Gorilla habituation experience per say does not have the actual definition but rather a process of making the wild gorillas get used to human presence. It is one of kind adventures and unlike the usual treks, with habituation experience, you will be with trackers, conservationists, researchers, scientists mainly tracking the semi habituated groups. It takes about 2 or more years or even less depending on how fast these creatures can become familiar to human presence in the wild. This is a new primate experience that is only attainable nowhere else in the world except Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in southwestern Uganda.
It is a new tourism product so far that is offered by Uganda Wildlife Authority. Compared to the normal treks, with gorilla habituation experience, only 4 visitors are allowed to take part. Also, there are only groups set aside for this particular experience and they are only in Bwindi National Park.
The cost of gorilla habituation experience permits
Like any adventure, in order for you to take part in gorilla habituation experience, you need $1500 for you to secure a permit. However, the price is worth it as you have all the entire day and 4 hour hours of magical encounter with these most fascinating creatures while in their natural habitat. The fact that this experience is limited to only 4 visitors per day, you are encouraged to book your permit is advance at least 6 months earlier before the actual habituation day mostly during December all through March and July-October. You can book your permit through a trust worthy ground tour operator or through reservationist at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). The important point to take note of is that, this experience is limited to persons above 15 years just like it is a case with the usual treks. This adventure is conducted within Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Besides securing a permit, you also need a passport and you need a scanned copy too just it is done in gorilla trekking. The cost of permit covers the park entry fees.
The fact that this rare adventure is never available in Rwanda or even in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), you can only take part in it while on holiday in Uganda and only in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. This park also features 4 main trailheads where the usual treks are always conducted and each of them has its habituated gorilla families for visitors to track. They include Buhoma sector north of Bwindi National Park with Mubare, Rushegura and Kahungye, Mishaya families; Nkuringo sector where you can track Nkuringo group and then in Ruhija trailhead in the eastern side of Bwindi National Park has Kyaguliro, Oruzogo, Bitukura and others.
For gorilla habituation experience, there are only 2 groups where you can take part in this lovely primate adventure and they include Bushaho and Bikingi. While on this experience, you get opportunity to understand in depth more about mountain gorillas and their behaviors. This exercise usually involves researchers, park rangers, conservationists, scientists, journalists, trackers and others.
The same requirements, dos and don’ts apply to this experience except only that with habituation experience, you are given 4 hours of magical encounter unlike the 1 hour for the usual treks. On the other hand, you need at least 2 bottles of drinking as this experience takes you the entire day while following the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.