Your day of gorilla tracking will be long, active and at least fairly arduous. You’ll be hiking in thick forest in a changeable climate. Evenings can be cold, mornings are cool and the days are hot — especially when you’re clambering up a muddy mountainside.

Having the right gear makes all the difference.

  • A small backpack to carry water, packed lunch and rain jacket.
  • Walking boots or hiking shoes. Boots are ideal for the extra ankle support on rocky and muddy terrain.
  • Long socks will allow you to tuck in your hiking trousers and protect your ankles from scratches and biting insects. Higher-end lodges may loan gaiters to guests.
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket.
  • Hiking pants or waterproof trousers (handy when sliding down muddy slopes!) Do not plan on wearing jeans or shorts. Hiking in wet jeans is a misery and shorts will leave you exposed to scratches and hungry insects.
  • A long-sleeved shirt offers much needed protection from the sun and insects.
  • A fleece or light-wool sweater for cold mornings.
  • Cheap gardening gloves will protect your hands but aren’t essential.
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and sunhat.
  • Camera and binoculars.
  • Walking poles if required. Upmarket lodges will provide poles. In Rwanda your guide can cut you a custom-made pole from bamboo!
  • At least one litre of drinking water and your packed lunch.
  • A basic first aid kit may come in handy: antiseptic wipes, anti-histamine cream, insect repellent, plasters, painkillers, malaria prophylaxis and rehydration sachets.

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