GORILLA HABITUATION EXPERIENCE IN BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK UGANDA
Gorilla habituation is an activity where gorillas are trained to get used to human presence. Therefore Gorilla Habituation Experience in Uganda’s Bwindi forest allows visitors to spend more time with gorillas by joining researchers, park ranger guides in the process for 4 hours in a day. Gorilla habituation experience in Uganda is only done in Bwindi Impenetrable national park that is a home to half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas. The activity takes place in Rushaga sector one of the four sectors of the park others being Buhoma, Ruhiija and Nkuringo.
Gorilla habituation takes 2-3 years or more to complete so that the gorilla family habituated can be opened for gorilla trekking. Gorillas are first habituated before being opened for trekking since they are shy and some charge or get aggressive with human presence. There are a few differences between gorilla habituation and gorilla trekking like 4 hours allowed with gorillas and only 1 hour for gorilla trekking. Only 4 people are allowed for gorilla habituation experience and 8 people are allowed for gorilla trekking per family. A gorilla habituation experience permit costs USD 1500 and gorilla trekking permit costs USD 700.
Gorilla habituation experience involves trekking into the forest to meet these endangered species and spending four hours with them learning about their ways of living like feeding habits, mating and the individual family members. Visitors need to follow the same rules as those of gorilla trekking while visiting the gorillas such as keeping a 7m distance from gorillas, no use of flash cameras, no visiting gorillas when sick and more. Visitors are advised to be physically strong since the experience involves hiking in the dense forest following gorillas that are not yet used to human presence forcing them to keep moving away. The activity is repeated until the gorilla family is fully habituated. During the gorilla habituation process the gorillas are named by according to their characters and behavior.
All gorilla habituation permits are booked through Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in Uganda. The activity is only done in Uganda meaning both Rwanda and DR Congo that also have mountain gorillas don’t offer Gorilla habituation experience. Advance booking is required at least 6 months prior the experience as the number of people is restricted to 4 and only few gorilla families are available for habituation.
The best time to go for gorilla habituation is during the dry season in the months of December to February and June to September. Visitors are advised to pack waterproof hiking boots, water proof jackets, long sleeved shirts, hat, camera and alight back pack with enough drinking water.
Bwindi impenetrable national park can be accessed by both air and road transport both within Uganda and Rwanda.