Things to consider before booking a gorilla habituation safari in 2024-25
Important things to consider before booking a gorilla habituation experience safari in 2024-25. The gorilla habituation experience permit is the number one booking you must be sure about in 2024 – 2025. Gorilla habituation safaris are an adventure where tourists follow a team of researchers in the wilderness for four hours with a semi-habituated gorilla family. A maximum of four gorilla habituation permits are opened to the public per day per gorilla family.
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The gorilla habituation experience is happening only in Uganda, with two gorilla families open for this adventure. The southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the only home to this activity. The mountain gorillas under gorilla habituation may present some odd behavior like going into hiding, but this is because they are still accustomed to human presence.
Book accommodation to use during gorilla habituation safari as they must be located in the southern sector of Bwindi. The southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is made up of Nkuringo and Rushaga areas.
Select the means of Transport to get to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, either by road or air transport. For better planning, reserve transport in advance to ensure you get all the choices when you book at the last minute.
The age limit for gorilla habituation safari is 15 years and over. When booking the gorilla permits, you need to consider the ages of people you hope to travel with so they are not disqualified at the last minute.
Do exercise before the gorilla habituation safari so as not to get muscle pull during the wilderness walk.
What to consider before Booking Gorilla Habituation Safari in 2024 and 2025
Book the gorilla habituation permit.
Since gorilla habituation permits are opened to the public daily, there is a maximum of 4 per gorilla family. Yet, Uganda has had two gorilla habituation families open so far, so booking is required. When purchasing the gorilla permit, you need a date and the number of eligible people traveling with you to check for availability from the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we can assist you in booking the gorilla habituation permits and plan other logistics that accompany your safari. When you enquire from us, our safari consultant checks availability from the gorilla permit list of the Uganda Wildlife Authority
What is the cost of the Gorilla habituation permit?
Currently, a gorilla habituation safari permit costs $ 1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 for East African residents, and 750000shs for East Africans.
The cost of the gorilla habituation permit covers park entrance fees, ranger guide fees, security while on gorilla safari, certificate, mountain gorilla conservation, local community support, four hours with the mountain gorillas, briefing, and others.
Upon getting the availability of the gorilla habituation permits, our consultant will get back to you. Still, we request you secure your gorilla permits as soon as possible because their status changes at any time without warning.
All of the gorilla safari permits can only be booked with payment. First come, first serve criteria is used to secure these gorilla permits.
Later, forward us some personal details to be added to your gorilla permit card, like your full name as presented on the passport, nationality, and date of birth.
Choose accommodation to use during the gorilla habituation safari.
The accommodations of the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are the most appropriate for gorilla habituation safari accommodation. This is because the gorilla habituation experience starts very early in the morning with a briefing, and if you miss this session, you may get disqualified from this activity. If you spend the night before the gorilla habituation day in another area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you may need to drive to the briefing point in the dark. The way may have some difficulties, like poor visibility due to foggy conditions, bad weather, etc.
Accommodations in the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are graded into upscale, mid-range, and budget facilities.
Bwindi accommodations: Rushaga Gorilla Safaris Lodge, Clouds Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, Bwindi Backpacker’s Campsite, Nshongi Camp.
The type of accommodation you choose contributes significantly to the kind of safari package you select.
Select the means of Transport to use for the Gorilla Habituation safari
You need to book a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle in good condition because the terrain where gorilla safaris occur is rugged, with several highlands and winding roads. The roads may get messy at times, so the driver guide must be professional and experienced with alternative routes to or from this area.
Suppose you are starting your gorilla safari from Entebbe or Kampala to the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. In that case, the drive is about 8 to 9 hours to the south sector of Bwindi, covering a distance of about 535 kilometers.
An alternative route is to start from Kigali in Rwanda through the Gatuna or Cyanika border to Kabale to Kisoro, then the southern Bwindi area. The drive time is about 5 to 6 hours.
From Kajjansi airstrip to Entebbe airport, you can book the daily domestic flights to Kisoro airstrip. The flights to Kisoro are sometimes victimized by weather conditions, especially when it rains or the deep foggy conditions of this mountainous Kisoro area.
Booking a plane seat in advance is essential because they sell out fast, especially during the high season. From the Kisoro airs strip, you need a transfer vehicle to your lodge.
Charter flight services are available at Entebbe airport or Kajjansi to Kisoro airstrip for Up Market private gorilla habituation safari, but you need a transfer vehicle, too.
