What to Wear Gorilla Trekking on a Safari in Uganda or Rwanda

Posted by on November 27, 2019

Packing and Wearing the Right Clothing for your Gorilla Trek in Uganda or Rwanda

Bring the right Stuff – What to Wear Gorilla Trekking on Safari in Uganda or Rwanda


What to wear Gorilla Trekking – What to pack and bring for your Gorilla Trek in Uganda or Rwanda.

In Uganda, you will most likely trek in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The word Bwindi means Impenetrable. The reality is that Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is doubly impenetrable, meaning that one has to be prepared for the Gorilla Tracking Adventure. Preparation means packing and wearing clothing, footwear, hat, socks that will protect you from insects on your Gorilla trek or Gorilla Habituation Experience.

What to wear Gorilla Trekking in Uganda – Rwanda? Dressing for your Rwanda Gorilla Trek in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park or Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla Park is the same. Though the landscape is different from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the clothing needed for Gorilla Tracking is the same.

The right Clothing and Footwear on a Gorilla Trek protects you from Nettles, Thorns, Branches, pesky flies, soldier ants, spiders, and more.

When going on a one of a kind Gorilla Habituation Experience in Uganda – the same clothing applies, except you might need 3 liters of water and more snacks for you. 


What to Pack & What to wear Gorilla Trekking in Uganda – Rwanda:


 One of the biggest mistakes that people make when going gorilla tracking is not dressing right. Some will wear sandals (one man wore Flip and Flops, and it took two porters to help him). Others resort to wearing shorts, wear just a T-Shirt, have no day pack, no water.

Going Gorilla trekking is not a stroll in the park. It is for most a strenuous hike. The right Gorilla Wear and Gear will make Gorilla Trekking a lot easier.

When preparing, packing for your  Gorilla Trek, be mindful that Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla Park, and Volcanoes National Park are at higher elevations. That it gets cold at night, we suggest packing a sweater or a light rain jacket.

You are not hiking on comfortable paths. Still, small trails or “no trails at all,” some of them freshly blazed by the Rangers – you have to wear the right clothing for your protection against thorns, nettles, underbrush, insects including soldier ants, flies and at rare times even wasps.

Going Gorilla Trekking means dressing for the occasion, and the event is a Gorilla Trek – a once in a lifetime activity for most. It is best to wear the right stuff for your Protection or as Ugandans say in Ugandan English (Uglish) – Dressing Smart. 

Yes, you are in the Tropics, you are in Equatorial Africa, but this is not a sandy beach on the Island of Zanzibar, this is not a stroll in Central Park in NYC. You are in a Rainforest Jungle in the Heart of Africa.

Wearing the right Gear tracking, the Gentle Giants of the Forest comes down to you being reasonably comfortable. That allows you to focus on the trek, and the Mountain Gorillas, and not the discomfort of aching feet, bug or nettle stings.

As a Gorilla Safari Tour Operator, we speak from experience based on our treks and those of our Clients.  The Happiest Gorilla Trekkers are those that wear and bring the right Stuff.


Pack right – Here are our recommendations as to “What to wear Gorilla Trekking in Uganda – Rwanda.”


 Waterproof Hiking Boots:

A pair of waterproof hiking boots are needed. The trails could be slippery in the early mornings, especially if it rains. The Rangers that are on the path daily, most often wear gumboots. Yes, rubber boots are their footwear of choice. You do not see any of them wearing sandals, white sneakers, or other footwear that will not be helpful on the trail.

The Plus about Wellies – Rubber Boots: They cover you up to almost your knees. They are easy to clean and give you traction if they have soles with tread on them. Most Rangers and Trackers use them. Some tourists have started to use them either because they did not bring the right Footwear, others like the added protection.

Hiking boots give you excellent ankle support, traction, stability, and balance, all important while Gorilla Tracking and don’t forget good, thick socks.  For added protection, you can tuck your trousers into your socks and protect yourself against insects such as ants.


 Clothing – Long-Trousers-Long-Sleeved Shirts:

Long Trousers – they can be jeans – khaki zip-up trousers -, but they have to be long-sleeved.  A long-sleeved shirt is also necessary. Both protect you against Nettles, branches, thorns, and anything else that can scratch you.

