Information and Gear Recommendations for Gorilla Tracking
Even if your trip takes place during the “dry” season, there may be occasional rains. Due to the dense vegetation and humid conditions, little evaporative drying occurs. You must be prepared for muddy wet conditions. Such items as listed below will make your tracking more comfortable.
It is best to layer. In the morning when you start out it will be in around 50. If it is an overcast day, it might not get much warmer than this. If the sun comes out, the temperature will be in the mid 70’s. Thus layering is important.
Waterproof rain gear such as rain pants or rain suit. This can be carried in your daypack.
Your feet might get wet thus hiking boots that are waterproof or rubber boots are recommended. Again, in the dry season, hiking boots should be sufficient.
Long trousers. You will need to tuck these inside your socks to keep the ants from crawling up your legs. Slacks should be thick enough so briars won’t penetrate and prick you. Many people wear blue jeans however in the rainy season, they do not dry quickly.
Lightweight yet thick moisture wicking socks. Thorlo makes good hiking socks.
Long-sleeved shirt/Short sleeved T-shirt. (for layering)
Polypropylene or light wool sweater. A fleece top will work since they dry quickly.
Small frameless waterproof back/day pack. You will need to carry water, high protein candy bars or other snacks, binoculars, and camera equipment. You need a place for your rain gear or any garments you need to shed should it get warm.
Gloves. Leather or heavy canvas gloves. They can be garden gloves and are needed too push the often-thorny vegetation aside.
Walking sticks if you have one. Otherwise the guides will make one for you.
Remember that no flash photography is allowed although video cameras are. You should have fast film for your camera; either 400ASA or 800ASA if it is of fine grain. If you are using a digital camera, learn how to set it for higher ASA’s.
These tips are from Dr. Tara Stoinski, Director of Research and Education Partnerships for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. Her research often takes her to Rwanda and to visit the gorillas.