Gorilla habituation in Bwindi forest

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Do you yearn for a more comprehensive encounter with mountain gorillas beyond the standard one hour? Well, you are at the right place because with the Gorilla Habituation in Bwindi Forest, more quality time will be spent in the presence of the endangered Giant Apes in one of their popular natural habitats found in Uganda

This outstanding experience is only offered in Bwindi Forest, within the southern sector of Rushaga and makes it possible for travellers to spend up to four hours in the Company of Africa’s Giant Apes. One of the most memorable moments of this adventure is creating paths through the dense forest but most importantly making contact with them.

Prior to being opened to visits (tourists), Mountain gorilla groups have to first undergo an average of 2 years in getting trained/habituated to become used and less scared of humans. This process is mandatory and interestingly done in all Parks sheltering mountain gorillas and is done by a team of conservationists, Rangers, researchers, and trackers. However, what makes Uganda, especially Bwindi Impenetrable Forest stand out is the fact that travellers can actually be part of this training process, especially joining the team after a certain period of habituation.

Detailed Process of the Gorilla Habituation Experience in Bwindi Forest

The first and most important part of the incredible Gorilla Habituation in Bwindi Forest is converging at the Park Headquarters by 7:00am. What happens here will in some way determine whether your experience will be horrible or interesting but we hope for the latter. Briefing is provided by Park Rangers and at this point, visitors are taken through the rules and regulations to be followed by searching for mountain gorillas and spending the four hours in their presence as a way of protecting both parties (the mountain gorillas and tourists).

The send part of the Gorilla Habituation process is setting out on the actual trek and during this process, you will appreciate how Bwindi Impenetrable forest lives up to its name. Rangers will use machetes to create way through the jungle and the process is generally sluggish but undeniably and exceedingly worthwhile. With the training and experience of Rangers, information regarding different creatures (be in animals, birds, butterflies or trees) encountered along the way will be properly explained.

The gorilla nest are the first evidence of nearing the allocated gorilla groups and it will take another half an hour to one hour to make contact with the Great Apes. All in all, 2-4 hours or more will be used in walking to find the Mountain gorillas and it comes along with falling, jumping streams, getting scratched by vegetation but the antidote is the four hours offered to watch and photograph them without being rushed.

You will get the chance to experience the dominant silverback’s mock charges, interesting and playful infants, nursing females and juveniles grooming one another. While standard gorilla treks take a maximum of eight visitors, only four tourists can be in the presence of Gorilla Habituation treks. For the two gorilla groups available for Gorilla Habituation in Bwindi Forest (Bushaho and Bikingi), a total of 8 permits are provided each day.

The ideal packing list for Gorilla Habituation in Bwindi Forest

Before anything else, Bwindi Impenetrable forest lives up to its name, meaning whatever you pack should be comfortable, breathable, lightweight and generally fit for the jungle. Also, Gorilla Habituation treks are more challenging than standard gorilla treks, owing to the fact that visitors will be maneuvering through newer areas

Essential on your packing list is a sturdy and well-fitting hiking boots with ankle support and to emphasize this, avoid new shoes because you are likely to develop blisters thus making it uncomfortable during the Gorilla Habituation trek.

Things like breathable and light-weight safari pants, lightweight rain jacket, a basic first aid kit, gardening gloves, a waterproof backpack with enough space for carrying items required during the Gorilla Habituation Trek, energy-giving snacks, insect repellant, long sleeved shirts, a good camera, safari hat, sunglasses, pair of binoculars, a re-usable water bottle, toiletries (especially hand and body lotion, hair comb, toothbrush and toothpaste, nail clips, wet wipes and hand sanitizer) and cotton socks are also handy.

The Cost and process of securing Gorilla Habituation permits for Bwindi Forest

Gorilla Habituation permits for Bwindi Forest cost only $1500 per person per trek and have to be secured at least 6 months before the intended trekking date, owing to the fact that this Experience is only offered in the southern sectors of Bwindi and permits are also limited. While they are only issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), you can use the services of a trusted Tour Operator like All Budget Gorilla Safaris to book the permits on your behalf as well as plan the other aspects of the trip (like accommodation, transport and meals).

When is the ideal time to undertake the Gorilla Habituation Experience in Uganda?

Despite offering the Gorilla Habituation in Bwindi Forest all year round, each season has advantages and disadvantages. Before anything else, it should be noted that Bwindi Forest temperatures hover around 20 and 25˚C for almost the whole year.

It has two significant seasons. The dry season comes two times in a year, that is from June through September then from December through February. In these months, reduced or no rains are experienced which contribute to drier forest trails that make trekking less challenging as well as scantier vegetation that increase wildlife visibility. However, the effects of Climate change don’t spare Bwindi Forest hence don’t be surprised to be washed by rain in the middle of gorilla trekking.

The rainy season is also twice in a year and includes months of March to May as well as October through November. During these times, heavy downpours are experienced which make forest floor and trails to be wet, messy, slippery. These pose a great challenge for travellers who choose trekking in these months. Nonetheless, the perfect photographs are captured during these months because the air is cleared of dirt and vegetation is greener.

Amazing accommodation options for travellers booking Gorilla Habituation in Bwindi Forest

Most accommodation facility in the southern sectors is ideal for the Gorilla Habituation Trek in Bwindi Forest but the common ones are Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, the luxurious Nkuringo Safari Lodge, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Lodge, Nshongi Camp, Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Four Gorillas Lodge, to mention but a few

How to get to Bwindi Forest for the Gorilla Habituation safari

Bwindi Forest is found in the south-west of Uganda and travellers can get there by plane or road.

By Plane

Kihihi and Kisoro are the nearest Airstrips to Bwindi Forest and domestic flights from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip are organized by Aerolink. Of the two, Kisoro Airstrip is fit for the purpose because it is closer to the southern sectors by a 2-hour road trip.

By road

Road transfers take between eight and nine hours when driving from Kampala (the Capital City and most popular starting point). However, this long journey is marked by several stopovers along the way in addition to travellers enjoying breathtaking views.

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