Most travellers ask why gorilla habituation experience, where is gorilla habituation done, how to get gorilla habituation permits and many other questions which we have detailed below. In 2014, as a way of diversifying the tourism products, Uganda wildlife Authority introduced gorilla habituation experience in the south of Bwindi impenetrable national park. Since then different gorilla families have gone through habituation process and now are fully habituated for gorilla trekking. Today, two groups are going through the process in the Rushaga sector every day to train the gorillas how to get used to Visitors. Gorilla Habituation Experience is a lifetime experience and below are the things to consider before booking a gorilla habituation safari.
What is gorilla habituation experience?
Booking a gorilla habituation safaris is one other greatest trips you will have in Africa. Gorilla habituation is a process where wild mountain gorillas are trained to get used to visitors and not to act wild. Gorilla Habituation may take between two to three years to be completed and during this time, researchers keep on visiting an identified Wild gorilla group on a daily basis. They get to learn more about individual gorillas and the way they behave. With time, these gorillas get used to these researchers and in the long run, each individual gorilla is given a name. Once researchers are sure that these mountain gorillas can trekked, they then introduce a mock exercise where some few visitors who may include scientists, guides start visiting it.
Gorilla Habituation experience is the first activity that is done to have habituated gorilla groups. Once the gorillas are used to visitors, they are introduced to gorilla trekking daily. Gorilla habituation activity takes place in the south of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park between Rushaga and Nkuringo Sectors. To date, two mountain gorilla groups in the Rushaga sector are undergoing the habituation process, namely Bikingi gorilla family and Bushaho gorilla family, and only 4 tourists are allowed to be part of habituation. The mountain gorilla habituation permits should be booked early enough because there are very few slots for tourists, and besides that, the mountain gorilla habituation process is a highly desired activity. After gorilla habituation experience, you will be issued a certificate for successfully completing the activity. Knowing that gorilla habituation experience is about one of the things to consider when booking gorilla Habituation safari.
Popular Gorilla Habituation Tours
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About Bwindi impenetrable National Park
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is found in southwestern Uganda on the edge of Uganda in the districts of Kisoro, Kanungu districts and bordering DR Congo. The park is believed to be one of the oldest forests in Africa with scientists estimating at more than 25,000 years old. In 1991, Bwindi was gazetted as a National Park and declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 1994. Bwindi Impenetrable national park has more than 400 species of plant life, sheltering up to 150 mammals among which are the primates including the famous Gorillas, chimpanzees, baboons, forest elephants and antelopes among others. Bwindi forest is the where gorilla tourism started in Uganda, It is estimated that the park is a home to more than 500 gorillas which is more than half of the world’s population of Gorillas and these we have 18 groups habituated for human visit known as Mountain Gorilla trekking and this activity can only be done in 3 countries, i.e. Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. Gorilla habituation experience takes place in the southern part of Bwindi impenetrable national park between Nkuringo and Rushaga Sectors.
How many gorilla habituation permits are available every day?
In Bwindi impenetrable national Park, Only four gorilla permits are available per day for visitors to see the gorillas. The number is limited to only four people because the gorillas under this activity are not yet used to visitors and are very wild. The four visitors every day visit the gorillas alongside the researchers, park guides and Rangers. This activity starts at early morning at 6:00am as it is a process of monitoring the gorillas, the way they move, feed, rest and live. The Visitors are briefed about the rules and regulations to follow while on the trek and later you start the trek into the forest. Once you find them you are allowed to view the gorillas for four hours and take photography. You will learn a lot how guides communicate with the gorillas with beautiful sounds.
What is the cost of Gorilla habituation permits?
Knowing the cost of the habituation permit is very important to consider will booking gorilla habituation safari. The gorilla habituation permits cost USD1500 per person for Non- Foreign Residents, USD1000 for Foreign Residents and Uganda Shs. 750,000 per person for East African Citizens. This habituation permit allows you to view the gorillas for four hours once you find them as you see the way they move, feed, rest and live in a family. The gorilla habituation permit is the same cost as the Rwandan permit though it allows four-hour stay with the gorillas and the Rwanda permit allows one hour of viewing. Encounter Africa safaris will help you to book and secure the permit for your preferred date and all the services for the amazing experience.
Contact us about your planned trek and desired dates, we shall check availability of permits online system for Uganda Wildlife Authority and if permits are available, we shall send you an invoice to make payment for the permits as they are top priority and if they are not available, you will choose other dates that have the availability of permits. Once we receive payment, we shall book and secure your permits from Uganda wildlife Authority and send you a copy of the receipt with booking ID to confirm your trek. Since the gorilla habituation permits are limited to four permits per day, they tend to sell out very quickly reason we recommend booking months in advance for your preferred date before it sells out. Knowing the cost of the gorilla habituation permits is one of the 10 things to consider when booking gorilla habituation safari.
