Uganda is home to more than half of the World’s total population of mountain Gorillas. They live in Bwindi Impenetrable forest and Mgahinga National Parks. Gorilla Habituation involves slowly introducing the wild gorillas to the presence of humans. It also covers activities like Naming of the Gorillas by the researchers and learning about the behaviors of individual Gorillas. The location of the Gorillas is also determined during this period as they monitor their movements. Before the Gorillas are cleared for tracking experience by the visitors, they are monitored for a long period to ensure that they are harmless to the guests. Gorilla habituation is undoubtedly the most captivating Gorilla activity in the world, it gives visitors more time to interact with the Gorillas. Unlike Gorilla Trekking where you are only allowed for one hour, Habituation experience involves a lot more like naming of the Gorillas that requires more time. Guide to gorilla habituation experience with Lets Go Tours Rwanda
How long is Habituation Experience?
Gorilla habituation experience takes 2-5 years training the Gorillas as the researchers monitor their behavior towards human presence. Tourists that want to engage in this experience are allowed to join the team of researchers in the training, naming and getting the Gorillas used to people. Visitors who are taken to the forest for this habituation experience are allowed to a maximum of 4 hours with the Gorillas which the standard time by conservationists to avoid frustrating the Gorillas. Those interested in this great activity must be sure they are ready to spend 4 hours with the Gorillas since it might be too much time to some people. Unlike the Gorilla trekking experience where one hour may seem too small with the Gorillas, habituation is a rather lengthy activity that require patience and this explains the 4 hour encounter with visitors.
The exercise is a full day experience that gives you ample time to closely observe the individual behavior of each member of the gorilla family as they interact with each other.
Cost of Gorilla habituation Experience
Gorilla habituation experience is one of the most captivating experiences taking the wildest nature of the Gorillas. Unlike the Gorilla trekking experience that is charged $700 per person, Habituation experience is charged $1500 per person in all gorilla destinations in Uganda. This is a standard charge for all guests whether foreigners or residents of the country. Visitors are required to acquire Gorilla tracking permits from the relevant authorities in the respective countries to be allowed to go for the habituation experience.
Where to go for Gorilla Habituation experience
Rushaga sector in the south of Bwindi Impenetrable forest is the only place where this amazing experience takes place. One Gorilla family has been put aside for the habituation experience and many people across the world have participated. The process is completely safe for the guests because it’s done with the trained people from Uganda Wildlife Authority. Gorilla permits for this activity must be booked in time to avoid missing on this breathtaking experience. Other countries like Rwanda and the DRC do not have the habituation experience at the moment. Just like gorilla trekking experience, only 8 people are allowed to visit the Gorilla family under habituation. The standard rule of 8 people per visit is meant to avoid stressing the Gorillas which may result into attacks from these wild animals.
Age for this activity
Gorillas are wild animals even when they have been habituated and there is a limit to the age that is allowed to be in their presence. Children below 14 years of age are not allowed to go for the habituation experience. Exceptions to this require approvals from the authorities and these include children whose birth date to their 15th year is close to or on the tracking date. Children who prove their maturity with the presence of their guardians. The guardian/parent will then sign a consent agreement and then the child can go for the habituation experience in company of the guardian.
N.B: The major difference between Gorilla habituation experience and Tracking is that Habituation is a slow and gentle process of introducing Gorillas to the presence of humans while Gorilla Tracking involves searching for gorillas that are used to the presence of humans to learn about them.