June 18, 2024
by Nicole Rowles

At Adventure Out Loud, our goal is to ensure your trekking preparations are as easy and stress-free as possible. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive packing guide that details everything you need to pack for your gorilla or chimp trekking adventure. If you're traveling with us, we also work with you to recommend good, reliable brands where you can purchase any gear you need. Some of our suppliers offer discounts to our customers, so make sure you let us know if there’s anything you need to buy!

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Gorillas or chimp trekking

Gorillas and chimps often live in higher altitude (1,000 - 3,000m) rainforests where the temperature ranges from approx. 10 - 25 degrees Celsius. Here is a summary of the most important items that you will need to pack for your gorilla or chimp trek:

If you’re planning on doing a gorilla or chimp trek, waterproof hiking boots are a must. Boots provide better protection from rolling your ankle than runners and are going to warmer and more comfortable if it rains. If buying a new pair of boots, make sure you get them professionally fitted and you wear them in before your gorilla or chimp trek to avoid blisters.  

We recommend you tuck your hiking pants into your long hiking socks to reduce the risk of being bitten by safari ants during your gorilla or chimp trek. These ants have a nasty bite and are common in the areas that gorillas and chimps live. Your porter and ranger will help you avoid them.  

One of the great things about trekking with gorillas and chimps is you don't need to dress up. You can of course go out and buy a stylish trekking outfit, or buy new outdoor gear to look the part. Alternatively, you probably already have everything you need in your wardrobe. In fact, our favourite trekking outfit is a pair of hiking pants and a shirt. Choose clothing in neutral or darker colours, as light or white clothing will stain easily in Africa. Ensure that you have long sleeved tops to protect you from the sun and from any creepy crawlies you might encounter while out on a trek.

Mornings can be chilly on a gorilla or chimp trek, especially if you are leaving early in winter (Jun - Oct). Something water and wind resistant is a great way to go, especially if you’re going at a time of year when you might experience some wet weather. My favourite is wearing a wind-breaker jacket over a small down jacket or fleece jumper, and then a scarf around my neck. For more information about weather, read our blog: best time of year for a gorilla or chimp trek.

Good quality, breathable rain jackets and pants, like a Gore-Tex or equivalent, are a great investment for your gorilla or chimp trek. Gorillas and chimps live in rainforest areas at higher altitudes. There is a reasonable chance of rain everyday, and a good chance you will get cold if you get wet. Standing in the rain when you are cold will reduce the enjoyment of an experience you paid a lot of money for, and it could even wreck the experience. When purchasing rain gear for your gorilla or chimp trek, ensure the jacket and pants have ventilation zips so you don’t get too hot and sweaty. A thick poncho is a cheaper alternative, however, they can be hard to scramble through the bush in and they often snag and rip.   

Adventure Out Loud does not support the use of single-use water bottles on any of our adventures. All of the lodges we recommend will refill your reusable bottles for free, or for a small fee. Nalgene bottles are light, durable and refilling them avoids the unnecessary waste of single-use plastic water bottles. 

Tipping is recommended when trekking with gorillas and chimps. See our ultimate African tipping guide for everything you need to know about tipping during your gorilla or chimp hike. You will also have opportunities to purchase souvenirs or drinks before and after your trek, and most vendors will not accept credit cards. 

Upon arrival, your guide will need to supply a gorilla or chimp trekking permit, proof of purchase, and a passport that matches the name on the permit. It is best to have printed copies of all of the above. This may seem a little excessive, but is important due to fraudulent sales of gorilla and chimp permits. If you are trekking with Adventure Out Loud, our guides will take care of this for you. Ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months. Some countries state this as a requirement for entry.

 Just in case! You can add this to your “toilet kit”.

Some extra snacks never go astray, but make sure you check with your guide before opening them during your gorilla or chimp trek - they may need to be stored in a specific way so as not to attract curious and hungry wildlife!

Essential. You may wish to bring a repellent with deet. Chat to your doctor or pharmacist about this for safe recommendations.

If you have sensative skin, gloves are a great way to protect your hands from stinging nettles, insects or scratches. Regular garden gloves will do the job. 

