Essentials for Gorilla Trekking
Essentials for gorilla trekking are those items that a traveler must carry in order to have a successful and smooth safari in the wild as they explore the endangered gorilla species. Gorilla trekking involves hiking deep into the lush forests and steep-sloped national parks of Volcanoes, Virunga, Mgahinga Gorilla and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks that are home and the natural habitat for the endangered mountain gorillas. Given that these mountain gorillas live in high altitude areas that have dense vegetation cover, travelers are advised to carry some items that are considered essentials for gorilla trekking. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda doesn’t get its name ‘impenetrable’ for nothing, and Rwanda’s nettles, in particular, are not something to joke about. If having the best gorilla trekking safari is what you are after, pack the following items;
Valid Visa and Passport
Travelers need to have a valid and untampered with a passport to be able to travel into any country and then have a valid visa that permits one’s stay in a particular country for a given period of time. Visas to Rwanda and Uganda can be got both online and upon arrival at the airport or borders. A Rwanda single entry VISA is at $30 and Uganda’s is at $50. Travelers can choose to purchase an Eat African visa that allows entry and stay in any of the East African countries for up to 90 days at a cost of only $100.
Gorilla tracking permit
Travelers without a gorilla tracking permit cannot go on a gorilla trekking safari experience or participate in the activity. A gorilla tracking permit is a pass that allows one to take part in a gorilla tracking expedition. Gorilla tracking permits sell out very fast due to the high demand and yet there are not so many of them available, travelers intending to have a gorilla trekking safari are therefore advised to book way in advance to secure yours at a cost of only $400 in Congo, $700 in Uganda and $1500 in Rwanda. In Uganda, gorilla permits are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and the Rwanda Development Board issues for Rwanda, travelers can purchase them from there or have a trusted tour operator purchase them on your behalf.
With your valid passport, secured gorilla trekking permit and valid visa that allows you in the country, having the right gorilla trekking packing list is the next thing to seriously consider. The vegetation cover in the above national parks that inhabit the mountain gorillas is quite thick and the terrain is also one to amaze at but also pack right for. The gorilla trekking packing list below should guide you on what to pack for a successful gorilla trekking safari;
Long safari trousers
As earlier mentioned, the vegetation cover in these national parks is very lush, thick and full of tree branches. Having long safari trousers will protect you from getting bruised and scratched from the plants and also not have reactions from some plants that might get onto you. Pack appropriate colors that abound to the wildlife and can blend to the surrounding so as to minimize the impact on wildlife. Kaki and dark green are good enough, please don’t mistake and carry white as your tracking trousers as they will return black and green from both mad and vegetation. Also, consider the trousers’ ability to stretch such that they do not limit your movement during the trek up and down.
Long sleeved shirts or t-shirts
Long sleeved shirts will protect your hands from getting scratched by the very abundant and thick vegetation and tree branches. The shirts or t-shirts you choose to pack should be able to keep you both warm in case of intense coldness when it rains but also not suffocate you should the weather be warm on that particular day.
Waterproof or rain jacket
Mountain gorillas live in high altitude areas and tropical rainforests that have their weather patterns change drastically despite the season. Carrying a waterproof jacket or raincoat can be the most important as the rains in these rainforests can fall at any time, even during those months that are considered dry months and most recommended. The day can start out bright in the morning but the rains fall in the afternoon that usually is the case. Consider, when packing or purchasing, that your waterproof jacket or rain jacket is light but not very lightweight and paper-thin that bushes and branches can pierce through them, and that the jacket also has a hoodie to shield your head from the rains when they do start to pour.
Waterproof hiking shoes
Given the terrain of the homes to these gentle mountain gorillas, packing the right kind of shoes will either make or ruin your gorilla trekking experience. Waterproof hiking shoes with a grip are the best recommendation. Carry comfortable, fitting and waterproof hiking shoes. Having them waterproof is to protect your feet from getting wet when you do step into puddles, mud and when you have to cross small rivers or when it decides to rain. Do not at any point be tempted to carry hiking sandals or open shoes.
Thick socks and gaiters
Thick socks are most important if tracking mountain gorillas from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. All sorts of crawlies can clumber up should you decide to stand even if for a single minute. They will come climbing up your legs so fast and some of them are quite reactive and sting, like the red ants. Make sure your socks can be tacked into your pants and leave no apace whatsoever. The gaiters can be worn over the pants and shoes.
Waterproof and squash-able hat
Carrying a hat will help to shield you from the sun when it decides to shine. The sun can actually be scorching at times. Having it waterproof comes in handy when it does rain.
Having a waterproof backpack will help you safe-keep your important items especially when it rains, like phones and cameras.
Insect repellent creams
Carrying an insect repellent cream that can help keep off insects like mosquitoes is also advised.
Snacks and enough water
The hike during gorilla trekking can be strenuous and can take some time. The fact that the altitudes also are quite high will have you getting tired and therefore having energy giving snacks like a bar chocolate and water for refreshment are advised to be covered. Foods should however not be eaten anywhere near the mountain gorillas. Eating should be done at least 200 meters away.
The above is the recommended packing list for a successful gorilla trekking safari, in addition to having binoculars and other items of personal nature. Whereas most people expect to have only a good experience when they embark on a gorilla trekking safari, having the right essentials for gorilla trekking will contribute a lot to it. Deviate and be sure to have some very unpleasant memories. Get in touch with trusted tour operators to help you design and plan for the best gorilla trekking safari.