Are you wondering what to wear gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda? In this guide we will round up all the best things to wear gorilla trekking from the best shoes to the best colours to wear to prevent being bitten by mosquitos to make sure you have the best time seeing gorillas.
Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you!
What to Wear Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda
Note; although primarily a gorilla trekking packing list this what to wear guide is also suitable to be used when chimp trekking in Uganda, safaris and also on the Bigoti swamp walk and Kazinga Channel safari in Uganda.
Hiking boots are an absolute essential on your what to wear gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda packing list.
When we went gorilla trekking, there were three groups of gorillas that you could see. These groups constantly move and will be in different spots on different days.
Even the group lowest down on the mountain on the day we went were still an hour or twos trek away while our group were a three hour hike uphill.
There was no group that you wouldn’t have needed hiking boots to get too. The trail was uphill and we had to go through lots of undergrowth and weeds and some slippy spots.
When purchasing hiking boots for gorilla trekking be sure to buy a good pair with a good sturdy and slip proof sole with good waterproofing.
Be sure to pack hiking boots – you will regret it if you don’t. But don’t forget to wear them in before you go as there would be nothing worse than getting a blister on your gorilla trek.
Click here to shop hiking boots
Many of the gorilla trekking trips start early in the morning when it can be cold. You will definitely want to start the day with a fleece on even if by the time you are up the mountain you need to take it off.
We recommend one that packs down easily as this will be put in your backpack at some point during your trek. And if you have something that is quick dry that would also be an advantage.
Uganda and Rwanda can get rainy and even on a nest day the morning dew can get you a bit shaky so having something that dries quickly is an added bonus.
Long Sleeve Top
During our hike we had to go through a fair amount of undergrowth to reach our group. By the time we got toward the top of the mountain the day was heating up and I was definitely sweating from the hard work.
I was definitely feeling too hot to be wearing an outer layer but I needed a long sleeve top for sure to protect my arms from shrubbery and nettles.
Even if you have a long sleeve fleece be sure your under top has long sleeves to make sure you protect your arms.
I recommend a top like the one above. It is in a good colour for gorilla trekking (see below for more colour details) and something with a breathable fabric such as a running or yoga suitable top.
Shop suitable long sleeve tops here
A good pair of hiking / walking trousers is a must when gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda. When buying a pair of hiking trousers for gorilla trekking we recommend getting ones that are the following;
- Lightweight – it can get hot when walking so you don’t want anything too thick
- Quick Dry – Uganda and Rwanda can both be pretty wet places having a pair of trousers that are quick dry will make you more comfortable and depending on where you are staying will depend what laundry facilities you will have so having something quick dry will be a great help.
- Zippable – while I don’t recommend unzipping your trousers in the thick undergrowth while gorilla trekking, it is nice when you get back to your car to take off the bottoms and cool off. This feature will also make your trousers easier to clean and dry if you have limited laundry facilities at your lodgings.
Gorilla trekking is no walk in the park. It is actually quite hard (but very rewarding) work as gorillas don’t stay near clear trails. AS you near the gorillas you may have to go off trails and use machetes on the undergrowth and may be requiring to grab thorny plants and nettles that are in your way.
Although all gloves will be an asset when gorilla trekking we recommend taking gardening gloves. These are designed with hand protection in mind. The sturdier the pair the better. Try and get a thorn proof pair.
While you could go for a very long pair I personally would only get wrist length providing you are also wearing a long sleeve top as recommend above.
Click here to shop thorn proof gardening gloves
There is nothing worse than getting a blister while out on a hike. Be sure to pack plenty of thick or cushioned hiking socks and make sure you have worn in your boots before you arrive for your gorilla trekking experience.
They also provided added protection against stinging nettles and anything thorny on the forest floor.
Click here to shop hiking socks
Do I need gaiters for gorilla trekking?
Do I Need gaiters for gorilla trekking? Well that depends on whether you are gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda.
