How To Book A Gorilla Habituation Experience Safari During Peak Season
Booking the gorilla habituation experience is only confirmed when you secure a gorilla permit. To do gorilla habituation, you need planning, including confirming the number of gorilla permits you hope to book before checking availability per your date of preference.
Remember that only 4 gorilla permits are allowed for every gorilla family under habituation experience. Currently, gorilla habituation experience is only done in Uganda, specifically the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Only two gorilla families are open for gorilla habituation experience.
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If you wish to experience gorilla habituation, planning is necessary, especially in the peak season. The peak Uganda tourism season normally runs from June, July, August, September, December and January. As gorilla habituation permits are scarce, you need a booking to be safe for at least 6 months to a year upfront.
During the peak season, gorilla permits sell out fast on a first-come, first-served basis. None is reserved without payment.
Before the details of how to book a gorilla habituation permit, let’s first understand what gorilla habituation is.
What is the gorilla habituation experience?
The gorilla habituation experience is an adventure where you escort a team of researchers and habituators to follow a semi-habituated mountain gorilla family in the wilderness to get used to human presence without altering their nature.
Only four tourists are allowed to do gorilla habituation with the team of researchers and habituators for only four hours upon locating the mountain gorillas.
What Is The Cost Of Gorilla Habituation Permit?
Each gorilla habituation permit costs $ 1,500 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $ 1,000 for foreign residents, and 250000shs per person per trek for East African residents. When you secure your gorilla permit in advance, you can choose from the limited accommodations available in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
What Is Included In The Cost Of Gorilla Habituation Permit?
The gorilla habituation permit included park entrance fees, researcher fees, ranger guide fees, 4 hours with the mountain gorillas, security during gorilla habituation, mountain gorilla conservation, local community support, and certificate after gorilla trekking.
What is excluded from the Cost OF Gorilla Habituation Permit?
The cost of the gorilla habituation permit excludes tips, accommodation, transport, snacks, and any other items of a personal nature.
When you contact Encounter Africa Safaris, we can assemble a gorilla habituation safari package. With your input, you work with our safari consultants to tailor an itinerary that fits your safari days and budget.
Our over 10 years of expertise in organizing safaris of all budgets has given us experience in dealing with different categories of clients’ needs, like filming crews, photographers, safari tourists, and so much more. We can fastidiously put together the components of gorilla safari packages like accommodation, transport, and several others according to your budget.
How To Book Gorilla Habituation Experience Safari
Reserve the gorilla permit
Reserve the gorilla permit, the only entry ticket to attend gorilla trekking. The gorilla permits for habituation experience are sold daily and limited to a maximum of 4 per family. You must have a date when you hope to travel for the gorilla habituation experience and the possible number of people traveling with you.
Check availability from Uganda Wildlife Authority or use a tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris. It’s best to reserve your gorilla permit as soon as possible to avoid last-minute panic as you try to check for availability.
Reserve accommodation to use during gorilla habituation Experience
Securing accommodation where you spend your nights during gorilla habituation adventure is important. It’s best to overnight in accommodation in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This is because gorilla habituation starts early morning with briefing. Please attend the briefing to avoid being disqualified from the gorilla habituation experience.
When you spend the night in an area far from the gorilla habituation area, you may have to wake up earlier to catch up with a briefing. The way is scary sometimes, with obstacles like logs that may fall across the road, slippery roads, a misty atmosphere, and several others.
Accommodation In Southern Bwindi: Clouds Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, Bwindi Backpacker’ Camp, Nshongi Camp, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Hill Eco Lodge.
Transport To Use During Gorilla Habituation Safari
Although gorilla habituation may not require driving through the forest to get to the mountain gorillas, you need transport to the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Even when you use air transport to the south part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you need a transfer vehicle from Kisoro airstrip to your lodge.
During the peak season, choices of vehicles to hire for the gorilla safari become slimmer as other Uganda safari activities are in high gear, too.
When is the best time to book a gorilla habituation experience safari for the peak season?
When you secure your gorilla permit for the habituation safari 6 months to a year, you are safe from last-minute panic when they become scarce. During the peak seasons, gorilla habituation experience permits sell out fast due to high demand, yet they are limited to a maximum of 4 per gorilla family.
You can also secure gorilla permits 3 months before the trekking date, but the chances of finding availability could be higher.
Last-minute gorilla permits may be available during the low season in March, April, May, and November; however, this is only a guarantee sometimes.
Book Other Activities To Combine With the Gorilla Habituation Experience
Suppose you have extra days on a gorilla safari. In that case, you can combine the gorilla habituation experience with other Uganda safari activities like chimpanzee trekking, game drives, visiting the source of the River Nile, sport fishing, launch trips, white water rafting, and several others.
It is best to reserve a slot upfront and accommodations within or close to where these Uganda Safari activities take place.
