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Gorilla Habituation Experience

UGANDA Gorilla HABITUATION experience Tour - 3 Days

Gorillas and Wildlfe Safaris Hall of Fame Trip Advisor RecommendedUganda Gorilla Habituation Experience Tour  - Spend (4 times) more time with mountain gorillas.

The aim of this Uganda gorilla habituation experience tour is that you spend more time with the mountain gorillas than the usual in the shortest time possible. The gorilla habituation experience permit will allow you to have 4-hours with the mountain gorillas in Bwindi (more than the standard 1 hour) without spending more nights/days on the gorilla trek tour.   This is the ideal safari to Africa for travelers who would love a deeper than ordinary experience with the rare mountain gorillas. The tour can start on any day (so long as there are gorilla permits available/ booked for you). We normally start from your hotel in Kampala or Entebbe but can also start/end  from Kigali if requested. The standard for this gorilla habituation tour is to drive to/from Bwindi but we can as well book flights for you if you don't like the long drives.

Overview
Itinerary
Inclusions
Overview

Uganda (Bwindi) Gorillas Habituation Experience Tour - 3 Days

  • Day 1:  Meet in Entebbe or Kampala or Kigali (on request) and drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (daily flights also available from Entebbe Airport)
  • Day 2: Mountain Gorilla Habituation Experience (4 hours with the mountain gorillas)
  • Day 3: Return to Kampala - Entebbe (flights from Kisoro to Entebbe also available)

Video of Bikingi Gorilla Family Members Playing when I did the Gorillas Habituation Experience

 

Bikingi Gorilla Family member - for Gorilla Habituation Experience Bwindi

Bikingi Gorilla Family member - for Gorilla Habituation Experience Bwindi

Itinerary

3 Days Bwindi Gorilla Habituation Experience- Uganda

Day 1: Meet in Entebbe or Kampala (at your hotel), Drive to Bwindi National Park ( daily flights available)

Meet and greet with our local guide in Kampala/ Entebbe at 07:00hrs (or in Kigali)  before starting on your drive heading to southwestern Uganda. En route, there is a local community popular for making local drums and crafts and a fruit market. Stopover, admire and buy yourself souvenirs. Proceed to the Equator line taken as one beautiful scenery in Africa - the pathway of the sun and take photographs. Pass by mountains, tropical rainforest and bamboo forest during the nine-hour journey.

While most of today's forests are no more than 12,000 years old, Bwindi's vegetation has been weaving itself into tangles for over 25,000 years, in the process accumulating a lengthy species list.

This includes 310 species of butterflies, 51 reptiles, 200 trees, 88 moths and an exceptional 120 species of mammals including 10 primates. The latter includes chimpanzee, L'Hoest's, red tailed and blue monkey, black and white colobus, baboon, and Bwindi's most famous resident, the mountain gorilla.

Bwindi is a prime destination for bird- watchers. Its 350 species include seven which are IUCN red data listed and 90% of all Albertine rift endemics – species which are difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa.

Accommodation options

Up-market: Chameleon Hill Lodge or Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge (or upgrade to Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge)

Moderate: Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge

Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Camp | Gorilla Havens Lodge Rushaga

Day 2: Mountain Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

We have an early morning entry into the mountain gorilla’s sanctuary. Our intimate gorilla habituation experience allows you to accompany the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s Bwindi gorilla habituation team for the entire day, allowing you to have a minimum 4 hours in the presence of a mountain gorilla family.

Since regular permits only allow 1 hour, this is 4 times the amount of time spent up close with gorillas – more than any other safari operator! During this time you will be able to experience the gorilla family as they wake up, hunt, patrol, play, fight, copulate, and breastfeed until they build their nests at bedtime.

The thrill of spending time with and observing these gentle giants is a rare and moving adventure that will leave you with long lasting memories. Spending more time with them than the norm means you are assured of the best possible experience, with 4 full hours for better photography, researcher access for more questions, and enough time to experience more intimate and unusual behaviors. The gorillas are shy and peaceful animals and it is an unforgettable experience to watch and photograph them as they interact with each other.

The walking can sometimes be tough and long, but when you catch a glimpse of the magnificent silverback, any discomforts will be quickly forgotten. Once the gorillas are sighted, you will be guided to within 6 meters of the gorillas, and be able to sit all around them while gazing into their big round eyes as the researchers note health, behavior and other characteristics.

A gorilla habituation process takes a period of 2-3 years and it involves an advance team from the Uganda Wildlife Authority making frequent visits to the gorilla family. Upon establishing that the group is used and welcoming to tourists, the gorilla family becomes ready for tourists’ visits.

