Wondering about what to wear for gorilla trekking in DRC? Gorilla trekking is one of the most exciting and adventurous wildlife activities. The activity involves hiking deep in the jungles in search of gorillas. Gorillas are fascinating primates because they behave and resemble humans the most. Watching a family of gorillas is like going back in time to when the first humans roamed earth. Unlike chimpanzees, gorillas appear calm and gentile.
Eastern lowland gorillas are the largest gorilla subspecies followed closely by mountain gorillas. Most tourists come to Africa to track mountain gorillas but one can also track the Eastern and Western lowland gorilla. Most of the gorilla species are critically endangered because of habitat loss, poaching and pet trade. Gorilla trekking is an important conservation tool because it helps generate funds needed to patrol the parks and pay park Rangers. Gorilla trekking also brings tourists hence providing jobs for communities living close to the gorilla parks.
People are less likely to hurt wildlife is they see the benefits of having them around. Tourists also help raise awareness of the need to protect the primates once they get back to their countries. Most gorilla trekking expeditions are carried out in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Whereas gorilla trekking in Congo is a fascinating activity, one needs to be both mentally and physically prepared to deal with the challenges that arise while searching for the primates. We have put together a list of things to consider packing and wear while tracking gorillas. You do not have to pack everything suggested in the following chapters. Acquire only those you think will be useful. Before going to the packing list, you might find our article about the gorilla trekking rules useful.
Hiking Boots: As we mentioned earlier, gorilla trekking requires one to hike for long distances in dense forest. The forest trails can be muddy and steep hence presenting challenges to trackers. With the challenges in mind, a tracker needs to acquire shoes with good grip/traction and can cover the feet/ankles. With such shoes, one can easily walk for long hours in the forest without slipping or getting pierced by thorns.
Clothing: Not all clothes are suitable for the African jungle. The clothes for gorilla trekking should be made of light material and water proof. They should cover most parts of your body to protect you from thorns and sharp vegetation in the jungle. A tracker must wear a long sleeved top and a long pair of trousers. A tracker must also be selective of the colors. He or she should choose what is known as jungle colors – cream, brown, grey and dark green. Very bright colors make you stand out and could attract unnecessary attention from the gorillas.
Raincoat and sweater: The weather in most of the gorilla parks is very unpredictable. You can start the hike when the sun is bright and the rains come suddenly. As a tracker, you must carry a rain jacket before going out to look for the gorillas. It can get very cold especially during the wet season. A sweater will help you keep warm during and after gorilla trekking. You also need a cap to protect your head from sunlight and sunglasses to protect your eyes from the same. Hand gloves will help protect your hands from sharp tree branches.