Your Gude to the Gorilla Habituation Experience in the Rushaga Region
An Informational Guide about the Exclusive Gorilla Habituation Experience in the Rushaga Region of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Here is your guide to the Gorilla Habituation Experience in the Rushaga Sector in south Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. This one-of-a-kind Mountain Gorilla Encounter is only offered in Uganda. The experience gives you more time with the gentle giants of the Forest, with half of the participants on a regular trek.
The Gorilla Habituation Experience has become one of the most popular activities the Uganda Wildlife Authority offers. It is not uncommon for a Gorilla Habituation Experience to be booked two years in advance to secure the few coveted permits provided each day (4).
Uganda is home to more than half of the mountain gorillas remaining in the mountainous Gorilla Highlands of Rwanda, DR Congo, and Uganda. There are 16 plus Gorilla families that can be visited on a regular gorilla trek. There is only one family being habituated, the fourteen-member Bikingi family with two silverbacks.
The reality is that many more want to do the Gorilla Habituation Experience than the available permits, which are limited to just four per day. This means that those wishing to do this activity should use an accredited, Bonafide Tour Operator with whom you a greater chance of making the Gorilla Habituation Experience a reality.
The Habituation Experience becomes the highlight of any safari in Africa. One of our Clients wrote, “The Gorilla Habituation Experience was the Icing on the Cake of our time on Safari in Uganda.”
David Attenborough’s words reflect the sentiment of many who have participated in the Gorilla Habituation Experience. “Spending time with these gentle creatures in their natural habitat was a profoundly moving experience.”
What is the Gorilla Habituation Experience like?
You rise well before dawn and dress with the appropriate trekking wear and pack your daypack with the gear you will need today, when you spend up to four hours with a Gorilla Family. Your prepared by-the-lodge lunch will come in handy and give you that extra boost around noon.
Be sure to have a sumptuous breakfast with a great cup of Ugandan coffee. While it is still dark, your driver guide will take you to the Habituation Trailhead. There you receive an orientation as to how to conduct yourself on the trek and in the presence of the gorilla family.
The hike in and out can often be most challenging as you climb up ridges and descend into valleys until you arrive at today’s location, which is the living space of the gentle giants of the forest.
Your time here is enhanced by you being in the presence of rangers, researchers, and trackers that will share their knowledge and insights with you.
As you return to the trailhead, your driver-guide will return you to the lodge, where you can enjoy a sundowner and dinner and time to reflect on your time with the gentle giants of the Forest.
The Gorilla Habituation Experience Advantages over normal Gorilla Trekking:
- Spend More Time with the Gorillas: You will be in the presence of the gorilla family being habituated for up to four hours.
- There are only four Participants: This is a significant advantage for those wanting a more intimate experience.
- You are a Participant in the Gorilla Habituation Process: You are not just an observer but a participant in the habituation Process where the Gorillas become used to the presence of humans.
- You have more and better Photo Opportunities: Photographers love having more time with the gorillas.
- Learn more about the habits and ways of mountain gorillas: You can learn about the daily life of a gorilla family and gain insights into how our close relatives live.
Your Guide to the Gorilla Habituation Experience
Hoq to Plan your Gorilla Habituation Experience Safari – A Step by Step Guide
It all begins with the Gorilla Habituation Experience Permit:
The Gorilla Habituation Experience starts by securing the Permit. Without the permit, there is no habituation experience. Work with a member of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators since such receive they are allocated most of the keys. Additionally, the members resell purchased licenses if there is a cancellation within the association.
The $1,500 permits are your passport visa to the Gorilla Habituation. Your flexibility with dates and been considering doing the activity during off-season months.
Once you tell us that you would like to go on a Gorilla Habituation Experience and give us dates, we will check for Permits and lodging availability. Furthermore, we check for alternate dates. If you visit other African countries, plan your gorilla encounter first and then the other portions of your time in Africa.
Booking your Gorilla Habituation Experience Safari well in advance is another key to successfully obtaining permits for you. Read more here:
When is the Best Time of Year for a Gorilla Habituation Experience Safari?
The Gorilla Habituation Experience takes place all year long, come rain or shine. There are two rainy seasons where the trails become pretty muddy. One must realize that it does not rain all day long during the rainy seasons, and it will often rain during the night and early morning hours, and the sun will still come out on most days.
Month by Month – High Seasons are the Dry Seasons of the Year
The year’s busiest seasons for gorilla habituation experience trekking are from Mid-June to September. October is the shoulder season’s transition month, moving toward the rainy season, and September and October have fewer tourists.
The other High-and Dry Season is from mid-December to March, and March is the transition or shoulder season month.
Low Seasons – Rainy Seasons of the Year
April to Mid-June is part of the rainy season. Luxury Lodges lower their rates during those times, but dates vary lodge by lodge. The benefits for some are fewer people, and the Savannah parks begin to bloom afresh.
November into Mid-December is the other rainy season. Rainy Season in Uganda does not mean Monsoon like the weather. Most rain falls at night, and the sun still comes out, but the trails are muddy.
