Minimum days for a gorilla habituation experience safari starting and ending in Entebbe
The minimum number of days you can be on gorilla habituation experience is three days starting and ending in Entebbe and two days if the safari starts and ends in Kigali Rwanda. The gorilla habituation experience is an adventure where a maximum of 4 tourists escort a team of researchers and rangers into the wilderness to be with a semi-habituated gorilla family for four hours.
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At the moment, the gorilla habituation experience is happening in only the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with so far two gorilla families open to this adventure.
The applicable summary of an itinerary for the minimum gorilla habituation safari days starts with:
The first day: Driving to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Second day: Gorilla habituation experience
Third day: Departure to Entebbe
Note that the drive time from Entebbe to Bwindi Impenetrable national park is about 8 to 9 hours. Daily domestic flights are available from Kajjansi Airstrip or Entebbe Airport.
Purchasing the gorilla habituation experience permit in advance is the most important step of this adventure. Each day maximum of 4 gorilla habituation permits are opened to the public to book. To be on the safe side, we advise our clients to purchase their gorilla permits in advance because they sell out fast.
It is best to book the gorilla permit at least 6 months to a year in advance, especially peak season permits (June, July, August, September, December, and January. The demand for these gorilla permits gets high.
If you have extra time on your Africa holiday, you can combine gorilla habituation with other Uganda safari activities just to spice up your safari experience. Uganda is a country gifted by nature where you can engage in chimpanzee safaris, golden monkey safaris, numerous game drives, Uganda birding, water activities, etc. With the help of our tour consultants, you can work around these extra days to add other Uganda safari activities rather than travel for only gorilla habituation experience
When Is the Best Time For a Gorilla habituation Experience safari?
Gorilla habituation experience is open all year; however, the dry season is most preferred: June to September and December to January. Although Bwindi forest is known for receiving rains any time, the dry season rains are less. The precipitation in the forest too is less allowing tourists to move faster because the trails are less soggy. Although there is a dense network of rivers in the Bwindi forest, they flow within their normal course.
During the dry season, mountain gorillas, other primates, and other forest dwellers are full of life giving you more chance to spot several of them. Along the trails, in the forest, there is less undergrowth protruding through to cover the paths.
This being the peak Uganda tourism season, high demand for gorilla permits creates scarcity. It is best to secure the gorilla permit in advance so as not to get last minute disappointment.
The low season is normally March, April, May, and November, but demand for gorilla permits is slightly lower. This may give you the opportunity to get last-minute gorilla permits, but it is not a guarantee all the time. Pre-book the gorilla permits even during the low season because they can also sell out.
In case you have a limited budget, the low season may be a better option as chances of receiving discounts on logistics like accommodation, drive guide hire, transport are more open in this season. This is because they are trying to break even.
Never travel for any gorilla safari without a permit because getting them on the ground may be impossible, yet the only ticket to this adventure is the permit.
How much is a gorilla habituation experience Permit?
A gorilla habituation experience permit costs $1500 for foreign nonresidents, $1000 for foreign residents and 750000shs for East Africans. You can book the gorilla permit through a tour agent like Encounter Africa Safari or from Uganda Wildlife Authority. You need to have a date when you hope to do the gorilla habituation experience and the number of permits you wish to secure.
Within the cost of gorilla habituation experience permits are the park fees, local community support, security, ranger guide fees, mountain gorilla conservation, four hours with the mountain gorillas, researcher fees, and certificate of gorilla safari accomplishment.
Exclusions in the gorilla permit cost are porter hire, tips, transport, and any personal expenditures
What is the cost of a Gorilla habituation experience safari?
Other than the cost of a gorilla permit, which cuts across all safari packages, the cost of gorilla safaris varies according to category. At Encounter Africa Safaris, we package our gorilla habituation experience safaris according to the number of days on safari, time of booking the safari, number of additional activities to combine with the gorilla habituation safari and others.
When you contact us with your gorilla habituation experience safari request we cost your gorilla safari according to its components as agreed upon by the client. We prioritize great customer service and creating everlasting memories.
How sure Can I Be To Find The Mountain Gorillas During Gorilla habituation experience?
The gorilla habituation experience is a sure adventure you can book to see the mountain gorillas. Although most African game safaris are not a sure deal in case you want to spot certain animals in the wilderness, gorilla habituation is definite. There are 99% chances to see the mountain gorillas during the habituation experience. Mountain gorillas live in families under the leadership of a dominant silverback, but the family can only move when the need arises.
The mountain gorillas are first habituated for sometimes before opening them to the public, and with the documentation done about them, like where they normally lounge, and feed, each one’s traits, and others, they can be traced wherever they may be.
As the gorilla habituation experience starts, the ranger guides follow the traits leading to where the mountain gorillas were last seen the previous day. These primates do not normally feed far from that spot.
Each day a team of ranger guides patrols the forest to establish where the mountain gorilla families may have nested or possible hangout spots for the day. These clues are what ranger guides and researchers use to lead the tourists. Although these clues may not be the exact location of the mountain gorillas, they are some of the options to consider in order to get to the mountain gorillas.
According to Uganda Wildlife Authority policy, when you fail to see the mountain gorillas, another day is open for you to do the adventure, or you are refunded about 75% of the total gorilla permit cost. Terms and conditions apply.
Can I reschedule the gorilla habituation experience permit?
