Things to consider before booking a gorilla habituation tour : Booking a gorilla habituation tour post COVID-19 requires you to be observant following the recent changes made by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) on the gorilla trekking and mountain gorilla habituation permits. Gorilla habituation experience is undoubtedly a unique wildlife safari experience and there is a lot more to be learnt before your actual travel.

Before considering booking a gorilla habituation tour, you need to understand what mountain gorilla habituation experience is. Well, gorilla habituation doesn’t have the actual definition but generally, it is a process in which wild/semi-habituated mountain gorillas are made accustomed to visitors before they are opened for actual gorilla trekking.

It is a unique primate tour experience and it is usually conducted by researchers, scientists, conservationists, trackers involving a daily observation or following of wild mountain gorillas in their habitat. The process may take between 2 and 3 years or less although this varies depending on how fast these great apes can get used to human presence.

Trackers/researchers explore their daily behaviours from morning till they make new nests to retire. Once they are sure that they can be tracked, they will be subjected into a mock exercise involving few travellers/visitors and guides to kick start trekking a particular gorilla family that has been undergoing habituation, Things to consider before booking a gorilla habituation tour.

Mountain gorilla habituation experience is a unique and first of its kind primate adventure in Africa. When gorillas finally become accustomed to human presence, they are opened for actual gorilla trekking. Unlike the normal gorilla trekking, gorilla habituation is limited to only 4 trekkers. Visitors who engage in this adventure are issued with certificates once they return from the long day search for mountain gorillas.

Where to go for gorilla habituation tour

Gorilla habituation tour is carried out only in the Rushaga area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This gorilla safari park lies in South western Uganda and it is reachable about 9 to 10 hours’ drive beginning from Entebbe or Kampala capital city however, it is also possible to access the park from Kigali about 3 to 4 hours’ drive. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the 4 gorilla parks where mountain gorillas live in the world. It lies at the extreme side of Uganda and it is surrounded by Kanungu, Kabale and Kisoro districts just at the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This park was established in 1991 primarily to host a section of mountain gorillas which presently account for 1063 individuals worldwide, 459 of which are inhabited in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Things to consider before booking a gorilla habituation tour
Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was designated as a UNESCO Site in 1994 and hosts not only mountain gorillas but also chimpanzees, baboons, antelopes, elephants, an estimate of 350 bird species and many more. Presently, it boasts of 20 habituated gorilla families set for gorilla trekking.

Availability of gorilla habituation permits per day

Only 4 gorilla habituation permits are available to be booked by visitors on gorilla habituation tour. This primate adventure is limited to 4 visitors per gorilla family and presently Kutu group is the only gorilla family still undergoing habituation exercise, Things to consider before booking a gorilla habituation tour. Due to high demand, it is important that you secure your permit early enough before the actual day of travel.

How much is gorilla habituation permit

The fees for gorilla habituation permits differ depending on the category of visitors. The foreign non-residents pay $1,500, foreign residents require $1,000 and the East African Community citizens will need UGX 750,000 to book gorilla habituation permit in Uganda. This covers park ranger guide service and park entrance fees.

How to book a gorilla habituation permit?

Achieve Global Safaris makes it easier for you to book your gorilla habituation permit and also gorilla habituation tour in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park thus Things to consider before booking a gorilla habituation tour. The places to find gorilla habituation permits in Uganda include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the reservation office at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) headquarters, Kampala.

What are set dos and don’ts for a successful gorilla habituation tour

  • Gorilla habituation experience is limited to only 4 trekkers per day per gorilla family
  • Once you come across mountain gorillas on gorilla habituation tour, expect to spend 4 hours face to face with them, take photos and have an in-depth learning on their daily behaviors.
  • Don’t go for habituation experience if you are sick, ill
  • In case you need to sneeze make sure you cover your nose or mouth in case of cough.
  • Flashlight cameras are prohibited for photo taking during gorilla habituation experience.
  • Gorilla habituation experience like gorilla trekking is limited to persons above 15 years.
  • Maintain a distance of 7 meters at all times from gorillas while on gorilla habituation experience.
  • Leave the habitat of mountain gorillas as clean as possible or in a better state than you found it when you embarked on gorilla habituation.
  • Keep your voices low while on gorilla habituation experience however; raise any questions for clarification without fear.

What to pack for a gorilla habituation tour

  • Waterproof daypack
  • Camera without flashlight
  • Long sleeved shirt
  • Insect repellents
  • Energy giving snacks
  • Plenty of bottled drinking water
  • First aid kit
  • Gardening gloves
  • Valid passport and visa
  • Sun glasses
  • Hat
  • Sweater
  • Gorilla habituation permit
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