Gorilla trekking is an adventure where you follow a full habituated gorilla family in the wilderness and stay for only one permit hour in company of maximum 8 tourists.
Gorilla habituation is following a semi habituated gorilla family to help them get used to the presence of humans without altering there nature. The maximum number of people allowed to do gorilla trekking is 4 people that accompany a team of Researchers and Trackers.
During gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation you need to book gorilla permits for either activity and so advance purchase is the best option because they have a limit.
Difference Between Gorilla Trekking and Gorilla Habituation
The currently cost for gorilla habituation permit is $1500 per person per trek while the gorilla permit so far costs $700 per person per trek in Uganda, Rwanda $1500 per person and D.R.Congo $450 per person per trek
Inclusions in the cost of gorilla trekking permits are; part entrance fee, ranger guide fees, security during gorilla trekking, gorilla conservation support, community support, one hour with the mountain gorillas.
Exclusions of gorilla trekking permit cost are; porter fee, tips, transport, drinks d any other items of personal nature.
What is included and excluded in the gorilla habituation permit cost?
Inclusions of gorilla habituation permit are; Researcher and tracker fee, part entrance fee, ranger guide fees, security during gorilla trekking, gorilla conservation support, community support, 4 hour with the mountain gorillas, certificate after gorilla habituation.
Exclusions of gorilla habituation permit cost are; snacks, porter fee, tips, packed lunch, transport, drinks d any other items of personal nature.
Uganda is currently the only destination for gorilla habituation experience and only done in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable national park. Gorilla trekking is done in uganda,Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga national Park, Rwanda Volcanoes National Park and D.R.Congo Virunga National Park.
A maximum of 8 tourists are allowed to do gorilla trekking while maximum 4 tourists are allowed to accompany a team of Researchers and trackers in the wilderness for gorilla habituation experience.
During gorilla trekking, you locate fully habituated mountain gorillas. The period for which the mountain gorillas are habituated from wild behavior to present them for public viewing is hard to determine depending on how they cope.
Gorilla habituation experience allows you to follow semi habituated mountain gorillas that still present wild behavior like rushing into hiding on seeing humans, hooting at intruders and others. You need to be more patient when these characteristics are presented to because the mountain gorillas are not yet accustomed to human presence.
Only an hour is allowed when you locate the mountain gorillas during gorilla trekking while 4 hours are allowed during gorilla habituation experience. During this time, you can observe the mountain gorillas, note down each one’s characteristics, take photos or film and help researchers and trackers collect some samples as requested.
In Uganda gorilla trekking is done in four areas of Bwindi Impenetrable National park that is Buhoma area in the north, Ruhija area in the East, Rushaga and Nkuringo areas in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Gorilla habituation experience in Uganda can only be done so far in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park that is composed of Rushaga area and Nkuringo area.
You need to book accommodation in the southern Bwindi so that you do not have to rise up early in the morning to catch up with briefing.
Two gorilla families in Bwindi Forest are so far open for gorilla habituation experience that is only 8 gorilla permits are open for this adventure per day in Uganda.
For gorilla trekking in Uganda, 19 gorilla families are so far open to public for booking with 152 gorilla permits per day.
Rwanda currently has 12 gorilla families open for gorilla trekking and 96 gorilla permits.
D.R.Congo so far has 6 gorilla families open to the public with 32 gorilla permits open for gorilla trekking safari
Have a date when you hope to do gorilla habituation and or gorilla trekking with the number of people you hope to attend with. The age limit for gorilla trekking or habituation experience is 15 years and above.
Enquire for availability of the gorilla permits and in case there is a positive status, we suggest you purchaser your gorilla permit as soon as possible. They are limited in number as explained above yet demand is over whelming high especially the peak season which is normally June , July, August, September, December and January.
Present some personal details to add to your gorilla permit card or document like nationality, date of birth, passport expiry date, full names as presented on your passport.
Can I Use A tour Operator To Book A Gorilla Permit?
You can use the tour operator to reserve a gorilla permit for you and at Arch Safaris And Tours we assist in book the gorilla permits, accommodation facilities, vehicle hire, driver guides and other safari amenities.
We package or gorilla trekking safari according to luxury, mid-range and budget tours. Each has different inclusions and exclusions depending on its level.
Can I Purchase The Gorilla Permit for gorilla trekking or habituation in Instalments?
You can purchase your gorilla permit in instalments of 30 % and 70% respectively as long as you purchase it before 90 days to the date of trekking and remember to top up before 90 days to trekking date
Failure to top up you may incur a penalty.
It is best to purchase your gorilla permit in full just in case you forget to top it u
How Aggressive Are Mountain Gorillas?
