The major activity in Bwindi Forest is gorilla tracking within the impenetrable jungles. However there is a new activity that has been introduced in this popular national park and this is the gorilla habituation experience.
This adventure will involve you following a troop of mountain gorillas for up to 4 hours within the wild. Visa-viz the normal gorilla treks that involve gorilla watching for only 1 hour, on this new adventure you have 4 hours to follow the troop of gorillas and learn about them in the wild.
Unlike the usual gorilla treks where you will be grouped into a maximum of 8 people, the new experience permits only 4 tourists to visit a gorilla group per day. This is done in order to ensure that there is minimal impact on the area. Gorilla permits must be booked in advance since they are on a very high demand all year round. A gorilla trek within the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a highlight of all visits done in Uganda and certainly mountain gorillas are the major reason as to why very many people visit Uganda visit Uganda.
On the other hand, Uganda is recognized as a very safe and more so secure country in which you can see these Gorillas in serene surroundings. After an early morning breakfast, you’ll begin our fantastic journey into the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to track gorillas. You will drive to the National Park’s headquarters for registration and join a gorilla trekking briefing about the do’s and the don’ts of your gorilla trek. Once this is done, you will trek through thick creepers and undergrowth with your guides to find the Gorillas, which can take you from half an hour to three quarters of the day.
The steeply forested landscape is incredibly dense but crisscrossed by numerous animal trails allowing access to tourists. On your trek, you are likely to spot other primates, birds and rare tree species. After finding the gorillas, you will be allowed to spend one hour with them before trekking back to the Park headquarter. This is indeed an extraordinary feeling being with these beautiful yet endangered Creatures. You will be awarded a certificate for participating in gorilla trekking and thus contributing to the conservation of mountain gorillas. Get back to the lodge for relation and dinner.
The Gorilla habituation package is only available in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in the Rushaga and Nkuringo areas and is not available in Rwanda, or the Democratic Republic of Congo. Those going for this experience should expect to visit semi habituated mountain gorillas which can decide to hide, behave in a manner which is not usual and the experience can be stopped upon advice from researchers. With mountain gorilla habituation experience, clients will be moving with researchers/those who habituate gorillas, spend more time and see how gorillas are habituated. You spend 4 hours with the Mountain Gorillas instead of one as in normal tracking. Usually, tracking starts at 7:30am at Rushaga or Nkuringo, depending on the group you are visiting.
Only 4 visitors are allowed per day per group compared with the 8 visitors for the normal gorilla trekking. You spend more time with the gorillas. For this activity, you spend 4 hours with a Gorilla Family being habituated instead of 1 hour. Considering that you spend about two or more hours searching for the gorillas, you have a full day. In terms of cost, a permit for gorilla habituation permit is US$1500 per person per day compared to US$600 for the normal gorilla tracking.
All the rules and etiquette of gorilla tracking, including clothing and foot wears apply to the Gorilla Habituation Experience. Due to the limited number of participants allowed each day and the interest in the activity, bookings for the gorilla habituation permits must be done well in advance.