A Complete Guide to Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi & Permit Cost

Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. The Gorilla Habituation Experience is one of the best wildlife photography encounters in the world – it offers more time to capture the perfect shot. Gorilla Habituation Experience, What is a Four-Hour Gorilla Habituation Experience, & How to book Bwindi Four Hour Gorilla Habituation Permit?

Mountain Gorilla habituation Experience in Uganda

What is a Four-Hour Gorilla Habituation Experience?

Besides the normal gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, in January 2014, the Uganda wildlife Authority introduced four-hour gorilla trekking.

The four-hour trek in Bwindi offers Gorilla Habituation Experience and gives you the chance to spend 4 hours in the company of the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Adult Gorilla photographed by the habituation team. Gorilla trekking is hard work, but the rewards are immense. This trekking experience is not available in other gorilla areas of the Virunga Conservation area, inclusive of the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. If you’re planning to participate in this four-hour gorilla trek experience, you should book a gorilla habituation permit with Kabira Uganda safaris or any other locally based company that can arrange for you a perfect gorilla safari. The four-hour gorilla habituation experience is absolutely fantastic. The Bwindi four hours gorilla trek experience/ gorilla habituation experience is an all year – round experience as well as booking permits, however, we highly recommend you to book your early enough to avoid inconveniences and for a fantastic experience.

How to book Bwindi Four Hour Gorilla Habituation Permit?

If you’re interested in a four-hour gorilla trek/ habituation experience safari to Bwindi impenetrable National Park, it will mean you will need to book a Bwindi- gorilla habituation permit that is booked or sold at the Uganda wildlife Authority.

For any visitor to be able to access the Bwindi Gorillas require a gorilla permit or pass and you will be glad to dwell in the impenetrable forest and watch the large primates, Mountain Gorillas for a full four hour. We hereby help you check the availability of Bwindi gorilla permits and can also reserve them for you if interested. A single gorilla habituation permit goes for USD1500 per person per trek, inclusive of park entry fees.

Once you have booked your permit, you will be guaranteed to spend four hours with the semi–habituated Mountain Gorilla family which starts counting when you reach the fresh trails some time where they last nested the previous night.

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi National Park

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi National Park

As of now, the Uganda Wildlife Authority has two Gorilla Families under habituation process in Rushaga Gorilla Tourism Sector that includes the Bikingi and Bushaho in the south of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. The Rushaga Gorilla sector is accessible on land by car and takes 8-10 hours from Kampala city and 4 hours from Queen Elizabeth National Park.

There are also available fly-in scheduled charter flights but for a better experience, it is most appropriate to at least have an overnight near the Rushaga area since the Four-hour gorilla habituation experience starts in the early morning. There are several accommodations around Rushaga for you to relax after your long travel and prepare for your strenuous four-hour Gorilla Trek Experience. Bwindi’s four-hour Gorilla Habituation experience is limited to 4 people per family per day, who can spend four hours trekking and observing the semi – habituated that includes the time spent when searching for them.

Gorillas remain wild animals and unstable thus viewing them depends on the mood they are found in varies every day. However, there is no need to worry about this because your guides are experienced with the ethics of Gorilla behavior to make your gorilla habituation experience memorable. Your Gorilla Trekking will always start with a briefing from the guides at  Rushaga Gorilla trailhead and you will be led by the rangers and hike through the thick forest once you locate the mountain gorillas.

It will offer you a great opportunity with plenty of time to observe, photograph, and learn gorilla behavior. Upon your return from the forest, you will receive a Gorilla Habituation Experience Certificate. A four-hour Gorilla trek experience/ Gorilla Habituation Experience is the best for researchers, photographers since it offers plenty of time with these massive primates.

What Clients say about Gorilla Trekking & Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi Uganda

Chandralekha G
London, United Kingdom
Gorilla habituation experience vs regular tracking – two incredible but different experiences
Bwindi is an amazing environment that certainly lives up to its name. The dense forest contrasted with the tea plantations, which serve as buffer zones between the national park and human habitation, is a breathtaking view from the air when arriving at Kisoro and during the hikes.

Gorilla Habituation Experience in BwindiI spent a number of days in the area and did both a gorilla habituation experience in the Rushaga sector with the Bikyinji group and a regular tracking experience with the Habinyanja group in the Buhoma sector. These were absolutely fantastic but very different experiences and since most travel agents highlight only that the habituation experience is more expensive, with only 4 permits per day (instead of the regular 8 permits) and allows 4 hours (as opposed to the regular 1 hour), here’s some more information for those looking to make up their mind. The Gorilla Habituation Experience had been pitched to me as more suited for photographers and wildlife enthusiasts but there are a number of other factors to bear in mind.
– For the habituated groups, the trackers set out very early in the morning to pick up the trail where the gorillas were last seen the previous day. At this time, the tourists are likely still in bed or making their way to the park centre. After the park briefing, the head guide and armed rangers take the group to the closest location to where the rangers are, having already tracked the family. This can be quite a drive away from the centre. By this time, depending on your luck, you may already be very close to the gorilla family. By contrast, for the habituation experience, you will join the trackers and track the gorillas from the point they were last seen the previous day to locate the night nests, and then on to where they are now. This means a lot more hiking. While the time spent hiking can vary for both, it took us 5 hours of hiking through considerably challenging terrain to reach the semi-habituated gorillas (our total time on the hike was 12 hours) and 30 mins for the habituated group. The regular experience can cut down on time spent on the hike. As all other reviews will attest, the hike is challenging and this difference may be significant for some.
– You can spend 4 hours with the semi-habituated gorillas and only one hour with the habituated groups. While this sounds great, do remember that the semi-habituated group can be far less relaxed while the habituated groups are more likely to be relaxed, giving you the true experience of interacting with the gorillas in their normal setting. During my habituation experience, the silverback was very wary and skittish, moving the family on quickly up the slopes so we only had very short intervals when we could get some photographs before we had to pant after them again. In contrast, for the last 15 mins of our time with the habituated group, the entire group was sitting on the slopes, while the gorillas nonchalantly played and groomed, as if we weren’t there at all!
– A smaller group of tourists can be a far better experience if it means less jostling for the right shot. That said, the trackers and guide accompanying you will keep an eye on everyone in the group and do go out of their way to ensure that everyone has the chance for a few clean shots. While I had better photographs of the wary silverback of the unhabituated group, I got excellent pictures of more individuals of the habituated group.
– The habituation permit is twice the cost of a regular permit. Note that an almost habituated group in the Buhoma sector had last-minute availability of permits for a habituation experience for only $800. It might be worth asking for last-minute availability.
As a conservation enthusiast, I am glad I did both but the habituation experience felt more of an experience to appreciate the astounding efforts of the rangers and trackers who work so incredibly hard to protect the gorillas, and the regular tracking is if your main aim is to get great photographs of the gorillas with the least effort.
Personally, I would recommend both, albeit for different reasons. However, if someone were to do only one hike and was looking to choose between the two, I would recommend the regular gorilla tracking. Statistically, there seem to be better chances of good sightings and less challenging hikes, all for a less expensive permit.
In terms of tips for the tracking experience:
– Porters are a must. Even if you are optimistic about your ability to carry your own pack, you cannot predict what the terrain will be like on the day and the porters are a great help. Plus, it is a great way of giving back to the community.
– Walking sticks (available from the porters) and gardening gloves are essential. Gaiters are not necessary but can be useful in avoiding your bootlaces from being caught/undone by the thick undergrowth. At least 2 litres of water, packed lunch and snacks are advisable.
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