Gorilla habituation is process of training mountain gorillas to get used to human presence, this is normally done for a period of 2-3 years by researchers, conservationists, scientists and rangers who keep monitoring and study each individual in the group and later give names according to the behaviors and personality of each individual. Before mountain gorillas can be trekked, they have to undergo a mocking exercise and if they pass they will be ready for trekking.
Rwanda is one of the countries where mountain gorillas live in the world, but Rwanda only offers gorilla trekking and not gorilla habituation. The fascinating gorilla habituation experience can only be done Rushaga sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in Uganda.
Gorilla habituation offers a thrilling experience compared to gorilla trekking because you will spend four hours with the great apes unlike gorilla trekking and the number of people doing gorilla habituation are also less compared to gorilla trekking. There are currently two gorilla groups undergoing gorilla habituation in Bwindi that is Bikingi gorilla family and Bishaho gorilla family.
The advantage a about gorilla habituation in Bwindi is that the gorilla families being habituated are located in the southern part of the park which is close to Rwanda being approximately 5-6 hours drive from Kigali and 2-3 hours from Volcanoes national park in Rwanda. Tourists can therefore fly to Rwanda and travel by road to Bwindi national park for gorilla habituation.
Gorilla habituation in Uganda can be done in Rushaga or Nkuringo sector of Bwindi national park, the gorilla families undergoing habituation are Bikingi gorilla family and Bishaho gorilla family. Though gorilla habituation is expensive the experience of spending four hours with mountain gorillas is a worthwhile experience besides you will not be crowded as in gorilla trekking.
Gorilla habituation permits cost only $1500 and this is the cost of gorilla trekking in Rwanda. Permits for gorilla habituation must be bought 5-6 months earlier before the actual gorilla trekking date because of high demand especially during the peak season.
People under the age of 15 years will not be allowed to do gorilla habituation. Tourists having infections like cough, flu and other infectious diseases will also not be allowed to trek mountain gorillas.