15 Frequently Asked Questions About Gorilla Habituation Experience
Find 15 Frequently asked questions about gorilla habituation experience. Gorilla habituation is the act of following the half-habituated gorillas to help them get familiar with human presence (not dictionary definition). Gorilla habituation started with the American Anthropologist Dian Fossey as one of the techniques she used to protect the mountain gorillas.
In Uganda, gorilla habituation was opened to tourist booking in 2014 by the Uganda Wildlife Authority but initially, it had been the work of Researchers. Gorilla habituation starts with an early rise at about 07030hrs to meet the gorillas as they de-nest, follow them to their feeding area, and enjoy their daily activities.
What you need to know is they are half-habituated mountain gorillas so their wild behavior is not yet under control. When you locate them with other researchers, you have 4 hours of observing, noting down their behavior, checking out how each individual gorilla spends its day and so much more.
Gorilla habituation gives you extra time with the mountain gorillas which is more than 1 hour allowed with the gorillas during gorilla trekking. Being a new activity a number of Questions about gorilla habituation come up some of which include.
What Is Gorilla Habituation?
As explained above, gorilla habituation is an activity that gets wild gorillas used to human presence. When a gorilla family is located, researchers slowly start following it daily to get it accustomed to human presence.
Gorillas are naturally shy primates despite their huge size and dark-furred bodies but with gorilla habituation, they get closer to the presence of humans.
To expand the funding sources for gorilla conservation and community support, gorilla habituation was opened for tourist booking by Uganda Wildlife Authority in 2014.
How Much Is Gorilla Habituation in Uganda
Each gorilla habituation permit in Uganda currently costs $1500 per person per trek. This price constitutes the park entrance fees, a ranger guide to escort you with researcher into the forest, gorilla research support fee, medication for the gorillas, local community support and so much more.
You can hire a porter at a friendly fee to carry your belonging while in the forest. This is one way to directly support the local community. They use these funds to support their children to attain education, pay medical bills, buy clothes, buy books and so much more.
Where To Do Gorilla habituation
Two gorilla families in Uganda Bwindi Impenetrable National Park have been set for gorilla habituation in only the southern sector that is Bukingyi and Bushaho gorilla family. One family is in the Nkuringo area and another in the Rushaga area. All these two gorilla families are located in the southern part of Bwindi impenetrable National Park meaning that all those interested in gorilla habituation experience will have to visit the southern part of Bwindi impenetrable National park.
How Long Does Gorilla Habituation Take
Gorilla habituation takes about 4 hours or more depending on the time you take to locate the mountain gorillas but only 4 hours are allowed with the gorillas when you locate them. With the direction of the research group, you take part is identifying the gorillas, look out for their individual unique behavior, taking photos when instructed and so much more activities.
When Does Gorilla Habituation Start
Each day gorilla habituation starts about 0730 hours earlier than gorilla trekking which begins at 0830 hours. Ensure you have packed your lunch because returning time is definitely after lunch because of the activities you have to be part of while in the forest.
Carry the right gorilla habituation gears with you so that you can enjoy every moment with the mountain gorillas without trying to borrow from others.
How Many People Are Allowed To Do Gorilla Habituation
Only 4 gorilla habituation permits per family of mountain gorillas is allowed to attend gorilla habitation per day. Remember this is a slow process of getting the gorillas used to human presence. When you ambush the gorilla family with a big number of humans, they may get scared and move into hiding.
Gorilla habituation takes about 2 to 3 years to get completed but at times it may go as far as 5 years in some extreme cases. Every step achieved during gorilla habituation is so important and treated delicately.
What Is The Age Limit For Gorilla Habituation
15 years and above is the age limit for Gorilla habituation given the fact that the level of fitness for persons at this age is capable of withstanding forest conditions.
At age 15 following the rules of gorilla habituation is more important and one is more composed to achieve gorilla habituation experience.
How Many People Are allowed to do gorilla Habituation
Only 4 tourists are allowed to do gorilla habituation with researchers so as not to overwhelm the mountain gorillas under habituation.
