Uganda Gorilla Trekking Safari (1)
You should wear appropriate clothing when you plan your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda so that you will not be exposed to cold, thorn pricks, nettles, and fly and soldier ant bites. PHOTO/COURTESY

When planning your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, you should dress appropriately to avoid exposure to cold, thorn pricks, nettles, and insect bites from flies and soldier ants.

Today, gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda is arguably the most popular tourist activity in East Africa. But one of the most common errors made by the majority of people is to go gorilla trekking dressed inappropriately. 

Some wear sandals or shorts, which are inappropriate for this type of activity.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Uganda) has a slightly different landscape than Mgahinga (Uganda) and Volcanoes National Parks (Rwanda), but they are all located at a higher elevation, making them rainy, humid, and cold, particularly at night.

The truth is that while trekking, you are not always hiking on well-maintained trails; in fact, there are times when there are no trails at all or you are hiking on extremely narrow trails.

When planning your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, you should dress appropriately to avoid exposure to cold, thorn pricks, nettles, and insect bites from flies and soldier ants.

What to wear for a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda

  • Dress in Long-Sleeved Shirts and Long-Legged Trousers

A long-sleeved shirt and long trousers are required. Long trousers and long-sleeved shirts protect you from branches, nettles, thorns, and anything else that could prick or scratch you.

Cotton undergarments are recommended, as are comfortable bras for women, as the hike can be strenuous.

While some visitors disregard this advice and wear shorts and t-shirts, the truth is that by the end of the day, exposed skin has scratches.

  • Wear Waterproof Hiking Boots that Are Sturdy

Because the hiking trails can be slippery, especially when it rains, it is necessary to wear waterproof hiking boots. 

Your footwear should be comfortable; indeed, Rangers and Trekkers frequently wear rubber boots or gumboots. 

As a result, no one should be seen wearing white sneakers, sandals, or any other inappropriate footwear.

Hiking boots provide excellent stability, balance, traction, and support for your ankles; pair these with thick socks. 

Tucking your trousers into your socks may sound and appear unfashionable, but it will protect you from fire ants.

  • Durable gardening gloves

This appears to be a joke, but it is accurate. These heavy-duty gardening gloves will be used for gorilla trekking, not gardening. 

They will assist you in supporting yourself on branches or vines; additionally, the gloves will protect you from nettles, preventing you from being scratched.

You can put them off until after you meet the gorillas to get good photos.

Raincoat gorilla safari uganda planning (2)
Rain can fall anytime during gorilla treks in the rainforest, regardless of whether they take place during the dry season or not, so it’s essential to bring a rain jacket. PHOTO/iStockPhoto
  • A Raincoat

Because gorilla treks take place in the rainforest and typically in the morning hours, rain can fall at any time regardless of whether it is a dry season or not, and thus a rain jacket should be brought along.

A poncho may also be worn; it is worn by the majority of trackers, rangers, and porters. 

If you’re going to carry one, make it a lightweight one that you can easily fold and stash in your bag pack until the next time you need it.

  • Put On A Hat

All you need is a wide-brimmed hat, such as a Tilley Hat, which protects your head and neck from rain and the sun. 

A baseball cap may be worn, but it will not protect your neck from the scorching sun once the mist in the mountains has dissipated.

Alternatively, if you do not bring your hat, you can purchase one at any local craft markets in the country from which you will be trekking gorillas.

By the time you reach the end of the trek, you will be glad you wore your hat.

  • Wear an Adequate Amount of Insect Repellent

While on the trek, you will encounter a variety of insects; therefore, wearing a generous amount of insect repellent will protect you. 

Additionally, you can apply a sunblock cream to any exposed body parts.

Trackers who are participating in a full-day Gorilla Habituation Experience are advised to bring repellent in their daypack.

  • A Comfy Sweater

Someone may wonder, what is a sweater doing in Africa? Yes, and it is critical to carry one or a cardigan for early mornings and cool evenings. 

It truly does get quite cold at night.

Temperatures in Mgahinga Gorilla Park and Volcanoes National Park are around 10°C/50°F, while in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest are around 11°C/52°F, and occasionally lower.

As a result, luxury lodges here include fireplaces in cottages or rooms, while other lodges provide visitors with hot water bottles to keep them warm during the cold night.

What Color Should Your Safari Clothes Be?

While bright colours should be avoided while participating in safari activities in the jungle, they can be worn while dining at the lodge. 

Neutral colours such as light brown, green, and khaki are ideal for day safari activities and are highly recommended throughout Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, and Botswana. 

In the jungle, black and blue shirts attract tsetse flies and other insects.

