Gorilla Trekking and Gorilla Habituation in Uganda
Gorilla Trekking and Gorilla Habituation in Uganda say Gorilla trekking involves searching for a habituated gorilla family in their natural habitat that is used to human presence for observation while gorilla habituation involves four tourists following researchers, trekkers and rangers to the forest to participate in the gorilla habituation process.
Gorillas trekking and habituation were started by Uganda Wildlife Authority in 1993 and 2015 respectively to allow tourists encounter the rare mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
Both Gorillas trekking and habituation allows tourists come close to mountain gorillas but the experiences are different in terms of time, number of tourists allowed, information given during the experiences and many others.
In Uganda, Gorillas trekking is done in Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in DR Congo.
Gorilla habituation is only done in the southern parts of Bwindi Impenetrable national park in the Rushaga sector whereas gorilla trekking is done in Bwindi sectors of Nkuringo, Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija and Nyakagezi sector in Mgahinga national park.
Gorillas Trekking and Habituation bring you close to mountain gorillas and the best time to do these activities is the dry season when the ground is dry, less undergrowth and low chances of raining but these are all year round activities.
Bwindi Impenetrable national park
Below we give you detailed information of what is involved in Gorillas trekking and habituation to guide you in choosing the activity since we are going to differentiate the two different experiences for you.
Costs for gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation
Both gorillas permits for trekking and habituation are issued out by Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The cost for gorilla trekking is 700$ for foreign nonresidents and 600$ for foreign residents while gorilla habituation is 1500$ for foreign nonresidents and 1000$ for foreign residents.
The cost for gorilla habituation is higher because the experience was designed for only 4 tourists to get the best experience with these gentle creatures in terms of best views, detailed information about mountain gorillas and good camera angles.
Note: Uganda Wildlife Authority increased the cost for gorilla trekking from 600$ to 700$ for foreign nonresidents and from 500$ to 600$ for foreign residents. From 1st July 2020, the increase in the price of gorilla permits will be under implementation.
The increase in the price for gorilla permits was due to the increased cost of conserving these rare mountain gorillas therefore your participation in gorilla trekking and habituation plays a greater role in the protection of these endangered mountain gorillas.
The duration between trekking and habituation
Gorilla trekking allows visitors to be close to gorillas in their natural habitat for one hour which involves observation, taking photos, asking questions about gorillas, recording videos among others while gorilla habituation allows visitors to be close to the mountain gorillas for four hours while detailed information is given about gorillas meaning it’s an all-day activity.
Visitors at the same time participate in the habituation of a gorilla family which those going for gorilla trekking observe but the habituation process takes 2 to 3 years therefore your participation in gorilla habituation is a good contribution to Uganda Wildlife Authority too.
Note: The standard time for gorilla trekking and habituation starts from the time you set your eyes on the gentle creatures.
Number of people involved in both Gorillas Trekking and Gorillas Habituation.
Uganda Wildlife Authority allows only 8 tourists to visit a gorilla family daily plus the trackers, rangers and researchers while with gorilla habituation, only 4 tourists are allowed to visit the semi habituated gorilla family.
Both experiences are awesome but if you want to be more comfortable, take photographs in all angles and get detailed information about these rare mountain gorillas, we advise you to go for gorilla habituation because it’s worth it.
Availability of Gorilla permits for trekking and habituation
There are very few gorillas habituation permits daily compared to those of gorilla permits. Gorilla habituation was designed to involve only 4 tourists daily to visit a gorilla family while there are about 18 gorilla families in Uganda which have undergone habituation process and are being used for tourism meaning there are more gorilla trekking permits since each gorilla family is visited by 8 tourists daily.
We advise those interested in participating in both activities to book with us in advance since there’s competition for gorilla permits with other Tour operators. Booking should be done at least 6 months before the actual trekking or habituation date.
Sectors in which both activities are done
Gorilla trekking is done in 4 places within Bwindi Impenetrable national park which are Rushaga, Nkuringo, Buhoma and Ruhija, Nyakagezi in Mgahinga and in Rwanda it is only done in one place of Volcanoes national park.
Gorilla habituation is only done in Rushaga sector which is in the southern parts of the park.
For those who want to do both gorillas trekking and habituation, Rushaga and Nkuringo can be accessed from Kigali Rwanda by flying to Rwanda then be transferred to Bwindi by road transport which takes about 4 hours.
Tourists who go for gorilla habituation learn more than those who go for gorilla trekking. Gorilla habituation experience teaches tourists more about the mountain gorillas than gorilla trekking.
The four hours with the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is not just for observation but also get more detailed information about mountain gorillas and also study their behaviors and how they do their daily activities.
Guidelines of gorillas trekking and gorilla habituation
- Tourists going for these activities should be free from diseases such as flue, cough among others so that they don’t spread them to the gorillas.
- Tourists should maintain a distance of 8m away from the mountain gorilla family so that they feel comfortable.
- Those going for gorillas trekking and habituation should be 15 years and above.
- Avoid coughing or blowing your nose while facing them because it reduces chances of spreading diseases to them.
- Do not take photographs with flash.
- Keep calm when a gorilla tries to approach you.
In conclusion both Gorillas trekking and habituation; are awesome experiences that one should not miss on an African safari but we recommend you to go for gorilla habituation because you spend 4 hours with the gorillas, 4 people allowed to participate in the habituation process and a lot of information is given during the habituation experience.