How to organize a gorilla habituation experience safari from Mbarara city
How to organize a gorilla habituation experience safari from Mbarara city. Gorilla habituation experience is an adventure where tourists are allowed to accompany a team of researchers and trackers to follow a semi-habituated gorilla family and spend four hours with them.
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In Uganda, gorilla habituation is done from the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, and currently, two gorilla families are open to gorilla habituation experience. When organizing gorilla habituation experience from Kigali, booking the gorilla permit is top priority.
Choose the date when you hope to do gorilla habituation and the people traveling with you. This helps with checking gorilla permit availability and planning other supporting safari amenities.
Select the type of accommodations you hope to stay at while on gorilla safari as you need to overnight closer or within the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Choose the means of transport you hope to use from Kigali in Rwanda to Uganda Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
How To Organize Gorilla Habituation Experience From Mbarara City
Book Gorilla Habituation Experience permit
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we can assist you in booking the gorilla permit, but we need some details about your gorilla habituation safari. Please select the date and number of gorilla permits before sending us an inquiry.
Upon receiving the gorilla safari inquiry, our safari consultant checks availability from the list of Uganda Wildlife Authority. We are one of the few accredited tour safari companies with access to the updated list of gorilla permit availability.
When gorilla permit availability is positive, we advise clients to purchase their permits as soon as possible. This is to avoid any chances of missing the gorilla permits when they sell out. Demand for gorilla permits gets high during peak season, which normally leads to scarcity.
The maximum number of gorilla permits open to the public per day is 4 per gorilla family, yet currently, two gorilla habituation experience families are open.
To collect the gorilla habituation experience permit, you need to forward some personal details like your full name, nationality, date of birth, and passport expiry date.
How much is gorilla Habituation experience
The gorilla habituation experience permit cost is currently $1500 for foreign nonresidents, $1000 for foreign residents and 750000shs for East African residents.
This gorilla permit cost price covers the researcher fees, park entrance fees, security, ranger guide fees, mountain gorilla conservation, government tax, local community fees, and certificate after completing the gorilla habituation.
Exclusions in the gorilla permit cost include transport, accommodation, porter hire, etc.
Secure accommodation in southern Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Accommodation is very important when organizing the gorilla habituation experience safari as you need to overnight within or closer to this area. Within the southern sector of Bwindi are Rushaga and Nkuringo areas which are part of the four areas into which Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is subdivided.
Accommodations in the southern part of Bwindi are categorized into Luxury, Mid-range and Budget.
- Southern Bwindi Accommodation: Clouds Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Safari
Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Bwindi Backpacker’s Lodge, Ichumbi Lodge, Nshongi Camp.
Reserve transport from Kigali to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park from Mbarara city.
From Mbarara city, you drive to Kabale, then Kisoro town, then the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You may also break off from Rubugiri from Kabale town then the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Having a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle helps navigate the sometimes messy roads in the countryside. The roads in this area are winding due to the volcanic severe nature of the topography.
Charter flight services from Mbarara can be arranged to Kisoro airstrip; however, booking is important in order to clear all necessary protocols. You need to hire a transfer vehicle to your lodge because the Kisoro airstrip is about 1 hour and a half away from Bwindi’s southern part.
When Is the Best Time To Book Gorilla Habituation Experience Safari from Mbarara City.
No matter when you wish to go gorilla habituating, the experience is open all year around; however, the dry season is the most preferred. The dry season is normally June, July, August, September, December, and January, which is also the tourism peak season calendar time.
Although rains in the Bwindi forest are known to fall without warning, conditioning the atmosphere of this area, the dry season generally receives lesser rains. The mountain gorillas are full of life and other forest dwellers, like primates, birds, butterflies, and others. They may be more visible, exciting, and quicker to spot.
The demand curve for gorilla permits in the peak season is cutthroat, yet supply is still limited to a maximum of four gorilla habituation permits per family. Gorilla habituation permit supply gets scarce as the season draws in; however, secure your permit in advance to be safe. Some people book their gorilla permits as early as 6 months to a year upfront. Last-minute gorilla habituation permits are challenging, especially during the peak season.
The wet season, normally March, April, May, and November, is also the low Uganda tourism time. Chances of finding last-minute gorilla permits are more open in this period, although only a guarantee some of the time.