The following is a list of essential clothing items to bring on an African safari to Uganda and Rwanda;

  • Tops With Long Sleeves Or Safari Shirts

These will aid in protecting you from insect attacks while on gorilla or chimp treks or walking hikes, as they protect you from direct cuts from tree branches, thorns, vines, and nettles.

  • Extra-long Trousers

Jeans are generally recommended for the majority of hikes and treks because they show less or no dirt and provide additional protection and security during jungle hours.

  • Shorts

These are typically worn at the lodge and during the daytime when the sun is out. 

They are not suitable for hikes with gorillas and chimps, volcanic hikes, or nature walks, as they expose the body to potentially dangerous tree branches, vines, and thorns. 

Shorts should be worn after applying insect repellent to the body.

  • Safari Socks 

These should be made of cotton or wool to protect the feet.

  • Undergarments

These must be cleaned regularly while on safari, so it’s a good idea to purchase some detergent in small quantities to keep them clean.

  • Safari Hat

This is a must-have item, and it should be a wide-brimmed hat; you can easily purchase one in Ugandan craft shops to protect your face and neck from direct sunlight.

  • Safari jacket

This should be light enough to carry on your body. 

This is recommended primarily because rain is expected in the evening hours of the dry season in the majority of national parks where hiking and trekking take place, and these jackets can come in handy, especially during jungle time.

  • Swimming suits

These are primarily recommended for those staying in upscale hotels or lodges with swimming pools. 

However, some clients may be interested in swimming in our lakes such as Lake Bunyonyi, Rwanda’s Lake Kivu, and Lake Mutanda.

  • Pyjamas

These are critical, especially if you are planning to travel during the wet season, as the weather in places like Bwindi can be extremely cold, especially at night.

  • Light Sweater

This will be beneficial primarily during the morning and evening hours in the Jungle.

  • Outing Outfits

These clothes come in handy when you return to the city and have a few outings. It could be a dinner gown for women or a suit for men.

gorilla safari uganda planning
Mgahinga Gorilla Park and Volcanoes National Park have temperature ranges between 10°C and 50°C while Bwindi Impenetrable Forest has a range between 11°C and 52°C, and occasionally slightly lower. PHOTO/Great Adventure Safaris

Packing list for Gorilla trekking

These items are critical for your safari in Uganda and Rwanda.

  1. Citronella soap: this is critical because it acts as both a soap and an insect repellent; additionally, this type of soap is anti-bacterial for the body.
  2. Insect repellent: RID is the most frequently used insect repellent because it works on both mosquitoes and tsetse flies. This can also be purchased online and applied over clothing.
  3. Sunblock lotion: this lotion will assist you in protecting your face and eyes from the hot sun of Equatorial Uganda.
  4. Hand Wipes: these are convenient items that aid in germ prevention and can be purchased in Africa; they are especially useful in situations where there is no access to water.
  5. Sunglasses: These protect from the sun’s direct rays.
  6. Malaria medication: here, the best tablets are considered, and Malarone is always recommended in addition to Doxycycline. These are considered to be effective in the treatment of malaria. This can be supplemented with a medicine bag containing all of your necessary medications for your safari.
  7. A toiletry bag: these can contain a variety of items depending on the tourists’ sexual orientation.
  8. First Aid Kit: This should be brought along in case a tourist is injured in the jungle.

Safari Gadgets And Equipment That Are Critical

These are the essential gadgets and equipment for any safari in Uganda or Rwanda. 

If you’re bringing a laptop, smartphone, or tablet, you must always ensure that you have adequate protection.

  1. Camera and associated equipment: Never forget to carry a camera that is fully equipped with all necessary accessories, as well as a lens cleaner to keep the camera’s lens clean.
  2. Carry Enough Batteries: Carry a complete set of rechargeable batteries and a good charger; these should be kept in your vehicle’s or car’s convenient bag.
  3. Binoculars: It is prudent to carry a pair of binoculars, the type of which will depend on the activity, such as birding or game driving.
  4. Memory card for the camera: It is prudent to carry additional memory cards for cameras if you intend to take numerous photographs in the jungle.
  5. Journals: These can be brought along to record some of the unique experiences encountered while visiting the locations.
  6. Flashlight. Bring this along to assist you in taking photographs even in low light, such as during night game drives.

Additionally, electrical items are recommended.

Dressing appropriately and having the right equipment gadgets to see Uganda’s and Rwanda’s mountain gorillas is always necessary if you want to have the most fun possible while visiting the gorillas. 

While most tourists are unconcerned about what they wear, if you are fortunate enough to have read this information, you should be well prepared for your gorilla trekking experience in Africa.

If you are looking for a complete Uganda travel experience, we also recommend checking out our guide to Kidepo Valley National ParkKibale National ParkLake Mburo National Park and Semuliki National Park.