Tug your pants into your socks to protect from fire ants – it may not look fashionable, but it is practical.

Many Gorilla Trek visitors will ignore this advice and come in shorts and tank-tops – look at their exposed skin at the end of the gorilla trek, and you will find scratches and nettle burns. It is best to cover yourself up with a long-sleeved shirt, trousers 0r jeans.  Shorts might be on your mind or a Tank Top, stick to our advice, and you will be glad you did.

Cotton undergarments will keep you comfortable, and women need to pick comfortable bras for a hike that can be tough.


 Sturdy Gardening Gloves:

Take along some Gardening Gloves – are you kidding me?

Yes, you read right – sturdy Gardening Gloves. No, you are not going gardening but on a gorilla trek, and the gloves allow you to pull yourself up on vines, branches and not get scratched.

Nettles, yes, Nettles are present, and they cause a lot of discomfort if you get in contact with them. Gardening Gloves prevent that.

Those that use them are quite glad that they did since you often go off of the trail and enter the bush where the gorillas are to spend your hour with them.

You can take your gloves off when you are with the gorillas to take pictures.  Gardening Gloves – bring them along – they might come in handy.


 Wear a Hat:

A hat comes in handy to protect your head from the elements – may it be sun or rain. A wide-brimmed hat is best for protection against the sun.

At the least, wear a baseball cap, but it does not protect your neck against the tropical sun that comes out after the morning mist has lifted in the mountains.

You do not need an expensive Tilley Hat, a tremendous wide-brimmed hat will d, and you can wear it on the plane coming to Uganda or Rwanda.

The alternative is a baseball hat or purchasing a hat in Uganda or Rwanda, and there is a wide range available in local markets, including Craft Markets.

Wear a Hat – you will be glad that you did by the end of the Gorilla Trek.


 Light Rain-Jacket:

You are trekking Gorillas in the Rainforest, and often in the morning, there is that “Gorillas in the Mist” feel to it all where a rain jacket comes in handy.

Rain Forest also means that in spite of you coming in the Dry-Season Months of the year, it can rain at any time, after all, you are in a Tropical Rainforest, and at times it does rain for a spell in the morning. Yet, the sun comes out each day to dry the ground.

A Poncho can also be used and is often worn by Rangers, Trackers, and Porters.  Use a light one that you can fold or roll up and put into your Daypack until the time that you need it.

You are in a rainforest, and there is that morning Gorilla Mist – Rains usually come at night or early in the morning.


 A Sweater for  Cool Nights and Early Mornings:

Yes, a sweater in Africa. It is not an accident that Luxury and Upmarket Lodges here have fireplaces in the rooms or cottages for your comfort.

It gets cold here at night.  In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest The temperature gets down 11°C/52°. Near Volcanoes National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla Park, one to0°C/50°F, even lower at times. That for Tropical, Equatorial Africa is cool. For visitors to the area, it may just feel right.

Even though you are close to the equator, it might behoove you to bring a sweater or cardigan. That is for the same reason that most lodges give you a hot water bottle for your comfort as you go to sleep while luxury lodges have a fireplace in your cottage or room for your convenience.

Yes, Bring a Sweater or Sweatshirt Gorilla Trekking and keep comfortable.


 Wear Lots of Insect Repellent:

Wear lots of Insect Repellent, and a right DEET product is excellent for Gorilla Trekking.  If you combine a Savannah Park, we recommend RID, which you can buy online and is made in Australia.

Presently it is not sold in North-America, which makes it a bit harder to get, but that effort is well worth it.

While Gorilla Trekking you come across flies, there are no mosquitoes here but pesky flies.

Only wearing an insect, good repellent does the job.  You will also need to apply sunblock to your body that is exposed.

If you are on a Gorilla Habituation Experience which is an all-day trek, bring the spray along with you in your daypack, be sure to put it into a  ziplock bag since it contains some DEET.


The Extra things to have for your Gorilla Trek:


 Waterproof Daypack:

You will need an excellent waterproof day pack in which you can pack the things you will be bringing along.

Wrap Camera Equipment in Ziploc Bags or Shower Cap to protect it, a small first aid kit with band-aids, insect repellent – during the day, there may be a lot of flies present.

Binoculars will not be necessary unless you are a Birder.

