Minimum days for a gorilla habituation experience safari starting and ending in Kigali (two days)
Doing a gorilla habituation experience from Kigali, Rwanda, to Bwindi in two days is possible. Gorilla habituation experience is currently only done in Uganda but you can take the drive from Kigali to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as one of the possible routes to this park. From Kigali, the drive time to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is about 5 to 6 hours other than the 8 to 9 hours drive from Entebbe airport to Bwindi.
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If you are on a crash program, the two days gorilla habituation experience safari from Kigali in Rwanda is possible only if you have time discipline. The normal minimum number of days for gorilla habituation experience is 3 days but can risk it to two days. For those who wish to make a stopover in Rwanda but do 2 days of gorilla habituation in Uganda before proceeding to their final destination, you must be time-conscious.
To achieve a 2-day gorilla habituation experience safari from Kigali to Bwindi, you must have a confirmed gorilla permit. Secure accommodation within the southern part of Bwindi for the night before the gorilla habituation experience. The gorilla habituation experience starts early in the morning with a briefing, which is compulsory for every tourist.
Summary of 2 day Gorilla habituation experience from Kigali
Day one: Arrive in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park from Kigali
The drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park from Kigali is about 5 to 6 hours. You cross into Uganda via Cyanika or Gatuna borders to Kabale, then Kisoro and the southern part of Bwindi. Dinner and overnight in accommodations within the southern part of Bwindi that is the Nkuringo or Rushaga areas
Day two: Gorilla habituation experience and Departure to Kigali
Rise up for breakfast and head to the ranger station for briefing. Do not forget your gorilla habituation gear like safari boots, foldable safari hat, and insect repellant. Carry a packed lunch as you are not sure of your return time.
After briefing, the ranger guide and researcher lead the way to the mountain gorillas. When you locate the mountain gorillas, you have four hours with them. Return to your lodge to freshen up and drive to Rwanda Kigali.
Although the time of returning from the gorilla habituation experience may be hard to determine, it’s best to keep time so as to accomplish this African safari adventure.
When can I Book Gorilla Habituation Permits For Two day Gorilla safari from Kigali?
Booking the gorilla habituation experience permits in advance is important. During the peak tourism season, which is June, July, August, September, December, and January, gorilla permits are in high demand. It is hard to get last-minute gorilla permits because most tourists reserve theirs at least 6 months to a year upfront.
Last minute gorilla habituation experience permits may cause some panicking moments because you are not sure to find them. Each day maximum of 4 gorilla permits are opened to the public per family. Upon finding the gorilla habituation permits, purchase them as soon as possible to avoid losing them. The status of the gorilla permits changes at any time. A first come, first served basis is used to secure the gorilla permits. No permit can be reserved without payment.
What accommodation can I Book for a Two Day Gorilla habituation experience From Kigali?
Accommodation for the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Nkuringo and Rushaga areas, is the most facilitated you need to book. Accommodations in Bwindi are categorized into luxury, mid-range, and budget facilities.
Bwindi accommodations: Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge, Clouds Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Nshongi Camp, Bwindi Backpacker’s Camp.
When you book accommodations from other parts of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you may be required to drive in the dark to get to the briefing point. The way is quite challenging because of the obstacles you may encounter, like misty conditions, slippery roads, logs blocking the road, and others.
How long is Gorilla habituation experience?
Four hours are allowed when you locate the mountain gorillas but the time of searching for the mountain gorillas is hard to determine. Mountain gorillas are wild primates with freedom to traverse the forest without restrictions. Finding the mountain gorillas depends on factors like the location of their food, the death of a family member, weather conditions prevailing in the day, the pace of fellow tourists, and others.
Tourists are requested to have some patience before finding the mountain gorillas. Open your mind to other interesting features in the forest, like the sparkling waterfalls, different monkey species in the forest, amazing birds that linger in the forest, and so much more, instead of focusing on finding the mountain gorillas.
This makes it hard to determine the easiest gorilla family to habituate because the gorilla family that was closest the previous day may be the furthest the next day.
Is Gorilla Habituation Experience Tiresome?
Definitely, gorilla habituation experience is definitely tiresome because of the nature of the topography of the area where these primates live. The entire area was affected by volcanic action, which led to highlands like plateaus and ridges forming. Sometimes mountain gorillas spend their daytime on the slopes or deep in the valleys.
Tourists are advised to have some level of fitness so as not to get so tired before finding the mountain gorillas. Do some pre–gorilla safari exercises in preparation for the gorilla habituation experience. Hire a porter to assist in carrying your gorilla safari gears as these may drag your speed. A porter is a person who can assist you in carrying your gorilla safari gear and give you a push where necessary.
If you want to give back to the local community while on gorilla habituation experience safari, hiring a porter is one direct way.
In case you have physical impairment, you can hire a sedan chairs service but this must be done in advance for better preparation.
Are Mountain Gorillas aggressive during Gorilla Habituation experience?
