How To Spend More Time With Mountain Gorillas In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Ways to spend more time with mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Getting extra time with the mountain gorillas marinades you into their unseen life, which is only open to a few lucky visitors. Doing gorilla trekking is restricted to one hour for conservation reasons; however, some tourists yarn for extra time, which is impossible since the mountain gorillas are habituated to be in front of humans for just one hour for conservation.
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Although you can do double or more gorilla trekking times, it is time-consuming and more expensive; however, the gorilla habituation experience sums it up. Currently, gorilla habituation is only known to happen in the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, composed of the Rushaga and Nkuringo areas.
Currently, only two gorilla families are open for habituation experience but are restricted to a maximum of 4 tourists who accompany a team of researchers and trackers.
During the gorilla habituation experience, you may be required to put down some notes, assist in counting the mountain gorillas for daily statistics, observe the day’s characteristics of some of the gorilla family members, and so much more. A lot more is included in doing gorilla habituation experience than just watching them go about their day-to-day activities.
Every person with gorilla habituation experience must possess a gorilla permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. This permit allows you four hours in the company of the mountain gorillas. To enjoy the best experience, you must purchase your gorilla permit in advance, especially during the peak season when demand for gorilla habituation safaris is at its peak, yet permit supply is restricted to a maximum of four per gorilla family.
Before going into details about how to spend more time with the mountain gorillas, let’s first understand what the gorilla habituation experience is.
What Is Gorilla Habituation Experience And Where To Do This From?
The gorilla habituation experience is an adventure where tourists accompany a team of habituators in the wilderness to follow a semi-habituated gorilla family in the wild to help them get accustomed to human presence without altering their nature.
Some of the end goals of gorilla habituation are to form a gorilla trekking family that can be opened to public viewing and get notes with traits of each family member or the general family information.
Over time, researchers and trackers help a wild gorilla family get used to human presence without altering their nature so that it can be opened for public viewing. The gorilla habituation process takes an unknown time as it depends on how fast or slow the gorilla family copes.
When the gorilla family is semi-habituated, it can be included amongst those to be opened for gorilla habituation experience.
Currently, gorilla habituation experience is happening in only the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
What Is The Cost Of Gorilla Habituation Experience In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
Currently, gorilla habituation experience costs $1500 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $1000 per person per trek for foreign residents, and 750000 shs for East Africans.
You need to book your gorilla permit in time as they are sold out fast, especially during the peak season, normally June, July, August, September, December, and January.
Due to high demand, the supply of gorilla permits is restricted to a maximum of four per gorilla family; a first come, first served basis is used when reserving these permits. First come, first served is used to avoid saving a permit for someone who may not buy it, yet someone serious may miss it.
What Is Included In The Cost Of Gorilla Habituation Experience Permit?
The cost of park entrance fees, security during the gorilla habituation experience, gorilla conservation, and local community support as 20% of the annual proceeds accrued from the gorilla safaris is given to the local community to support their projects. The permit cost includes four hours with the mountain gorillas, ranger guide fee, and researcher service.
What Is Excluded In The Gorilla Habituation Experience Permit Cost?
Accommodation to stay during gorilla habituation safari, tips, porters, gorilla trekking gears, transport, and any other items of a personal nature.
Encounter Africa Safaris is ready to lift off your shoulders the burden of planning your gorilla habituation experience, booking, and all the run around as you try to get the best amenities for your budget. We have over 10 years of experience organizing gorilla safaris and other related voyages. Our reputation on travel forums like Trip Advisor and Safari Bookings speaks more about our potential. You can enquire from us to prepare the best gorilla safari adventure.
Trust us, your key to the greater outdoors.
Can I purchase the Gorilla Habituation Experience Permit in Instalments?
Although covering your gorilla permit is the best way to avoid forgetting to top up, the Uganda Wildlife Authority accepts installments of 30% and 70 % of the gorilla permit.
Installment gorilla permit purchase is only accepted when you buy the permit 90 days before gorilla habituation day, and remember to top up 90 days before the gorilla habituation date,
Failure to comply with topping up may call for a penalty.
Can I Reschedule The Gorilla Habituation Permit?
When you cannot travel as per the booked gorilla habituation safari days but hope to do so in the future, you can reschedule your gorilla permit per the policy of the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
If your gorilla permit is purchased in installment, you must top it up to reschedule it.
Procedure for gorilla habituation permit reschedule.
Write to Uganda Wildlife Authority requesting to move your gorilla permit to a future date. Indicate the date, too. If you have any evidence to back up your reason for being unable to travel, attach it as a backup.
When you are finally allowed to reschedule your gorilla permit, it is moved but based on the prevailing status of gorilla permit availability per your new date.
