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Gorilla Trekking in the Congo Guide - all you need to know about your upcoming trip to the Congo

Gorilla trekking in the Republic of Congo is an extraordinary adventure that offers a unique opportunity to encounter one of the world’s most endangered and majestic creatures—the Western Lowland Gorilla. The dense forests of the Congo Basin provide the ideal habitat for these incredible animals, and venturing into their territory is a thrilling and potentially life-changing experience. When embarking on a gorilla trek with the local guides and trackers, it’s crucial to be well-prepared, and your choice of clothing is a key consideration.

Firstly: The Paperwork Requirements
  • Ensure that you have two (2) blank pages in your Passport.
  • Visa and Letter of Invitation which will be sent to you once you have booked your trip.
  • Yellow fever vaccination card/certificate.
  • Cash in USD or EUR for porters, curios, gratuities and items of a personal nature.
  • Printed copy of travel and medical insurance, including policy reference number, name of insurer, name(s) of covered person(s), and emergency contact number(s). Please also include contact information for a friend/family member in your home country.
  • We highly recommend that you have copies of all your documents (including the biometric page of your passport).

Luggage and Weight Considerations
  • On your international flight to Brazzaville, we highly recommend packing essential items and three days’ worth of clothing in carry-on baggage in case checked luggage is misdirected. This will be your ‘Trekking Bag’, and you can have additional items in your check-in bag.
  • When packing your ‘Trekking Bag’, please keep in mind the 15kg weight limit on the internal flights between Brazzaville and Odzala-Kokoua National Park.
  • Soft-sided luggage is essential for the flight into the rainforest, as the charter aircraft luggage hold does not allow for rigid frames.
  • We can store any excess baggage for you in our partners’ Brazzaville office. Once you return from your trek, you also have the option to leave your trekking clothes here, as it will be muddy and wet. These will be donated to the local community.

Arriving in Brazzaville

Most visitors arrive fully kitted out in their safari gear, and quickly realize they stand out. With its French influences, the city is stylish and sophisticated and is completely different from any of the East and Southern African destinations offered for safaris. Take something stylish with and urban-chic flair to wear for your time in the city.

Into the Jungle Backpack

You will not need a backpack, but a lightweight dry pack that can fit your camera gear and phone is essential.

Trekking Clothing considerations
  • As the rainforest and baï environment can be muddy and wet, we recommend bringing enough suitable clothing (including additional socks) to allow time for laundered items to dry in the often humid and wet conditions. One in the wash, wearing one and one spare in your bag is ideal.
  • It’s essential to wear lightweight and moisture-wicking clothing that keeps you cool and dry.
  • Consider clothing made of breathable fabrics like moisture-wicking polyester or nylon to help regulate your body temperature and minimize discomfort.
  • A light, thin rain jacket is essential. Ideally, one that zips to open under your arms.
  • Earth-toned colours work best in the forest environment (green, khaki, stone).
  • Avoid black, blue and other dark-coloured clothes that attract tsetse flies.
  • Avoid wearing bright colors in the forest.
  • Long-sleeved shirts and Long Pants, provide multiple benefits during gorilla trekking. Firstly, it offers protection against insects and vegetation. Secondly, it shields your skin from the sun and prevents sunburn.
  • Clothes that dry quickly are essential if extending your safari beyond the gorilla trekking to the baï region, as you will be wading mid-thing level through the river.
  • A light scarf to soak up any moisture and cool your neck is a winner.

Trekking Shoes and Socks
  • Most importantly, do not buy hiking boots. These will get to heavy and water-soaked and will take too long to dry.
  • Opt for waterproof or water-resistant boots or shoes to keep your feet dry, as the rainforest can be muddy and wet.
  • Lightweight trail shoes (see examples at Salomons or On Clouds) are best. Your choice should be light, even when wet.
  • Water booties/diving shoes that go up your ankles are also an option to consider.
  • Ensure your shoes are well “broken-in” before the trek to avoid blisters.
  • Bring double the amount of socks as your number of days on the ground, as you will change these more than once a day.

Activities on privately guides walks in the Congo forest

Camera Equipment
  • All camera equipment should be suitable for humid and possibly wet environments. Lighting conditions can be challenging in the forest; gorilla welfare protocols prohibit flashes, and the typical viewing distance is at least 10 m (32 ft).
  • A macro lens is helpful for photographing insects and plants. You will need to carry all your own equipment. Advance clearance is required for drones and large-scale camera equipment.
  • A lightweight dry bag for electronic equipment is essential, as is a Zip-lock for when you are kayaking on the Congo River.
Packing List

  • A facemask is compulsory when with the gorillas.
  • Gaiters for wearing over your shoes are highly recommended. This will keep stones, sand, and water out of your shoes. Knee-high ones will keep the bottoms of your trousers dry.
  • Sunglasses & sunscreen with a high SPF rating. Sun protection is essential, especially when trekking in open areas or during breaks in the forest.
  • A hat with a wide brim and a net cover is helpful in the early mornings when the sweat bees are out.
  • Personal toiletries (shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion are provided).
  • Biodegradable sanitary products.
  • Torch or flashlight (headlamp recommended)



  • Insect repellent (tropical-grade – natural products such as citronella are not recommended). We recommend insect repellent with cortisone.
  • Antihistamine medication.
  • Should you suffer from severe reactions to insect bites, we suggest travelling with an EpiPen.
  • Binoculars (night vision a bonus).
  • Anti-fog spray for lenses.
  • Spare batteries and memory cards or film.
  • Adaptors (lodges use European plugs; 500W max)
  • Noise-cancelling headphones (recommended especially for flight to Odzala).

Gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that allows you to get up close and personal with these incredible creatures. Remember to follow the guidance of your local guides and porters, as they are experienced in ensuring a safe and responsible trekking experience.

In this article
  • Introduction
  • Firstly: The Paperwork requirements
  • Luggage and Weight
  • Arriving in Brazzaville
  • Trekking Clothing Considerations
  • Trekking Shoes and Socks
  • Camera Equipment
  • Things to Pack

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