Gorilla Habituation Experience In Bwindi
Do you want to spend ample time with the endangered mountain gorillas in the mist? Take part in a four-hour gorilla habituation experience and enjoy the company of these gentle giants in their natural habitat. Unlike gorilla trekking for an hour, gorilla habituation in Bwindi allow travelers to spend up to 4 hours with the gorillas in the jungle. Gorilla habituation is a unique experience in a way that travelers hike along with rangers, researchers and gorilla doctors who take part in taming the gorillas. The experience is all about familiarizing wild gorillas to the presence of human beings before a gorilla family is ready for human visitors. The taming process is a long-term experience which last for roughly 3 years and rangers must visit these gorillas on a daily basis with or without travelers.
Where to do gorilla habituation
The thrilling experience is only done in Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in Rushaga sector. Currently there are two gorilla families undergoing training and these are Bushaho and Bikyingi both in Rushaga. Gorilla habituation is a newly introduced activity in Bwindi has progressed to be the most exciting activity. New baby gorilla have been born 6 of which are in Bikyingi gorilla family and 2 in Bushaho family which make it interesting for travelers to also see the life baby gorillas with their caring mums.
The cost of the permit and where to get it
Like all gorilla tours, habituation requires every participant to have a valid habituation permit. This permit is however quite expensive costing 1500usd for a four hours encounter and the price is constant at all seasons. Travelers are reminded to book in advance at least 4 months before and pay a deposit to secure the permit. Booking can be made directly with Uganda wildlife authority (UWA) or through any trusted tour operator offering similar packages. Travelers aged below 15 years are not allowed to take part as also in gorilla trekking.
Note: There are no refunds once payment is done which means that anyone who makes a late cancellation loses all the money already paid. Eight permits are issued ever day since they are only two gorilla groups each visited by four people.
It starts in early morning (7:30am) with reporting to the Bwindi national park head quarters in Rushaga sector. Here travelers attend a short briefing from the park rangers regarding the dos and don’ts while with the gorillas. At 8:00am, you embark into the jungle in follow of the gorillas. Park rangers lead you to where they last spotted the gorilla family. The actual time for hiking is unpredictable but four hours are counted from the moment travelers set their eyes on the gorillas. Travelers are reminded to be cautious and enjoy this time carefully since time is never enough. Expect to see how gorillas make their nests and how each family member plays a different role in the family. The silver back is the head and determines all family movements, adult females nurse the young ones while the juveniles entertain the family keeping it live. At the time you start to see discarded leaves, stems stripped of foliage, bent vegetation and knuckle prints, just know that you are already in gorilla’s territory.
Rules and regulations
The do’s and don’ts in gorilla habituation experience are similar to gorilla trekking. A seven meter distance must be kept a way from the gorillas, all travelers must be aged 15 years and above and you should not feed or touch the wild gorillas in any way. Carry back everything you pack from the start not leaving any litter behind. Turn back you faces in case you want to cough or sneeze to avoid the spread of communicable disease to the critically endangered gorillas.
Incase gorillas behave wildly; travelers are reminded to copy their movements, by crouching down to calm them down.
Dressing code and what to pack
Dress right for the jungle since you are spending many hours hiking up and down in the jungle. Proper dressing for gorilla habituation experience include hiking boots for slippery muddy grounds for easy hiking, gardening gloves to grab on the rush vegetation, rain jackets for unpredictable forest weathers, sun glasses and hut to stop direct sun. Also, you are reminded to carry enough drinking water, and energy giving snacks to keep you strong in the continuous hikes. A walking stick is very helpful in providing you with support incase of falling and steep slopes. Additionally, hire a porter for only 10 dollars who will help you to carry baggage making it easy to hike.
Conclusively therefore, travel to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, take part in gorilla habituation experience and enjoy a lifetime experience.