilla trekking activity, your lodge will pack a lunch for you. You can, however, carry some extra snacks that you can munch on while on the trek, plus water. Keep in mind though that foods are not allowed near the gorillas, if the rangers spot the gorillas, you will need to leave behind all your foodstuffs with the porters.
In addition to the above, you can include mosquito/insect repellent creams, binoculars, and all those other necessary but personal stuff like towels, toiletries and so much more.
A gorilla trekking safari can be an experience to remember, but to make sure that you take with you only the best memories, carrying the right essentials with you is very important. Follow the above guide and you will have the best gorilla trekking experience.