How do I get to Rushaga for The Gorilla Habituation Experience?
- Fly-In Safari: The quickest way is to take a 90-minute AeroLink flight to Kisoro from Entebbe International Airport. Upon landing at the Kisoro Airport, you are met by our driver-guide, who will take you to your lodge. That is about a 45-minute drive time.
- Fly into Rwanda’s Kigali International Airport: It is only a 4-hour drive to the Rushaga area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
- From Entebbe or Kampala: It takes nine to ten hours to reach Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
- Incorporate Gorilla Tracking into a longer Safari: This is done on a safari of seven days longer. There are shorter drive times in between parks, eliminating the 9 hours it takes to get to gorilla trekking parks. Read more about getting to the Rushaga area.
Gorilla Trekking Fitness: Am I fit for a Gorilla Habituation Experience Trek?
The Challenge – Gorilla Habituation Trekking is no Stroll in the Park: Our Suggestion is to get fit before you arrive.
The Gorilla Trekking comes with physical challenges depending on which gorilla family you are tracking. In Mgahinga Gorilla Park, you trek on the sides of volcanoes, and in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, you climb ridges and descend into valleys.
It is best to increase your level of fitness prior to your arrival in Uganda. Take a daily walk or climb a nearby hill. Even getting on a treadmill or a workout at a gym will help you improve your fitness level.
If you have a physical disability, porters carrying a sedan chair can be arranged at a most reasonable price. People in their nineties have been carried in and out by porters fulfilling their life-long dream of a Gorilla Encounter.
The Good News is this, none of our clients ever ga while on the streak! Read more here.
Use the Services of a Porter to assist you on the Gorilla Trek!
The services of a porter carrying your daypack free you to focus on the Trek and your surroundings. Additionally, they assist you when the trail becomes a challenge. We think they are one of the must-haves for tracking the gentle giants on the Gorilla Habituation Trek.
They, unlike you, are used to the elevation and know the trails and the trek time. They usually are in excellent shape. Besides, they make a very respectable income by Ugandan standards.
The cost for a porter is minimal, even though you might want to prove that you are physically capable of carrying your bag.
Take our advice and use the porter we provide—your support of a Ugandan Family. Your money will pay for food, housing, school fees for children, clothes, and medical care. Besides, their service lightens your load, something you might enjoy, no matter your fitness level.
A porter assists while you are Gorilla Tracking, and you are assisting by paying for their help on your trek. What you give them in fees and tips impacts their family and the local community. Read more here.
Please Note: If you are on Safari with us, we automatically supply you with porter assistance, a walking stick, and bottled water.
Use a Walking Stick to give you support while on the Gorilla Habituation Trek:
Gorilla Trekking is unlike regular Hiking. The trekking experience is often off-trail, and rangers will hack a trail through the thick underbrush to get you to your gorilla encounter.
The trails are often steep, muddy, and slippery, and you need a walking stick’s support no matter your fitness level.
Walking Sticks can be bought at trailheads, but lodges often have them on hand for their guests. If you are on Safari with us, we automatically supply walking sticks for our clients.
A Walking Stick will keep you steady on the trails and prevent falling when the paths are slippery. They provide that extra level of support that most need.
Walking sticks come in handy not just on gorilla treks but on chimpanzee trekking, volcano hikes, and nature walk.
There are ornamental, carved walking sticks that you can buy from a local artisan and take Home as a souvenir and reminder of your memorable Trek.
Are there Gorilla Trekking Rules to Follow?
The Gorilla Tracking Safari has some rules, guidelines, and etiquette that go along with it. It is best to know about them before the gorilla safari in Uganda or Rwanda.
The rules for Gorilla Tracking are most similar, and the Rangers strictly enforce them in both countries.
They range from how much time you will have with the mountain gorillas to rules about your health and well-being so that you do not infect a gorilla with the flu or a cold, for example.
The distance you will have to be from the gorillas, using a camera without flash, and more. Simple things that are good to know. In both countries taking our Ultimate Gorilla Challenge.
Rules, especially the 10 meter distance and facial mask in the presence of the Gorillas rule, will be strictly enforced in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Always follow the instructions of the Rangers leading your Trekking Party. Read moer here.
Your fitness level is essential since the Gorilla Habituation Experience Trek is no stroll in the park. You will be climbing ridges and trekking down into valleys. At times there are no trails at all, and ranger hack one through the bush. It is not quite as challenging as it sounds. Read more here.
Where do I stay on a Gorilla Habituation Safari?
There are many suitable Lodging Choices for your Gorilla Trekking-Habituation Experience, Southern Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Independent travelers often overlook staying at the right Lodge while on the exclusive Habituation Experience or a Gorilla Trek.
We take the confusion out of picking the right Lodge for you near the Habituation Trailhead.
The Gorilla Habituation Experience requires drive time from the Lodge where you might be staying. The Habituation Experience is at 7:00 am, half an hour earlier than the typical Trek.
