Packing for the best Gorilla tracking experience!
For as long as I have been doing this job, one question I hear most of the time is what should I pack for the gorilla tracking experience. This is the same whether in Rwanda or in Uganda. There are 10 most in most important things you should try to have on the of Gorilla tracking!
Gorilla permit: I know this is obvious but I have seen people who have shown up on the day of induction without gorilla permits that allows them to track these amazing mountain gorillas.
- Shoes – Hiking Boats: Try to get yourself a pair of waterproof hiking boats. They will come in handy especially while trying to negotiate what is often difficult terrain- Not the too expensive ones but a just a good pair will do and you do not want to bring them back you can always donate them before you leave ask your driver/guide.
- Clothing: Long sleeve shirt or T-shirt: you will be in one of the most thick African rainforest, there are lots of plants, with thorns an nettle that will bite you, so to protect your arms and upper body. I always recommend wearing long sleeves T-shirts or light shirt.
- Trouser or Shorts? I know sometimes we look cool in our shorts but for this occasion, I really recommend you to use those trousers, strong cotton or light jeans will do the job. They will help you so much in protecting those legs from stinging nettles and thorny brambles that you’re likely to encounter after all we’re in an African jungle and in the middle of the rainforest .
- Light Rain Jacket : There is a good chance that the rain will come, did I say you will be tracking in a rainforest? So come prepared with this one and making sure that you bring it along will be useful protection from the rain just in case it come pouring. You can pick one of those foldable ones from the internet or your favourite outdoors stuff shops.
- Sturdy Gardening cloves: I know what you are think, am going gardening or gorilla tracking. I understand it does not sound right but good light sturdy gardening gloves I have found them to be a great tool to add on your armoury in your gorilla tracking gears. They will help you when trying to hold on branches or trees and sometimes of brambles without realising. Your finger and hands will thank you after for wearing those gloves.
- Waterproof daypack: please carry a waterproof daypack for yourself to keep all the stuff that you are carrying on this occasion. This will protect them rain in case it comes.
- Wear sun cream and insect repellent: These two are important. The sun cream is important especially if you are not from Uganda or Rwanda. The insect repellent is very useful in protecting you from the insect bites. Please use lots of these.
- A pair of sunglass: Not as important as the rest above but in some way, you will need these glasses as sometime if it is your first time to be in the jungle or in an intense sunlight, they become handy.
- Use a porter: I know sometime people roll their eyes on the suggestion and some feel rather strongly that using porters is demeaning to the porter! Nevertheless, I would like to know, using a porter is a beneficial to the porter as it will be to yourself. You will appreciate a porter carrying your daypack at the end or in those times when jumping a log or crossing a stream is becoming like climbing mountain Kilimanjaro. Note: using a porter benefits the porter as he gain a pay that he uses to pay for his kids school fees as well as look after his family. This is a win-win situation for both of you.