Essentials for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Essentials for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda are the main elements that a traveler should carry when they are going for the tour to make it easily successful. The gorilla trekking tour is the major and most cherished tourism activity carried out in Uganda due to the fact that Uganda harbors almost half of the population of mountain gorillas that are still surviving in the wild making it the number one destination for gorilla tours in the entire world.  

Like any other activity, gorilla trekking tour requires proper preparations and packing in advance including the best location to trek, the best season, and many more in order to enjoy the experience of spending ample time in the wilderness of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National park both in the western part of Uganda with the mighty mountain Gorillas learning about their habits such as feeding, breastfeeding, copulating, and nesting among others

Keeping in mind that most of the Ugandan parks are situated in mountainous areas, trekking the gorillas involves hiking through Terrains, muddy trails  during the rainy months, thick blush, and changing climatic conditions filled with rain and sunshine at any given time in the rain forest henceforth it is always important to make  proper preparations in advance

It’s always important to ask your tour consultant about essentials for Gorilla trekking before you set off for your dream exploration of trekking the mighty mountain gorillas in the wild

Below is a guide of the essentials for gorilla trekking that will help you during Gorilla trekking in Uganda while in the wilderness surrounded by nature and the blue sky on top 

Fitness: Gorilla trekking requires physical fitness so it is always good to try and be a bit fit and flexible as you prepare for the trek in the thick blush filled with nettles, thorns and muddy trails. However, there are also chairs and the porters who are readily available to carry those who are unable to walk

A gorilla trekking permit: This is the first thing to put into consideration while planning and preparing for a gorilla trekking tour in Uganda. This permit is the only gate pass to access the mountain Gorillas in Uganda and it is issued by the Uganda Wildlife authority at a cost of $600. But effective from July 2020, the gorilla trekking permit will go to $700 per person allowing a visitor just one hour in presence of the mountain gorillas after trekking them for almost 2- 8 hours or even a full day depending on the trekking speed, trekker’s fitness and the distance moved by the gorillas. A gorilla permit should be booked at least six months in advance to avoid inconveniences and missing out at the last minute.

A porter: Trekkers have to keep in mind that a porter is very important to assist in carrying the backpack during trekking and even give a push and pull where necessary since it’s always not easy to hike with all the luggage at the back since hiking itself is a bit tiring. So it is always recommended to hire a porter or even two before starting the trek and these porters are always present at the park head offices where the briefing is carried out 

A hiking Stick: As usual mountain gorilla trekking involves hiking through steep slopes and terrains thus a good hiking stick is recommended to assist trekkers to lean on during this tiresome but enjoyable expedition. Most visitors obtain these sticks from the park headquarters during the briefing on the trekking day. However, it’s also possible for visitors to carry their own hiking sticks 

A backpack: Since gorilla trekking lasts between two to eight hours, visitors need to have a backpack for easy transportation of the camera, lunchbox, drinking water, insect repellants, sunglasses, hiking boots, long-sleeved attire, raincoat, snacks and other things that might be important during the gorilla trekking session

What should be included in the trekker’s backpack?

A backpack is very crucial and must not be forgotten while preparing for a gorilla trekking tour in Uganda and it includes a whole lots of things explained below;

A camera: Obviously no one goes on a tour especially a gorilla tour without a camera to capture and store the exciting moments with the primate encounter. So during the preparation for gorilla trekking tour, a camera should be the first thing to include in the backpack but note that you should never use a flashlight while taking the photographs  in presence of mountain gorillas 

Enough drinking water: Adequate drinking water should be packed in the backpack to avoid dehydration during the trek especially on hot days at least two Litres or more 

A lunch box: It another of the important essentials for gorilla trekking. The food is normally provided at the lodges where the visitors reside the day before trekking since it’s always included on the meal plan and very important never to forget to include it in the backpack with some snacks also to make help the trekkers munch on during the trekking tour in Uganda. However, note that you shouldn’t eat while in close vicinity with mountain gorillas or even any other primate as they are very sensitive and might fight and grab food from you

Garden gloves: Wow! This is another important of the essentials for gorilla trekking to add on the backpack while preparing for a gorilla trekking tour in Uganda. Garden gloves or basic hiking gloves protect the trekkers’ hands from itchy and thorny shrubs while trekking.

Essentials for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Essentials for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Sunglasses: These are also considered amongst the basic requirements that should never miss out in the backpack since they protect the eyes from direct sunlight and even prevent some insects and other objects from falling into the eyes during Gorilla trekking tour in Uganda

A hut or a cap: This goes hand in hand with the sunglasses for protection against the hot scorching sun. 

Hiking boots: Every trekker needs to pack very light but waterproof hiking boots as they enable trekkers to easily pass through the thick  blush and muddy slopes 

Insect repellant: Since there are several insects in the jungle especially the Tsetse flies and the mosquitoes, trekkers are advised to pack the insect repellant to protect them from insect bites 

Appropriate attire: A dull-colored Long sleeved attire is an important item to prepare in advance in order to protect your delicate skin from harmful plants and even insect without forgetting a raincoat since in the rain forest it can rain at any given time so always be prepared  for any weather conditions 

Important to Note:

  • Be at the starting point in time for briefing in order to set off with others and avoid missing out your dream of watching mountain gorillas face to face
  • While in the wilderness, try as much as possible to follow the instructions given by the tour guide and rangers since they well know the behaviors of gorillas than you do
  • And finally, follow all the gorilla trekking rules and regulations properly and even ask in case you forget or need to know anything before messing up with the gorillas