Select Additional To Activities Combine With Gorilla Habituation Experience
Besides gorilla habituation, you can have the best Uganda safaris by adding other safari options. Uganda is a country gifted by nature, and you can select from the many safari options available, like chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park, Game drives and Launch trips in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Visiting the source of River Nile in Jinja, and white water rafting on River Nile and others.
With the help of our safari consultant, you can tailor the best safari itinerary to suit your interests while on holiday. Selecting the other Uganda safari activities also helps make the right plan and budget.
Consider the ages of people traveling for gorilla safari.
The age limit for gorilla habituation safaris is 15 years and over. This age limit was lowered from 15 years to allow more children to have a chance to visit the mountain gorillas. Children below 15 years may not withstand the long hours of searching for the mountain gorillas in the dense forest and then have four hours of following these primates. It may be hard for them to withstand.
At a glance, mountain gorillas are intimidating, which may stimulate some adrenaline, but you must not show any signs of freight, which children below 15 years may have no control over.
When you hope to travel with children for a gorilla habituation safari, brief them in advance about what they hope to do in advance and what to expect during this adventure. They may be shocked when they get on the ground and violate the rules of the gorilla habituation experience.
Pack the proper gorilla habituation safari gears.
The gorilla habituation experience is no ordinary activity, but you need to pack the right gear for your time on safari. Since this is a jungle safari adventure, you need the correct equipment on your packing lists, like safari boots, rainproof gear backpack, garden gloves, and much more.
The jungle is rough, and when the surface of some stinging nettles touches your skin, you may get skin irritation, so wear at least a long-sleeved safari top and trousers.
Choose the right time to do the gorilla habituation safari.
Although gorilla habituation safari is an entire year, the dry season is most preferred when the animals are most active in the jungle. The trails in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are drier because more sunlight is left in the ground. The dry season is usually the peak Uganda tourism season: June, July, August, September, December, and January.
However, This season also comes with competition for gorilla permits and other safari logistics. This increases the cost of some safari amenities like accommodations, vehicle hire, and others. You need to book these services in advance to be safe.
The low season, normally the wet season of Uganda, may provide some open chances for last-minute gorilla habituation permits but not a guarantee. This season is March, April, May, and November, when the demand for gorilla permits declines. If you have a limited budget but wish to have an upgrade on the services offered to you during the gorilla habituation safari, the low season may present this opportunity. There are so many chances for last-minute gorilla permits in the low season, but you need to reserve one in advance just to be sure.
Exercise before the gorilla habituation safari
To complete the gorilla habituation experience safari, you must exercise to stay fit and traverse the forest’s rugged environment. The nature of the terrain of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is volcanic, with highlands on whose slopes these mountain gorillas may spend some time.
As a tourist, you need some fitness to complete the trek to get to the mountain gorillas. When you are unfit, you may delay the rest of the group, yet you do not know when to return from this adventure.
What are the Guidelines for Gorilla Habituation Safari?
- Upon locating the mountain gorillas, only four hours are allowed with them for conservation. During this time, the researchers may ask you to help observe the behavior of the gorilla family while taking notes, assist in collecting samples, and participate in naming the mountain gorillas and others according to the day’s program.
- Keep a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas when you locate them. This is to prevent chances of passing an infection to these primates, as they are highly susceptible to infectious diseases like flu, cough, COVID-19, and others.
- If you are sick with a contagious infection, volunteer to stay behind so as not to pass it to the endangered mountain gorillas.
- If you want to eat or drink before the mountain gorillas, do it at least 300 meters away from them. They are wild animals that must search for their food.
- The age limit for gorilla safari is 15 years, and beyond this age, it was reduced from 15 years and over to give more children more chances to see the mountain gorillas. This is because the way to locate the mountain gorillas has rugged topography, which requires you to hike sometimes to find the mountain gorillas.
- Only go into the forest with an escorting ranger guide. Although the mountain gorillas are fully habituated to human presence, some forest dwellers are not and may be dangerous to you alone.
- When you need to defecate, ask the ranger guide to dig a hole for you at least 30 centimeters deep and cover well beyond recognition.
- Try to stay in a tight group when with the mountain gorillas because surrounding them may cause them to feel ambushed.
- Don’t attempt to provoke the mountain gorillas because they are wild animals habituated to human presence. They still possess wild behaviors.
- When taking photos, do it with a flash-less camera to not scare the mountain gorillas; they are often frightened by unfamiliar occurrences in their presence.
- When tracking the mountain gorillas, keep your voice low so as not to scare the mountain gorillas and other forest dwellers, which may be interesting to add to your wildlife photo collection.
- Never dump garbage in the wilderness, as this alters the nature of the forest where mountain gorillas live.
For your gorilla habituation experience, contact us for more information.