Do you want to spend more time with mountain gorillas? Take part in the exceptional gorilla habituation experience done only in Rushaga sector of Bwindi forest national park. Much as many people cherish the 1-hour of gorilla trekking, gorilla habituation experience is much more than being with gorillas but rather a half-day of interaction with the endangered gorillas in the wild. The experience is a 2-3 years training of wild gorillas aimed at making the wild get familiar to the presence of people before a gorilla family is opened to travelers for trekking.
Gorilla habituation experience is one of the newly introduced tourism products in Bwindinational park, where travelers trek along with conservationists, researchers and gorilla doctors to interact with gorillas every day. Participants copy and practice the actual behaviors of gorillas such as crawling, jumping over tree branches, and eating vegetation to make wild gorillas feel free in their presence. The first days of training are tough due to the wild characters of gorillas and trainers keep a big distance so avoid trouble and as time goes on, they keep coming closer when mountain gorillas get used to their presence. Trainers, rangers and gorilla doctors must visit the gorilla families undergoing habituation every day with or without the clients taking part.
Which families are undergoing habituation?
Currently, two gorilla families of Bushaho and Bikyingi are undergoing habituation process. The two families are all situated in Rushaga sector south of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and are yet to be opened for trekking. Bikyingi and Bahati are dominants silverbacks who head the Bikyingi and Bushaho families respectively. Interestingly, there is great hope for the expansion of the families with new babies being born. Presently there are 8 baby gorillas 6 0 of which are in Bikyingi family and 2 in Bushaho families.
The cost of habituation permit
Just like in gorilla tracking, all participants in mountain gorilla habituation must have valid permits. A single habituation permits costs 1500usd , which is quite expensive compared to gorilla trekking and their packages in Uganda but the experience is worth the pay. Habituation permits can be accessed direct from the Uganda wildlife authority (UWA) or through any trusted tour operator offering similar packages. All travelers planning to take part in gorilla habituation are reminded to book in advance roughly 4 months before the actual day and pay 30% deposit of the total cost. There are eight habituation permits available every day meaning that only eight people are allowed r access these two families per day. The cost of a gorilla permit is similar all year round (1500usd) but the experience is surely worth the pay.
It all starts with all travelers waking up early and transferring to the head quarters of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in Rushaga sector. Travelers attend a simple briefing for rules and regulation with the gorillas, which normally ends at 7:00am. From there, travelers’ s together with rangers and gorilla doctors hike into the forest in search of the being trained gorillas. Travelers may spend several hours before reaching the gorillas but the actual time to spend interacting with the gorilla family is four hours. The four hours are counted from the time travelers’ meet the gorillas. The four hours of interaction is a trilling experience in which traveler come closer with wild gorillas to train and tame them so as to get used to people. The four hours are to observe carefully the characters of these gorillas, as well as taking as many photographs as possible.
What to carry and what to wear
Gorilla habituation experience is a full day interaction with the wild gorillas in the jungle. All travelers are therefore reminded to carry packed lunch, enough drinking water and other energy giving snacks. Sometimes, gorillas move to higher altitudes, which require travelers to spend a full day in the forest, hence need to be strong to keep moving and enjoy the experience. Walking sticks are very helpful in the steep slopes helping to ease movement and provide support in the slippery grounds. Regarding what to wear, you must be smart for the jungle if you are to enjoy the experience. The appropriate dressing code include hiking which help to ease your walking in the slippery muddy grounds, the gardening to protect you from scratches by thorny bushes. More still carry warm sweaters and rain jeers for the unpredictable forest weather. Dress right for the jungle is a key to a successful habitation process.
Rules and regulationsThe best time for gorilla habituation
Gorilla habituation can be done at any time of the year but the dry season in the months of June, July August and December are best for habituation. There is little or no rainfall at all which make it easy for to walk through dense forests and underground bushes.
Conclusively therefore, visit Rushaga sector, take part in gorilla habituation experience rewarding you with an extra ordinary experience that lasts for a lifetime.