When you plan to go on a gorilla safari in Uganda, you must prepare for the damp weather in the experienced in the national parks. This packing list is effective for not only travelers to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park but also other gorilla parks i.e Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is important to know that the parks stay ever green and receive high amounts of rainfall year round. Gorilla trekking gets easier in the dry seasons from December to February and June to September. Trails are dry but because of high humidity, even when it does not rain.
In addition, prepare for steep and very challenging altitude for you to be physically fit. It gets difficult if you’re travelling in the rainy season, April to May and October to November.
A day’s pack is great to keep your personal items like cameras, drinking water, snacks or packed lunch. Once you get into the forest on a guided trek looking for gorillas, you cannot predict time to get back. A day’s pack keeps all you need to use, however gorilla parks are pristine environments and tourists must not leave their waste or litter behind.
Essential Things to Pack
- Warm jackets or sweaters can be put on during cold morning.
- Pack enough drinking water, energy drinks and food. Once you’ve set off from the gorilla trekking centers, you have no place to get eats and drinks. Usually your lodge prepares lunch boxes. Gorillas also move frequently in the forest and it can take 30 minutes or more than 8 hours to locate them. We recommend tourists to speak to their guides at the start of the gorilla trek about their trekking capacity and fitness levels. Once you do that, you’ll be allocated to gorilla families that easy to reach and avoid disappointment.
- Hiking boots are very essential over steep mountainous terrain between 2400 to 4500 meters above sea level in Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla Park. In Bwindi mountains have thick vegetation. Boots should cover up your ankle borne; add on long wool stockings and guitars for protection since you go through deep muddy trenches, river and sharp thorny bushes can be harmful without protection.
- Have long trousers/ pants which can dry quickly but most important to protect your legs against thick undergrowth forests with a lot of stinging nettles and thorns. Tuck trousers inside boots to prevent safari ants and leeches from crawling into your trousers.
- Pack long sleeved shirts or sweaters with environmental friendly colors. Searching for gorillas, you maneuver thick canopies characterized by stinging nettles, insects, thorny vines or branches which can cut your arms. T-shirts are also great because of hiking up the mountains heat and warmth can make you sweat. It’s better to have an extra fleece cloth in case of spider webs and usually when you reach gorillas, it can get cold.
- Pack garden gloves to protect your hands. Caterpillars or insects can harm your hands when hiking in the forest. Grab a walking stick, muddy trails will inevitably make you hold against tree branches or grass for support.
- Breathable rain jackets or poncho are very important to have on a gorilla trek to prevent you from getting wet and also protect your camera equipment. Rain is highly unpredictable in the gorilla parks whether it’s a dry season or not.
- Have some insect repellants because there are mosquitoes, wasps and other insects in the jungles. You’ll need to carry it on the gorilla trek so that you keep smearing on your skin or hands to keep insects away.
- Have a first aid kit. You never know what might happen to you while trekking to see gorillas. A small cut, bruise or injury in the middle of the forest can easily be infected, so it’s advisable to have bandages, cotton or wax which can be wrapped around any cut or injury.
- Pack a sun screen in case you’re not comfortable with too much sunlight during the dry season. Likewise, a hut will also protect you from direct sun rays.
- You need a camera to photography gorillas, so take extra batteries, lenses and their water proof cover.