Gorilla habituation in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
Gorilla habituation is where tourists stay around the mountain gotrillas for more than 1 hour. The four hour activity around mountain gorillas I sonly done in bwindi impenetrable forest national park. This is a protrected area in south westetn Uganda harboring the highest population of mountain gorillas in the whole world. With gorilla habititaion, trekkers go an extra mile of taking part in the activities that make the mountain gorillas get used to human presemce around them.
Only 2 mountain gorilla families are designed for gorilla habitiation activities in bwindi imeosntrable forest nationa park. These mountain gorilla families are found in the southern parts of the park namely rushaga and nkuringo. There is bikingi mointain gorilla family in nkuringo sector and bishaho mountain gorilla family in rushaga sector.
The reason as to why these mountain gorillas were designed for gorilla habituation is because they wanted tourists to have more time around mountain gorillas. They wanted tourists to be part of the activities that make mountain gorillas get used to human presence around them. In the whole world, the gorilla habituation activity is done in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
Gorilla habituation in bwindi impenetrable forest national park is carried out every day of the year and untill the mountain gorilla family fully gets used to human presence around them it’s one for gorilla trekking. So many families have been habituated and are now open for trekking however these two families are designed for habituation purposes.
Gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
Gorilla habituation in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park starts very early in the morning in the southern sectors of the park. The activity starts at 7:00am in the morning in Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors where two mountain gorillas are designed for habituation activities. The gorilla habituation activity does start with a briefing to enable tourists learn about the rules and regulations of the activity.
Once briefing is done, the tourists not exceeding 4 are led by armed ranger guides into the jungle where they start searching for the semi habituated mountain gorilla families. The armed ranger guides use different trails in the jungle, visit different areas where they love to hang and follow some of the fresh foot prints if any.
Inside the jungle, tourists do meet different attractions among which include wildlife, vegetation, and water sources. The search goes from 30 minutes to 6 hours but eventually you will have to meet the mountain gorilla family you are looking for. When the you meet the mountain gorilla family, your guides give you 4 hours and a team of researchers does join you to teach you the different activities you do to make the apes get used to human presence around them.
Apart from teaching mountain gorillas how to get used to human presence around them, you do get an opportunity to learn about their habits, take photos or record videos and you also get an opportunity to watch the members carry out daily activities like hunting, nesting, playing among many others. After 4 hours with mountain gorillas, you are still lead out of the jungle by the armed ranger guide and later you go to the sector offices where you are awarded gorilla habituation certificates.
For one to enjoy the gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi, right essentials are needed. They include waterproof hiking boots, long cotton stocks, hiking sticks, light back pack, a camera, a pair of binoculars, insect repellents, snacks, and water.
The cost of gorilla habituation permits
The gorilla habituation permits are sold by Uganda Wildlife Authority at UGX750, 000 citizens of east African member states, $1000 for foreign residents, and $1500 foreign residents. One must purchase gorilla habituation permits if they want to be part of the gorilla habituation team. A person can purchase them from Uganda wildlife authority or a local tour operator.
For tourists to be on the safe side, its better they book the permits earlier because they are few and sell out quickly more so in the dry season. Tourists are advised to book there permits 3 to 4 months are more in advance. This is advised to save tourists from find when permits are done and also last minute booking disappointments.