Gorilla Watching Etiquette & Packing List

Gorillas are very vulnerable to human illness, please always wash your hands before you visit them. If you are unwell or carry a contagious disease, please stay behind to
protect them. If you are unwell, you will not be allowed to track the gorillas.

Tracking commences every morning from the various trekking bases headquarters. There are 4 Trekking bases around the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park namely
Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo and the 5th one at Mount Mgahinga National Park which is an extension of the Volcanoes. The start time is usually between 7:30-
8:30 AM. There is a daily maximum of 8 visitors to each gorilla group, and each group is accompanied by a guide and by porters who will help carry your day-pack
for you. The porters are available at an extra fee.

The gorillas cover reasonably large distances and they are never continuously in one area. Because of this, the time taken to track the gorillas varies, from as little as half an hour to as much as 6 hours before returning to the headquarters. The terrain is exceptionally difficult, which steep slopes covered in dense vegetation. In addition, the altitude of 1,500 meters and more means participants do need to be physically fit to enjoy the track. Once the gorillas are located, your group will be permitted ONLY one hour with them.

  • Turn your head away if you need to sneeze; never spit in the forest.
  • Stay in a tight group when near the gorillas speaking only of whispers.
  • Don’t eat or drink near them, nor leave any rubbish.
  • For your safety and their health keep seven meters away from the gorillas, but stay still if they approach you. Never touch a gorilla.
  • Although non-aggressive, they are wild animals and can sometime charge. If this happens, crouch down, don’t look them in the eye and wait for them to pass.
  • Rash photography is forbidden. Point and shoot cameras are inadvisable as picture quality will be poor in these conditions and the flash can go off inadvertently.
  • If a gorilla stares at you, look away or down.
  • Children under the age of fifteen (15) are not allowed on gorilla tracking excursions
  • Pls. do not use your flash when taking pictures. It MUST be off !

What to pack for a Gorilla trek

The following is a suggested list of items to bring along, specifically if your safari includes trekking the gorillas and / or the chimpanzees. It is highly recommended that visitors prepare themselves and attain a reasonable level of physical fitness prior to doing a trek, as the terrain is mountainous and at times fairly steep. During periods of rainfall the terrain can be muddy and slippery.
  • Good, waterproof hiking footwear. Good grip soles important.
  • Change of shoes, we recommend comfortable sports shoes or similar
  • Comfortable socks & T-shirts
  • Raincoat or rain poncho, preferably also covering head.
  • Long trousers / jeans of good quality to protect against scratches and stinging nettles
  • Long sleeved summer jacket for nettle protection and a sweater for chilly evenings
  • “Day back pack” to carry change of T-shirt, socks, sweets, camera, tissues, raincoat, snacks etc.
  • Camera with plenty of light sensitive film, for digital cameras extra memory card!
  • Hat and high level sunscreen
  • Leather gloves are recommended
  • Water container - 2 liters capacity suggested
  • Sweets, chocolates etc.
  • Walking sticks are available at the park head quarters
  • Re-hydration mixture, paracetamol and any personal medication
  • Gaiters to protect against stinging nettles.
In case of further questions, pls. do not hesitate to contact us!

Contact us

Head office
Office hours: 
Mon to Fri from 8.30am - 5.30pm 
Saturdays 8.30am - 1.00pm
off Riverside Drive
on Riverside Lane
P.O.Box: 39094-00623 Nairobi
Reservations: +254 714 018 914
Tel: +254 20 4445669 / 4445680 / 4445850
Mobile: +254 722525400 /+254 733 614055
Email: contact us