When you realize that you may not make it for gorilla habituation experience, you may decide to move your gorilla permit to a future date following this procedure. Note that your gorilla permit must be paid for in full or top it up in case you purchased it in instalment.
Write to the reservation office of Uganda Wildlife Authority requesting to move your gorilla permit to a future date. Attach evidence to accompany your request in case you have any backup for your request.
Upon approval, your gorilla habituation permit is moved according to the prevailing permit status on that day.
The gorilla permit’s new date must be within the year for which it was booked.
When Do You Return From Gorilla habituation experience?
Gorilla habituation experience starts early morning, but return time is hard to determine because it’s influenced by conditions prevailing in the forest. Locating the mountain gorillas depends on factors like the death of a family member, weather conditions of the day, pace of tourists, feeding point for the mountain gorillas, and others.
When you find the mountain gorillas, four hours are allowed with them.
How Difficult Is Gorilla Habituation Experience?
Gorilla habituation experience is tiresome because of the rugged terrain resulting from serious volcanic action in this area. The area where Bwindi forest has several highlands like plateaus and ridges with tangled vegetation draping over them. Sometimes, when mountain gorillas spend their day on these slopes, tourists are required to hike.
The way is not simple because of the ground’s soggy and boggy nature, which makes it a challenge. The wilderness has biting nettles that may irritate your skin. You must be well prepared for such experiences by packing the right gorilla safari gear and doing pre-tour exercises, too.
Having some level of fitness protects you from getting muscle pulls while searching for mountain gorillas.
Carry some energy bites to keep munching on while searching for the mountain gorillas.
Is It safe to do a gorilla habituation experience safari?
It is safe to do gorilla habituation experience because each adventure is led by a team of atleast two ranger guides and researchers. They carry some protective gear like a rifle and machete to use in case of an emergency.
The ranger guides carry a radio call to keep in constant communication with those on the ground in case backup is required.
There are other Uganda security agencies on the ground to keep law and order in and around Bwindi Forest.
Personal security must be your priority by not entering the forest without an escorting ranger guide. There are unhabituated forest dwellers that may attack you without backup.
Stick closer to other tourists so that you are not lost in the jungle. Although the ranger guides follow the pace of the slowest trekker, getting away from the rest of the group may distance you from the rangers. Getting lost in the Bwindi jungle exposes you to many risks.
Do not carry around your precious belongings because you may invite the wrong people.
What Is The Age Limit For Gorilla Habituation Experience?
The age limit for gorilla habituation experience is 15 and over. This was changed to give children more chances to see the great apes of Africa and the mountain gorillas and enjoy ecosystems. This age was set because of the nature of the gorilla habituation experience which requires one to hike. It may be hard for a child below 15 years old to hike the steep ridges and deep in the valleys where mountain gorillas sometimes lounge.
Following the rules of gorilla habituation experience is a must, but some may be hard for children below 15 years, like no shouting while with the mountain gorillas. There are high chances for a child below this age to react in a way that can cause suspicion about your visit to the mountain gorillas. These primates are very keen on intruders in their vicinity.
Are Mountain Gorillas Aggressive during gorilla habituation experience?
In nature, mountain gorillas are not aggressive but shy and calm, but this doesn’t mean provoke them because they can charge. When mountain gorillas charge, they thump their chests hard, hoot, walk on one foot, pull grass around them, dash into the deeper forest, and so much more.
Tourists are requested not to deviate from the rules of gorilla safaris because you can cause the mountain gorillas to get angry.
In the history of gorilla safaris, no tourists have ever been reported having been attacked by the mountain gorillas, but be very careful not to test their anger.
What Are The Guidelines For Gorilla Habituation Experience?
- No spitting on vegetation as it is food for the mountain gorillas and it’s one way to pass infection to the mountain gorillas.
- When eating or smoking, do it at least 300 meters from the mountain gorillas so that they do not grab it from you. They are wild animals that must search for their own food.
- Littering the forest is forbidden because it alters the nature of the forest where mountain gorillas live. They feed on vegetation that thrives in the forest. Even other forest dwellers feed on this vegetation.
- In case you wish to defecate, ask the ranger guide to dig a hole for you about 30 cm deep and cover well afterward beyond recognition. This is to prevent forest dwellers from exhuming this waste.
- Anyone with communicable infections like flu, cough, coronavirus, and others is not allowed to be with the mountain gorillas because they are highly susceptible to these infections. Volunteer to stay behind in case you catch any of the communicable infections.
- A person below 15 years is not allowed to be in the presence of the mountain gorillas. Because of the above reasons.
- Keep your voice low or quiet when searching for the mountain gorillas so that you do not distract even other forest dwellers.
- When taking photographs, do not use a flash because it may scare the mountain gorillas. They are agitated by new occurrences in their presence.
- If you need to cough or sneeze, do it away from the mountain gorillas so that you do not pass an infection to them
- Provoking or teasing the mountain gorillas is not advised because you do not know how they may react to this.
- When you meet the mountain gorillas, keep a distance of about 300 meters from them. This is one of the ways of preventing chances of passing an infection to the mountain gorillas.
- When you meet them, only four hours are allowed with the semi-wild mountain gorillas. They are habituated to be in the presence of humans for just that time. This is to allow them to go about their day-to-day activities like feeding, grooming, making babies, and others with less distraction.
Gorilla habituation is an experience like no other. Contact us to plan your safari experience with you today.