Gorilla trekking attire and photography

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Jul 11th, 2005, 10:17 PM
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Gorilla trekking attire and photography

In September I'm going to Uganda on a trip that includes two treks to the mountain gorillas. Since I'll be traveling later in Tanzania, I don't want to lug around anything except what I absolutely must have. So, I wonder: how wet is that trek--do I need waterproof pants as well as jacket? Must I really have high-top boots or will very rugged, waterproof hiking shoes do?

And on photography: I'm taking a SLR digital camera, a Canon 20D. I'm set with lenses but have some concern about the light since one cannot use flash. Any tips?
WhitePelican is offline  
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Jul 13th, 2005, 07:17 PM
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Hello...I was on a gorilla trek in Bwindi in September 2003. It was very wet and muddy, but I don't think you'll need waterproof pants. It started to rain as we went down the mountain, so I'd definitely bring a rain jacket. Regular hiking boots are fine, but you may want to wear high socks that you can stick your pants in as there are some big ants that bite. Also, bring a pair of gloves...there are alot of plants with big thorns that you'll grab as you climb up and down.
I didn't take a camera on the trek as I was with 2 nature photographers. All I remember them saying is that they were using 800 film.

Hope that helps...Have a great time. It's an unbelievalbe experience. We were within five feet of the gorillas. It was thrilling beyond imagination.
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Jul 13th, 2005, 08:28 PM
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Thank you, phernska: you've been a big help. I'll skip the waterproof pants--just one more item that I would wear only twice. I appreciate the heads up about the biting ants and will be sure to take long socks. And gloves.

I'm taking a digital SLR camera so no film. I gather it can be quite dark in Bwindi, but I can manage without a flash. You were within five feet of the gorillas! That's amazing.
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Jul 14th, 2005, 07:45 AM
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White pelican - Just curious:Which lenses are you taking?
Thanks!
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Jul 14th, 2005, 03:42 PM
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It was suggested that I take gaiters for viewing in Rwanda, so I purchased some. I can see the benefit in using them, although I am sure one could get along without them. I also have rain pants that go with my rain jacket (which I am taking). I think it is a lot like anything: it is nice to be prepared but that can take up weight and space and so each person has to make choices they are comfortable with. At this point, I am struggling with what to take and trying to pare down my list so I can get it in a smaller bag.
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Jul 14th, 2005, 04:14 PM
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Check out this archived article at photo.net. -- http://www.photo.net/africa/flynn/gorillas. Hope this helps.
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Jul 14th, 2005, 06:17 PM
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Thanks, serengeti: the photo.net article is very helpful, I, too, am going with Natural Habitat so even though the writer's trip was nine years ago and he used film, I found a lot of useful information.

And cooncat: After reading the above mentioned article, I've decided to take my Canon 70-200 lens; I was originally planning to take just a Canon 100-400 and a Canon 28-135 on the trip. Both of these are Image Stabilizer lenses which should be helpful with the gorillas if they are active. (Actually I'm taking the 100-400 for wildlife elsewhere rather than specifically for the gorillas.) So I guess for the gorillas I'll end up with the 28-135 on one camera and the 70-200 on another.


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Jul 15th, 2005, 05:36 AM
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Thanks White Pelican. Please report back on your experience. I am planning a trip for next year, and would like to include chimps or gorillas in my itinerary if I choose East Africa over south. Have a fabulous trip!

Cooncat
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Jul 20th, 2005, 04:09 PM
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I was in Uganda in January. The gorilla trek will blow your mind. I second the recommendation on the gloves - just cheap gardening gloves are good as they are light enough to let you grab things, but protect you from the thorns, etc.

I used only a film SLR, but people who had digital (even non-SLR) did fine. However, the upshot is that if the gorillas are active and in the brush, you will only get shadows or blurs.

RE: lenses - you MUST take a shorter lens too, like 25-100. I only took my 100-300 up the mountain but much of the time the gorillas came so close that my longer lense was useless. Or, if you have 2 camera bodies, I would advise that. Changing lenses on steep, slippery slopes is a challenge and if the gorillas are active, you will miss a lot. That hour goes by in a flash.

Have an amazing time.
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