How safe Is gorilla habituation
Mountain Gorillas may be huge in size and wild in behaviors but they are not violent unless one fails to follow the rules of gorilla habituation. Some level of patience and readiness to withstand conditions in the forest is necessary.
During gorilla habituation, you go with a group of researchers and ranger guides to protect you in case something threatens you.
Gorilla habituation is therefore safe but follow the instructions to enjoy the entire experience.
Are There Discounted Gorilla Habituation Permit
As of now no discounted gorilla habituation permits. You have to pay the general fee which is $1500
When Is The Best Time To Do Gorilla Habituation
Gorilla habituation is open all year round but just like gorilla trekking, it is best done in the drier months when the ground is not so soggy. Gorilla habitation includes longer hours of following the gorillas so you need great weather to withstand the already humid forest conditions.
The months of June to September and December to January receive less rain compared to the rest of the year. You can make use of these months to make a gorilla habituation booking. Since few gorilla habituation permits are released per day that is only 4 permits per gorilla family, advance booking is necessary.
How Difficult Is Gorilla Habituation
Following semi-habituated mountain gorillas is quite challenging but fun too. The feeling of being one of the lucky travelers to help the gorillas get accustomed to tourist presence is incomparable. You feel like an achiever knowing that your name will be part of the history of a certain gorilla trekking family in the future.
The terrain may be quite challenging but worth the effort especially when you accomplish the four hours. Ensure you have packed the right gears to tack you through the gorilla habituation experience.
What Is The Difference Between Gorilla Habituation And Gorilla Trekking
Gorilla trekking is the activity where you search, locate and stay with the gorillas for an hour. Gorilla habitation is an activity where you try to familiarize with human presence for 4 hours in the forest.
Gorilla habituation proceeds with gorilla trekking and it takes about 2 to 3 years to fully make a wild gorilla family used to human presence.
At the moment two gorilla families are open for tourist visits in Uganda with only 8 gorilla permits available for gorilla trekking permits per day.
How to get to the Gorilla habituation area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
From Kampala the most direct route to the southern part of Bwindi Forest is Kampala to Kabale to Nkuringo, Nkuringo is about 105km from Kabale lasting about 4 hours. The terrain of this area is generally mountainous so expect to go through winding roads.
You may opt to overnight in Kisoro before proceeding to the Nkuringo gorilla area or the Rushaga area.
From Kisoro, you take about 80km before arriving in the southern area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Daily domestic flights depart Kajjansi Air or Entebbe Airport to Kisoro Airstrip and you can catch a transfer vehicle from the airstrip to the Nkuringo area or Rushaga gorilla trekking area.
Charter flights can be arranged to Kisoro Airstrip upon request.
What To Pack For Gorilla Habituation
Trekking boots that will withstand the soggy ground especially when there is intense rainfall yet the ground has volcanic soils that get boggy.
A camera with a great lens that can catch a good photo amidst dripping water from the tree and surfaces of leaves.
A waterproof bag to keep your belongings from getting scattered in the forest.
A pair of garden gloves to grip tightly on the creepers that you pass by.
Long-sleeved shirt and trousers in colors friendly to the wilderness that will cover your body from pricking surfaces and biting nettles.
An extra fully charged battery to exchange with when one runs low.
A poncho or sweater to keep you warm because this area is generally cold throughout the day and night
Energy snacks to feed on when you get hungry in the forest. The trekking at times gets tough and tiresome so you need some energizers.
A torch for extra light at night when lights go out.
Some cash to change into local currency in case you wish to do any transactions while on the ground like buying souvenirs.
Toiletries just in case your lodge doesn’t provide
Warm Flip flops to use while in the room because the floors get cold in most rooms yet the slippers available may be cold too.
A cap or large brim hat to cover your hair from dripping water from the tree branches and leaves. Even stinging flying insects in the forest may fall on your hair.
Insect repellant friendly to your skin so as to protect your skin from stinging insects in the wilderness.
A water bottle to carry drinking water in order to quench thirst while you trek to locate the mountain gorillas.
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