You need a small backpack to fit your water, lunch box, rain gear, camera and other essentials you are carrying. We recommend you hire a porter to carry your bag during your gorilla trek (optional for chimps). A porter will also help you cross creeks, scramble up banks, avoid tripping over vines, etc. Porters are essential, even for young and fit trekkers. Hiring a porter is also a great way to stimulate the local economy, which helps the community benefit from tourism and the conservation of gorillas and chimps. 



Do not bring hiking poles on gorilla treks. They will almost certainly break. It is best to use the large wooden poles that your ranger provides. Hiking poles are useful when trekking with chimps in Kibale, Gombe or Mahale. 




Other things you should pack for your African adventure

It’s nice to have something fresh and clean to change into at the end of the day and we recommend 1 - 2 smart casual dinner outfits. Remember that temperatures can drop quite significantly once the sun goes down, so plan your evening outfits accordingly. Long clothing is also advisable for insect protection. Also remember that Africa is a conservative region, and it is appropriate to wear clothing that covers the knees - this may be long pants, shorts, skirts or dresses.

For women, there may be some areas where wearing pants is considered inappropriate - these include religious sites or certain villages with highly conservative values. Your guide will be able to let you know about this the day before you visit, but it’s advisable to have at least one long skirt or dress (preferably ankle-length) in your luggage. some insects such as the Tsetse fly (found in Tarangire, Tanzania) and mosquitoes are attracted to dark fabrics, is also a good idea.

If you know you’re the type of person that gets cold, a top and bottom thermal layer is the way to go! Personally, I prefer merino thermals as they are high-quality, breathable and dry quickly. You may also want a pair of gloves and a beanie. It is unlikely you will need any of these things during your gorilla or chimp hike, but they may be useful at night, particularly in winter. 

Sandals are good to accompany with your dinner outfit for something a little lighter. You may wish to wear flip flops if you’re staying in accommodation with a shared bathroom, or if you’re planning to add a mobile safari to your itinerary, as bucket showers are commonly used.

It is important that your bag is not too large, particularly if you are in a group or if you are flying in or out of your gorilla or chimp trek. Best to have a soft-shell bag that can squeeze into smaller spaces and weighs no more than 15kg; domestic flights often have strict limits. Also, remember not to pack valuables like electronic equipment, you should keep these on you, as the bumpy roads may cause them to malfunction.

In our experience, 28 Degree cards offer the best rates if you are using your card overseas.

Different countries in Africa require different travel adapters. Depending on where you’re coming from, you may also need to bring a voltage adapter to protect your devices. See the helpful table below: 


Country  Plug(s) Voltage Frequency 
Tanzania D,G 230 V 50 Hz
Kenya G 240 V 50 Hz
Botswana  D,G,M 230 V 50 Hz
Namibia  D,M 220 V 50 Hz
South Africa C,D,M,N 230 V 50 Hz


If you are staying at mid-range or luxury accommodation, towels will be provided for use at the pool. If you are staying at a budget option, a portable, quick dry travel towel can pack down to a small size so that it doesn’t take up too much space in your luggage. Invest in a microfibre towel to ensure that it will dry quickly.

You will know what you personally need to bring for this section. Make sure you have more than enough of any medication you take on a regular basis, and speak with your doctor for any additional tips about how to store or pack medication whilst on your adventure. It is also a good idea to get a letter from your doctor outlining your medication so that it isn't taken off you during a customs search.


Optional items:

Look for a portable battery that is light and has plenty of recharge capacity. Don’t forget to bring the cord to recharge your recharger! Power is available at all national park camps and lodges so this is only necessary during the day.

When you take your camera on a trek, best to bring a strap so that you can place it around your neck so that you don’t drop it into the mud or down a steep slope. It is also a good idea to have at least a 300mm lense. You will get very close to the animals, but without a good zoom, your pictures will not look very impressive. 

There is often enough time to relax by the pool or in a hammock with a good book after your gorilla or chimp trek. Alternatively, you can make friends with other travellers by bringing a game or a deck of cards.  


Gorilla & chimp itineraries

Need help planning your gorilla or chimp trek? 

Book a free consultation with one of our African adventure experts today. 

Otherwise, check out our ultimate guide to trekking with mountain gorillas and chimps for everything you need to know to start planning your trek. 

About The Author:

Nicole Rowles

PR & Content Manager

Nicole is an outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. A publicist, podcaster and former journalist, she loves to weave words into magic!