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Comparing Gorilla Trekking with the Habituation Experience in Bwindi Forest

Posted by on July 31, 2020

Which one is right for me – Gorilla Habituation Experience or Gorilla Trekking

You Decide – Comparing Gorilla Trekking with the Habituation Experience

Comparing Gorilla Trekking with the Habituation Experience. What is The Difference between Gorilla Trekking and the one-of-a-kind Gorilla Habituation Experience?

The Gorilla Habituation experience gives you more but costs you $800 more for a permit.

On the Gorilla Trek, you are an observer that takes pictures. On the Habituation Experience, you are an active participant in the habituation process.

There only four-participants on the Habituation Experience. There are eight on a regular trek.

The Gorilla Habituation Experience costs more and takes more time. It requires more physical stamina and endurance than a regular gorilla trek. 

Despite all that, the requests for a Gorilla Habituation Experience Safaris never stop coming. There are many more requests than there are permits. 

Choosing Gorilla Habituation Experience or Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda?

Which one? We cannot convince you of one being better than the other. We can remove the confusion that exists between the two. The difference is much more than costing 800 USD more. Based on our experience and feedback, the Gorilla Habituation Experience is a one of a kind activity without comparison, but since we are often asked – here is our take on the Comparison.

In a Nutshell – The significant difference between Gorilla Trekking and the Habituation Experience is your role on the Trek.

As stated previously on the regular Gorilla Trek, you are an observer, a taker of photographs. On the Gorilla Habituation Experience, you are an active participant in the Gorilla Habituation.

It is more of what likes of Dian Fossey, Walter Baumgärtel, or David Attenborough experienced. It is probably somewhat unfair comparing the two very different encounters with the Gentle Giants.

The question is this. “Which one is right for me?” – That is why we have this page “Comparing Gorilla Trekking with the Habituation Experience.

If Tourists made an actual comparison, most would choose the Gorilla Habituation Experience over Trekking. Why? You get more for the money that you incest. It is more of an experience.

Typical Trekking is like briefly dropping in, the experience is like hanging out and getting to know one another.

Reasons why Trekkers choose the Gorilla Habituation Experience over Normal Gorilla Trekking

1. The Gorilla Habituation Experience is – More Time with A Gorilla Family on All-Day Trek than the one Hour during a Gorilla Trek:

A standard Trek is 1-Hour with a Gorilla Family – The Habituation Experience means 4-hours with a Gorilla Family. A regular Gorilla Trek is 3-5 hours – 1-hour with a Gorilla Family.

The Gorilla Habituation Experience means you are 4-hours with a family plus the Trek in and trek out. Your day will be about nine hours in length.

For some, this may be more than they can handle, that is a lot of time on your feet, those that do it have no complaint. (We had one complaint about the length of the day in 5 years).

If you are an amateur Primatologist, the four-hours is for you. It is the closest that you will ever get to a Dian Fossey Gorillas in the Mist Experience for a day.

More Time with the Gentle Giants of the Forest 

2. The Gorilla Habituation Experience means Fewer Participants than the typical Trek:

That is a big issue for many. 8 Trekkers, Rangers, porters, Security is a lot of People heading into the Forest. 4-Trekkers is half the number of participants that are on the regular Trek. ,

The African traveler is learning toward exclusive, authentic experiences, and the Gorilla Habituation Experience is most often just right for them.

Four participants mean that fewer people are trying to get the best view. You also get the best camera angle. You have more options to take pictures than you would have with eight other participants around with the same intent as you.

Fewer participants seem like a better experience for most—the main reason trekkers choose the Habituation Experience.

Fewer Participants – half of the participants that you have on a regular Gorilla Trek.

3. You are an active Participant in the Habituation Process and not just an Observer as during a Gorilla Trek.

It is one of the most important differences between the Habituation and the regular Trek. The Gorilla Habituation Experience is all about getting Gorillas used to humans. The gorilla family that you are allowed to visit on the Habituation is well into the process. Your presence only helps them along.

Your presence makes you a participant in the habituation process where the Gentle Giants become used to the presence of humans. It is a process that takes from 2 to 3 years.

You being an active participant in the Habituation Process is that extra plus for many. The hands-on experience is for many the deciding factor. The reason that they choose to do the Gorilla Habituation Experience instead of the regular Gorilla Trek.

4. You learn more about Gorillas during the Gorilla Habituation Experience than on a regular Trek.

Gorilla Trekking is Gorillas-101, the Gorilla Habituation is beyond the Basics, it is Gorillas 202. You are in the living room of a Gorilla Family. You are with them in the living room in the Forest. You are part of the family as they go about their daily business of being Gorillas.

You are with researchers, trackers, hear their comments about the behavior of the Gorillas on the day that you are there. At times our clients have been to a Gorilla Doctor Forest Call, a gorilla family checkup, which was an incredible experience. Definitely beyond Basic 101 Gorilla Trekking.

That the Habituation is beyond the Basics of Gorilla Trekking makes the Gorilla Habituation worth it, worth the extra time, extra effort, and yes, the extra money.

