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Top Tips for Gorilla & Chimp treks Uganda
Post: #1
Hi All,

Further to my amazing treks to find the gorillas and chimps, I thought it would help those of you who have booked this amazing holiday to give you an idea of what you need to wear/do, as follows:-


1. Decent waterproof hiking boots that have been worn in and are comfortable and have good tread (one girl went in plimsoles and had to be practically carried up and down the mountain!).

2. Long sleeved shirt and long sleeved trousers - the ones I use have insect repellent built in but you still need to put repellent on before you start.

3. Gaiters - these will protect your legs from the vegetation and stop the ants getting in!

4. Gloves (gardening will do). I didn't put these on on the chimp trek and got my hands pierced by numerous thorns. On the gorilla trek we put them on when we went down (if you slip - and you possibly will if it has been raining heavily) they will help, and also keep your hands warm.

5. Decent waterproof rain jacket - cheap ponchos proved useless, disintegrated and proved a problem when trying to take photographs.

6. Plastic bags/dry bags - everything in your rucksack will get soaked.

7. Weatherproof camera if possible, and spare, charged, batteries.

8. I used 2 trekking poles which I found were invaluable, but they will give you a long stick.

9. Sunscreen and insect repellent.

10. Hat that will cover your face and neck.

11. LOTS of water

The porter (and it is really vital that you hire one) will carry your rucksack and anything else that you shed, especially on the way up.

If going to the gym (or if you live in Scotland!) do as much hill walking as possible to strengthen your legs.

Take your time - it's not the getting there first, it's the getting there! They will put the slowest person at the front of the group (you are normally split into groups of 8/9 dependant on fitness and age (!))

Tip your porter well - they only do this once a month, and you could be relying on them for up to 10 hours!

When you reach the gorillas (and you have an 80% chance of this), the ranger who has found them will emit a call. Take as many photographs as you want obviously, but put your camera down at some point and just enjoy their presence (the gorillas, not the ranger!).

Theoretically you are not meant to make eye contact with the gorillas, but you will, and they will!

When you get back down (exhausted but happy) the lodge will clean your boots/gaiters - some charge, some do not.

Take plenty of rehydration salts with you on this trip, as you will sweat buckets - sorry, perspire, for the ladies!

If you have any knee problems (I twisted or pulled muscles/ligaments on the gorilla trek) it might be worth wearing a patella knee strap (you can get them on Amazon).

I hope this hasn't put any of you off, as it really is a "once in a lifetime" experience to see the gorillas - and the chimps. We were all very happy when we got down (and all agreed it was worth it), but won't be doing it again, so enjoy!

If there are any questions, please ask.

Cheers,
Hils
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Post: #2
(04/10/2019, 01:26 PM)Hils Wrote: Hi All,

Further to my amazing treks to find the gorillas and chimps, I thought it would help those of you who have booked this amazing holiday to give you an idea of what you need to wear/do, as follows:-


1. Decent waterproof hiking boots that have been worn in and are comfortable and have good tread (one girl went in plimsoles and had to be practically carried up and down the mountain!).

2. Long sleeved shirt and long sleeved trousers - the ones I use have insect repellent built in but you still need to put repellent on before you start.

3. Gaiters - these will protect your legs from the vegetation and stop the ants getting in!

4. Gloves (gardening will do). I didn't put these on on the chimp trek and got my hands pierced by numerous thorns. On the gorilla trek we put them on when we went down (if you slip - and you possibly will if it has been raining heavily) they will help, and also keep your hands warm.

5. Decent waterproof rain jacket - cheap ponchos proved useless, disintegrated and proved a problem when trying to take photographs.

6. Plastic bags/dry bags - everything in your rucksack will get soaked.

7. Weatherproof camera if possible, and spare, charged, batteries.

8. I used 2 trekking poles which I found were invaluable, but they will give you a long stick.

9. Sunscreen and insect repellent.

10. Hat that will cover your face and neck.

11. LOTS of water

The porter (and it is really vital that you hire one) will carry your rucksack and anything else that you shed, especially on the way up.

If going to the gym (or if you live in Scotland!) do as much hill walking as possible to strengthen your legs.

Take your time - it's not the getting there first, it's the getting there! They will put the slowest person at the front of the group (you are normally split into groups of 8/9 dependant on fitness and age (!))

Tip your porter well - they only do this once a month, and you could be relying on them for up to 10 hours!

When you reach the gorillas (and you have an 80% chance of this), the ranger who has found them will emit a call. Take as many photographs as you want obviously, but put your camera down at some point and just enjoy their presence (the gorillas, not the ranger!).

Theoretically you are not meant to make eye contact with the gorillas, but you will, and they will!

When you get back down (exhausted but happy) the lodge will clean your boots/gaiters - some charge, some do not.

Take plenty of rehydration salts with you on this trip, as you will sweat buckets - sorry, perspire, for the ladies!

If you have any knee problems (I twisted or pulled muscles/ligaments on the gorilla trek) it might be worth wearing a patella knee strap (you can get them on Amazon).

I hope this hasn't put any of you off, as it really is a "once in a lifetime" experience to see the gorillas - and the chimps. We were all very happy when we got down (and all agreed it was worth it), but won't be doing it again, so enjoy!

If there are any questions, please ask.

Cheers,
Hils

Hi Hils
Sounds like an absolutely amazing trip and I'm sure those who have or are intending to book will be grateful for your excellent comments. Unfortunately my fitness level will not allow me to go so I will have to content myself with the reviews of others and I suppose Sir David.
Many thanks Paul
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Post: #3
(04/10/2019, 01:59 PM)Paul N Wrote:
(04/10/2019, 01:26 PM)Hils Wrote: Hi All,

Further to my amazing treks to find the gorillas and chimps, I thought it would help those of you who have booked this amazing holiday to give you an idea of what you need to wear/do, as follows:-


1. Decent waterproof hiking boots that have been worn in and are comfortable and have good tread (one girl went in plimsoles and had to be practically carried up and down the mountain!).

2. Long sleeved shirt and long sleeved trousers - the ones I use have insect repellent built in but you still need to put repellent on before you start.

3. Gaiters - these will protect your legs from the vegetation and stop the ants getting in!

4. Gloves (gardening will do). I didn't put these on on the chimp trek and got my hands pierced by numerous thorns. On the gorilla trek we put them on when we went down (if you slip - and you possibly will if it has been raining heavily) they will help, and also keep your hands warm.

5. Decent waterproof rain jacket - cheap ponchos proved useless, disintegrated and proved a problem when trying to take photographs.

6. Plastic bags/dry bags - everything in your rucksack will get soaked.

7. Weatherproof camera if possible, and spare, charged, batteries.

8. I used 2 trekking poles which I found were invaluable, but they will give you a long stick.

9. Sunscreen and insect repellent.

10. Hat that will cover your face and neck.

11. LOTS of water

The porter (and it is really vital that you hire one) will carry your rucksack and anything else that you shed, especially on the way up.

If going to the gym (or if you live in Scotland!) do as much hill walking as possible to strengthen your legs.

Take your time - it's not the getting there first, it's the getting there! They will put the slowest person at the front of the group (you are normally split into groups of 8/9 dependant on fitness and age (!))

Tip your porter well - they only do this once a month, and you could be relying on them for up to 10 hours!

When you reach the gorillas (and you have an 80% chance of this), the ranger who has found them will emit a call. Take as many photographs as you want obviously, but put your camera down at some point and just enjoy their presence (the gorillas, not the ranger!).

Theoretically you are not meant to make eye contact with the gorillas, but you will, and they will!

When you get back down (exhausted but happy) the lodge will clean your boots/gaiters - some charge, some do not.

Take plenty of rehydration salts with you on this trip, as you will sweat buckets - sorry, perspire, for the ladies!

If you have any knee problems (I twisted or pulled muscles/ligaments on the gorilla trek) it might be worth wearing a patella knee strap (you can get them on Amazon).

I hope this hasn't put any of you off, as it really is a "once in a lifetime" experience to see the gorillas - and the chimps. We were all very happy when we got down (and all agreed it was worth it), but won't be doing it again, so enjoy!

If there are any questions, please ask.

Cheers,
Hils

Hi Hils
Sounds like an absolutely amazing trip and I'm sure those who have or are intending to book will be grateful for your excellent comments. Unfortunately my fitness level will not allow me to go so I will have to content myself with the reviews of others and I suppose Sir David.
Many thanks Paul
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Post: #4
(04/10/2019, 01:59 PM)Paul N Wrote:
(04/10/2019, 01:26 PM)Hils Wrote: Hi All,

Further to my amazing treks to find the gorillas and chimps, I thought it would help those of you who have booked this amazing holiday to give you an idea of what you need to wear/do, as follows:-


1. Decent waterproof hiking boots that have been worn in and are comfortable and have good tread (one girl went in plimsoles and had to be practically carried up and down the mountain!).

