Gorilla Habituation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Gorilla habituation in Bwindi is an activity where visitors alongside park rangers, researchers, and habituators spend more time in presence of the semi-habituated gorilla families and those that have never been habituated training them how to get used to the humans’ presence. Gorilla habituation in Bwindi impenetrable national park was started by the Uganda Wildlife Authority in 2014, in order to attract visitors who wish to spend more than one hour given to trekkers since habituation guarantees a full day toil through the thick blush with the endangered mountain gorillas in the wilderness as they move and wonder in search of shoots in the forest. 

Uganda is still the best destination for gorilla safaris harboring almost a half of 1004 mountain gorillas the still exist in the world today with about 19 habituated families available for trekking on a daily basis  in 4 sectors of Bwindi impenetrable national park including Buhoma sector, Ruhija sector, Rushaga sector and Nkuringo sector plus one family in the Mgahinga Gorilla National park thus making Uganda the best country for visitors who wish to spend some time with the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. 

Keeping in mind that Gorillas share about 99% of their DNA with human, training them is like training a fellow human only that Gorillas are wild and stay in the forests and mountains ranging between 2,227metres to 4,127metres high above the sea level. Habituation is a very tiring experience since the gorilla families involved are half habituated and so they tend to shy away and even hide thus requires more time to follow them up convincing them that you aren’t a poacher. In the process of habituation, visitors get to learn about their feeding habits, Nesting, breastfeeding, copulation and many more as you have the entire day with them. The habituation process takes between two to three years for the gorillas to fully get used to the humans.

Where can I go for a gorilla habituation experience in Uganda?

In Uganda, Gorilla Habituation Experience is best carried out in Rushaga sector located in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable national park with two gorilla families for habituation that is Bukingi gorilla family and Bushaho Gorilla Family.

This experience is done at a cost of $1500 and the permit can be obtained directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority or through a trusted and registered tour operator such as Achieve Global Safaris to organize the entire safari. The gorilla habituation permits should be booked six months in advance since there are currently 2 families set aside for habituation. 

What do I need to park for a Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi?

  • First and foremost, book your Gorilla habituation permit in advance 
  • Ensure that your hiking shoes are ready since you will need to move along the distance.
  • Light clothes are preferred, but make sure that a raincoat doesn’t miss out in your backpack since in the rain forest it can rain at any time.
  • For birders, pack your Binoculars 
  • And finally a camera captures your entire memory while in the forest with the endangered primates.

What makes gorilla habituation to differ from gorilla trekking?

  • Gorilla habituation only involves 4 people and 4 hours are allowed in the presence of the gorillas while gorilla trekking involves 8 people and only one hour is allowed in the presence of gorillas
  • Gorilla habituation permit costs $1500 per person while the gorilla trekking permit costs $600 per person 
  • Only 2 Gorilla family are available for habituation while 17 gorilla families are available for trekking all in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park 

What are other activities carried out in Bwindi other than Gorilla habituation?

Well, Uganda being the pearl of Africa has got several attractions and activities for visitors who land on the ground to view the inner beauty of Uganda. The major activity done by the visitors on a Ugandan safari is gorilla trekking and habituation experience which are done in Bwindi Impenetrable National park.

However, there other several activities that visitors can engage while in Bwindi Impenetrable national park which include;

  • Mountain biking that is mainly done in the Buhoma sector where several trails in the forest provide best sites for birders, village nature walks while riding the bicycle
  • There is also Batwa experience where visitors meet and interact with the Batwa people known for living in the forest for the past several years as hunters and gatherers. These interesting people enjoy sharing their past lifestyle with any visitor that needs some entertainment through cultural songs and dances.
  • Birders who visit Bwindi Impenetrable National park are in position to watch several bird species since the park harbors around 350 bird species.
  • There is also hiking in the forest that leads to several trails to the lakes, caves and many more 
  • Community encounters where visitors meet and interact with the local Bakiga and bafumbira who make handcrafts and visitors are allowed to purchase as many as they can and the money collected is used to develop the communities through road construction, hospitals, and schools.
Gorilla Habituation in Bwindi
Gorilla Habituation in Bwindi

Where can I stay during the gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi Impenetrable forest?

There are several lodges around Rushaga Sector which include Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Gorilla solution Lodge, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge, Nshongi Gorilla Camp, and many more according to the visitors choice.

In conclusion, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best Park where visitors are 100% sure of trekking and habituating Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat alongside other activities. However, visitors that need to trek easier can go for the one gorilla family should visit Mgahinga Gorilla National park.