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Preparing for an adventure, like a gorilla trek in Rwanda, can be all consuming - especially when it is time to start packing.

Our Insight into Your Gorilla Trekking outfit

Preparing for an adventure, like a gorilla trek in Rwanda, can be all consuming – especially when it is time to start packing. Personally, I can get very immersed in the details of a holiday and I love being prepared and planning in advance. My packing lists are meticulous and I love researching the appropriate things to wear to a destination or an experience.

My favourite part of the research is looking at what real people (as in, not styled for a photo) wear on their travels. This makes for more attainable and practical outfit inspiration.

A great hack when planning your wardrobe for a trip is to assess what you already own and then work out what gaps you need to fill with new purchases. More often than not, you can adapt what you own to an experience.

Your existing clothes are often tried and tested and there is nothing worse than uncomfortable clothing, especially when doing something active. More importantly, aim not to wear anything which takes away your focus on your gorilla trek. You are there to look at the animals and not for them to look at you 😉

I have put together some great reference photos in this article of what the team at Timeless Africa wore on our treks and what some of our guests have worn on theirs.

Casey Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Women walking in the field in Rwanda to go gorilla trekking

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Top 10 tips for your gorilla trek outfit:
  1. Be comfortable.
  2. Dress in easy-to-remove layers.
  3. Make sure your jacket is lightweight and waterproof.
  4. Waterproof footwear is a priority.
  5. Wear long pants which are thick or loose and long tops.
  6. One trek outfit is enough as most lodges have a daily complimentary laundry and will wash your clothes and clean your shoes as soon as you return from the trek.
  7. Choose neutral colours (not brights or patterns and camouflage prints are not encouraged).
  8. In Rwanda, the suggested dress code is ‘informal yet respectful’.
  9. Prepare for the photography you want to take and make sure how you carry your phone and camera is comfortable.
  10. For USD200, your driver-guide can accompany you on the trek and take semi-professional photographs of you and your experience.

I planned my outfit around easy-to-remove layers – a thin long-sleeve top which I could tuck into my thick gym leggings and then a lightweight waterproof jacket. Long sleeves are the trick, as there are stinging nettles in some areas of the National Park, which can be aggravating to your skin. Other people on our trek wore loose hiking pants which also worked well. It was not cold on our trek, but I took a warm fleece along in the car just in case (I then chose to leave it behind when we started the trek).

Holly's trekking outfit


Have a look at our inspiration on what to wear on your trek »

This is a reference guide to what the Timeless Africa team wears when we go on safari. You can buy a new wardrobe or adapt your own wardrobe. Remember, you are there to look at the animals, they are not there to look at you.


The next most important thing to focus on is your footwear. I wore waterproof trail runners, which I already owned. I had a good experience as they combined well with the gators provided by the lodge.

If you own a pair of waterproof, worn-in hiking boots, these will be ideal. Shoes that are waterproof are essential, as hiking in wet shoes and socks is very uncomfortable and can cause blisters.

Wear one layer of thin moisture-wicking socks covered by thicker cotton socks. You can also try a pair of waterproof socks for extra protection.

Read the full article about footwear for gorilla trekking »

Types of shoes worn for primate trekking in Africa

Woman smiling at the camera with gorillas in the background


Timeless Tip

It may be overcast when you head out in the morning but don’t forget to wear SPF on your face and bring a hat. You are at a high altitude and will sunburn easily. A wide brimmed foldable hat is super useful, but I wore out Timeless Africa peak which worked well too.


Luxury lodges provide all the necessary gear which you would most likely not already own. You can borrow gators, gloves, waterproof jackets or ponchos, waterproof pants, backpacks, caps, water bottles and walking sticks. You can even borrow hiking boots at some of the lodges. This is really helpful if you are coming from an East Africa safari as you can save on space and weight in your luggage.


A small waterproof backpack or a waterproof cover for your backpack is ideal
You can add a waist pack for fast access items. These items may be useful to have with you: Phone, snacks, lip ice, hand sanitizer, face mask, sunglasses, glasses cloth, sunscreen, hat, Camera, Gratuities for porter/guide (approx. USD50 cash), face mask.

Since 2020 all visitors have to wear a face mask when they are with the gorillas, even for photos.

Photographic equipment

Remember to plan how you will manage your photographic equipment as this will be an important part of your outfit.

I personally went overboard and had a body-cam attachment for my Gopro (which I used to film the whole experience), my cell phone was on a cross-body strap and then a large Canon camera with a sturdy strap. I took a glasses cleaning cloth for all the lenses and this was very useful.

I hardly used the Canon as our guide came with us on the trek (we covered the cost of his permit at USD200 for Rwandan locals) and he took the semi-professional photos for us of our sightings. The hour with the gorillas goes by so quickly, so not having to worry about taking good photographs is such a blessing – highly recommend.


Even though I am a pretty practical person, it is still important to me to look good doing whatever I am doing, so I like to add little accessory touches to my outfits. For my trek, it was simple earrings and a pale pink headband.

Quick reference list to your trekking outfit:
  • Hiking pants / thick gym pants
  • Long sleeve thin top / shirt
  • Long sleeve fleece in winter
  • Lightweight Waterproof Jacket
  • Long, thick socks that your pants can tuck into
  • Boots or shoes with very good grip, made for hiking and ideally waterproof
  • Hat
  • Good quality sunglasses, UV protected, polarised.
  • Sunblock
  • Headband
  • Buff (some lodges provide)
  • Gardening gloves (provided by most high end lodges)
  • Long gaiters (provided by most high end lodges)

In this article
  • Timeless insight
  • Top 10 tips for your gorilla trek outfit:
  • Clothing
  • Footwear
  • Gear
  • Backpack
  • Photographic equipment
  • Accessories
  • Quick reference list

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