With the gorilla habituation experience, you move with researchers to experience how mountain gorillas are habituated. The price for mountain gorilla habituation experience is now at USD1500.00 and one can stay for up to four hours.

A maximum of only 4 visitors per day are being allowed to visit the gorilla habituation experience, compared to the 8 visitors on a normal Trek. One thing is certain, the Gorilla Habituation Experience is a one of a kind, exclusive activity in which only a select few can participate.  It is a learning experience, you learn from the researchers, trackers, rangers, conservationist, who are all part of the Habituation Process.

Up-market: Chameleon Hill Lodge or Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge (or upgrade to Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge)

Moderate: Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge

Low Budget: Rushaga Gorilla Camp | Gorilla Havens Lodge Rushaga

Day 3:  Return to Kampala-Entebbe

Early breakfast before embarking on our return to Kampala, driving down the grassed and terraced escarpments of southwestern Uganda while taking in the breathtaking sights of the hills of the region dubbed ‘the little Switzerland of Africa’. This area is a rows.

Not to miss as we traverse Mbarara are the impressing longhorn Ankole cattle. A remarkable highlight of this journey is the Equator line and surely you will cross it as we have a brief stop here. We will be in Kampala in the evening before for your flight back home.

 

Inclusions

Included

  • Our exclusive 4 hours gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Accommodation with meals indicated on programme
  • Bottled drinking water on the vehicle
  • Services of a good experienced English speaking tour guide/driver
  • Transport on tour as well as hotel transfers in safari land cruisers

Excluded

  • Tips for drivers and other staff
  • Flight tickets and departure taxes
  • Travel documentation (visas)
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Optional excursion
  • Beverages other than mineral water in the vehicle

Talk to a Uganda Safari Consultant

Enquire about this special wildlife experience and habituation safari and tour prices.

Talk to one of our destination experts to start planning your Uganda safari.

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UGANDA GORILLA HABITUATION EXPERIENCE TOURS

touched by gorilla habituation experience

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (for your Gorilla Habituation Experience)

The park is located in south western Uganda, covering parts of Rukungiri, Kisoro, and Kabale Districts. It is situated in a hilly country-side that, together with some remnant lowland forest outside the boundary constitutes an important water catchments area for many rivers, supplying the agricultural land of the surrounding region.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a true equatorial jungle, inhabited by four gorilla groups. Amongst the dense vegetation the Columbus monkey jumps from branch to branch, chattering its warning to its fellows hidden by the foliage. Chimpanzees, in families of 20 or 30, make the rounds, searching for fruit and edible plants.

It is situated in a hilly country-side that, together with some remnant lowland forest outside the boundary constitutes an important water catchments area for many rivers, supplying the agricultural land of the surrounding region.

The best time to visit Uganda is late December to late February, and from June to September, as the weather at this time of year is generally dry, and warm. Temperatures average at around 25 degrees Celsius.

Gorilla in Bikingi gorilla family for gorilla habituation experience tour in Bwindi

Mountain gorilla are trained for tourism with humans through a process known as gorilla habituation. This process is conducted by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and could go on for at least 2 years. After the habituation, mock tourism (a kind of trial tourism) is conducted on the gorilla group, allowing a limited number per day for about a year. After this the gorillas are opened for real tourism.

In Bwindi, the gorilla habituation experience is done with Bikingi gorilla group. The group is moderately challenging to trek although all elderly people trek it with mild difficulty. Needless to say, physically challenged people will find it difficult to reach the gorilla group. It will take about  3-4 hours to reach these gorillas. Once you reach them, you are allowed to witness the counting of the nests, dung heaps, and how many gorillas are in the group, you participate in the researcher note-taking just as you continue going about your usual tourist experience.

THE MOUNTAIN GORILLA HABITUATION EXPERIENCE

Gorilla habituation is the process through which a gorilla family gets used to human visits. A great opportunity to spend 4 hours with the Bwindi mountain gorillas instead of the standard 1 hours for USD1500 per permit per person. The habituation experience is done Bikingi Gorilla Group of Bwindi, in Rushaga Sector. 

A gorilla habituation process takes a period of 2-3 years and it involves an advance team from the Uganda Wildlife Authority making frequent visits to the gorilla family. Upon establishing that the group is used and welcoming to tourists, the gorilla family becomes ready for tourists’ visits.

With the gorilla habituation experience, you move with researchers to experience how mountain gorillas are habituated. The price for mountain gorilla habituation experience is now at USD1500.00 and one can stay for up to four hours.

Mountain gorillas are wild animals and, as such, sightings cannot be guaranteed. However, for the last 14 years, no one has trekked the gorillas and failed to see them in Uganda. Certainly, you won't be the one with bad luck! On the trek, once you find the gorillas, you will be allowed an hour with the gorillas and you can only go not more than 6 meters from them.  As the gorilla tracking can sometimes take a full day, you will need to go with your packed lunch and lots of drinking water when trekking to the gorillas.