2. Long sleeved shirt and long sleeved trousers - the ones I use have insect repellent built in but you still need to put repellent on before you start.

3. Gaiters - these will protect your legs from the vegetation and stop the ants getting in!

4. Gloves (gardening will do). I didn't put these on on the chimp trek and got my hands pierced by numerous thorns. On the gorilla trek we put them on when we went down (if you slip - and you possibly will if it has been raining heavily) they will help, and also keep your hands warm.

5. Decent waterproof rain jacket - cheap ponchos proved useless, disintegrated and proved a problem when trying to take photographs.

6. Plastic bags/dry bags - everything in your rucksack will get soaked.

7. Weatherproof camera if possible, and spare, charged, batteries.

8. I used 2 trekking poles which I found were invaluable, but they will give you a long stick.

9. Sunscreen and insect repellent.

10. Hat that will cover your face and neck.

11. LOTS of water

The porter (and it is really vital that you hire one) will carry your rucksack and anything else that you shed, especially on the way up.

If going to the gym (or if you live in Scotland!) do as much hill walking as possible to strengthen your legs.

Take your time - it's not the getting there first, it's the getting there! They will put the slowest person at the front of the group (you are normally split into groups of 8/9 dependant on fitness and age (!))

Tip your porter well - they only do this once a month, and you could be relying on them for up to 10 hours!

When you reach the gorillas (and you have an 80% chance of this), the ranger who has found them will emit a call. Take as many photographs as you want obviously, but put your camera down at some point and just enjoy their presence (the gorillas, not the ranger!).

Theoretically you are not meant to make eye contact with the gorillas, but you will, and they will!

When you get back down (exhausted but happy) the lodge will clean your boots/gaiters - some charge, some do not.

Take plenty of rehydration salts with you on this trip, as you will sweat buckets - sorry, perspire, for the ladies!

If you have any knee problems (I twisted or pulled muscles/ligaments on the gorilla trek) it might be worth wearing a patella knee strap (you can get them on Amazon).

I hope this hasn't put any of you off, as it really is a "once in a lifetime" experience to see the gorillas - and the chimps. We were all very happy when we got down (and all agreed it was worth it), but won't be doing it again, so enjoy!

If there are any questions, please ask.

Cheers,
Hils

Hi Hils
Sounds like an absolutely amazing trip and I'm sure those who have or are intending to book will be grateful for your excellent comments. Unfortunately my fitness level will not allow me to go so I will have to content myself with the reviews of others and I suppose Sir David.
Many thanks Paul

Thanks Paul! I should have proof-read this a bit better - I'm not sure what "long sleeved trousers" are! It should of course have read "long trousers"! Sorry you can't do this trip, but I'm sure those who do will give good reviews. I unfortunately don't put my photos online (I took 1600!) as they have been "stolen" in the past (which is illegal) and passed off as somebody else's.

Cheers,
Hils
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Post: #5
Hi Hils,

thank you for a fantastic ‘post’.
Very detailed, comprehensive and invaluable advice.

Makes me wonder what I’ve let myself in for !

Good to see you all agreed it was worth all the effort. That seems to be the general feeling having read of others experiences.

Could you elaborate a bit please on the camera protection side. Presumably until you reach the gorillas they are best tucked away somewhere ? Especially if ‘everything .. will get soaked’
Also, how severe is the climb, do you get breathers etc.. ?

Looks like a long list of must haves and things to get. If only Christmas was coming up ....

Roger
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Post: #6
Brilliant Hills!,
 thank you so much for this valuable info!
Mo
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Post: #7
Hi Hills,

Thank you for the information.
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Post: #8
(04/10/2019, 05:50 PM)RogerT Wrote: Hi Hils,

thank you for a fantastic ‘post’.
Very detailed, comprehensive and invaluable advice.

Makes me wonder what I’ve let myself in for !

Good to see you all agreed it was worth all the effort. That seems to be the general feeling having read of others experiences.

