African Gorilla & Wildlife tour Packing list.
Mountain gorillas are critically endangered, and the African Wildlife Foundation estimates that there are less than 900 mountain gorillas remaining in the wild. These small populations of gorillas reside in four national parks spanning three countries: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi biega national Park.
This packing list focuses solely on the items you will want to bring with you on the day of your actual trek and the entire safari;
Mountain & Eastern lowland Gorilla Clothing & Shoes
- Long-Sleeved Shirt or Jacket – Treks begin early in the morning, and you may be chilly at the start of your trek. Depending on the time of year, you may want long sleeves during the entirety of your trek. In addition to warmth, long sleeves are helpful for protecting your arms against stinging nettles or branches.
- Short-Sleeved Shirt – Dressing in layers is a good idea. The day involves strenuous activity in the humid jungle, and you may want to shed your outer layers. (I know that I did!)
- Long Pants – You will be encountering thick vines, fallen trees, and scratchy brush, and you will want to have protection on your legs. I found thick leggings to be ideal pants for the trek because they allowed me to move freely while still covering my legs.
- Tall Socks – Keeping the biting “safari ants” out of your pants is important! Your guide will instruct you to tuck your pants into your socks, and tall socks are best for this task.
- Hiking Shoes – Shoes with a good grip are a must. The terrain can be difficult to navigate, including thick vines, slippery rocks, patches of mud, and more. If your shoes are waterproof, all the better.
- Rain Jacket – The national parks where the mountain gorillas live are largely rain forest, and it can rain unexpectedly.
- Gloves – I didn’t hike with gloves, but other members of my group did. After I scraped my hands and accidentally grabbed a stinging plant, I wished that I had gloves as well.
Toiletries & Medicine
- Malaria Pills – This is the exception to my earlier note: you don’t actually need to bring your malaria pills with you on the hike, but I wanted to include them as a reminder. All of the four national parks where you can track the mountain gorillas are located in malarial zones, and you should discuss options to safeguard yourself from malaria with your doctor.
- Insect Repellent with DEET– Malaria aside, being bitten by mosquito is no fun and can ruin your experience.
- Toilet Paper – It goes without saying that there are no toilets in the jungle. Remember that you must leave the forest with everything that you brought into it, so you may want to bring a plastic bag for this purpose.
Documents & Money
- Documentation – You should come prepared with any documentation or numbers related to your gorillas tracking permit.
- Passport – Don’t forget to bring your passport, as you will need to show it when you check in for the trek.
- Local Currency – Remember to tip your guide! Local currency is also useful if you decide you want to hire a porter or want to purchase souvenirs.
- Water – Bring as much water as you can carry. Staying hydrated is important.
Packed Lunch & Snacks – Tracking the mountain & Eastern lowland gorillas is unpredictable, and you might be hiking through the jungle for as many as seven hours or more. Even if you are only hiking for a few hours, your group will likely stop for a bit to give everyone an opportunity to eat their packed lunches. You should bring some healthy snacks, too, such as nuts or dried fruit, to keep your energy up while you are hiking.
- Towel – many lodges provide these, but if needed we suggest taking trek towels. These are lightweight, pack to a small size and dry quickly. Best to get a large or extra large.
- Sunscreen and moisturizing cream
- Sunglasses with neck strap
- Alarm clock – though our staff will wake you
- Ear plugs
- Spare / extra batteries
- Camera and extra lenses
- Camera charger / converter / adapter for 220 / 240 AC voltage, plus cigarette lighter adapter is useful
- Film – particularly fast film for the primates (400 – 1600ASA)
- Personal toiletries /Prescription medicines and the prescription itself
- Wet-wipes / tissues
- Back-up glasses especially if you wear contact lenses
- Wash cloth and plastic bag (if needed)
- Ziplocs / dry bags and other plastic bags for keeping valuables dry or storing wet clothes
- Torch / flashlight – LED models are light weight and have a good battery life
- Sewing kit (needle, thread, safety pins)
- Small notebook
- First Aid Kit – including anti-diarrhea medicine, dehydration sachets, aspirin, cold medication, antiseptic cream, band-aids (plasters), motion sickness pills, lip balm, eye drops and personal medication
- Photocopies of your passport, visas, credit cards and airline tickets (it is advisable to have 2 sets to keep in separate places)
Hope with the above safari packing list you will enjoy an Epic african safari with Congo gorilla safaris.