23 November 2012 by Bridget March
Now on month 13, I’m exploring the last continent on my world trip itinerary – Africa. My first stop is Uganda, rich with lush landscapes and wow wildlife making it a magical destination as different to home as you can get. Last week I toured the captivating country with Encounters Travel which gave me a true once-in-a-lifetime experience: gorilla tracking. As a group we set off at 5:30 am into the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (aptly named thanks to its fierce fauna), and after intense hours trekking at incline, plus numerous muddy slip-ups on my part, we got up close to a family of some of the last remaining mountain gorillas in the world. Uh-mazing!
I must admit, as a girlie girl, the experience was close to bursting the boundaries of my comfort zone. But I’ve come to learn that this is what travelling’s all about and armed with my survival kit, I took the trauma out of the trek. Here are some top tips for fellow explorers encountering such extreme environments…
- At the opposite end of the animal kingdom to gorillas are mosquitoes – my bug bear. To avoid being bothered by creepy crawlies in the jungle it’s imperative to pack a good, DEET-based repellent. Many travellers also swear by Avon Skin So Soft. It’s not a bug spray but the dry oil happens to work wonders at warding off insects, so I currently use it in place of my body moisturiser, beneath repellent.
- Should you suffer from bites, soothe the sting with some all-natural Antipodes Saviour Skin Balm. It does exactly what it says on the (pretty) tin and not just for stings and bites, it also aids sunburn, chapped skin, grazes and sore muscles. I now swear by it! If this is unavailable to you, try vinegar on bites to dull the sting – as successfully tried ‘n’ tested by a girl in my tour group.
- Good sun protection is as important as good insect repellent. Try P20 for your body which you only need to apply once, meaning you don’t have to lug it with you all day. Lips-wise I like Vaseline Intensive Rescue Lip Therapy Repair Balm SPF20 and for the face I really rate Shiseido Sun Protection Foundation SPF30, a foundation/sunscreen hybrid that has a matte finish – perfect in clammy climates – and is also conveniently water resistant.
- Speaking of which, waterproof makeup is effective in the rainforest (the reason’s in the name!). I’m not suggesting you wear a full-face for this kind of thing, but if you feel more comfortable having the essentials on ensure waterproof lashes with Bourjois Volume Glamour Max Waterproof Mascara, or raid Estee Lauder’s Double Wear collection for eyeliners and blushers that stay put no matter what.
- When it’s not actually raining, jungle conditions are humid which can play havoc for the hair. If yours is like mine and loses control in wet weather, try applying the brilliant Avon Friz Fighter Advanced Techniques Friz Control Lotus Shield straight after washing (the night before if you have an early start like I did!). Then simply slick it up in a pony and go.
- As with my approach to festivals back home, I like to hide reminders that I’m roughing it. Dirty nails are a giveaway so I camouflaged them with a neutral nail polish. Nude nails happen to be a big beauty trend for spring/summer 13 – so while your trekking trousers might let your look down, your talons can be fashion forward, forest-stylee! Try L’Oreal Paris Color Riche Nails in Rose Bagatelle.
- Above all, look and feel your best by staying hydrated. As well as drinking water, pack snacks. I followed skincare maestro, Dr. Murad’s advice on my gorilla trek to eat raw fruits, vegetables and nuts which contain structured water to hydrate you quicker and for longer. But remember, ‘don’t feed the animals’…
Please share your travel tips with me and follow my adventures on Twitter – @BridgetMarch.
Read more: Beauty survival tips for the jungle