Gorilla Habituation Experience in Uganda
Gorilla habituation experience in Uganda is a tourist activity recently introduced to gorilla tourism in Uganda and it operates in the gorilla sector of Rushaga in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Gorilla habituation is a practice that sees the training of wild mountain gorillas to have them familiarize and accommodate human presence before they are availed to the public for gorilla trekking. Gorilla habituation is an everyday activity that has researchers, experts, conservationists, rangers and gorilla doctors visiting the gorilla families being habituated. This is done for a period of 2-3 years though some gorilla families have been known to have gotten fully habituated in just 15 months. It is on the daily visits to the gorilla families being habituated that gorilla habituation experience for tourists was availed that they get to take part in the habituation process of these wild mountain gorillas. With or without the tourists taking part in gorilla habituation, the concerned persons do visit the gorilla families on a daily basis. Gorilla habituation is only possible in the southern region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the Rushaga sector.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has 19 fully habituated gorilla families that tourists can track. There are about 2 families being habituated that tourists can go on mock visits in a gorilla habituation experience. Gorilla habituation experience in Uganda starts very early in the morning with a briefing at the headquarters at 7am from where tourists are given rules and regulations that they are supposed to follow while on the exercise-these rules and regulations are the same as those for gorilla trekking. Tourists are allowed 4 long hours with the gorillas when they do encounter them. During the four hour stay, tourists get to learn about the individual behaviors of the mountain gorillas of that gorilla family, can take part in gorilla naming, collecting information of the gorilla family for research purposes and so much more. Only 4 tourists are allowed to visit a single gorilla family being habituated per day and they get to do this along with the researchers, rangers, gorilla doctors and conservationists.
For one to take part in a gorilla habituation experience in Uganda, one needs to have a gorilla permit that costs $1,500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 for foreign residents and ugx250,000 for East African citizens. These can be got from the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Kampala or through a trusted tour operator. Persons that are 15 years and above are the only ones that are allowed to take part in the activity and all persons taking part in gorilla habituation experience in Uganda must be healthy and free from infections such that they do not infect the gorillas as well as they can catch the diseases too. Booking gorilla habituation permits in advance is very crucial as there are only 8 permits available per day. Once you get the thought of taking part on this adventure, contact trusted tour operators who will help you plan and secure your permit.
Given the location of Bwindi and Rushaga sector in particular, ease access from Kigali Rwanda is guaranteed as it takes only a 3 hours’ drive through the Cyanika border. The sector can also be reached by air through chartered flights from Entebbe or Kampala to Kisoro or Kihihi and then be transported to the sector in about a 2-hours’ drive.
A gorilla habituation experience in Uganda is amazing and once in a lifetime experience that you will always treasure-encountering these our cousins more so for 4 long hours will evoke emotions that are indescribable. There are other activities in Rushaga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park itself that tourists can take part in say gorilla trekking, bird watching, nature walks, cultural encounters and so many others. Tourists can also opt to have their gorilla habituation experience in Uganda incorporated with other safaris to Uganda or Rwanda tours. Take time to plan the best safari with the best and trusted tour operators in the region.