If you want to be in the presence of Mountain Gorillas and learn about them, that the Habituation, beyond the Basics, is for you

5. The Gorilla Habituation costs 900 USD more than Gorilla Trekking:

The Gorilla Habituation Permit costs you 1,500 USD, 900 USD more than the regular Trek. It raises the cost of your Primate Safari by 900 USD, but values-wise you get a lot more in return. 4- hours with a Gorilla Family, fewer participants, a more significant learning experience is what you get,

Most Trekkers are satisfied with a usual trek. There are a few that want more. They want more time, and even more memorable experience. They like the idea of fewer participants.

The fewer permits block many from going on the Habituation, the higher cost for permits blocks others. The reality is that we could sell twice the number of Safaris if permits were available.

If you ask one who just completed the gorilla habituation Experience, no one would tell you that they regret going on it.

6. There is a minimal Number of Permits for Gorilla Habituation Permits compared to 152 Gorilla Trekking Permits:

The Gorilla Habituation Experience was never intended for Mass Primate Tourism. It is a niche activity, not meant for everyone. The particular activity is hands-on, instead of being an observer.

There are only four permits per day for those that are interested in the activity. Use only an Association of Uganda Tour Operators such as Kabiza Wilderness Safaris. Only such have access to the most significant number of permits, can quickly check for permit availability, and know what the Habituation is about.

Necessary: Unfortunately, many Trekkers do not make Uganda their sole Safari Destination but use Uganda as a Gorilla Add-ON. They often attempt to book Gorillas after booking time in Tanzania, Kenya, even South Africa and Namibia or Botswana. That is the number 1-Mistake committed and often resulted in no permits. The Number 1 – Gorilla Trekking Rule is this. Book Gorillas first – they are permitted sensitive, have a fixed, unchangeable Date (rare times can be changed for a fee to UWA.) Your game drive in Kenya or Tanzania can be taken almost any time, not so your gorilla trek or gorilla habituation.

7. Gorilla Habituation is only in one location in Bwindi unlike Gorilla Trekking which takes place in 4 separate Bwindi Locations plus Mgahinga Gorilla Park:

The Gorilla Habituation Experience takes place only in the southern area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest because Trekking is done in the Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Rushaga Areas of the park.

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda is from one site in Uganda. It is from 5 locations – 4 locations inside of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest plus Mgahinga Gorilla Park. Rushaga and Nkuringo can be accessed from Kigali, Rwanda, in a mere 4 hours, while it takes longer to travel to the Buhoma or Ruhija Area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

The drive to southern Bwindi Impenetrable Forest from Entebbe is 9-Hours. One reason that over 80% of our clients choose to fly into Kigali, Rwanda, and Trek in Uganda. Fly-In Gorilla Safaris can be done from Entebbe to southern Bwindi using Kisoro Airstrip.

 Hopefully, you can make a choice based on our input – contact us, and we will get things going.

TripAdvisor Reviews and other misleading and incorrect bunk about the Gorilla Habituation Experience

If you go to TripAdvisor and read the reviews, you will be more confused than before you read them. Non-habituation Experience Participants mostly write Reviews—those who have done Gorilla Trekking and not the Habituation. There are comments from some Tour Operators that do not know the Gorilla Habituation Experience. Finally, wannabee Armchair Experts that like to see their name in print.

The reality is this, few have gone on a Gorilla Habituation Experience. On the other hand, many have done a regular Gorilla Trek. 

The Gorilla Family being habituated have been in the process for well over two years and have become used to humans. Lastly, a Gorilla Habituation like a Gorilla trek is no walk in the zoo, nothing is predictable, it is an adventure, and each is different.

It is the same kind myth being perpetrated on the Internet such as Gorilla Trekking is better in Rwanda. Why did Lonely Planet feature Uganda as a Cool List Destination – Gorilla Trekking price and the fact that most are choosing to Trek in Uganda?

 Comparing Gorilla Trekking with the Habituation Experience – Our Take:

The Gorilla Habituation Experience since its inception has been a favorite activity with our Clients, over 60% choosing the Gorilla Habituation Experience over normal Gorilla Trekking.

The Main Reason for their choice is the time spent with a Gorilla Family – the 4 hours versus the 1-hour trekking. There is also a smaller number of visitors, (4) allowed on a Gorilla Habituation Experience versus Trekking. Lastly, they like being with those involved in the Habituation Process, the insights, and knowledge that they receive from them.

The cost of the Habituation Experience is a reason. Still, those choosing the 4-hour experience go with one of the kinds of activity that they can be part of, where there are only 4 participants, and it is a learning experience.

There are already myths about the Habituation Experience. The gorilla family is used to Humans. They have been habituated for over two years. You are as close to them as you are during a Gorilla Trek, Gorillas, however, may get more intimate than the rules call for, they don’t have the Internet. Your experience may be different since we are in the wild where things are not always predictable, and ultimately, the Gorillas are in control and not humans.

You are comparing Gorilla Trekking with the Gorilla Habituation Experience. No matter whether you choose Gorilla Trekking or the Gorilla Habituation Experience, your money goes further, gives you more value in Uganda.

The choice is yours to make. Whether you want a regular gorilla Trek or the Gorilla Habituation Experience, we love to assist you with one of the most memorable encounters on the planet – that time with the Mountain Gorillas.

 Gorilla Trekking or the Gorilla Habituation Experience? The choice is yours to make if you have any questions. Please ask us, and we will gladly reply to you.


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