Gorilla trekking timings and conditions vary tremendously as the gorillas move continuously through the rain forest. It is good to be prepared and remember the weather can change with very little warning. The terrain is often steep and through areas where there are no marked paths.

TIPS FOR THE BEST GORILLA HABITUATION EXPERIENCE IN UGANDA

 Secure Gorilla Habituation Experience permits early

Gorilla Habituation Experience is the most popular foreign tourist activity for Uganda. On every single day, only 5 tourists can do the gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi. Uganda's gorilla habituation experience is USD1500 per person and allows you 4 hours with the mountain gorillas.  This means the competition is quite high for the few gorilla habituation experience permits in Uganda and it becomes hard to secure gorilla habituation experience permits a few days to your Uganda gorilla habituation tour (although it is often possible with luck more so in the green season months of October, November, April and May).  It is best to have your gorilla habituation experience permit fully confirmed at least 4 months in advance.

Assess your fitness levels 

There is a likelihood you could walk for 3-6 hours on a gorilla trek. Gorillas are located deep in Bwindi forest with thick undergrowth over several steep volcanic slopes. Gorilla groups keep roaming this forest looking for their favorite food. They are never stationed in the same place over days. Your gorilla habituation trek will follow this same trend and it is quite unpredictable knowing how long or tough your gorilla trekking shall be. The longer trek is not necessarily a problem, just something to be prepared for.  A bit of moderate physical fitness is needed for gorilla trekking in Uganda.

Guides & Porters for the gorilla trek

You will be guided through the forest on your gorilla tracking by a Uganda Wildlife Authority guide whom you will meet at the departure point in the morning of your trek. Your guide can help you book a porter (or two!) so that you can track without having to carry the few essential items listed below in a day pack which you should bring with you. The porters are from the local community and very used to the local conditions and can assist in pushing, pulling and supporting you during your trek to the gorillas. They are usually an additional fee, over and above your safari cost, and you should budget on approximately USD15-20 per porter per day as a fee with additional tipping being optional.

As the porters do not have tracking permits they will be stopped a short distance from the point you will be viewing the mountain Gorillas. Please remember to take whatever you may need from your bag to view the gorillas and rather leave valuables at the lodge/camp.

You will be allowed up to one hour for viewing of the gorillas from when they are sighted by your group. This is to ensure that the wild animals are not overexposed to human presence. Whilst in their presence you will also be required to keep minimum distances from them – generally between 5-7 metres and your guides will ensure this is enforced.

Uganda Gorillas and chimps habituation experience tour

What to pack on gorilla habituation experience tour

• Plenty of water – 1-2 litres per person
• High energy snacks in addition to your packed lunch provided by the lodge/camp
• Spare film and batteries for videos and cameras
• Gloves (gardening type are good)
• Waterproof bag to protect photographic equipment
• A hat, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and band-aids might be useful
• A lightweight waterproof jacket/poncho
• Walking sticks are made available at the start of the trek for some of the steeper and more slippery tracks and may prove to be very handy.

Gorilla Habituation Experience  Age Limits

The age limit for gorilla  habituation experience  is 15 years and the authorities are very strict on this! With special written permission however, a 14yr old might pass.

Videos & Photography for Gorilla Habituation Experience in Uganda

In Uganda, it can be difficult to capture good photos under the dark canopy of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, as the name suggests! If you are very lucky, you may encounter your gorilla family in a clearing.

Here are a few tips for photographing the gorillas in Uganda:

  • If you’re taking photos using a standard point-and-shoot camera, then make sure your camera is fully charged.
  • Always take extra memory cards.
  • Remember that flash photography is not allowed when you are with the gorillas. Make sure you have your camera manual with you so you know how to disable the automatic flash and automatic focus light functions.
  • We recommend a good SLR camera. The best lenses are those with a wide aperture such as f2,8 which allow in max light and are best in gloomy conditions.  A 24 – 70 mm and a 70 – 200 m is a good combination. If you have space then consider a 300mm and a wide angle but it’s a steep walk so consider hiring a porter. A 50 mm 1.4 lens is also ideal for low light shooting and something to consider as a standard lens.
  • Professional filmmakers require permission and need to purchase filming permits in advance from UWA (Uganda) or RDB (Rwanda).
  • Keep your camera and/or phone in a waterproof bag (such as a large Ziploc bag). Cue: you’re in the rainforest.

Professional photographers, film makers or media should advise us at the time of booking as special procedures are required as well as costs to be incurred for photographing and filming.

Uganda gorilla habituation experience bwindi