How Much is the Gorilla habituation Experience safari from Mbarara City?
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we package our gorilla safaris according to luxury, mid-range, and budget packages. The common cost is the gorilla permit, which cuts across all gorilla safari packages. At the moment, the gorilla permit cost is $800 per person.
To make a gorilla habituation experience quotation we consider the number of days on safari, people traveling with, time of the gorilla safari, additional activities to combine with gorilla tour and others.
Our top priority is customer satisfaction because we understand what people go through to save, plan and aim to make the best memories of your encounter with the mountain gorillas. We have mastered this game for more than 10 years of our journey as a Tour company.
Are Mountain Gorillas Aggressive During Gorilla Habituation Experience?
No, even though they are semi-habituated mountain gorillas, they still possess natural characteristics. Naturally, mountain gorillas are serene and shy despite their intimidating outlook. Their bodies are covered in fur, possess a physically large body structure, and walk by knuckle locomotion, which sends you chills at a glance.
Before allowing the public to visit the mountain gorillas, they are first habituated to human presence without altering their nature. This gives them some confidence in the presence of humans and prevents tension when visitors present themselves.
As habituators, you must religiously follow the dos and don’ts of the gorilla habituation experience presented during briefing. Try as much as possible not to be violent because, at this stage, the mountain gorillas are semi-habituated, so you may trigger them to charge in case you tickle them too.
Try not to provoke or mimic the mountain gorillas, keep a distance of about 8 meters from them upon finding them, do not surround the mountain gorillas, never stare into their deep brown eyes, no using flash photography and much more.
Is Gorilla Habituation Experience Strenuous?
The nature of mountain gorillas’ terrain is volcanic, with plateaus and ridges on whose slopes these primates spent part of their time. Sometimes, you may be required to slope into the valley, as this may be where the starting point of the search for the day is.
Some level of fitness is necessary for those who are not physically impaired or you can hire a sedan chair if you are incapable. At Encounter Africa Safaris, we can assist you in booking the sedan chair, but you need to put in this request in advance to make the necessary arrangements.
Wear the right gorilla safari gear that you are comfortable walking in even when passing through the soggy ground.
What Is The Age Limit For Gorilla Habituation Experience
15 years is the age limit for gorilla habituation experience, as the jungle has harsh conditions that a child below this age may not withstand. Gorilla habituation time is hard to determine as it varies with conditions prevailing in the forest, which a child under this age may not withstand.
At a glance, the look of the mountain gorillas is quite scary, but you need to contain your nerves, which a child below 15 years may not be capable of doing. When mountain gorillas sense something suspicious, they may charge, reducing your time with the mountain gorillas.
How Safe Is Gorilla Habituation Experience?
Gorilla habituation experience is safe as a trained team of Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger guides is in place to protect the mountain gorillas and other forest inhabitants. They coordinate with other Uganda security agencies to keep law and order.
You must maintain your security by only walking into the forest with an escorting ranger guide, as you may run into unhabituated forest dwellers that may hurt you. Stay closer to the people traveling with you because you can be lost in the forest.
Each day a team of rangers wakes up earlier to patrol the forest and establish where the mountain gorillas may have spent the night, possible wayabouts for the day and disassemble snares in case they trace any. All this is done to ensure the safety of the mountain visitors.
Is Gorilla Habituation Experience worth the money?
The gorilla habituation experience gives you extra time with the mountain gorillas, four hours other than the one hour of gorilla trekking. You contribute to their conservation when you have fun with the only leftover mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas only live in the Virunga area and are considered some of the most endangered primates in the world.
Although humans are allowed to visit the mountain gorillas, conserving them is top priority. The money collected from selling gorilla permits is also shared with the local community to give back for some damages the gorillas cause when they stray. Even when you hire a porter during gorilla habituation awareness.
One of the aims of conserving the mountain gorillas is to allow the locals to appreciate the presence of the mountain gorillas and their habitants in their presence.
What are the Guidelines of Gorilla habituation experience?
- Feeding the mountain gorillas is forbidden because wild animals must look for their 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 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 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 need for patience and the ability to hike and find the mountain gorillas.
- Never provoke the mountain gorillas because they may get agitated by this.
To know more about gorilla habituation, please contact us for more information.