Mountain gorillas are some of the calmest and shy primates despite there intimidating outlook. The mountain gorillas have a large body, dark fur and walk by knuckle locomotion. These body features may scare anyone, especially first-time visitors, but try to control your nerves.
When you locate the mountain gorillas, try not to stare into their eyes because you may agitate them. Provoking the mountain gorillas may cause them to charge so try not to make any attempts. The mountain gorillas under the habituation program may show some odd behaviors like hooting and going into hiding at any time.
Try not to test the mountain gorillas’ patience because you may cause them to run into hiding.
How Sure Can I Be To Find The Mountain Gorillas During Gorilla Habituation Experience?
The chances of seeing the mountain gorillas are about 99% during habituation experience adventure. Although the gorilla family is first habituated before opening it to the public, the members still possess their natural traits.
During game drives, it’s a probability to see animals you are interested in but gorilla safari is a sure deal. As you start the gorilla safari, you follow the trail where the mountain gorillas were last seen the previous day. Mountain gorillas do not normally feed far from where they were last seen unless triggered by factors prevailing in the forest.
Each day a team of ranger guides patrols the forest to establish where the gorilla family may have nested or possible day hung out spot. These clues are what researchers and ranger guides use to trace the gorilla family.
According to the Uganda Wildlife Authority refund policy, failure to see the mountain gorillas may end in a refund of 75% of the total cost, all factors kept constant. In case you have time, you are given another opportunity to search for the mountain gorillas the next day.
Upon finding the mountain gorillas, four hours are allowed with them.
Is gorilla Habituation Experience worth doing?
Yes, gorilla habituation experience is a once-in-a-lifetime experience where you get up close with the only leftover mountain gorillas in the world. Mountain gorillas in the entire world are living in only three countries: Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R.Congo. At the moment, the population of mountain gorillas is 1000, according to a recent census.
Doing gorilla habituation is a noble cause as you get to contribute to the conservation of the mountain gorillas and there habitats. The mountain gorillas‘ status was redeemed from the rim of extinction in the 1980s after a census carried out by American naturalist Dian Fossey and team. The population showed that about 300 mountain gorillas were living in the entire world.
This brought the mountain gorillas to the list of highly endangered primates in the world. In order to continue conserving these primates, funds need to be collected to support this work, and selling gorilla safaris is one of the means to get them.
You cannot conserve the mountain gorillas and their habitats without involving the local community. As part of the means to get the local community to appreciate the presence of these primates annually, a portion of the total proceeds collected from the sale of gorilla safaris is given back to the local community.
What more can I Combine with Gorilla Habituation Experience in Uganda?
Although you plan to do gorilla habituation experience in Uganda through Kigali Rwanda in two days, you can still engage in other Uganda safari activities if you have extra days on your Africa safari.
Uganda is a country endowed by nature, so there are plenty of activities you can engage in, like game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park, chimpanzee safaris in Kibale National Park, Mountaineering on Rwenzori mountains, Uganda birding, visiting the source of the River Nile, white water rafting on River Nile and others. For you to enjoy several of these activities, you need extra time and a well-planned itinerary
At Encounter Africa Safaris, our safari consultants are always ready to work with you to draw the best itinerary that can soon your interest without backtracking.
What more can I combine with Gorilla Habituation experience in Uganda and Rwanda?
Rwanda may have limited choices of safari activities but you can also do gorilla trekking in Rwanda, chimpanzee trekking, game drives in Akagera National Park, Kigali city tour, genocide memorial visits, Rwandese cultural experiences, and others.
When you contact us at Encounter Africa Safaris, our safari consultants are always ready to work with you to tailor the best itinerary that can soon your needs without backtracking. All you need is enough time on your Africa safari.
How to Behave while on Gorilla habituation experience safari
- Provoking or mimicking the mountain gorillas is forbidden because you do not know what you are communicating.
- Volunteer to stay behind when you catch any human infection like cough, COVID-19, or cough as you may not know the extent to which they will affect these endangered primates.
- No feeding the mountain gorillas during gorilla habituation experience because they are wild animals that must search for their own food.
- Only a maximum of 4 tourists are allowed to see the mountain gorillas during the gorilla habituation experience for conservation purposes.
- No use of flash photography in the forest because you may scare the mountain gorillas and other forest dwellers.
- Keep a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas when you find them for conservation reasons. In order to avoid chances of passing human infections to the highly susceptible mountain gorillas.
- Spitting on vegetation is forbidden because you may contaminate the mountain gorillas’ food.
- Littering in the forest where mountain gorillas live is forbidden as you alter the nature of the environment where mountain gorillas live.
- The age limit for gorilla habituation experience is 15 years and over to allow more children to engage in eco-tourism.
- When you locate the mountain gorillas, stay in a tight group to avoid making them feel ambushed. Mountain gorillas are shy animals that can easily get suspicious when you scatter around them. They are very sensitive primates, which is why briefing is a must-attend to prevent chances of pushing them into hiding.
Contact us for more information and let us plan your safari today.