Compare gorilla trekking and habituation experience in Uganda
Gorilla trekking is the act of following already habituated chimpanzees that are familiar with human presence. Gorilla habituation is the process of following semi habituated chimpanzees with researcher and habituators to get them used to the presence of humans.
You must acquire gorilla trekking permit or habituation permit from Uganda wildlife education center in order to be considered a participant.
In Uganda gorilla trekking is done Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National park with about 19 gorilla families open at the moment, Gorilla habituation experience is so far done in only two gorilla trekking families located in southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Most Popular Gorilla Safaris
- 3 Day Uganda Gorilla Trekking
- 5 Day Gorilla and Chimp
- 8 Day Gorilla Tracking
- 2 Day Bwindi Gorilla Via Kigali
- 3 Day Uganda Gorilla Via Kigali
- 5 Day Chimp and Gorilla Habituation
- 3 Day Fly in Gorilla Habituation
- 3 Day Fly in Safari to Murchison Falls National Park
- 3 Day Bwindi Double trek via Kigali
- 5 Day Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
Highlights Of factors to Consider When Comparing Gorilla Habituation with Gorilla Trekking experience in Uganda
- The cost of either gorilla trekking or habituation Permit
- No of people allowed to trek or habituate mountain gorillas
- Amount of time allowed to be with the mountain gorillas during gorilla habituation or trekking.
- Starting time for gorilla habituation and gorilla trekking
- Where Gorilla Trekking and gorilla habituation is done in Uganda
The cost of either gorilla trekking or habituation Permit
At the moment, the price for gorilla trekking permits in Uganda is $700 per person whereas the cost for gorilla habituation is cost is $1500 per person per day. When you book in advance, you may be allowed to purchase in instalment as long as you top up before 90 days to the date of trekking.
Others costs that make up gorilla trekking may be similar like accommodation but you must book lodges in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National park for gorilla habituation.
Number of people allowed trekking or habituating mountain gorillas
Maximum of 8 tourists are allowed to be in the presence of the mountain gorillas during gorilla trekking while only maximum of 4 tourists are allowed to do gorilla habituation in Uganda. This is to reduce on the population of people in the forest that would trample on the vegetation, which is food for those huge apes.
A full-grown mountain gorilla need about 200 pounds of foliage that will help support its sheer body through night and day.
Amount of time allowed to be with the mountain gorillas during gorilla habituation or trekking.
When you locate the mountain gorillas during gorilla trekking, only an hour is allowed to be in there presence to allow them go about there day today activities.
To do gorilla habituation, you need 4 hours to spend following the mountain gorillas with researchers and rangers. You participate in recording information about the mountain gorillas and there individual characteristics.
Starting time for gorilla habituation and gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking starts with briefing at about 0730hours each day. You must carry your gorilla trekking gears to feel comfortable meeting the mountain gorillas in the wilderness.
Gorilla habituation on the other hand starts earlier at about 0530 hour to about 0630 hours in order to see them de-nesting. You follow the family of gorilla throughout the day and note down there activities for record purposes.
Where Gorilla Trekking and gorilla habituation is done in Uganda
In Uganda gorilla trekking families open for tourists viewing are currently 19 living in Bwindi Impenetrable National park and Mgahinga National park. On two gorilla families are open for gorilla habituation living in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park only.
What else To Do Apart From Gorilla Trekking And Gorilla Habituation In Bwindi Impenetrable National park And Mgahinga National Park
Birding in Uganda
The Virunga area is the prima birding destination in Uganda, Rwanda and D.R. Congo. This are hosts an array of birds including about 23 species of the 24 species of Albertine Rift endemics. In Bwindi Impenetrable National park, Ruhijah area in Mubwindi swamp, you enjoy the best show of birding.
You may get to spot shelley’s Crimmsonwing, African Green Broadbill, Western Green Tinkerbird, Red- faced Woodland Wablers, Rwenzori Batis, Collared Apalis and others.
During gorilla trekking keen birders may spot over 100 bird species because Bwindi Impenetrable National parks hosts over 350 bird species.
Mgahinga National park is inhabited by about 115 bird species so far recorded but because the park is less visited, the list is still expanding.
Other Primate walks
Apart from mountain gorillas, the Biwndi Impenetrable National park and Mgahinga national parks are home to others primates. When you take nature walks in some of the trails constructed by regular visitors, you may get to spot primates like olive baboons, vervet monkeys, red tailed monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, black and white colobus and others.
In Buhoma area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, is Buhoma community run by local residents. During the walk, you indulge in the life of the local like local brewing, homestead visit, traditional healer visit and others. During the Nkuringo Community visit in southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National park, you may have chance to see the local black smith, rural home stead, local brewer and other.
The Batwa trail and Garama cave visit in Mgahinga National park takes you into the life of former forest dwellers the evicted Batwa. This trail is headed by a Mutwa who takes you beneath a plateau called Garama cave. This was a retreat point for the Batwa after raiding the Bafumbira farmers. At the moment cultural dances are performed here but it is upon advance request.
Mountaineering In Mgahinga National Park
Other than gorilla trekking, you can go hiking for a day on either of the three volcanic ranges in Mgahinga National park. Mountain Gahinga whose meaning is pile of small stones stands at 3474 meters above sea level, Mountain Sabyinyo locally meaning old man’s teeth is 3669 meters above or Mountain Muhavura locally meaning the guide stands at 4127 meters.