How To Get To The Southern Part Of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Kampala to Kabale to Nkuringo or Rushaga.
The drive from Kampala to Kabale is about 414 kilometers for 5 to 6 hours, then continues to the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for 105 kilometers for 4 to 5 hours. You may overnight in Kisoro town, too, which is 80 kilometers from Kabale town. The drive from Kisoro town to Nkuringo area is about 35 kilometers for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Daily flights depart Entebbe airport or Kajjansi to Kisoro airstrip. It would be best to secure a seat on these flights in advance, especially in the peak season when bookings are overwhelmingly high.
You must hire a transfer vehicle from the airstrip to the lodge or camp.
How Much Is Gorilla Habituation Experience Safari In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
The cost of a gorilla habituation safari is categorized into luxury, mid-range, and budget quotations. Some of the things from which gorilla safari costs are made include:
The number of people to travel with for gorilla habituation experience, number of days on a gorilla safari, additional activities to combine with gorilla trekking, safari category you choose for the gorilla habituation experience, and others.
Is gorilla habitat experience difficult?
Gorilla habituation is strenuous but fun as you get face-to-face with the huge giants. The topography of the area where gorilla habituation experience happens is volcanic, with plateaus and ridges over which tangled vegetation drapes. The ranger guide may need to trim the vines obstructing your way during the gorilla habituation experience.
Sometimes, the mountain gorillas spend part of their time on the slopes or deep in the valleys where visitors are expected to hike to locate them.
Having some level of patience protects you from getting muscle pulls or getting tired so fast before finding the mountain gorillas.
Even some level of patience is necessary for you to get through the gorilla habituation experience.
How Sure Can Be To Find The Mountain Gorillas During Habituation Experience?
Although the mountain gorillas under habituation experience are semi-habituated, there is a 99% chance of locating the mountain gorillas in the wilderness. Although the mountain gorillas freely in the wilderness, they occupy an area for some time until food is exhausted. The mountain gorillas also undergo habituation for about 2 years or more, depending on how fast they adopt.
Trackers and rangers follow the mountains daily, showing their possible hangout points. When the rangers and researchers start the adventure, they use these clues to find where these gorillas may spend their time.
In case you do not find the mountain gorillas, the refund policy of Uganda Wildlife Authority is invoked, which is a 75% refund.
Are Dangerous Are Mountain Gorillas During Habituation Experience?
In nature, mountain gorillas are calm primates and serene. They may possess huge bodies covered with fur and walk by knuckle locomotion, but they are very quiet primates. Some animations portray them as violent, but that is not their nature.
In the history of gorilla trekking and habituation, no report of an attack from a gorilla to humans has ever been reported. This is because rules of gorilla habituation experience are in place to prevent this from happening.
If angry, the mountain gorillas pull vegetation around them, hoot, thump their chests, and may retreat into hiding.
You do not have to panic upon observing this but follow advice from the researchers and ranger guides.
Sometimes, the cause of the fracas may be internal fights or attacks from a wild mountain gorilla. Paying allegiance to the dominant silverback may solve some of the chaotic moments with the mountain gorillas because they also love teasing humans,
Try not to touch the infants of the mountain gorillas, although they look adorable. Even provoking or mimicking the mountain gorilla may cause some disorder as you do not know what you may be communicating.
What is the age limit for gorilla habituation experience?
15 years and above is the age limit for gorilla habituation experience. The nature of this adventure is that you have to walk in the wilderness, which a child below this age may not withstand. The rules of gorillas may be challenging to follow by a child below this age.
What are the gorilla habituation experience rules and regulations?
- No shouting while you trek to find the mountain gorillas because you may scare other forest dwellers that may be interesting to watch or take photos of.
- No feeding the mountain gorillas; if you eat, do it at least 200 meters from them. This is to prevent any chances of them grabbing it from you, yet they are wild animals that must search for their food.
- Sneezing or coughing before the mountain gorillas may spread infection, so do it away from them.
- Keep a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas when you locate them to prevent the chances of spreading infectious germs to them.
- Use a clean mask with the mountain gorillas to prevent the coronavirus’s spread to these precious primates.
- Only children aged 15 years and above can do gorilla trekking because of the nature of the entire experience. Hiking to locate the mountain gorillas is challenging at times, which may be challenging for children below this age. Even the time of locating the mountain gorillas is still being determined, which requires patience. A child below this age may not withstand this.
- Dumping in the forest is forbidden, which may alter the nature of the forest where the mountain gorillas live.
- Only enter the forest with an escorting ranger guide because there are other unhabituated forest inhabitants that you may encounter, and they hurt you.
- Only 4 hours are allowed with the mountain gorillas when you locate them. This is for conservation reasons, as they can only be in the presence of humans for just that time.
- Surrounding the mountain gorillas is forbidden because it makes them feel ambushed.
Are you interested in gorilla habituation experience, contact us for more information.