What are the rules and regulations for a successful gorilla habituation experience?
Every tourism activity in Uganda has rules and regulations to follow before and after the gorilla trek. Since the primates are very sensitive and endangered, we need to conserve them for the future generations and the following are some of the procedures which can change over time;
- Gorilla habituation rules and regulations require all tourists to have a valid gorilla habituation permit. Gorilla habituation experience permits must be booked in advance and are valid for a given date. No one will be allowed to participate in this experience without a valid gorilla habituation permit. Uganda Wildlife Authority sells gorilla habituation permits at USD1500.00 for four hours.
- For anyone to be allowed to participate in gorilla habituation experience, he or she must be 15 years and above. Just like gorilla trekking, gorilla habituation minimum age has been but at 15 years and above to minimize childish behaviour during this experience. Experts reason that you may never predict children’s behaviour when they get to meet gorillas. Children below 15 years are also believed to have communicable diseases they may be easily transmitted to mountain gorillas. Uganda wildlife Authority is serious about this and should they have any doubt, and you may be requested to produce your birth certificate.
- As you move in the forest which in this case is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, avoid making noise, speak with a low tone so that you do not disorganize the natural ecosystem. Keeping your voice low will also help you to observe many animals in the forest that include birds, other primates and mammals resident in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and even not scare them away.
- Conserve the nature environment by making sure that you do not litter or dispose of your plastic bottles in the forest or trails. Litter the trash in designated trash cans or keep it in your bag pack
- Always follow instructions of your guide or researchers while on your way to where the gorillas will be. This helps in keeping the whole experience organized.
- Gorilla habituation rules and regulations require all tourists to keep a distance of 7-5 meters away from mountain gorillas. This is aimed at reducing the chances of spreading diseases to mountain gorillas and controlling the gorillas from charging against you.
- Do not use flash while photographing, avoid eating and drinking during gorilla habituation, and do not touch the gorillas much as they will move closer to you since they can fume.
- If you need to ease yourself, please ask researchers or your guide to organize for you a toilet or dig a whole. If you feel sick before gorilla habituation, kindly stay behind and seek medical attention and Uganda Wildlife Authority may arrange for you another experience.
How to access Bwindi for a gorilla habituation safari.
To participate in gorilla habituation experience, you will either fly or drive to Bwindi impenetrable national park in southwestern Uganda. You can fly from Entebbe International Airport/Kajjansi Airstrip to Kisoro Airstrip and then drive to your booked lodge, Aerolink Uganda is one of the most recommended Flight companies that has daily flights to Bwindi and it is about one hour flight to Kisoro. We also have road trip options from Kampala/Entebbe to Bwindi which is about 8-9 hours but very enjoyable as you can stop at the Equator, Igongo Cultural Museum in Mbarara, see different plantations and landscape.
We also organize road gorilla habituation from Kigali in Rwanda, The trip can start from the Airport/Hotel in Kigali city and then drive to Uganda via the genocide memorial and later proceed into Uganda through Katuna or Cyanika boarders. The drive from Kigali is about 4-5 hours which is shorter compared to Entebbe to Bwindi. All options are available for you to reach the south of Bwindi impenetrable national park for your gorilla habituation experience.
Where to stay while on gorilla habituation safari?
Where to stay is also majorly considered when booking gorilla habituation safari in Uganda. Bwindi impenetrable national park has different choices of accommodation where you can stay on your gorilla safari. These range from budget to luxury hotels/camps/lodges and Encounter Africa safaris can help you book the hotel of your choice. Gorilla Habitation experience is done in the south of Bwindi and we highly recommend lodges in the Nkuringo and Rushaga Sectors. In the Rushaga sector, you can stay at Rushaga Gorilla camp as midrange option, Four Gorilla Lodge as a Luxury option and Rushaga Gorilla Havens Lodge as the budget option. In Nkuringo you can stay at Nkuringo Bwindi gorilla lodge as the budget and midrange option and Clouds Mountain gorilla lodge as the luxury option. The lodges require to be booked in advance especially in high season as they can be fully booked. Contact us and we will advise the best lodge with standard service to stay inconsiderate of your gorilla safari budget.
Why book gorilla habituation safari with Encounter Africa safaris
Encounter Africa safaris is a Local tour operator based in Uganda with its head offices in Entebbe. Encounter Africa safaris is run and owned by Ugandans. We have been in operation for more than 15 years and we specialize in life-changing experiences and sustainable tours and holidays to all East African countries. We are members of AUTO (Association of Uganda Tour Operators) and are registered by UTB (Uganda Tourism Board). We have a good and long working relationship with UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) making it easy to book your gorilla permits and gorilla safari from Kigali. Encounter Africa safaris is highly reviewed on trip advisor as well as Safari bookings. Please contact Encounter Africa safaris next time you intend to visit any of the five East African countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania. We will tailor your gorilla habituation experience to best meet your expectations.