Gorilla Habituation Experience in Uganda
Gorilla Habituation Experience in Uganda is a gorilla safari activity in Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Unlike gorilla trekking where tourists visit fully habituated gorillas to spend a maximum of 60 minutes in their presence gorilla habituation takes you on a 4 hour experience with wild gorillas. Gorilla habituation can literally be defined as the process of getting mountain gorillas familiar to the presence of human beings by spending time around them till they are fully not bothered about the presence of humans and can go on with their daily lives.
Gorilla habituation is only done in Uganda’s Bwindi forest with a maximum of 4 people are allowed to go for the experience at a cost of 1500 USD spending about 4 hours in the forest. The gorilla habituation experience permit is much more expensive than the gorilla trekking permit that goes for 700 USD since you spend much more time in the forest during habituation.
Habituation is done in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi forest of southern Uganda that hosts 51% of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas. Bikyingi gorilla group is one of the gorilla groups where tourists can have a habituation experience. The group has 21 individuals with 1 silverback, 2 sub adults, 9 adult females and 9 infant gorillas. Gorilla habituation is also experienced with the Bushasho gorilla group.
The advantage with the gorilla habituation is that clients spend about 4 hours with the mountain gorillas. A gorilla habituation process in Uganda may take about 2-3 years for the gorillas to get fully familiar with the presence of human beings. To get to this stage, researchers and gorilla doctors visit the gorillas every day to learn more about the individual gorillas and behaviors. With some good time, these gorillas get used to the presence of researchers and they can even get closer to them. After study of each gorilla individual, they then receive a name. Following this period, a mock exercise is carried out where several people including scientists, journalists and others start visiting the gorilla group. If the gorillas pass the mock exercise then they are referred to as fully habituated and are opened to the public for mountain gorilla trekking.
The minimum age for a gorilla habituation experience is 15 years of age just like it is for gorilla trekking. The rules and regulations for both activities is almost the same with a few and slight alterations that the guides will explain to you as you head out for the trek.
When does gorilla habituation start?
Habituation is available daily and it starts at 7:30 am local time unlike gorilla trekking that starts at around 8:30 after briefing. If you are going for the mountain gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi forest National Park then you must be ready to wake up early and be at the park headquarters by at least 7:00 am. You therefore have to spend the night in an accommodation facility within the Rushaga sector since you will have to wake up much early.
To have a gorilla habituation experience you need to book your permit early since the permits are few. Do this at least months early through contacting Acacia Safaris Uganda for all of your bookings.
With the latest revival of the national courier, the Uganda Airlines last summer gorilla safaris in Uganda have been much more accessible and easily tailored with Rwanda safaris, wildlife safari in Kenya and Tanzania safari. Customizing a long combined trip in East Africa is one way of having much more experiences with wildlife and endemics.