Packing Tips for Gorilla Trekking

The biggest question for a Gorilla Trekking trip is … What do I bring?

While much of what you’ll want to have with you is on our safari packing list, there are some special considerations that we have included here when preparing for your gorilla trek. 

Here’s our list of what to bring and a little bit about what to expect. From there, you’ll be able to determine what is important to you to keep you comfortable.

Hiking boots
Gorilla trekking involves trekking/hiking and sometimes walking long distances in search for gorillas. Due to the nature of the forest terrain, combined with the high altitude, you need light weight hiking boots to help you trek in sometime steep and muddy environments. Be sure these boots are broken in well before your travels! Otherwise, you’ll have to deal with blisters which, quite frankly, can be such a buzz kill! If you are prone to blisters, do what you can to take preventative measures! Large bandages and well cushioned socks.

Your boots may get wet – like, the soggy kind-of-wet! Some folks will bring two pairs of hiking footwear so that while one pair dries, they can wear the other. This depends on how many treks you decide to do on your trip.

A pair of sandals when you are not trekking, are ideal.

When you are getting ready for your trek, you will want to tuck the end of your pants into your socks. It’s nice if you have high socks too! Trust us on this one … There are many different types of ants in the rainforest and some do bite! We know it may look a bit on the goofy side but, just do it. You will thank us later when you witness another fellow trekker having to drop their drawers because while they were mesmerized by the gorillas and then ants found their way up their pants. It is at that point where you can relate to the saying “Got ants in your pants?”! If you get some gaitors, you can cover up the slightly goofy look 😉

Gardening gloves
You will definitely appreciate having packed those pair of lightweight gardening gloves when you are on your trek! As you move through the rainforest, remember that it can get slippery and sometimes you need to hold on to some plants or trees as you go. These gloves will protect you from nettles and other items that may scratch your hands.

Rain jacket and fleece
Mountain gorillas live on the slopes in the tropical rainforest and, as such, rain is received through out the whole year. You can never tell when it is going to rain so you need a rain jacket or a fleece for this purpose. Many clients prefer travelling in the traditionally drier months of June, July, August and beginning of September. Try to avoid the rainy seasons of March, April and May. However, with global climatic changes, one needs to prepare for any eventualities no matter if you are traveling within those ‘drier’ months.

Long-sleeved shirts and full-length trousers
It is best that you wear thick, long trousers and a long sleeved top during your gorilla trek to protect you against those pesky (and sometimes vicious!) stinging nettles, plants and bush thorns. It is often cold when you set out, so start out with a sweatshirt or jerseys which also help protect against nettles. Whatever clothes you wear to go tracking will likely get very dirty as you slip and slide in the mud. So if you’ve already been on a hike … put on those already muddied clothes! You might as well!

Energy-giving snacks
Gorilla trekking can take anywhere from 30 minutes to eight or so hours, which is why a certain level of fitness is required.  

Before departing from your lodge, you are given your packed lunch and lots of drinking water as you never know what time you will return to the lodge. Stay hydrated! We always travel with re-hydrate packets to put in our water. They come in very handy!

While you will have plenty to eat in your packed lunch, you may want to bring along some of your favourite energy giving snacks from home as supplements.

Cameras and extra batteries
Photography is an important component of your safari – be sure that you have your camera ready! Charge your batteries to 100% prior to the trek and, if necessary, carry extra batteries (depending on whether you are highly enthusiastic photographer or your camera battery doesn’t hold it’s charge very well). Just know that you will end up taking a ton of photographs in the time you will have with the gorillas. It is important that you make sure you switch off your flash while taking photos of the gorillas. A water proof bag is also important to protect your camera equipment from the rain.

Pair of binoculars
Don’t forget that you are on safari and it is so nice to have clear views of wildlife that may catch your eye. Bwindi Impenetrable National park is home to over 350 birds, chimpanzees, black and white colubus monkeys among other primates, forest elephants and buffalo. If you’ll be visiting this park, you’ll want a chance to spot some of these species and the binoculars will come in handy.

Of course … A Backpack!
Because you’ll need something to put all of your gear into! Before the end of the trip, your backpack will become an appendage.

Porters for your gorilla trek
This is optional … and it depends on what you feel like doing. Gorilla trekking can be strenuous and sometime you will need someone to give you a push or a hand up along the way to the gorillas. These porters will join you for a fee however, it is totally worth it! Keep in mind that these porters are typically students either on their school holiday or, it is possible they have been chased out of school due to not being able to pay for school fees. By hiring a porter, know that you will have contributed a little to local community development and have made someone’s day a little brighter 🙂

My “on the go”… office!

Hopefully you can leave your work at home when you go on travel adventures but, for those who can’t, we recommend this practical and hardy, yet lightweight bag: Eagle Creek’s Straight Up Business Brief RFID.

With different sections for electronics, paperwork, and travel accessories, it keeps items organized and provides padding where it’s needed without bulk. It can be carried over the shoulder, as a backpack or strapped onto a wheeled bag.

I’ve dragged it to many countries on many an adventure, through all kinds of conditions and terrain. It’s done a great job protecting my electronics and it holds up great.  


