Uganda Safari Packages

Kasangati, Kampala, Uganda
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Experiences such as gorilla habituation are rare and by far, they are a few on planet earth that offer enthusiastic primate travelers a chance to interact with a family of massive mountain gorillas. Rwanda Gorillas gorilla TourGorilla habituation is the process of training unhabituated gorilla families such that they get used to human presence.

Habituation process is often conducted before the family of gorillas is opened for actual gorilla trekking. Gorilla habituation experience in Uganda is aimed at providing visitors an in-depth learning about gorillas. It is a powerful experience where you have a long-day interaction with a semi-habituated group of mountain gorillas in the wild.

Gorilla habituation is a unique experience and was launched back in 2014. It is an exceptional primate adventure that allows primate enthusiasts to spend quality time with a group of endangered mountain gorillas.

How long does gorilla habituation take?

Gorilla habituation lasts for 2-3 years before a group of gorillas finally get acquainted to human presence. But some groups even take shorter period and they can be opened for gorilla trekking. The process of habituating gorillas is usually done by a group of experienced park rangers, trackers, scientists and other enthusiastic environmentalist.

The process involves daily visit to the group undergoing habituation and participants take record of how the gorillas behave.

How is Uganda gorilla habituation experience like?

Gorilla habituation is generally a slow and gentle introduction of a semi-habituated gorilla group to human presence. This experience is enjoyable only in Rushaga sector in the Southern end of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Maximum of 4 visitors pay a visit to the group undergoing habituation and these are accompanied by team of trackers and park rangers, etc.

Participants on this experience have up to 4 hours to observe how mountain gorillas behave, take pictures and also observe their unique body gestures. When a gorilla group completes the process, it is then introduced to normal gorilla trekking. It is during this stage when the authorities are certain that the group of gorillas are comfortable with human presence in their habitat.

Engaging in the gorilla habituation experience is remarkably one of the best ways in which you can support the significant efforts intended to habituate gorillas and also ensure their well-protection in the wild. It is an enriching primate adventure and does provide guests with lasting memories.

How many mountain gorillas still live in the world?

A total of 1063 mountain gorillas still survive in the wild and these are wide-spread across the 3 African states; the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda and Rwanda. Half of the world’s population of these unique apes survive in the jungles of Uganda.

Cost of Uganda Gorilla Habituation Experience permits

The cost of Uganda gorilla habituation permits as per 2024-2026 still stands at USD 1500 per person if you are the foreign non-resident, USD 1000 for the foreign residents and in case of the East Africa citizens, you pay Uganda shillings 750,000. A single gorilla habituation permits are valid for a single visit of gorillas and only visitors of 15 years and above are eligible to book permits or participate in this exhilarating primate experience.

When to visit Rushaga in Bwindi for gorilla habituation

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an all year-round primate destination. It enjoys favorable weather conditions with temperature range of 20-25 degrees celsius. The park experiences most favorable weather conditions, especially during the dry months when there is low or completely no rains. During the dry months (June, July, August, September, December, January, February), it is easier to navigate through the park’s dense rainforest and steep slopes in search for mountain gorillas unlike during the wet or rainy season.

Heavy rains are recorded during the rainy or wet season and the gorilla habitat can be muddy and slippery. There are 2 phases of wet or rainy season and they occur from March, April, May, October and November.

Essentials for gorilla habituation tour

Like normal gorilla treks, packing well for gorilla habituation experience should be a must-do. Some of the key items to consider on your packing list for gorilla habituation safari in Bwindi include light weight and waterproof daypack, long-sleeved shirts, long trousers, strong and waterproof hiking/walking boots that offer great support to ankles when walking, waterproof rain jacket, gardening gloves, a good camera and additional batteries and lenses, toiletries (including insect repellents, bite relief cream, after-sun, lip balm, toothpaste, etc), a pack of snacks, and adequate bottled water.

Guidelines to follow during gorilla habituation

  • Keep a social distance of 8-10 meters away from the family being habituated.
  • You can be allowed to be part of habituation experience if you are above 15 years.
  • Valid gorilla habituation permits are a must-have.
  • When interacting with gorillas, always avoid direct eye contact
  • Do not touch gorillas even if they get close to you.
  • Keep gorilla habitats clean or better than you got.
  • Observe the guide’s instructions when gorillas charge at you.

Gorilla trekking Vs gorilla habituation

Gorilla trekking is done on already habituated gorilla groups and gorilla habituation focuses on the semi-habituated or completely wild gorilla family. The group is trained to get used to human presence before it is opened for trekking.

Maximum of 8 visitors go to track gorillas and 4 are allowed to visit gorilla group undergoing habituation. Normal gorilla treks are enjoyable across all the 4 parks where mountain gorillas are but habituation experience is specifically done only in Rushaga area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Where to stay

The best places to stay on gorilla habituation safari in Bwindi include Nshongi Camp, Four Gorillas Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Havens Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp and more.

Getting there

Access to Rushaga sector in Bwindi for gorilla habituation is possible by road or air. By road, you can set off from Entebbe city or Kampala through Masaka city-Mbarara route about 8-9 hours’ drive or connect from Kigali city via Chanika/Katuna border. By air, take a flight from Entebbe airport to Kisoro/Kihihi airstrip where you can easily drive up to the lodge around Rushaga.

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