Gorilla Habituation Experience

Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi Forest Uganda

Gorilla habituation experience has no specific definition but in the Ugandan tourism context it is where tourists visit the endangered habituated mountain gorillas in the wild and stay with them for longer hours (4 hours). Gorilla Habituation Experience in Uganda in only offered in the south of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with only two gorilla families, one in Rushaga and Nkuringo Sector.

Gorilla Habituation ExperienceOn the other hand, Gorilla Habituation process is a method of training wild mountain gorillas to get used to the presence of human beings. The process of Gorilla Habituation could last between two to three years to be accomplished and throughout this time, researchers keep on visiting a given Wild gorilla family on a daily basis. They tend to learn comprehensively about individual gorillas as well as their behaviors. As time elapses, the apes get used the researchers who in the process give each individual gorilla a name. When the researchers are very sure that the gorillas are good for trekking, they introduce to them a mock exercise where people like scientists, journalists or any other category start paying visits to them. A gorilla group that passed the mock exercise, qualifies for trekking. Wild gorillas are habituated so that researchers can study the species, offer them treatment for sickness and injuries, safeguard them from hunters, poachers and boost their protection efforts with sustainable tourism.

Out of the four mountain gorilla national parks in the great lakes regions, Gorilla habituation experience as is only offered in Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable forest, a park inhabited by half the number of the endangered mountain gorillas in the world. Bwindi forest is one of the two gorilla habitats in Uganda and among the four mountain gorilla national parks in the great lakes region. Gorilla habituation experience started on 1st January 2014.  A permit for gorilla habituation experience is at USD 1500. Visitors are allowed to spend four hours with the endangered primates. Not all gorilla families in Bwindi are open to this kind of experience even though all of them had their gorilla members adapted to human presence. The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) allocated two families for gorilla habituation experience in Rushaga and Nkuringo Sector in the southern segment of Bwindi Impenetrable forest. These families include Bikyingi gorilla group and Bushaho Gorilla Family.

With gorilla habituation experience, clients will have more hours with the mountain gorillas unlike the most common gorilla trekking that is only limited to one hour. In most cases, the ordinary gorilla tracking may last for over 8 hours as trekkers hike in forests in search of the primates but the specific time allowed to tourists to be with them is 1 hours only. But for the Gorilla habituation, visitors usually comprised of mainly researchers and educationists spend four hours as they observe closely how gorillas are adapted.

The only distinction is that those visiting gorillas under the habituation experience may expect to come upon semi habituated gorillas that could conduct themselves in an unfamiliar manner even though this is an unusual occurrence.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has got over 19 Uganda gorilla families already habituated and found in the four gorilla trekking sectors on the vast park. These include Buhoma, Nkuringo, Rushaga and Ruhijja Sector. Among the gorilla families in Uganda are Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura in Buhoma found in the North of the park. There is Bitukura, Oruzogo and Kyaguriro in the Eastern side of the impenetrable forest plus Ruhija, Busingye, Nshonji, Mishaya, Kahungye, Bweza in Rushaga as well as Nkuringo Gorilla Group in the southern section of the park.

For detailed information about safaris for this experience, contact us and we book the gorilla habituation experience permits or an ordinary gorilla safari.

What is Gorilla Habituation Experience in Uganda?

Gorilla habituation experience safaris are the latest tourism activities in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park on top of gorilla trekking that has been long offered in the park. For gorillas become accustomed to human presence, each gorilla family undergoes a long lasting habituation process of about 2 to 5 years monitored by a group of knowledgeable conservationists, researchers, trackers and rangers. Park rangers initiate the habituation process by spending a short period with gorillas each day, keeping a specific space within the limit of the comfort zone of the gorillas.

Every few months they slowly increase the time and lessen the distance until they are sure that the gorillas are set for visitors to trek them. When the gorillas are not yet fully habituated, they are used to trackers and rangers, but not to strangers or tourists. Gorilla Habituation Experience then helps to guarantee that they will ultimately become wholly easy in the company of people.

What is the difference between Gorilla Trekking and Gorilla Habituation Experience?

Gorilla Habituation Experience and gorilla trekking are both are incredible opportunities to walk deep into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with an experienced tracker in search of wild mountain gorillas. Both are among the top tourism activities in Bwindi Impenetrable forest.

For gorilla trekking, you can hike through the forest for anywhere from 30 minutes to 5 hours, depending on the location of a gorilla family being trekked. When in the end you meet your allocated gorilla family you will have the chance to take one special hour inaudibly observing them in their natural habitation.

There is no wildlife encounter on earth that can liken to standing a few meters from the gorillas. It will unquestionably be a dreamlike experience that will ever be memorable.

In case you need more time with the gorillas, there is a rare prospect to take part in a full day experience offered by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

On the habituation experience, you will have a deeper understanding of gorilla tracking and plus the behaviors of the rare species. In all, you will have a greater amount of time to observe and photograph the gorillas.

What to Carry on Gorilla Habituation Experience Tour?

  • Long comfortable shirts
  • Long trousers
  • Insect repellents
  • Strong gardening gloves and a hat
  • Poncho/rain jacket
  • Waterproof backpack
  • Snacks and lunch as the habituation process usually takes the whole day
  • Enough drinking water for hydration
  • Hut
  • Strong hiking shoes
  • Camera
  • Walking stick
  • Insect repellents to protect you against mosquito bites
  • Hire porters to help you carry some heavy loads and also assist you  climb steep slopes.

What happens during gorilla habituation experience tour?

Tours booked for gorilla habituation experience meet at the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park offices in Rushaga for a briefing. This gorilla briefing is done by the Uganda Wildlife Authority official in the presence of researcher at 7:30 am before the activities begins at 8:00am. Just like gorilla trekking, the minimum age for gorilla habituation experience is 15 years of age. It is highly advised that those interested the habituation process should be fit enough to be able to do hiking steep and the dense part of the forests as the primates happen to move too hard to reach territories of the park. Under the gorilla trekking rules and regulations, the sick are not permitted to participate in the gorilla habituation process. Human illnesses like flue are a risk to mountain Gorillas. Some gorilla rules including not using camera flashed during photo shooting, making of fun of the apes, keep a minimum distance of at least 7 meters away to avoid provoking them and many others.

Just same like the best time for gorilla trekking, the most ideal period for gorilla habituation experience is habitually during the high seasons months running from December through to March plus June to October. Nevertheless visiting gorillas during the low season months of April, May, October, or November is also fine. The low-season period are somehow disparaging as they are characterized by heavy rains that make hiking challenging. This is why we recommend use of the best hiking boots during the trek. Making an early booking for a gorilla habituation experience permit is seriously advised at least 6 months before the tour. This is because there are only two families gazetted for the habituation and each is allocated 4 permits only per day per visit.

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