Because visitors venture into wilder and rawer parts of the forest, the Gorilla Habituation Experience is said to be more challenging than standard gorilla treks thus stamina and moderate level of physical fitness is recommended for maneuvering through steep and mossy slopes, jump streams and create paths through dense vegetation in an attempt to find the mountain gorillas.
The lush rainforests of south-western Uganda are haven to about half the World’s population of endangered mountain gorillas and trekking them in this country is one of the most jaw-dropping wildlife experiences on Earth. While standard/normal gorilla trekking adventures reward visitors with the opportunity to spend up to one hour in the midst of giant Apes in their natural environment, Uganda also makes it possible for travellers to be introduced to mountain gorillas that are still undergoing training to become accustomed to human presence. The habituation process usually lasts 2-3 years and is crucial for on-going gorilla research, monitoring, care and conservation. For travellers that hope to play a more vital role in the ultimate protection as well as studying of these endangered primates, there is a chance of joining Researchers, Rangers and Conservationists in the whole training process of gorilla groups within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
For the Gorilla Habituation Experience adventures, visitors can spend more incredible hours with the huge, extremely intelligent, peaceful and emotional creatures. It is an emotionally fulfilling experience and the entire Habituation process involving visitors is significant in the non-stop protection of the mountain gorillas.
For a permit costing $1500 per person, it is possible to book for the Gorilla Habituation Experience, which is worthwhile because visitors have a total of four hours with the family of mountain gorillas and this is only offered in the southern sectors of Nkuringo and Rushaga. The plenty of time allows you to properly study and understand gorilla behavior and social dynamics with wonderful videos and photos without getting rushed.
Before trekkers enter the Impenetrable Forest, a team of trackers first move ahead to follow tracks left by the mountain gorillas, especially finding nests of the previous night. Visitors are first expected at the Park Headquarters for a briefing session that usually lasts 30-45 minutes, followed by meeting with the group ranger guides, hiring porters and allocation to the gorilla families. It then takes several hours (sometimes totaling half a day) to locate the gorilla group.
Once located, visitors are at liberty to take photos, record videos and simply study exceptional behavior of the mountain gorillas for a period of four hours. While watching them going about their daily activities, interacting between themselves at a distance of 7 meters, you will be amazed by their striking resemblance with humans. Because this is a whole-day affair, visitors are advised to carry a lunch box and plenty of drinking water in addition to being prepared for a real hectic day.
Visitors are assured of enjoying the Gorilla Habituation Experience throughout the year, but the difference in temperatures and rainfall intensity make the dry season-June to September and December to February more perfect for enjoying this unforgettable experience. However, remember that Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is an Equatorial forest where showers can be expected at any time of the day.
From March to May and October to November is when heavy downpours are experienced in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest hence travellers always avoid these months. Nonetheless, adventures can still go on as planned and also, are ideal for capturing more beautiful photographs.
The packing list for Gorilla Habituation Experience tours should include lightweight and breathable clothing (long-sleeved shirts and safari pants) for protection against insect bites, scratches and unpleasant weather. Also include rainproof hiking shoes with ample ankle support, gaiters and cotton socks.
Sunglasses, first aid kit, non-flash camera, waterproof and lightweight daypack, pair of binoculars, wide brim hat, gardening gloves, healthy energy giving snacks, re-usable water bottle, insect repellant and toiletries should also be included on the packing list of items needed during the Gorilla Habituation Experience Treks in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
The southern sectors-Nkuringo and Rushaga boast of fantastic accommodation options for visitors planning to undertake the Gorilla Habituation Experience and some of them include Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Bweza Gorilla Lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Rushaga Gorilla Havens Lode, Ichumbi Lodge and many others.
At the extreme south-western corner of Uganda is Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, accessible by air and road transport. Travellers getting there by road have 8-9 hours of driving through tarred and Murram roads through Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale and other towns along the way. For flight options, scheduled or charter flights can be arranged to Kisoro or Kihiihi airstrips from Kajjansi Airstrip in Kampala or Entebbe International Airport.