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What to Wear While in Rwanda

There are no strict rules or regulations on dress in Rwanda. Though the country has a fairly western attitude particularly in Kigali, you should dress decently following the code for what to wear in African countries.

In more rural areas it will not be unusual for a woman to wear trousers but it may be advisable to dress modestly during your tour in Rwanda.

Are you taking a safari in national Parks, here are guides to what to wear;

  • What to Wear on a gorilla trek in Volcanoes National Park
  • What to Wear on a wildlife safari in Akagera National Park
  • What to Bring on a Hiking Safari
  • Cultural Etiquette for Rwanda Visitors

Gorilla trekking is a popular African safari activity especially in the east African region, Uganda and Rwanda. The common mis lead is people want to dress casual free in shorts open blouses and vests while on safari but for this particular is way too different from the expectations.

Gorilla trekking adventure is only in Bwindi forest national park, Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda and volcanoes national park in the neighboring Rwanda. The parks are on high elevation, they are same time on a rugged terrain characterized by steep slopes, humid and covered by fog and due to varying temperatures, which tend to be humid.

Gorilla trekking has no clear trail to follow, most times you are just wandering in the thick bush and forest, crossing water streams, bent trees until you trace the location of the gorillas. There fore as you plan your gorilla trekking adventure in either parks, your dress code will matter for your adventure to be memorable.

Below is the highlight of how exactly you should wear for your gorilla trekking adventure

 Wear Long trousers and long-sleeved shirts.

You will need to wear long trousers preferably khakis or light jeans in dark shade but no black because it attracts insects, not tight fitting but ones that feel comfortable for long hikes, however jeans tend to gets do heavy in case they get wet, light cargo pants would be the best option.

Long -sleeved sweater shirts or blouse to protect from insect bites. On the inside cotton vest and under garments such as bras and panties are must have to avoid friction and absorb the sweat. Most clients tend to ignore this and wear shorts and vest but at the end of the day their body skin is exposed to scratches, thorns, stinging nettles and bites.

In summary dressing for a gorilla trek is simply easy, wear a vest add a long-sleeved shirt preferably thick a synthetic cotton, light sweater optional depending on the temperatures and lastly a rain gear on top.

Also note, choose to wear clothes you don’t mind losing in case they get messy on the adventure.

Wear Hiking boots

There are no clear hiking trails to follow while trekking to see the gorillas, most times you loom in the forest following the gorilla foot prints where they were last seen until you find where they have settled for the day. These trails can be slippery, muddy and without hiking boots it may not be easy to reach the gorillas. The shoes should be comfortable, preferably rubber sole and water proof.

Good hiking boots will give you stability on the ground remember your marveling in the forest a midst rocky path and water streams you will not find any difficult while trekking, don’t forget stocking and should be tucked in to avoid ants reaching to your body. Sandals and white sneakers are inappropriate foot wear for gorilla trekking.

 Rain gear /Jacket

The weather in gorilla parks is unpredictable despite the dry season it can still rain being in mountainous areas and covered with tropical rain forest therefore you must wear your rain jacket before you set off for gorilla tracking. It should be light to be put on top of other clothes or light to carry along and put on later in case it rains while in the forest.  A poncho or thrown can also be worn and it easy to carry and fold.

Wear a head gear/ hat

Gorilla trekking starts early morning at 7 am with briefing at the park quarters and by that time, the weather is cold with mist and fog, all you need that time is a warm head gear to cover your head and ears from the freezing coldness until later in the day when it shines. A head gear does not only protest you from coldness but also protects your hair from getting dump and stuck on tree branches while trekking as you bend to find way and your way.

In case you forget to pack it, you could buy one from the nearest craft shops or local markets in the country.

Wear an insect repellent

The forest park is an in habitants of many insects, with a repellent you have an advantage they won’t get close to you. They can be disturbing and ruin your experience. Make sure you wear it, smear exposed skin to be on a safe side. For travelers in for gorilla habituation experience you are advised to bring it along in your day back as you most time with the gorillas. The most disturbing insects are gorilla flies and mosquitoes.

 Gardening Gloves

It is most ignored, but trust me you will not regret wearing your gloves. As you are on the trekking adventure you will never know where you may need to hold for support on vines, tree branches or on the ground its self. The gloves help you protect hands from stinging nettles in case you hold on it accidently.

A cardigan /Warm Sweater

As earlier mentioned, the temperatures in the gorilla parks can go as low as 10 degrees especially in the morning and evening. It can get too cold at night. In Bwindi forest national park temperatures go at 11 degrees or below this some times same applies to Mgahinga and Volcanoes national park which go to 10 degrees. Therefore, you need to wear a warm sweater, stockings, hand gloves to keep you warm. In some lodges you will find fire places or hot water bottles in bed to keep warmth in the bed thorough the night.

Besides wearing for a gorilla trekking adventure, you will need a camera with you to capture good memories with the gorillas. Remember to put in in silence and flash photography is prohibited. Also, water bottle, and packed lunch as a must before you set off for the adventure.

You will also need a small handy back a pack to carry a few essentials since porters were restricted from carrying visitors luggage since the outbreak of corona virus.

In conclusion, wearing for gorilla trekking adventure so much differs from any other safari activity because of what it entails, trekking thorough muddy and steep slopes until you find the treasure of mountain gorillas going about their day in their home. In this case dull color or neutral shades such as khaki, green is recommended for wearing while on the trekking experience unlike other safari activities.