Your packed lunch and at least two liters of water – some granola or energy bars may come in handy. On a Gorilla Habituation Experience, you will need 3 liters of water.

Pack a light rain jacket or poncho – you are tracking Gorillas in a rainforest.
Other things – Swiss-Army Knife – First-Aid Kit- Insect Repellent mostly for flies –  Sunglasses may come in handy.

Use Ziplock Bag to cover anything you are trying to protect from water, plus to keep the Deet Based Insect Repellent from spilling in the bag, other items.


 Use a Porter to carry your Daypack:

Porters are readily available both in Uganda in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Rwanda at Volcanoes National Park.

Some feel that it is demeaning to use a porter – not realizing that porters make a decent income which pays for homes, school fees for children, food, medical care, and more.

You benefit by being free to move around and take pictures without the weight of the daypack.

Using a porter, it is a win-win situation for all – the Porter benefits, and you benefit.

Porters are available both in Uganda and Rwanda at each Gorilla Trek trailhead. In some cases, they have carried people with disabilities on a stretcher like contraptions to see the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda and Uganda.


 Gorilla Trek Walking Sticks:

Walking Sticks come in most handy as you traverse the problematic terrain while tracking Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda.

Most people use the local, tall walking sticks which can be purchased and at times, are provided for by lodges.

You can also buy a carved ornamental walking stick that you can buy to take home as a reminder of your eventful day spending one hour with the Mountain Gorillas of Uganda or Rwanda.
When you buy such a stick, you support the local economy and help a Ugandan or Rwandan family – once again, a win-win situation for all. They make an honorable income, and you take home a reminder of your Gorilla Trek.

Another Must-Have – Walking Stick


 Protecting your Camera and Lenses on a Gorilla Trek:

Those wanting to trek Gorillas are always looking at our “Best Time for Visit for Gorilla Trekking” Page, and here you are now in December during the Dry Season, and yet as you head out on the Trail for your Trek, it is raining.

How you best protect your Camera Gear – Ziploc Bags, large ones do the job.  There are commercial products on the market that cost a lot more money, but a simple large Ziploc Bag will do the job.  What about Rwanda’s Ban on Plastic Bags – if officials see that you are protecting something, like keeping insect repellent in a Ziploc bag they usually allow it since they figure that you will take the bag back with you. The same applies to Camera Equipment Protection.  You can also use a shower cap, yes, a shower cap to protect your camera and lenses.

Gorilla Photography made simple:


 Gorilla Trekking when your Luggage is Lost – Plan – B:

You have a dilemma – you flew into Kigali or Entebbe, and your luggage is lost, missing, delayed, and your gorilla Trek is beginning soon.  Let us give you a Plan- B – where you can still enjoy your Gorilla Trek while we worry about getting the lost luggage to you.

Wear the Trek Clothing on your flight, including boots, use carry-on luggage, and a daypack, and for the most part, you are set for Gorilla Trekking.

When you return from your trek, your luggage most often will be there, and you can continue your safari in Uganda and Rwanda.

Lost Luggage rarely happens, but it does happen, be prepared, and does not miss out on your safari.


Download your Gorilla Trekking Packing List

Here is a list of what you need to pack, things need to bring and what you need to have on the Day of your Gorilla Trek. It will come in handy as you prepare for your Gorilla Trek in the Heart of Africa.


 What to wear while Gorilla Trekking? Simple, follow the above advice you might hear from a porter, tracker, ranger, guide – “You are looking smart.” Meaning in Uganda or Rwanda that you have dressed right for the occasion, which is your Encounter with the Gentle Giants of the forest.

Enjoy your Gorilla Trek in Uganda or Rwanda by dressing right, dressing smart for the occasion, which is Gorilla Trekking. If you continue your safari after Gorilla Trekking and visit Savanna Parks – here is what to wear on such a safari.

We suggest that you download our handy list that will help you to pack the Right Gorilla Gear for your time Gorilla Trekking in Uganda.

Comfort and protection is the goal. That means long trousers and a long-sleeved shirt may seem not the right stuff for hiking on a Trek in Africa.  They do, however, protect you from nettles, thorns, bushes, and insects.


If you have any questions about Gorilla Trekking in Uganda – Please contact us.