Gorilla Habituation is one of the most exciting activities you should try out while on your trip to The Pearl of Africa – Uganda. The term Gorilla Habituation can simply be referred to as the process of training wild Gorillas to get used to the sight of people while in the wilderness. The whole Gorilla Habituation Experience takes a period of two to three years for a Gorilla Family to be fully habituated. The process is carefully done by trained researchers, trackers and rangers who meet with these Gorilla Families on a daily basis throughout the whole habituation process. The long term encounter with these Gorillas enables researchers to learn about the feeding ecology and social conduct of the species while monitoring their safety and health as a result of regular encounter with human beings.
After the Gorilla Habituation process, test visits are carried out for a period of about 8 months in which the Gorillas are visited by the researchers in company of visitors to confirm that a given family of Gorillas is fully Habituated. Once the test visits are successful, the Gorilla family is signed off as ready to be visited by tourists. Fully Habituated Gorillas are not shy when in company of human visitors and never attack tourists who go for this activity.
Check out our safaris with The Gorilla Habituation Experience
Time allowance and activities
Unlike Gorilla Tracking which gives visitors a maximum of 1 hour with the Gorillas, The Gorilla Habituation Experience gives them up to 6 hours with the rear endangered Mountain Gorillas. This time is fully exploited in closely observing the Gorillas, interacting with them, taking photos and shooting films with the Gorillas. The whole activity can cover more than three quarters of the day including transit to and from the tracking trails. The time rewarding experience of habituation offers clients an opportunity to interact with researchers and rangers trained in habituating gorillas and boost their knowledge while having fun.
Where to find the Gorillas
In Uganda, The Gorilla Habituation Experience is famous in the thick natural forest of Bwindi Impenetrable National park found in Kanungu District. This park is home to approximately 53% of the world’s total population of Mountain Gorillas.
Apparently Gorilla habituation experience is only done at the southern Rushaga sector of the Bwindi Impenetrable forests. However, clients can also be able to encounter the Gorillas in the normal tracking experience in all other sectors of the Bwindi Impenetrable forests and in Mgahinga Gorilla national park.
Requirements For Gorilla Habituation
For clients to enjoy the Gorilla Habituation Experience while in Uganda, the Habituation Permits need to be booked in advance (Up to two years in advance can be booked) to avoid any disappointments. This is because very few permits are issued on first come first serve basis. In Uganda, Gorilla Permits are issued and printed by Uganda wildlife Authority (UWA) at its headquarters. Gorilla Habituation Permit is $1,500 while for Gorilla Tracking (about one hour with the Gorillas once they have been tracked) experience, the price for the permits is $600 per permit.
In Rwanda, Gorilla Permits are issued and printed by Rwanda development board and each permit is issued at $1,500 for the foreign non-residents.
When setting off for the Gorilla Habituation/ tracking experience, you will depart from the Lodge after breakfast well equipped with the packed lunch and enough refreshments throughout the whole activity. You are also advised to carry with you some sun screen lotion, insect repellent, a hat/cap, a rain jacket, comfortable hiking boots, and a camera for photographic moments. You will be allocated a Gorilla Family to track and thereafter enter the forests with the game rangers assigned to you. There are very high chances of meeting several other primate species during the experience.