No joke, I had no idea what to wear for gorilla trekking, and luckily one of my guides mentioned it before I left for Africa. He literally said “Oh by the way, don’t forget trekking pants, long sleeved shirt, and long socks.” None of which, I had planned on packing!
So like usual, I immediately started binge-searching on Amazon to find the items he had recommended. I got them all delivered just in time (barely), and so I have linked them all below, plus some items I recommend as well!
Full disclosure, I get a very small percentage of sales from Amazon. Howeverrrrrr, if you want to help me out, please consider buying something from my shop on here! Your purchases are what helps me be able to post free guides like these!
If you’re planning a gorilla trekking trip, be sure to check out my post: Guide to Mountain Gorilla Trekking in D.R. Congo in 2021
Here’s what to wear for gorilla trekking!
What to Wear for Gorilla Trekking: Trekking Pants
Thank the universe that one of my guides mentioned last minute that I needed “trekking pants” to do the gorilla trek. Otherwise I probably would have only packed leggings which is what I normally wear for hiking. But trekking and hiking are different! Trekking involved walking and climbing through a lot of bushes!
Trekking pants are durable yet moveable and comfortable. They can also be cute, like the ones I found. The goal is to protect your legs from getting scratched! If you opt not to wear leggings underneath, you’ll need to pull your socks up over the bottom of your pants to avoid getting…ants in your pants! Ha!
PS: I do not recommend wearing heels for gorilla trekking, although it would be very hilarious to watch!
Moisture Wicking Leggings
To be honest, I wore leggings under my trekking pants because I was freezing the morning of one of my treks in Uganda. But they ended up also being super comfortable, and convenient in putting the socks over them instead of the pants!
Moisture Wicking Long Sleeved Shirt
Your arms are just as at-risk as your legs are during the gorilla trek! There’s sticks and thorns sticking out everywhere, plus some plants are poisonous!
Usually it’s cold in the morning, so you’ll want long sleeves anyway, but you will also get hot once your body starts warming up with the hike. That’s why moisture wicking long sleeved shirts are your best bet.
Depending on what season you go in, there’s a good chance it will rain at some point. I went in dry season, so it didn’t rain, but I wore the raincoat anyway for warmth and better protection of my arms.
Be sure to get a raincoat according to what season you go in! If you’re going during “winter” rainy season, get a thicker raincoat!
If you go during dry season like I did, opt for a thinner one! PS make sure they are waterproof, NOT just water-resistent. I made that mistake and realized it after getting blasted by a waterfall in Uganda.
Moisture Wicking Long Socks
You need long socks in order to pull them up over your pants (or leggings). Again, to keep ants out of your pants and boots, and also to protect your ankles.
As you trek, your feet will get hot, and/or it may rain, so getting socks that absorb moisture is of course ideal!
A few people questioned my hiking boots (they have a slight heel), but I honestly trekked better than the rest of the guests in my groups! Wear what you’re comfortable with, but be sure to break them in before you go!
Definitely aim for boots with a good grip on the sole, and preferably that are waterproof!
What to Wear for Gorilla Trekking in Dry Season: Brimmed Hat
While I definitely wore my hat for aesthetics, I found that it also sheltered me from head-level branches and plants! Doubly bonus!
Mine were hard, rimmed, Panama hats (hand painted in Mexico, NBD)!
Hiking Gloves (Optional)
I had no idea bush gloves were a thing until I saw people wearing them on my second gorilla trek in Uganda. Actually I only noticed them because my hands were freezing, and I said I wished I had gloves, and my guide laughed at me and said they were for trekking, not warmth.
So anyway. Bush gloves are a thing! Well, I geuss they’re called trekking gloves, but I like bush gloves better. I will definitely get them for the next time I go though, because I found myself grabbing onto a lot of branches, bushes, and even the floor a few times!
Natural Bug Spray
While there are NO mosquitos in the mountain gorilla trekking areas, there are other kinds of bugs. To keep them away from you, I’d recommend a natural, deet-free, lemon-eucalyptus bug spray!
Sometimes bugs like to attack your face, so if you can put some on your face great, just be sure to test a small area first! It slightly burned mine but there was no reaction.
Reusable Water Bottle
Be sure to bring plenty of water, because the trek usually goes get a bit strenuous! Also try to avoid using single use plastic bottles by bringing a reusable one, and asking the lodge to fill it up for you using their filtered water.
As someone newly in my 30’s, AKA newly highly aware of sun damage, I’d recommend sunscreen for any time of the year that you go.
I also always always recommend natural or nature-safe sunscreen, so that it doesn’t damage the environment!
If you think you’ll need some help with the hike, you can bring your own pro hiking sticks. OR, you can just use the natural ones they’ll give you once you get there!
In Congo they have hiking sticks that locals carve and sell for $5! You might need to cut it in half to take home, but the money is very much appreciated!
The DJI Pocket is easily my new favorite camera. Both for adventures and literally any time. I use it mostly for video, because the small handheld gimbal makes super smooth, professional looking photos.
It also shoots in up to 4k, can zoom in and out, and has cool features like Face Track, which keeps the camera on your face no matter where you move! It can also take photos, and has a touch screen!
Sony a7iii + Lens
For those of you looking to get professional photos, especially up close of the gorillas, I usually recommend my Sony a7iii mirorrless camera.
In Congo, the gorillas were close enough, and out in the open enough, for my 24-70mm lens to work perfectly. But in Uganda, they were farther away, and mostly trying to hide in bushes, so you would need a lens that zooms farther, like a ***>
iPhone 12 pro
To be completely honest, I used my iphone 12 pro for the majority of my photos and close up videos. It zooms 6x for video and 10x for photos, while mostly keeping the clear quality. It also now has a zoom out feature!
I hear the new android phones have an even better zoom and are even more clear, so if you’re not a die-hard Apple user, I’d suggest an android over iphone for camera quality!
You’re probably goin to be using your phone a lot for photos and videos, so bring a good portable battery so it doesn’t die!
The one I found gives about two full charges, and comes with built in chords for the three main types of chargers, so you don’t have to worry about remembering the chord as well. It also has USB outlets though in case you want to use the chord anyway.
What to Wear for Gorilla Trekking Photos: A Local Outfit!
One of my travel signatures is buying locally made clothing in local styles, and wearing them in epic places in that destination. Congo and Uganda were no exception!
You can buy a local dress or shirt, pack it in your backpack, and put it on over your trekking gear!
Be sure to tag me in your pics (@mylifesatravelmovie) for trend credit and so I can share your photos on my account!
What to Wear Gorilla Trekking: From MY Shop!
As i mentioned, most of the above products are from Amazon, and I get a very small affiliate commission from them. BUT! If you really want to help a travel gal out, please consider purchasing something directly from my shop! I get to keep most of the proceeds, and that helps support me being able to provide these free guides for you! Thank you!
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