Comparison Between Gorilla Trekking and Gorilla Habituation
Comparison between gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation will be in terms of price, experience, length or time period, and so many other aspects worth looking at. While gorilla trekking involves a group of 8 tourists hiking the forest in search of the already habituated gorilla families in their natural habitat to spend one hour with them, gorilla habituation involves familiarizing with wild gorillas so as to make them accommodate human interaction and presence. Both gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation take place in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site for its contribution to the conservation of mountain gorillas. Both gorilla trekking and habituation offer incredibly awesome experiences, below are some of the comparisons between gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation that would help you know a little more about each of the activities and maybe choose which to opt for if not do both;
Price: The prices of these two activities differ greatly with gorilla trekking having a gorilla permit at $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents and ugx250,000 for East African citizens while permits for gorilla habituation are at $1,500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 for foreign residents and ugx750,000 for East African citizens. These permits can be purchased at the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices or through a trusted tour operator. Booking in advance for both activities is required as they sell out very fast.
Number of persons for each activity: whereas gorilla trekking in Bwindi allows 8 persons to track a single gorilla family per day, gorilla habituation only allows 4 tourists per gorilla family. This is to minimize spread of infections and stressing out of the gorillas.
Length/period of the activities: gorilla trekking activity limits travelers after encountering the gorillas to spend only one hour in the presence of the habituated family, while gorilla habituation allows travelers to spend four full hours in the presence of these wild gorillas undergoing the habituation process. The time spent on the treks to and from the location of the particular gorilla family is dependent on where they are camped and can take any time between 30 minutes and 5 hours or more.
Persons that escort the tourist while on these activities: tourists on a gorilla trekking adventure only need a guide and ranger to escort them on the adventure whereas tourists on a gorilla habituation exercise are required to move with rangers, researchers and habituation experts and doctors. This is because the gorillas undergoing the habituation exercise are still wild and undertaking a series of learning procedure so tourists need these people that are more knowledgeable in handling them to be with them during the gorilla habituation experience.
Number of gorilla families available: there are 19 fully habituated gorilla families in the four sectors of Bwindi that tourists can track while on a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, while only 2 gorilla families are currently being habituated and therefore the only ones that tourists can have a gorilla habituation experience with and are in the southern sector of the park only.
Appropriate age: the appropriate and recommended age for both activities is 15 years. Persons below the age of 15 can not go gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation for fear of their reaction to what they’ll see as they can scream or be really frightened and also fail to make through the trek. The childhood diseases that they also carry are a threat to the gorillas as the gorillas can easily catch them and are really deadly to them.
Tourists can visit Bwindi impenetrable national park to take part in either gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation or maybe both throughout the year. The dry season that runs through the months of June-September and mid-December-February are the most encouraged as the park is easily accessed and the vegetation cover is not so overgrown.
The rules and regulations for gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation are the same and travelers are advised to follow them at all times for their own safety and conservation of the mountain gorillas. Some of them include;
- Minimum age for both activities is 15 years
- Tourists should not be sick or have any infection
- A 7-meter distance should always be maintained when in the presence of the gorillas
- Do not look at the gorillas straight in the eyes
- Stay calm when a gorilla charges at you. Follow all the instructions that your ranger or guide will be sharing at that moment
- Do not use flash photography
- Do not litter the park
- Do not eat, drink or smoke near the gorillas
For successful gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experiences, tourists are advised to pack the recommended essential items like good hiking boots, long-sleeved shirts, long trousers, hand gloves, waterproof hats, jackets, energy giving snacks among so many others.
Both gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation are wonderful and thrilling activities worth taking part in while in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The comparison between gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation should help you on what to do, if not both of them. Whatever you choose to, have a trusted tour operator help you plan it all out.