What to pack for gorilla trekking in uganda
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is unlike anything else in Africa. During the jungle trek, the atmosphere is surreal. Each step builds your anticipation, and seeing the last remaining mountain gorillas in the world is a breathtaking experience.
Uganda is home to the largest population of mountain gorillas in the world-half the world’s remaining mountain gorillas live in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Mountain gorillas are one of the most endangered species on earth. They live in the forests with high altitudes in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
When you see these beautiful creatures in person, it is hard not to be amazed by how large they are. Males can weigh up to 500 pounds and stand at least 6 feet tall when fully grown! As a male matures, his back hair turns silver, earning him the nickname “Silverback.” There is a possibility that an adult male gorilla is ten times stronger than the strongest human. It also has been established that gorillas and humans share 98% of the same genetic material.
Most of the gorillas are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, where you may take a guided hike to see them. The remainder of the populace resides in the guided trek-accessible Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Their population has been progressively increasing in recent years as conservation efforts have helped to maintain their habitat and raise awareness of their situation.
Gorilla Trekking areas
There is no doubt that Uganda is the best place in Africa for gorilla trekking safaris. It has the biggest number of habituated gorilla families and thus offers more gorilla trekking permits all year round.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest has a thick vegetation cover and rises between 1160-2607 above sea level. It is arguably one of the most mystical in Africa and the most popular place to track gorillas in Uganda. Buhoma, Rushaga, Nkuringo, and Ruhija are the access points to several gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Buhoma on the North side of the forest is a tourist favorite.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga National Park is located in the southwest corner of Uganda, near the Rwandan border. It covers approximately 34 square kilometers.
As part of the larger Virunga conservation area, it encompasses a total of 434km2 of volcanic mountains connecting Uganda with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is home to one habituated gorilla family.
What to pack for Gorilla trekking in Uganda.
Gorilla trekking is a popular, exciting, and adventurous activity. Besides booking your Gorilla permit (through a local tour agent), there are several items you need to consider when getting ready for the great trek.
When planning a trip, one thing that can’t be ignored is packing! This list of essentials will help make sure your gorilla trekking experience is both safe and fun:
Be ready for all weather, including mud, rain, and sun. Since the hike will last several hours, you should bring a change of clothes and comfy shoes you can wear for long walks. You’ll also have the opportunity to get dirty during your hike, so don’t worry about packing any fancy outfits—just bring what will make you feel good!
If you’re looking for ideas on what clothes to bring on your trip, here are some suggestions:
- Trousers and jackets that are waterproof. The trekking area usually has damp vegetation and ground, so waterproof trousers enable you to carry out all activities without getting soaked
- Long-sleeved shirt to protect yourself from scratches, direct sun, and insects.
- Trekking gaiters or long socks to tuck trousers into to protect legs from scratches
- A sweater
You don’t want to be the person that has uncomfortable shoes that rub your feet or give you blisters.
You should wear comfortable, supportive shoes because you will be walking a lot.
Make sure they have closed toes so your foot won’t be scratched.
Avoid donning sandals! Flip-flops should also be avoided since they could lose their grip while hiking through muddy terrain. The finest choice is trekking boats.
Hat and sunglasses
A hat and sunglasses are necessary to protect you from the sun, especially when walking in direct sunlight for long hours. The hat can block harmful rays and keep your head cool by absorbing sweat, while the sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation and glare.
In terms of what kind of hats and sunglasses to bring, look for items that meet these criteria:
Lightweight – They should be easy to carry around as they will not add any extra weight to your bag or make it difficult for you when you have to climb up steep hillsides.
Comfortable – A good fit is essential for comfort and protection against UV rays; ensure that the hat does not leave marks on your forehead after wearing it for several hours or make pressure points at other parts of your face.
Water should be given by your resort, so bring plenty. Hydration is crucial, so if more than one bottle is needed, ask for it.
Your gorilla trekking experience will be more enjoyable if you have a snack in your bag. Snacks should be easy to eat and are a good source of energy.
The snacks can be fruit or nuts, something that will keep you going for a long time, and something easy to carry around because it can be heavy if you bring too much food.
Gloves will protect you from scratches. We recommend bringing a pair of light gardening gloves or work gloves for this purpose.
Wet wipes or a hand sanitizer
You may want to bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer or wet wipes. Hand sanitizer is the better option since it doesn’t dry out your skin as wet wipes do.
Put all the above in a backpack, one that is comfortable to wear and can fit everything you need.
A small size backpack is better than a big one as there are no fixed paths on the trekking trail, and you may have to climb up hills, across streams and boulders.
You cannot go on a safari in Africa without a good camera. How will your friends learn about your experiences on the safari?
What memory will you have of the event?
Take plenty of photos of gorillas, the stunning park setting, and the sights you pass. Make sure you carry backup batteries for the camera and avoid using flash when photographing gorillas, it irritates them.
You won’t be spending all of your time at gorilla parks. Several different species of birds, forest elephants, buffalo, chimpanzees, and monkeys will be present during your journey. If you have strong binoculars, you can see the birds and primates much better.
A walking stick
You are advised to get a walking stick if you do not already have one. Your guide may cut one for you, or the lodge may provide one. When climbing steep hills or navigating muddy terrain, even having one pole/stick can make all the difference.
Gorilla Trekking Permit
Last but not least, remember to carry your gorilla trekking permit and your passport or identification document.
You may tip your rangers and porters (at your discretion)
Day porters are very affordable, so you don’t have to worry about how you will carry all the recommended gorilla tracking clothing, equipment, and water. Residents usually work as porters. You will be helping the community and their families by paying for their services.
While trekking the gorillas, you may encounter mist and rain. Depending on whether you are hiking uphill or in the sun, it can get a bit hot. Keeping your clothes layered is a good idea.
Mountain Gorillas are naturally peaceful creatures, while trekking, you will be visiting the habituated groups-those who are used to being close to humans.
In addition to gorillas, Uganda has plenty of other wildlife and birdlife to see. There are tree-climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park, for instance. You are bound to have a great time!
In addition to being an unforgettable African wildlife experience, trekking mountain gorillas is a way to contribute to rural communities and wildlife conservation as a portion of the permit proceeds go to conservation and the local community.