Advance booking for hiking either of these mountains is needed and a ranger guide too to escort you throughout the trek and back.
Other Activities To Combine with Gorilla Trekking And habituation
After visiting the mountain gorillas, you can connect with game drives in Uganda National parks like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National park, Lake Mburo National park and others. Doing chimpanzee trekking in Kibale national park after or before gorilla trekking is very amazing. The launch trips in Murchison Falls national park and Queen Elizabeth National park are highlights of Uganda safari experience.
Uganda is the source of River Nile in Jinja and taking a trip here is exceptional. White water rafting on river Nile is thrilling you do not need to have any experience to attend because instructors are in place to take you through all procedures.
How Safe Is Gorilla Trekking and Habituation In Uganda
- Gorilla trekking in Uganda is safe because the ranger guides work with other Uganda security agencies and neighboring security agencies to protect the area.
- You need to attend briefing early morning before walking into the forest to start search for the mountain gorillas.
- By carrying your gorilla trekking gears, you give extra protection to your body like wearing long sleeved shirt and trousers, safari boots, smearing insect repellant, garden gloves and others.
- Ensure you follow the pace of other trekkers so that you are not lost in the wilderness. Although the ranger guide follow the pace of the slowest trekker, do not let the rest of the group overlap you.
- Do not provoke the forest dwellers like the monkeys or mountain gorillas to agitate them. they have mood swings too.
- Do not trust anyone you are not familiar with during gorilla trekking because you may attract people with wrong character
- Never count money in public especially if its large sums of money as you may attract thieves.
- Carrying valuable items during gorilla trekking safari may not be safe because people from different walks of life attend this activity.
- Buy eats from designated places to avoid food poisoning during the gorilla trekking tour.
How Difficult Is Gorilla Trekking and Habituation In Uganda
The general topography of the gorilla trekking or habituation area is volcanic so expect to hike at times to locate the mountain gorillas.
Even the vegetation in this area is full of tangled plants and creepers that need to be cut down by a machete to make way.
When it rains especially during the severe rainy seasons, the trails are slippery because rivers over flow. You must be ready to go through boggy trail paths to locate the mountain gorillas, these apes sometimes feed from the slopes so you need to walk there to find them.
Some level of fitness is necessary when doing gorilla trekking and habituation because you may need to hike at times.
What Time Do You Locate The Mountain Gorillas
Locating the mountain gorillas may take between 2 hours to about three quarters of the day. Mountain gorillas are mobile primates although they do not move fast. This is one reason why a team of rangers wakes up earlier than others to search for the mountain gorillas. They send report to park headquarters who give it as one of the clues to follow during the search.
Although this hint is given, it doesn’t mean the gorillas will not leave where the rangers located them. They move in search of food, in case they are attacked by wild gorilla family, lost a family member and so much more.
Some level of patience is necessary in order to enjoy the entire experience of gorilla trekking. Having an open mind too keep you going because there is a lot to see in the forest other than focusing on location the mountain gorillas only.
When you locate the gorillas, you need to keep a distance of about 8 meters from them to prevent chances of transferring any infection. Only an hour is allowed to be in there presence so you need to maximize every second to fulfil your dream of meeting the mountain gorillas.
What Are The Rules Of Gorilla Trekking And Habituation
- Protecting the mountain gorillas is the aim of all activities done in there habitat. It is to raise the funds that support the conservation of mountain gorilla campaign but some rules have to be in place to regulate these activities.
- Anyone with a communicable infection is not allowed to go gorilla trekking because mountain gorillas are susceptible to human infections yet you do not know what it will do to the now celebrate gorilla population.
- Keep a distance of about 8 meters form the mountain gorillas when you locate them. This is to reduce on the chances of passing any infection to these gorillas.
- Using flash photography is forbidden because it scares the mountain gorillas.
- When with the mountain gorillas, you do not need to surround them because they feel ambushed and when they get agitated, they may move into the deeper ends of the forest.
- Provoking the mountain gorillas is forbidden because they are shy animals that may get uncomfortable with this.
- Never smoke or eat close to the mountain gorillas because they may grab what you have and it may not go well with there health. Loosing even a single mountain gorilla for careless mistakes is a big loss.
- In case you need to cough or sneeze, turn away from the mountain gorillas or cover your mouth to reduce on the chances of passing germs to the mountain gorillas.
- For long calls in the forest, request from the ranger guide to dig a hole for you 30 cm deep and cover all waste beyond recognition. This is to prevent the forest dwellers form exhuming anything.
- Littering the forest is forbidden because its alters the nature of the forest where mountain gorillas feed.
- Spitting on vegetation is forbidden because it unhealthy and disgusting to look at too. Keeping the habitat where mountain gorilla live as you find it is the best practice.
- Wear a clean mask before meeting the mountain gorillas as a covid-19 precaution. Even your boots are sanitized before starting the trek.
- No person under 15 years is allowed to go gorilla trekking.
- Only one hours is allowed with the mountain gorillas when you locate them.
Contact us for more information about gorilla trekking and habituation.