Gorilla Habituation Experience is the act of training wild gorillas to become used to the sight of people. It involves different groups of people like the trackers, conservationists, trackers, researchers and rangers among others who take a period of about 2 to 3 years completing this habituation experience. It is a learning experience that has just recently become a stable activity presented by the Uganda Wildlife Authority on a small scale. This experience only restricts the persons to a maximum of 4 each day, thus bookings for this kind of activity are to be done 6 months prior to the actual habituation day specifically during the months of December all through to March and July to October.
Unlike Gorilla trekking that limits ones interaction with the gorillas to only an hour, Gorilla Habituation allows a person 4 hours in the company of the gorillas. Also, one spends a little bit more -US$1500 for each person needing to do the Habituation experience dissimilar from the US$700 paid for gorilla tracking.
Since this kind of experience is hardly existent in Rwanda and or the Democratic Republic of Congo, one can only find it inside the Ugandan borders at the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. It is here that close to 11 habituated Uganda gorilla safaris groups that include Habinyanja, Rushegura and Mubare which are found at Buhoma, North of the park, at Rushaga in the South you will find Mishaya, Bweza, Nshonji, Kahungye, Busingye and the Nkuringo gorilla group. Far off in the East at Ruhija are the Oruzogo, Kyaguriro and Bitukura gorilla groups. However out of all these, only two groups at Nkuringo and Rushaga were set aside as the gorilla families available for habituation. During this process, the people get to understand the gorillas deeper and individually, know their behaviors and even get to the point of naming every single one of them. In the end, if the researchers are certain that the wild gorillas are okay with the presence of people, a mock exercise is done as a way of testing to prove their facts. When the gorillas pass this kind of exercise which now includes journalists and scientists, the gorilla group is then available for trekking.
The gorilla habituation permit fee is $1,500 for Foreign Non Residents, $1,000 for Foreign Residents and UGX 750,000 for East African Citizens. These rates are valid from July 2020 to July 2022.
At Ngeye Trekking safaris, all clients are required to submit copies of valid passports as required by Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Gorilla Habituation Tracking Rules
BEFORE YOU SET OUT:
- Do not visit the gorillas if you have a cold or other infectious illness.
- Minimum age for tracking is 15 years
- Human waste should be buried 30cm (12”) deep
- Maximum number of visitors is four persons per day
WHEN YOU ARE WITH THE GORILLAS:
- Maintain a 7m (21ft) distance from the gorilla
- Smoking, eating and drinking are not permitted on the tour
- If you must sneeze or cough cover your face and turn away from
the gorillas, as they can catch coughs and colds from humans
- Visits are limited to four hours per day
- Do not use flash photography.
See our packing list of what to bring for gorilla tracking.