Uganda Wildlife Authority accepts two free gorilla permit reschedules on the same permit. When you wish to change the third time, only the executive director endorses it. A surcharge of 25% of the total permit cost is applied too.
When is the best time to book a Gorilla Habituation Safari for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
All year round, you can book the gorilla habituation experience; however, the dry season, which is normally June to September and December to January, is most preferred.
Mountain gorillas are energetic in the dry season and spend most of their time near the ground. Even other forest inhabitants, like monkeys, birds, and butterflies, are easier to spot. The dry season makes misty Bwindi Impenetrable National Park sparkle since more sunlight also penetrates through the dense canopy.
During the dry season, the demand for gorilla permits is high, creating scarcity for almost three months to the start of the Uganda tourism season.
The wet season, normally March, April, May, and November, offers more chances of last-minute gorilla permit availability but is only guaranteed some of the time.
Those with a limited budget can use the rare opportunity of discounted gorilla permits that management may offer as promotional permits. However, this is not a guarantee every year. On the other hand, the low season may have discounted prices on safari amenities from service providers like accommodation, driver guide cost, vehicle hire, and others.
No matter what season of the year you wish to do gorilla habituation experience, you need to book your gorilla permit in advance at least 6 months to a year. The last time to book the gorilla permit is at least 3 months to the trekking day. This prevents you from panicking at the last minute try to find gorilla permit availability.
What Is The Cost Of Gorilla Habituation Experience In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we package our safaris according to luxury, mid-range, and budget. Each of these has a constant cost: the gorilla permit charged per person.
Other factors considered when calculating the cost of gorilla habituation safari include
The number of days on a gorilla safari, the number of people traveling for this safari, the number of other activities to combine with gorilla habituation, the time for booking this gorilla tour, the safari package you choose, and others.
How Safe Is Gorilla Habituation Experience?
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is safe for all gorilla safari activities, including gorilla habituation experience and other related activities. The park rangers are well-trained to assist tourists during the gorilla habituation experience and armed with some supportive gadgets while you search for the mountain gorillas.
During gorilla habituation, the park rangers keep in constant radio call communication with the security on the ground just in case backup is required. Around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are other Uganda security agencies to keep law and order in and around this forested area. Be sure of your safety during gorilla safari.
You have to mind personal security by not moving around with large sums of money or even showing it off.
Pay attention to the rules of gorilla safari so that you are remembered in the park, even though the ranger guide follows the pace of the slowest trekker. You may be lost in the woods when you decide to sneak away from the rest during a gorilla habituation adventure.
Whenever you have to walk in this vast forest, seek an escorting ranger guide because they have more knowledge about how to defend you in case of an attack from any forest dwellers. Do not put your life at risk by entering the forest alone.
Can Kids Do Gorilla Habituation Experience In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
The age limit for gorilla habituation is 15 years and beyond, so only children of this age and over are allowed to attend this safari. This is because of the nature of the terrain of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is ragged with volcanic remains like those that plateaus and ridges draped with overgrown creepers.
Sometimes mountain gorillas spend part of their time on the slopes of some of these highlands, so tourists must hike to find them. Some level of fitness is necessary in order to succeed in finding the mountain gorillas or patience as the time of locating the mountain gorillas has yet to be discovered.
A child below 15 years old may be incapable of withstanding the conditions in the wilderness and have the patience to last all the time in the forest. To avoid causing a stampede in the forest, the age limit for gorilla habituation is restricted to 15 years and beyond.
What Is The Packing List For Gorilla Habituation Experience?
- Safari boots to wear while going through the tough and soggy jungle
- A camera to capture the hilarious moment in the forest while with the mountain gorillas.
- A torch in case lights run low during the night as solar energy is the main power supply of this area.
- Long-sleeved shirt and trousers to protect you from stinging nettle and other rough surfaces in the jungle.
- Insect repellant to keep away biting insects that may harm your body
- Large brim safari hat to protect your hair and head from buzzing insects
- Sunscreen to administer during the journey to the gorilla safari destination
- Snacks to munch on during the walk to find the mountain gorillas as breakfast is taken too early to last the rest of the day.
- A waterproof bag to carry your gorilla trekking gear in case you need to hand them over to the porter. Even when it rains, they don’t get wet.
- A pair of stockings to tack in your clothes and prevent creeping insects from getting in.
- Some hard cash in case you need to make on-ground purchases like souvenirs, pay for a porter, tips, and much more.
- First aid kit in case you need emergency assistance during gorilla habituation experience.
- Extra batteries to exchange with in case one runs low.
- Rainproof gears
If you are interested in spending more time with the mountain gorillas, don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.