Planning A Gorilla Habituation Experience Safari From Kigali Rwanda
Have you ever dreamt of planning a gorilla habituation experience safari from Rwanda to Kigali? Doing gorilla habituation experience in Uganda through Kigali is possible when you cross through the Cyanika boarder or Gatuna border to the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You can purchase the East African visa, which allows you entry into the borders of two member states without reapplying. So far, the gorilla habituation experience is only happening in Uganda’s southern part of the Bwindi forest.
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Another strong reason one should plan a gorilla habituation experience holiday from Kigali, Rwanda, is that one reduces the distance traveled from the Airport to Bwindi. Most safaris to Bwindi normally start from Entebbe Airport, which takes 9-11 hours, compared to a 5-6 hours drive from Kigali International Airport to Bwindi’s impenetrable National Park to do your gorilla habituation experience safari.
Doing gorilla habituation experience in Uganda requires a gorilla permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority. Only two gorilla families are open for gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi, with a maximum of 4 permits allowed per family per day.
To fully immerse into the daily running of the mountain gorilla life, tourists who wish to have extra time with these giant primates opt for gorilla habituation. During gorilla trekking, only one hour is allowed before the mountain gorillas, which may not satisfy tourists who wish for extra time.
Meeting the mountain gorillas is one of the dreams come true experiences on an African safari adventure for most tourists as most tourists have emerged feeling a slight connection to these lost relatives, the mountain gorillas. Being with the mountain gorillas is like visiting past life you had no chance of witnessing, as gorilla habituation gives you ample time to discover their similarities to humans.
Before proceeding with how to plan for gorilla habituation through Kigali, let’s first understand what gorilla habituation is.
What Is Gorilla Habituation Experience?
The gorilla habituation experience is an adventure where you accompany a team of researchers and habituators in the wilderness to help them get used to human presence without altering their nature. During the gorilla habituation experience, you are allowed only four hours in the company of mountain gorillas observing and taking some notes where necessary. Some of the information collected is given to tourists who come for gorilla trekking when the gorilla family is finally opened to public booking.
What Is The Cost Of Gorilla Habituation Experience?
A gorilla habituation permit costs $1500 for foreign nonresidents, $1000 per person per trek for foreign residents, and 750000shs for East African residents.
It would be best to secure your gorilla permit in advance, as they get sold out fast because of high demand yet limited to a maximum of 4 gorilla permits per family per day for conservation reasons.
What Is Included In The Cost Of Gorilla Habituation Permit?
The gorilla habituation permit cost includes the following:
- A researcher fee.
- Part entrance fee.
- Cost of ranger guide services.
- Gorilla conservation support.
- Local community support.
- Security while on gorilla habituation day.
- A certificate after completing the gorilla habituation experience.
In the midst of meeting the mountain gorillas, conserving them takes precedence, as this is the top reason for opening these packages that give tourists ample time with them.
What Is Excluded In The Cost Of Gorilla Habituation Permit?
The cost of the gorilla habituation permit excludes transport to the destination, tips, accommodation, snacks, and any other items of personal nature.
At Encounter African Safaris, we can arrange gorilla safaris and include all amenities that support this safari according to the clients’ chosen safari package. We lift off clients’ shoulders the burden of planning but ensure to give value for money.
Our over 10 years of organizing successful gorilla safaris have fetched us reviews on forums like trip advisor, safari bookings, and others.
Can I reschedule gorilla habituation permits?
Every person who books a gorilla safari is ready to meet the mountain gorillas, but some factors may cause a change of plan. You can reschedule your gorilla permit to a future date if you want to travel later.
Write to Uganda Wildlife Authority asking permission to reschedule your gorilla permit. Suggest a date to which you wish to move your gorilla permit. Attach some evidence to support your request in case you have any.
Once approved, your gorilla permit is moved based on prevailing availability.
Uganda allows rescheduling of your gorilla habituation permit twice for the same permit. If you wish to move the same permit the third time, only the executive director approves this. A surcharge is added too.
How To Plan For Gorilla Habituation Experience
Select A Date And The Number Of People Travelling With For Gorilla Trekking
Knowing the day when you hope to do the gorilla habituation safari and the number of people you hope to do this tour with helps when checking the availability of gorilla permits.
Each participant is expected to have a gorilla habituation permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Note that gorilla habituation experience is currently only done in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda, even though you travel through Rwanda.
Book A Gorilla Habituation Permit
Each tourist on a gorilla habituation safari is required to have a gorilla permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority. You need to reserve a gorilla habituation permit in advance to stay calm when they are sold out.
- When Is The Best Time To Book A Gorilla Habituation Permit?
Reserving your gorilla permit at least 6 months to a year before the gorilla habituation date is the safest safari plan, especially during the high season. Gorilla permits for the high season, which is usually June, July, August, September, December, and January, sell out in advance yet are limited to a maximum of 4 permits per day per gorilla family.
Currently, Uganda has two gorilla families open for gorilla habituation experience.
Last, minute gorilla habituation permits are more open in the low tourism season, which is usually March, April, May and November.
Reserve Accommodation For The Gorilla Habituation Experience
Securing accommodation in the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the right step to take. On gorilla habituation day, you have to rise up early morning to attend a briefing before proceeding into the forest to start searching and following the mountain gorillas.
