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Plan Your Uganda Gorilla Habituation Experience from Kigali, Rwanda

Mountain gorillas are an endangered species of primates inhabiting the Virunga volcanic ranges and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.

These apes are divided into two species: the Eastern gorilla and the Western gorilla.

The Eastern gorilla is further subdivided into the Mountain gorilla and the Eastern lowland gorilla, while the Western gorilla is subdivided into the Cross River gorilla and the Western lowland gorilla.

Gorillas are primarily herbivorous animals, with over 90% of their diet comprising vegetation.

They start foraging very early in the morning, around 6 am, take a midday rest, and forage again late in the afternoon until around 6 pm when they build nests to sleep in.

Uganda Gorilla Habituation from Kigali

Tourists can engage in Uganda gorilla habituation from Rwanda by flying into Kigali International Airport and drive to the Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, where gorilla habituation takes place.

In Bwindi National Park, there are two mountain gorilla families undergoing habituation: the Bikingi gorilla family and the Bushaho gorilla family.

Gorilla habituation is the process of acclimatizing Mountain gorillas to human presence.

This procedure typically takes 2-3 years, with rangers and researchers monitoring a specific mountain gorilla family, observing each mountain gorilla’s behavior.

In the long run, the gorillas become accustomed to human presence, and researchers give names to each group member based on their character.

Before a gorilla family is opened up for trekking, a mock exercise is conducted, and if they pass, it will be opened for trekking.

Uganda is the only one of the three countries where mountain gorillas live that offers tourists the gorilla habituation experience.

This involves tourists joining researchers and scientists in their day-to-day activities of habituating mountain gorillas.

The gorilla habituation experience typically starts very early in the morning, and once the family has been found, tourists are given four hours of habituation, providing ample time with the great apes compared to gorilla trekking, where you spend only one hour in the presence of mountain gorillas.

Gorilla habituation in Uganda is also worthwhile because each habituation permit costs $1500 per person, which is the same as the gorilla permit cost in Rwanda.

Some travelers would rather pay that amount in Uganda and have a four-hour unforgettable experience than just an hour.

The gorilla habituation experience offers better photographic opportunities because you spend more time with gorillas, resulting in better photos.

Additionally, habituation is advantageous because only four permits are available per trek, compared to the crowded gorilla trekking, where eight people trek per group.

Tourists that cannot afford gorilla habituation may opt for normal gorilla trekking from Kigali instead.

Gorilla Habituation Permits

The gorilla habituation permit costs $1500 and can be obtained through the Uganda Wildlife Authority or from a trusted tour company.

The minimum age for gorilla habituation and trekking is 15 years old, so children under the age of 15 or individuals with infections will not be allowed to trek mountain gorillas.

Gorilla habituation permits are in high demand all year round, so you should book your permits in advance, ideally 3-6 months before your actual travel date.

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