Although at a glance mountain gorillas seem scaring, they are naturally calm primates. There outlook makes them fierce as they are covered in dark hairy fur and walk by knuckle locomotion. This style of movement makes them look as though they are about to attack you.
In nature the mountain gorillas is calm and serene and this may explain why no confrontation from the mountain gorillas has ever been registered in the history of gorilla trekking or habituation.
You do not have to provoke the mountain gorillas despite there calm nature. Staring into the dark brown eyes of the mountain gorillas agitates them and may push the mountain gorillas into hiding.
How Long Is Gorilla Trekking Or Gorilla Habituation?
The gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation experience time is hard to determine because of the a number of factors that are beyond human control.
Sometimes the mountain gorillas fight each other and the losing family may be pushed into hiding or split causing tracing them a challenge.
When the mountain gorillas exhaust there food from a particular area, they need to relocate to another area where they can find food that can sarticify the entire family. The dominant silverback has the mandate to look for new feeding ground for the entire gorilla family.
During the severe rainy season, the ground is soggy, slippery making your movement a little slower as you need to walk over this soft surface.
Sometimes the mountain gorillas go into mourning mood when they lose a family member. In case they move closer to the starting point of the gorilla trek them you may easily trace them and when they move into the deeper forest, it is challenging to find the mountain gorillas.
You can do both gorilla trekking and habituation but on different days in case, you wish to know more about the mountain gorillas. Each day gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation happens once because of the time you may take in the forest.
You can do both gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation on different days. Gorilla habituation takes 4 hours while gorilla trekking is 1 hour when you locate the mountain gorillas.
How Difficult Is Gorilla Trekking Or Habituation?
The gorilla trekking and habituation area is volcanic so expect to hike some plateaus and ridges however there are trails that have been constructed by regular visitors to the forest.
The ranger guide uses a machete to trim the creepers that may obstruct you from moving a head. When mountain gorillas spend there day on the slopes, you may need something to create way for you to get to them.
In order to feel safe, you need to have some level of fitness before travelling to do gorilla trekking or habituation. Ensure you pack the right gorilla trekking gears like safari boots, long sleeved shirt and convertible trousers, safari hat and others
What is the age limit for gorilla trekking and habituation?
The age limit for gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation is 15 years and over because of the nature of the way to the mountain gorillas. Sometimes the trails are slippery from decomposing matter and regular rains that fall without warning yet there is limited sunray penetration to the ground. A child below 15 years may not be in position to withstand such forest conditions.
The first glance at the mountain gorillas is scaring at times which may cause visitors to make some noise that may not be safe for the already easily agitated mountain gorillas.
You need to have some level of fitness to complete the gorilla trek however, a child below 15 years may not have this fitness.
When Is The Best Time To Do Gorilla Trekking Or Gorilla Habituation?
Gorilla trekking or habituation is open all year around however most people prefer the dry season when life in the forest is at its peak. The mountain gorillas feed closer to the ground, other primates are more in the open and birds meander the forest too.
The dry season is normally June, July, August, September, December and January. This season is also the peak tourism season in Uganda so prices for most service providers are high.
The wet season which serves as low uganda tourism season that is to say March, April, May and November usually comes with discounted prices on items like car hire, accommodation, gorilla permits and others. In case you have a limited budget or wish for exclusive gorilla safari experience, you can use this chance.
What Can I Pack For Gorilla Trekking Or Habituation Safari?
Safari convertible trousers and shirt to wear while trekking to find the mountain gorillas.
Garden gloves to cover your palms from stinging nettles in case you touch them.
Insect repellant suitable for your skin.
Foldable hat to cover your head from buzzing insects in the jungle and dripping water off the trees
First aid kit with emergency medication that you can use in case you need it.
Waterproof backpack to carry with your belongings so that you lose nothing in the jungle.
A raincoat or poncho in case it rains any time without warning.
Extra fully charged batteries to exchange with in case one runs low yet you need to take more photos or record a film.
A camera with a good lens to protect memories of your gorilla safari experience. Remember flash photography is forbidden in the wilderness.
A pair of binoculars to enjoy the view of beautiful features in the wilderness that are far from you
Flip flops to wear after gorilla trekking or habituation
Travel adapter or battery charger.
Warm sweater or poncho as this area experiences cold conditions especially early morning and evening.
Foldable water bottle to carry with drinking water in case you get thirsty while searching for the mountain gorillas.
What Not To Do During Gorilla Trekking Or Habituation Safari
No feeding the mountain gorillas
Wear a mask before meeting the mountain gorillas.
Keep a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas when you meet them.
Do not dump garbage in the forest that can alter the nature of the forest.
Spitting on vegetation is forbidden as you may pass an infection to the mountain gorillas.
Only one hours is allowed with the mountain gorillas when you meet them.
No using flash photography when you meet the mountain gorillas.