WHAT SHOULD I CARRY FOR GORILLA TRACKING DAY?
Gorilla tracking is a once in a lifetime experience and it always takes lead on many travelers’ bucket lists. But this activity isn’t a wake up and do activity as you would do for a game drive. It involves a procedure of planning, booking gorilla permits, accommodation and transport to the destination. It also involves hours on road or domestic flights to Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National parks, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National park and D.R. Congo’s Virunga National park to have an encounter with these great apes.
Into the depth of these Jungles are a variety of plant life, wildlife, primates, birds, butterflies, other insects and of course the mountain gorillas in the seemingly green thickets. Trails have been made to help trackers navigate through the thick and forests, and as you walk, you follow a team of trackers and ranger guides who are always in the lead to help locate the gorillas. It is an ultimate and exciting moment to spend an hour with these giants but you have to be prepared to keep comfortable throughout the experience.
The following can help you once carried for gorilla tracking.
Rain Jacket and warm sweater
These giants are in highlands covered by rainforests and you should always expect cold rains at any time. The cold showers are quite unforgiving and so it is worth carrying a light rain jacket and a warm sweater in your backpack before embarking on tracking. This will help you to keep warm in the cold weather and the last thing you would want is to be wet in the cold highlands.
Long trousers and light long sleeved shirt or blouse
The forests are thick and made of different trees and plants that extend to even the crested trails. This exposes your body/skin to vines, thickets, thorns, branches and anything that can hurt or scratch you. Having these trousers and shirts will prevent you from all these and they should be nature friendly in color. If you can get waterproof pairs of trousers the better and we recommend that you tuck your trousers in stocking to prevent you from red ants because surely you wouldn’t want to experience their bites.
Hiking boots (Waterproof)
The jingle is thick and steep, and at times you go off trails and therefore you will have to put your best foot forward. You will need waterproof, thick-soled and good ankle support hiking shoes to walk on the road to the mountain gorillas and to keep your stocking dry as you trek.
The forest houses many insects from wasps, mosquitoes, tsetse flies and bees. These can be dangerous each in its own way. Therefore, you will need to wear insect repellent in your clothes and apply it on your body. The most efficient one is RID to prevent yourself from malaria or sleeping sickness while on safari.
Whether it is raining or shining you will need to have a hat to protect you from either. A good and wide brimmed hat will protect your head from rain and scorching sun.
Camera, charger and spare batteries
Evidence isn’t a must though you are provided with a gorilla tracking certificate after tracking, but still you will have to keep memories of this experience. Photography is a better way to do this. Make sure your camera is charged and have it ready because you will be exposed to a lot to shoot from birds, plants, butterflies and flowers. Have your spare batteries fully charged. The voltage and plug type commonly used in Uganda are TYPE G (220V).
Despite having a walking stick provided at the start, you will have to touch the ground, climb or slide in the bog and fall. You will need gloves to prevent you from touching itching plants and hurting your hands.
Snacks and chocolates
Walking through the park and hiking to see mountain gorillas involves burning a lot of energy. Sometimes visitors hire porters to help and give them a push or pull, so you will need to carry snacks and chocolates to help you regain the energy. It can be supplement to the packed lunch and drinking water.
Drinking water and packed lunch
Gorilla tracking can be quite tiring and strenuous as it may take a few hours and even a full day, because of the movement of gorillas. This call for hikers to carry enough drinking water and pack your lunch from the lodge.