Could you elaborate a bit please on the camera protection side. Presumably until you reach the gorillas they are best tucked away somewhere ? Especially if ‘everything .. will get soaked’
Also, how severe is the climb, do you get breathers etc.. ?

Looks like a long list of must haves and things to get. If only Christmas was coming up ....

Roger
Hi Roger,

Glad my "tips" are of use! In terms of camera protection I took "dry bags" with me (I probably got them on Amazon!). Your porter will carry your rucksack with your camera in it - trust me you won't have any time to take photos on the way up! The camera I used was a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ330 with a focal length of 25-600. The reason I bought this camera was a) for the big zoom and b) because it claims to be "weatherproof". All our cameras got wet but I kept the lens hood on mine which I think helped and always had a lens wipe to hand. I'm really pleased with my photos. One of our group was lugging 500mm camera lenses up with him, which I would not recommend! I'm sold on "bridge" cameras now and don't use my DSLR at all.

In terms of severity of the climb - I stopped frequently on the way up - you are climbing at altitude and I am getting on a bit now! There were "official" stops for water, but I huffed and puffed and just had to stop when necessary. As I mentioned, they put the slowest person at the front (I think I was the second!). There is obviously no rush to get up, and until the ranger finds the gorillas you don't know how long you will be climbing so "poly poly" as they say - "slowly, slowly"! The going down was harder as it was constant rain and muddy and slippy. Despite my trekking poles I have a very swollen leg due to twisting and turning. Of our group, even those who don't normally drink definitely had a few when they got down!!

It was an incredible experience and I'm sure you will enjoy it!

Cheers,
Hils
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Post: #9
(04/10/2019, 01:26 PM)Hils Wrote: Hi All,

Further to my amazing treks to find the gorillas and chimps, I thought it would help those of you who have booked this amazing holiday to give you an idea of what you need to wear/do, as follows:-


1. Decent waterproof hiking boots that have been worn in and are comfortable and have good tread (one girl went in plimsoles and had to be practically carried up and down the mountain!).

2. Long sleeved shirt and long sleeved trousers - the ones I use have insect repellent built in but you still need to put repellent on before you start.

3. Gaiters - these will protect your legs from the vegetation and stop the ants getting in!

4. Gloves (gardening will do). I didn't put these on on the chimp trek and got my hands pierced by numerous thorns. On the gorilla trek we put them on when we went down (if you slip - and you possibly will if it has been raining heavily) they will help, and also keep your hands warm.

5. Decent waterproof rain jacket - cheap ponchos proved useless, disintegrated and proved a problem when trying to take photographs.

6. Plastic bags/dry bags - everything in your rucksack will get soaked.

7. Weatherproof camera if possible, and spare, charged, batteries.

8. I used 2 trekking poles which I found were invaluable, but they will give you a long stick.

9. Sunscreen and insect repellent.

10. Hat that will cover your face and neck.

11. LOTS of water

The porter (and it is really vital that you hire one) will carry your rucksack and anything else that you shed, especially on the way up.

If going to the gym (or if you live in Scotland!) do as much hill walking as possible to strengthen your legs.

Take your time - it's not the getting there first, it's the getting there! They will put the slowest person at the front of the group (you are normally split into groups of 8/9 dependant on fitness and age (!))

Tip your porter well - they only do this once a month, and you could be relying on them for up to 10 hours!

When you reach the gorillas (and you have an 80% chance of this), the ranger who has found them will emit a call. Take as many photographs as you want obviously, but put your camera down at some point and just enjoy their presence (the gorillas, not the ranger!).

Theoretically you are not meant to make eye contact with the gorillas, but you will, and they will!

When you get back down (exhausted but happy) the lodge will clean your boots/gaiters - some charge, some do not.

Take plenty of rehydration salts with you on this trip, as you will sweat buckets - sorry, perspire, for the ladies!

If you have any knee problems (I twisted or pulled muscles/ligaments on the gorilla trek) it might be worth wearing a patella knee strap (you can get them on Amazon).

I hope this hasn't put any of you off, as it really is a "once in a lifetime" experience to see the gorillas - and the chimps. We were all very happy when we got down (and all agreed it was worth it), but won't be doing it again, so enjoy!

If there are any questions, please ask.

Cheers,
Hils
Thank you for this very comprehensive advice
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Post: #10
Great post, thank you for sharing.
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