Great Luggage for Safaris

The perfect solution to those light aircraft luggage restrictions

Load Hauler Expandable

If your safari includes traveling between camps in light aircraft, you’ll need to use luggage that works within the airlines’ requirements.  The luggage compartments of these planes are limited in space and thus the need to have soft sided luggage. While some of the companies will let us get by with our beloved 22″ bags with 3 soft sides, most require that the bags be soft-sided all around and no wheels.  When wheels aren’t allowed, I’ve found Eagle Creek’s Load Hauler to be the perfect solution.  It offers the space of a duffel while providing the option of carrying it as backpack which lightens the load while traveling through airports.


What to Wear on Safari

We recommend packing light, wearing khaki & neutral tones  
  • Khaki and neutral tones allow us to blend in with the landscape. They’re easy to mix and match (so we pack less) and if we get dusty it doesn’t show
  • Khaki/beige shorts and shirts are also deal as they are least likely to attract the animal’s attention … and least likely to need washing.
  • We suggest comfortable clothes that are cool, but that can be layered to keep us warm in the evening or for early morning wildlife viewing. Light weight shirts and fleece pullovers are ideal. Zip off pants that turn into shorts take up less space.
  • Pack light for your trip; laundry is complimentary at most safari lodges and camps.
  • Do not bring camouflage clothing as it is not considered a fashion statement in Africa… camo might draw unwanted attention at airports or border crossings.
  • Packing with layers in mind is important. To layer while also packing light, use clothing items made with lightweight, quick-dry, versatile fabrics. They are worth the investment!
  • If you’re spending time in a large city, you might pack one “smart casual” outfit.
  • In respecting the local cultures, it is recommended that women wear a skirt or shorts that cover their knees when visiting local people in the rural area.


Check out our super handy Safari Packing Checklist!

What size is the right size?

6ebd4168-b01e-4f6c-9bd0-2ee7e964f485Strictly enforced luggage restrictions on light air transfers (between safari camps) can be confusing and frustrating for travelers. So many rules! We always recommend packing light, layering your clothes, and bringing carry on only. You don’t need much. Remember, most camps will do your laundry daily!

Here is the bag that takes us to the most remote corners of Southern and East Africa: the Eagle Creek “No Matter What” duffel.

Order here from REI. There are various styles and colors to choose from – just make sure it’s no bigger than 22″!

Smartwool 1/4 Zip

The perfect item for variable weather packing. If there’s a chance of cool temps, this always goes in our bags!

  • 100% merino wool
  • Takes little space for its warmth
  • Wicks away perspiration
  • Keeps odors at bay- more uses before needing to wash it
  • Comfortable
  • Works on a hike as well as out to dinner
  • Available for men and women.

Men’s Olive Heather is currently on sale online at REI


Universal Travel Adapter Kit

Converters, chargers, adapters, USB cables…do you really need to take so much?

Not anymore!  There’s a great new solution on the market- Universal Travel Adapter Kit with USB Charger.  Multiple brands now offer this handy adapter, available at most electronics stores or online. The all-in-one design eliminates the need for carrying a variety of adapters and the USB plug is especially handy. For use with cameras, cell phones, iPods, laptops, tablets, etc.



This is a must for every trip we take! The lightweight Petzl Tikka Plus 2 headlamp pulls together 5 lighting modes to ensure you can see and be seen during nighttime adventures of all kinds.
  • Fits easily in your suitcase or backpack
  • Versatile enough to light up a trail or to use as a reading light in bed
  • 3 white lighting modes; red & flashing lights for safety
  • Headlamp tilts to point light where you need it
  • Only requires 2 AAA batteries


Click here to order your headlamp from

Royal Robbins’ Cardiff Traveler Pants

We have sworn by (and worn) these pants for years! Versatile and comfortable, the Cardiff traveler pants are great for safari, hiking, touring, and even a night on the town. We especially like they are:

  • so comfortable
  • great for packing light
  • wrinkle resistant
  • have a hidden zip pocket
  • back zip secured pocket
  • quick dry
  • straight leg
  • tab waist
  • work well in the bush
  • work well in the city
  • look good on various sizes and body types


Sorry guys… only available for women!
Visit Royal Robbins and order up a pair or two for your next trip!

Priscilla’s Packing List for Ecuador (& Peru)

Packing for Ecuador can be a little tricky because of the diverse spectrum of environments you will encounter, ranging from high altitudes to dense jungle.  What you pack is dependent on the areas you visit, the activities in your itinerary and the season you travel.  Here is my personal packing list for a 12 day trip in October that included a visit to the Amazon jungle and to the Andes: (everything fit in my Eagle Creek carry-on luggage):

For the Andes and Quito…

  • 3 pair long black pants- all active wear and of different
  • weight/warmth (for traveling, hiking, the city)
  • 1 lightweight fleece sweater that zips up in the front
  • 2 long-sleeved basic shirts (1 white, 1 black)- very comfy

(polyester/lycra blend; ContourWear)

  • 2 zip-neck t-neck shirts (polyester) that work as a 1st or 2nd layer

and can be worn as a general shirt

  • 1 cashmere long-sleeved t-shirt sweater
  • 1 short-sleeved t-shirt (Exoffico; cotton/rayon)
  • 1 zip-neck t-neck pullover (2nd layer; polyester)
  • silk long underwear (pants and top)
  • vest (windproof material)

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