Tips for the Trek
Updated: Jun 14
So... yes, absolutely I had read all the papers telling me what to bring and what not to bring.
But like most things in life... I paid zero attention to detail and failed miserably in each category. So I have taken it upon myself to put together the list of MUST DO's for an potential Gorilla Trekker!
Don't be like me!!!
1. Bring Cash.
Epic fail for me on this one. Due to the outrageous price of the permit, I naturally assumed all would be included.
I was wrong.
Everybody (mainly Americans) seem to have this crazy notion that one can only pay with American money. NO! Get this thought OUT of your head. It's ridiculous. While American money is certainly appreciated and accepted... worldwide... local currency works just as well as it does anywhere. Cash is king!
So let me be the one to guide you in the cash category!
Bring Cash - whatever! American OR Ugandan shilling.
Bring small bills because no one EVER has change and they ALL expect tips!
Drivers • Guides • Rangers • Porters • Trackers • Snippers • Snacks • Vendors
Yes... there are vendors! They will meet you at the bottom of the trek and they will have many things to sell you.
2. Bring LOTS of Water.
There are a couple important things to remember though.
There is no eating or drinking permitted in front of the gorillas.
Keep water on your person!!! Often porters will disappear in order to reduce group size as soon as the gorilla troop has been spotted. If they have your water in your pack, it's gone!
3. Bring Bandaids.
There are a LOT of thorns and horrible branches and they are there specifically to rip your skin to shreds.
4. Bring Gloves.
See above 👆🏻
You're sliding down a muddy hill... going, going... and you reach out to grab a sturdy branch to better steady yourself... and... it's got THORNS all over it. Happens every time!
5. Bring a Face Mask.
Gorillas share 98.3% of their genetic code with humans.
Guess what that means?
We get sick... they get sick.
They're already endangered. The last thing we need to do is inundate them with our creepy diseases!
Actually... it's mandatory! You have to wear a mask when you are in direct vicinity of the gorillas. If you don't have a mask... you will be given one... but bring one just in case!
6. Bring Long Socks.
Seems silly... but TRUST ME on this one. Wear long socks and tuck your LONG pants into them!
7. Bring Long Pants and Long Sleeves./
You knew this one was coming...
WHY? WHY? WHY?
There are a few reasons;
Jungle branch wounds hurt.
You think regular ants are annoying? Try these little suckers!
8. Bring Hiking boots.
Even if they're cheap shit, bring them. I had my regular running shoes on, and although they did the trick, they didn't provide the support I would have really appreciated. The sturdier the better. Remember there is a lot of mud, as well as random fallen branches, rocks, rotten logs, stumps...
9. Bring your passport.
Bizarre... I know... but you'll need it!!! Believe me! They take it away from you when you're at the orientation and they match your official document with the name on your permit. Apparently they will accept a paper copy, but I heard through the grapevine that they will NOT accept anything on your phone.
10. Bring Insect Repellent.
You're in the jungle!
Ants... flies... mosquitos... and God knows what else. Actually, insect proabably won't do a lot of good, but it might make you feel better knowing it's in your pack!
11. Bring a rain jacket.
I didn't need one... but I've heard horror stories! Best to be prepared.
I had my fold-up-able one in my pack, just in case.
12. Bring a hat.
It can work to cover your face... OR it can just look the part. Hey - I bought a fishing vest, because it was safari colours and it made me feel the part. Whatever floats your boat!
13. Bring a ziplock bag.
It's good to have one shoved in the side of your bag or in a pocket... just in case. You may need somewhere to dispose of your litter... or you might need to protect your passport from the rain. Just bring it... and if you need it, you'll be extatic you have it. If you don't need it, meh... whatever... it's small.
Then my FINAL TWO.. and probably the MOST important of all...
14. Bring Kleenex or Toilet Paper.
You never know when the Number 1 or Number 2 will strick.
It could lead you to an unsanitary hole in the ground... or right off the path of a rainforest trail. Be prepared!!!
I was going to write sunscreen... but I'm actually going to eliminate it from my list. You've got a hat, long sleeves, long pants and gloves on. Maybe put some on your face in the morning, if it's sunny... and you're golden!
15. Bring a GOOD camera.
Don't be like me... traveling the world with my crappy iPhone 11.
Guides are pretty good about tearing down stuff and rotating people through, so you're always going to have fabulous opportunities to take incredible photos... granted you don't have a grainy, fuzzy, shitty camera... like me.
OR... if you don't have a good camera... hook up with someone that does!!!
Support the local economy and get a porter.
USE the stick. It will honestly be your third leg on the trek up.
Make sure you get to the pile before everyone else though... and pick a stick that isn't too tall. Shorter is advantageous. Taller is hinderance.
Don't wear white.
Don't be like me and not get a porter.
1. To fall a LOT.
2. To get ants on you. I had three on my belly, of all places! 3. To get FILTHY!!! There is a lot of mud.