We did most of our gorilla trekking in Uganda. We did not find Uganda too full of nettles but Rwanda gorilla trekking tends to have more nettles. So If you are gorilla trekking in Rwanda I would say you definitely need gaiters not necessarily for gorilla trekking in Uganda.
We did not wear gaiters gorilla trekking in Uganda and were fine however this can not be guaranteed. If I were to go again I would definitely pack gaiters.
The best gaiters go up to your knees and provide protections from nettles and anything thorny. They should also be waterproof as you can definitely get wet gorilla trekking and we recommend getting a pair that are very easy to adjust as there is nothing worse than ill fitting gaiters.
Poncho or Waterproof Jacket
Although I would normally say buy proper waterproof jacket for hiking in wet weather conditions, a poncho might be more suitable for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda.
The rain isn’t usually constant in Uganda or Rwanda and you will get sweaty hiking so you want something that is easy to get on and off.
Click here to shop waterproof ponchos.
Wide Brimmed Hat
Gorilla trekking although rewarding is hard work and you are exposed to the elements. A wide brimmed hat will offer you protection from sun and rain – both of which you are likely to experience while gorilla trekking.
Shop wide brimmed hiking hats here
What to pack for gorilla trekking in Rwanda or Uganda – non clothing
I am not normally a hiking stick person. However, when you are gorilla trekking a hiking stick can be very helpful.
Gorilla trekking is one of those once in a life time experiences. Be sure to pack your camera with you.
While gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is amazing it is important to realise that there are some pretty nasty insects in both these countries.
Be sure to pack some good insect repellant for these.
For the same reason as the above, you need to protect yourself against mosquitoes which may carry malaria. Be sure to pack and take your anti malaria medication correctly.
FAQS about what to wear gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda.
What is the best color to wear for gorilla trekking
Before we went gorilla trekking I hadn’t really considered if there was a right or wrong colour to wear but there definitely is a right colour to wear for gorilla trekking.
While it is always nice to be bright and colourful this isn’t the best thing to wear gorilla trekking. Neutral colours are best for gorilla trekking and safaris in Africa.
Khaki is the colour-du-jour in countries such as Rwanda and Uganda.
It is important to remember that blue and black can attract insects, including the dreaded tsete fly and should be avoided where possible.
What NOT to wear gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda
As I mentioned above, you shouldn’t wear bright colours or blue or black that can attract tsete flies.
On top of that I would recommend not wearing anything expensive other than hiking gear as they could get ruined with mud and thorny plants in the undergrowth.
Have you been gorilla or chimp trekking? What are your tips on what to wear when gorilla trekking?
Sunday 6th of January 2019
Thank you for the article. We leave in five weeks for our adventure and we are counting the minutes. What time of year did you travel? The packing tips are great. Did you bring a second pair of shoes?
Monday 7th of January 2019
We went in November! Where abouts you heading? We didn’t and the lodges we stayed in cleaned our boots every nights but it was something that might have been useful
Thursday 16th of February 2017
How sad to loose one of your luggage, but I think you forgot those feeling and I can see how much you enjoy your trip. Ya! right, a dark color can attract insect, especially the black, mosquitos so attach to that color.
Thursday 16th of February 2017
We were gutted! But it was a case of mistaken luggage identity and our bag got returned to us halfway through. But all that was forgotten when we saw the amazing wildlife. Plus the lodges tried their best to hand wash all clothes - drying was more difficult due to wet season dampness.
Wave to Mummy
Tuesday 30th of August 2016
My tips would be to get wellies, long trousers and long sleeved shirt, and a peak cap. Wellies because it can be really muddy and puddles can be really deep. Long sleeves because of vegetation and bugs, and peak cap because it protects your face from rain, pretty handy in a rainforest :)
Hope you had a great time tracking!
Wednesday 31st of August 2016
Great tips. Thanks for adding! :)