The Southern area of Bwindi Impenetrable offers many midrange and luxury lodging choices. Read more here about lodging choices.
Is the Gorilla Habituation Experience Safe?
Is the Gorilla Habituation Experience Safe? That is an often asked question. Uganda has Gorillas but not Guerrillas. While trekking the gentle giants, you can find guerillas in other countries but not in Uganda.
Uganda is a safe, secure, and stable Mountain Gorilla Destination. It is the only Mountain Gorilla Destination with no guerrilla activities in over 20 years.
Your safety, security, and well-being are on everyone’s mind, including ours. The Uganda Wildlife Authority Rangers with you are armed, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is patrolled 24/7 for suspicious activities such as poaching.
There have been no safety and security incidents in Bwindi Forest, and no tourists have been harmed in over 20 years. Going on a Habituation Experience is safer than crossing the road in Kampala, and you will feel safe and secure the whole time on your Trek. You are our Passion. Read more here:
Packing for your Gorilla Safari – including Gorilla Wear and Gear
- Daypack: Preferably a waterproof daypack, you can use it as a carry-on flying to Uganda. Pack all essentials inside of the daypack.
- Hiking Boots: Make sure that they have good treads on them. You will need ankle support, something boots give you and give you reactions on muddy trails. Have a good pair of merino wool socks.
- Long Trouser: They will protect you from nettles and thorns. Tuck the trousers into your socks for added protection from ants.
- Long-Sleeved Shirt: Neutral in color. Again, this is for your comfort and protection.
- Rain Jacket or Poncho: Pack into your daypack. You never know when it will train. You are in an Afro-montane Rainforest.
- Tough Gardening Gloves: This is to protect your hands from thorns, nettles, and sharp branches.
- Wide Brimmed Hat: It gives you protection from the Sun.
- Camera Equipment – Binoculars: You may need extra batteries and storage devices. Put them into Ziploc bags. Binoculars are not required if you are not a birder.
- Insect Repellent – Sun Lotion – Sunglasses: We recommend the effective Australian RID Insect Repellent. Good Sun blocker cream and sunglasses.
Read more about Gorilla Gear and Wear here. Read more about packing for a Gorilla Safari here that is more detailed. Here is more information about packing for your Safari that you might find helpful.
Gorilla Habituation Safaris in Uganda:
We offer both Value+ and Luxury Gorilla Habituation Experience Safaris. They range from three days to fourteen days, offering a wide variety of Primate and Big_5 activities. Read more here.
Booking your Gorilla Habituation Experience Safari:
The Gorilla Safari Booking Process with Kabiza Wilderness Safaris
Contact us and tell us what you would like to include in you Gorilla-Chimpanzee-Wildlife Safari. Let us know whether you would like a midrange or luxury Safari
Planning your Safari
With your input we create the private, luxury or midrange Safari Itinerary that fits you. Permits are bought, Lodges are booked.
On the date of your choice - your African Dream Safari in Uganda begins
Advice on Booking your Flight to Uganda for your Gorilla Habituation Safari:
Try to resist the temptation to book a flight deal to Uganda before you have a good idea of your gorilla safari plans. First, having your safari plans and booking flights is always better, giving you more freedom to pick a gorilla safari that suits you and your budget. Also, having set travel dates (due to flights ) limits your choices, and you could miss fantastic travel deals.
Inflation Busting Discounts on our Midrange Value+ and Luxury Safaris:
Private Midrange Value+ Safari Discounts:
- 5% discount on a Safari of four to nine days in length: This includes quality midrange, quality, above average lodges who have agreed to work with us to be able this one-of-kind unprecedented discount to you. Arrival and departure days are included.
- 10% on 10-days or longer Safaris: Save an incredible 10% on your Safari in Uganda. 10% has never been offered by tour operators in Uganda, aside from times when gorilla permits were on special and time-limited discount by Uganda Wildlife Authority. Our discount is not limited to a short time; our offer is for all 2022 and 2023. However, the Safari must be booked by December 31. 2022.
Read more about Midrange Safaris here. When contacting us, include in your text “Inflation Discount.”
Private Luxury Safari Discounts:
10% discount on a Safari of four days or longer: This includes our Fly-In Safaris with Aerolink Safari Airline. We use the best Luxury Lodges available with whom we have working relationships. Most luxury lodges we use have seasonal discounts during the off-and-shoulder seasons of the Year. The dates of such seasonal discounts vary from lodge to club. We will automatically include such discounts and inform you of them.
Please Note: Gorilla Trekking, Gorilla Habituation Experience, Chimpanzee Trekking, and Chimpanzee Trekking, Golden Monkey Trekking, or Golden Monkey Permits are not discounted since they are set at a fixed price unless Uganda Wildlife Authority offers a temporary discount, then that discount will be reflected in the cost of the Safari. It should also be mentioned that our discounted Safaris are not a stripped-down version of what we usually offer. This offer is not retroactive, covering previously booked safaris.
Contact us today about a Gorilla Habituation Experience Safari – using the Form below: