Gorilla habituation in Uganda

Gorilla habituation in Uganda is one of the most fulfilling experiences that travelers get to experience whilst on a Uganda safari tour any time of the year. Gorilla habituation is an experience that sees travelers hiking through the dense Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to find a semi-habituated gorilla family to spend up to 4 hours with learning and observing their ways and behaviours as the care takers, trackers, conservationists and researchers as well as rangers study and work to have the gorillas accommodate human interaction. Travelers get to visit almost-completely-habituated gorilla families, for a gorilla habituation experience.

Gorilla habituation as a process takes between 2 to 3 years for a gorilla family to be fully habituated and availed for gorilla trekking by tourists with gorilla trekking safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable Park

Gorilla habituation is noticeably a lot more difficult as compared to the gorilla trekking experience; but yet more rewarding as you get to spend more time with the gorillas than the gorilla trekking experience that has travelers spending only 1 hour with the gorillas.

Gorilla habituation is an activity that the Uganda Wildlife Authority, UWA, made possible to travelers after longer times with the giant but endangered mountain gorillas. Gorilla habituation is only done in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, with only 4 visitors per group allowed to embark on a single gorilla habituation experience.

While gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is currently at 700$ per person, gorilla habituation is currently priced at 1,500$ per person, more than double the price for gorilla trekking alone! The gorilla habitation experience, though expensive, is very much rewarding given the time one has with the gorillas.

Though mountain gorillas can be found in the three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, gorilla habituation experience is only available in Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Of the 3 countries, Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park hosts more than half the total population of mountain gorillas, and it is only here that gorilla habituation can be experienced.

A Typical Day of a Gorilla Habituation Trek

Typically, gorilla habituation starts just as early as 7am with a briefing session at the park headquarters. After briefing, travelers are placed in groups of 4 people and allocated a gorilla family to trek and habituate. The trek to find the gorillas can take anything from 2 to 4 hours, depending on the location of the gorillas and the terrain leading there.

Once contact is made with the gorillas, travelers get to spend 4 hours with the gorillas, giving you an insight into the lives of these giant mountain gorillas. During this time, you get to find out the striking and humbling similarities and differences with the humans, with whom they share up to 98% DNA.

Gorilla habituation in Uganda
Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi

Gorilla habituation experience is a full day experience. Travelers have their packed lunches in the forested area, and get to return to the lodge much later in the afternoon for a much deserved rest!

When is the best time for gorilla habituation?

Gorilla habituation is available all throughout the year. The best time however is during the dry season when it is supposed not rainy and muddy. Important to note however is that Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a “rainforest”, and as such rains are expected at anyone point in time. Preparing for this with good hiking shoes that have a strong grip, as well as waterproof clothes and rain hats and bags for safe-keeping of your gadgets is highly recommended. Nevertheless however, the months of March to May are typically rainy season months and as such more rains are received then.

What to Pack for your Gorilla Habituation Safari?

  • Waterproof hiking boots. Yes, these are a must irrespective of the season. Waterproof hiking boots that are comfortable and with a good grip are a must carry for a successful gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park safari experience.
  • Light, breathable, waterproof jackets and trousers, as well as long sleeved shorts. All these are for your protection from insect bites, leaf and branch scratches, as well as keep you warm should the temperatures drop considerably.
  • Lightweight back pack, preferably waterproof, is also recommended to safe keep your gadgets like phones and cameras.
  • Binoculars
  • Camera with enough storage and battery; you do not want to not have no good picture or video after your experience!
  • Hat and sunglass. A waterproof hat is preferable.

Gorilla habituation in Bwindi is one of the most intimate and breath-taking gorilla safari experiences worth taking whilst on a primate safari in Uganda. Get your safari planner to include gorilla habituation in your Uganda safari and be blown away by the beauty, giant and yet gentle nature of the mountain gorillas up-front.

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