I would like to believe that if you are looking at what to pack for the gorilla trekking safari, you have already planned your adventure journey in Uganda or Rwanda. So you are looking for a packing list to make sure your luggage includes the right things you’ll need to pull off a memorable African journey.
Pack light! Save yourself travel luggage stress and only carry the essentials. Your packing list for gorilla trekking should have things you absolutely need. Especially if you’re going to take internal local flights to the gorilla park, regional airlines have a limit of up to 32 kg per bag and charge for extra weight.
Mountain gorillas live in the remotest regions with minimal access to modern services and at mountainous altitudes. You’ll be trekking uneven, steep terrain at 7000 ft 13,000 above sea level, under a thick humid tropical mountain forest.
It gets chilly in the nights, with mornings reaching temperatures ranging at a minimum of 7 to 15 °C (45 to 59 °F). Carry some comfortable and warm clothing plus waterproof shoes. Avoid clothing that makes you stand out like a sore thumb and draw unnecessary attention.
The mountain gorilla jungle is an impenetrable thicket of tangled green with marked walking trails. You must get up early to join the gorilla trekking excursion group that sets out at 08:00 am. The trek goes irrespective of whether it rains or not. Therefore, you should pack for any eventualities.
The recent deadly pandemic has changed the way people travel; we now have to protect ourselves and the animals from dangerous transmittable diseases. Your packing list for gorilla trekking will include standard hygiene items for protecting you, the gorillas and everyone else. You could also strengthen your immunity with a vaccine jab before you come, although it’s not mandatory yet.
Look out for the ever-changing entry restrictions like visa, vaccines, and Covid-19 tests. You want to have all documents packed in your handbag.
Remember to check with your local tour operator about your gorilla permit; it’s a vital pass to see the mountain gorillas. They must have sent you a copy; make sure you pack your verified copy with the correct names, date, gorilla trekking park, and maybe, the trailhead or sector.
Also, your lodge will allow you to leave your luggage and check out after the trek to have a safe place to leave your luggage and freshen up after the hike. In retrospect, bring a carry-on bag to carry your lunchbox, camera, and other items you’ll need during gorilla trekking in the jungle.
The gorilla trekking adventure experience is quite similar irrespective of where you track or which country. That means the packing list is the same in Uganda and Rwanda.
Below is your packing list for the gorilla trekking safari in Uganda or Rwanda.
Fit more into your luggage: The best way to gain space in your bag is by rolling your clothes, and you will end up making less luggage and possibly not have to pay extra baggage fees.
Buy stuff at your destination: Entebbe, Kampala, and Kigali have travel stores where you can buy things you will need on your gorilla trekking safari. Please pack only the essentials and then ask your tour manager to help you make a list of the things you can get when you come.
We have two seasons: June to August and December to February are dry seasons in Uganda and Rwanda. The heat makes for an excellent gorilla trekking experience under the humid jungle canopy. But you should pack light clothing for the trek and something to protect yourself against the sun outside the rainforest (bring sunglasses and tropical-friendly sunscreen). March to May and September to November is the rainy season. There may be unexpected rain outbursts for a couple of hours a day, and a cloak can come in handy.
Recommended for you: Best time to go trekking the mountain gorillas—month by month.
Layer up: Avoid the bulky heavy clothing that takes up space. Bring lighter clothes that can layer up to stay warm. For example, instead of that bulky sweater, why not take a merino wool tank or tee layered with a lighter long-sleeved top.
Carry the heavy clothing on you: You can wear heavy clothing during transit, to free up some parking space to carry snacks or something to give away like “Pack For A Purpose” items. You’ll have that space available when flying back home. It’s common to see someone in transit wearing a jacket (or holding it), a thick pair of jeans and sturdy boots.
Overpack vs Underpack: What’s worst, to overpack or underpack? People that prefer overpacking say that even though you don’t end up using some things, the security of having it is reassuring — people who are against overpacking say large bags are too much of a burden. Why bother when you can just buy stuff at your destination if you ever need it.