It is best to spend the night within or closer to the gorilla habituation area to avoid having to rise up early to drive in the dark and catch up with briefing. Connecting from one area to another is risky, especially if you have to drive in the dark, yet roads in this area are in poor condition. You may encounter a number of obstacles, like logs blocking off the road.
Accommodations For The Southern Sector Of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: Clouds Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, Trakker’s Tarven, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla hill eco Lodge, Lake Mahere Gorilla Lodge, Bwindi Guest House, Bwindi Cultural Center.
Reserve International Flights To Kigali In Advance
You need to arrive in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park at least a day before starting your gorilla habituation safari, so reserve your flights in advance to avoid last-minute panic yet the date for gorilla habituation cannot be rescheduled at the last minute.
Once you do not attend the briefing or you are a no-show without prior standing reason reported to Uganda Wildlife Authority, expect no refund as your gorilla permit is only valid till the day of gorilla habituation or trekking.
Pack The Right Gorilla Habituation Gears
Keeping your bags light but relevantly helps you when you have to help yourself with lifting your bags. Even when you have to share a safari vehicle with others. You are not inconvenienced by the so many bags reducing your legroom as you travel to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park from Kigali.
Gorilla Habituation Gears Include:
- Safari boots comfortable enough to take you through the misty and slippery jungle
- A torch to use in the night when lights go low because accommodations in this area use solar as the main source of lighting.
- Foldable safari hat to cover your hair from buzzing insects in the jungle and dripping water off the trees.
- A pair of stockings to tack in your clothes and prevent creeping insects from crawling in.
- Snacks too much when hungry since breakfast is taken so early to last the entire day.
- A sweater or poncho to wear on a cold day as temperatures may drop to as low as 7 degrees centigrade.
- A camera to capture all interesting moments as you follow the mountain gorillas for four hours.
- Safari long trousers and long-sleeved shirt
- Insect repellant to protect your body from stinging nettles.
- A raincoat or poncho as rain falls without warning.
- Garden gloves to protect your hands from stinging nettles.
- Extra fully charged batteries
- Backpack to carry with your gorilla trekking gear
- Duffel bag to carry with your belongings.
- Flip flops
- Extra hard cash
- More safari clothes to change into after gorilla habituation
- Sunscreen as this is Uganda and Rwanda are tropical countries.
- Foldable drinking bottle
Do Exercises Before Gorilla Habituation Experience
Every participant in the gorilla habituation adventure needs to have some level of fitness so as to complete this safari. You do not need to stay in the gym all the time but start with simple strides that can stretch your muscles more than normal.
Other participants have to be briefed on what to expect during the gorilla habituation experience, as the mountain gorillas are not fully habituated to human presence. They must expect some unusual behavior like the gorillas going into hiding, hooting but ensure you follow instructions given by the researchers and habituators.
Go through the rules of gorilla habituation experience with the people you are traveling with for the gorilla safari so that you have no problem while with the mountain gorillas.
What Is The Cost Of Gorilla Habituation Safari?
Gorilla habituation safari starts with buying a gorilla permit, a cost that cuts across all budgets, that is to say, luxury, mid-range, and budget packages.
The gorilla habituation safaris are quoted depending on:
The number of people traveling with for gorilla habituation
The more people joining you for gorilla habituation, the less the per-person cost. As a solo traveler, you incur all the safari costs.
Time of booking the gorilla habituation safari
During the peak season, which is June to September and December to January, the cost of gorilla habituation safari is high, while in the low season, which is March to May and November, chances of discounted costs from services like accommodation, car hire, and driver guides are more open.
Number Of Days On Gorilla Safari
The more days on gorilla safari, the higher the cost, as most safari amenities are charged according to per-day costs.
Number of other activities to combine with gorilla habituation
The more additional activities you combine with gorilla habituation, like chimpanzee trekking, and game drives, the higher the safari cost.
What Are The Guidelines For Gorilla Habituation Experience
- Feeding the mountain gorillas is forbidden because wild animals must look for their own food. They must never depend on human provision.
- Spitting on vegetation is forbidden because it may contaminate the food for the mountain gorillas.
- In case you have a communicable infection, volunteer to stay behind so as not to spread it to the highly susceptible mountain gorillas.
- When you locate the mountain gorillas, keep a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas to avoid direct contact with the mountain gorillas.
- Stay in a tight group when with the mountain gorillas. Surrounding the mountain gorillas makes them feel unsafe and agitated. Unfamiliar people easily scare mountain gorillas in their presence.
- Using flash photography is forbidden because the gorillas fear new occurrences in their vicinity.
- Never litter the forest with indecomposable garbage like plastic wraps because they alter the forest’s nature.
- Try not to make noise when with the mountain gorillas because they fear unfamiliar noise in their vicinity.
- Only four hours are allowed with the mountain gorillas when you locate them. later you return to your lodge to allow them time to do other activities like feeding, grooming, family bonds and so much more.
- In case you wish to sneeze or cough, do it away from the mountain gorillas. They are highly susceptible to human infections.
- The age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 years and above because of the factors surrounding the activity. There is a need for patience and the ability to hike and find mountain gorillas.
- Never provoke the mountain gorillas because they may get agitated by this.
Contact us for more information if you plan to have a gorilla habituation experience.