What to wear and carry for gorilla trekking?
Before you start the day’s trek/hike, it is very important to have the right clothing so that you can enjoy your safari.
Make sure that you are dressed appropriately. The right clothing involves wearing long sleeved shirts, long trousers to protect your arm and legs from stinging nettles and being scratched by the grass or tree branches.
It is also advisable to wear strong waterproof hiking boots and long socks, gardening gloves to protect your hands from being scratched as you support yourself using tree branches, hat to protect your head from sunshine, a rain jacket and a backpack are also important.
Recommended Clothing for Gorilla Trekking
Long sleeved shirt not sleeveless tops or short sleeved shirts to protect your arms from the scratching grasses, tree branches, stinging nettles and safari ants. Imagine you are trekking then you are stung by ants or the stinging nettles, meeting face to face with the mountain gorillas will not remove the pain you will encounter hence ruin your gorilla trekking experience.
Long trousers preferably khaki zip up trousers and not shorts. This will also protect your legs from tree branches thronged with thorns, sharp grasses and stinging nettles. Jeans are not recommended because trekking involves hiking through dew-filled grasses, the jeans can become heavy hence hinder movement. So avoid jeans just for the sake of your comfort and easy movement.
Similarly, wear long socks. You will be required to tuck your trousers into the socks to prevent ants from crawling into your pants/trousers.
Strong rainproof hiking boots with enough ankle support are very necessary for providing grip, comfort and easy movement during hiking. Trackers are always advised against wearing sandals or flip flops. Imagine hiking through the muddy trails with your sandals, will they really from getting torn? This can totally ruin your experience. So it’s recommended to wear hiking boots. If you forgot them yet you are already at the Park, the Park Rangers can lend you their gumboots so that you don’t face difficulty while hiking. But do not intentionally travel to the Park without your own hiking boots.
Strong gardening gloves are also handy because in the process of hiking/tracking, you will need to pull yourself using tree branches and vines. You might mistakenly touch the stinging nettles or thorns that can scratch your hands hence ruin your experience. You can always take them off when you reach the mountain gorillas, so that you take photographs easily.
You also need a rainproof day pack for carrying your snacks, drinking water, cameras and binoculars because you cannot be sure of when it will start raining.
A rain jacket or poncho is very important during tracking, whether in rainy or dry season. You wouldn’t want to be washed by rain when hiking. The mistake that most trackers do is to leave their rain jackets behind when they know it is a dry season. The tropical rainforests where these mountain gorillas are found experience equatorial climate and are situated in areas of higher elevations where it rains anytime.
A hat with a brim is also important to protect your heads from the effects of strong sunshine or even rain. Sunglasses with a neck trap are also handy when for your gorilla trekking.
Do not forget to carry a walking stick on the day of hiking. Most Lodges provide these walking sticks to trackers while others can be attained from the Park headquarters/visitor centers or the Briefing Camp during briefing.