Gorilla Trekking Vs Gorilla Habituation: The difference between gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation is that during gorilla trekking, you visit gorillas who are already accustomed to human presence, whereas during gorilla habituation, you visit gorillas who are not accustomed to human presence.
The price, experience, length or time period, and a variety of other factors should be considered when comparing gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation. While gorilla trekking entails a group of eight tourists hiking the forest in search of habituated gorilla families in their natural habitat for an hour, gorilla habituation entails familiarizing with wild gorillas in order to make them accept human interaction and presence.
In comparison, gorilla habituation was only recently introduced in 2014, following a demand from the Uganda Wildlife Authority for visitors to spend more time with mountain gorillas. Throughout this gorilla habituation experience, we have taken many tourists to Bwindi to see mountain gorillas for 4 hours. During this activity, visitors will trek to see gorillas that have not yet been fully habituated and spend four hours with them. This means that visitors can also participate in habituation activities such as making calls, collecting and testing stools, naming gorillas, and learning more about gorilla behaviors, such as when and how gorillas became happy, tired, and when they no longer want to see people around.
Gorilla habituation is a long term process when researchers train gorillas in the wild to become accustomed to humans so that they do not harm them when they are in their presence for tourism purposes. A team of experts, researchers, primatologists, researchers, and staff from the observation areas where the habituation process is taking place does this. The team may visit the gorillas one at a time for two to three years until they feel the gorillas are ready to entertain visitors. Some of the chosen mountain gorillas may take a long time to become habituated to humans, whereas others may take only a short time.
Historically, gorilla habituation experience was introduced in Uganda in 2014, marking 5 years since this activity was introduced in Uganda. The activity takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, and visitors who participate spend 4 hours traveling between the southern sectors of Nkuringo and Rushaga. Only four people are permitted to participate in this fantastic activity. Laba Africa was one of the first companies to take clients to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park for a gorilla habituation experience when it was first introduced in 2014, and we continue to customize gorilla habituation experiences to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park to this day. Simply contact us for more information.
Gorilla trekking is the most popular activity for visitors to see gorillas in Africa. This gorilla trekking activity will allow you to see habituated mountain gorilla families while visiting this conservation park. Half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas live in Uganda, with the rest in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Only in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is there a 96% chance of seeing both gorillas.
Mountain gorillas can be found in all four sectors of the park, including Nkuringo and Rushaga in the park’s south, Ruhija in the north, and Buhoma in the east. Depending on your physical fitness and the distance moved by the gorilla family or group being trekked, gorilla trekking can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a quarter of a day.
You must obtain a gorilla trekking permit because it is one of the requirements for engaging in any gorilla activity in Uganda, Rwanda, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
This means that you must have a gorilla permit before embarking on your gorilla trekking trip to Africa. To secure your spot for gorilla trekking, you should book your gorilla trekking permit in advance. Your travel dates and space availability are confirmed once you have booked the permit. Each gorilla family is visited by a group of 8 clients or people per day in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla parks, which means that there are only 8 gorilla permits per day, which means that you will have to book this permit in advance due to competition, which we can book for you here at Africa adventure vacations.
Gorilla trekking begins with a briefing at the park headquarters, and visitors must return to the park headquarters to receive a certificate for successfully participating in the gorilla trekking safari.
In terms of cost:
Although permits for both activities can be obtained from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) through your trusted tour operator, the prices of these incredible experiences vary. A permit for gorilla trekking costs 700 USD, while a permit for gorilla habituation costs 1500 USD. It is always advisable to book your permit early in order to avoid missing it on the day you intend to track or habituate a gorilla family.
Time spent participating in both activities
Whereas trekking limits one to watching a habituated family for one hour after searching for it for 30 minutes or three quarters of a day, habituation allows one to spend four hours with these dark colored creatures, which is three hours longer than trekking. Travelers participating in habituation must be accompanied by trained researchers because these endangered species are still learning and may end up behaving in ways that scare humans, whereas in the case of trekking, a knowledgeable guide is sufficient to take you through the entire process.
This extra time spent during habituation allows visitors to gain a thorough understanding of the gorillas because the researchers will spend time explaining more about these rare species, even if it takes a day.
Regions where activities occur
It is worth noting that Uganda is the only country in the world where gorilla habituation occurs, joining Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as the other two. Expect to trek in all regions of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, including Rushaga, Nkuringo, Ruhija, and Buhoma, because these areas have habituated families. Habituation, on the other hand, is restricted to the park’s Rushaga region.
Gorilla families available for Trekking and habituation
In Uganda, 13 families are accessible for trekking, including 12 in Bwindi National Park and 1 in Mgahinga National Park, while 2 families—the Bikyingi and Bushaho families—are available for habituation in the Rushaga region.
Number of participants for each activity
In contrast to habituation, which is only permitted with a maximum of 4 people, gorilla trekking allows 8 people to be in the presence of these gentle forest giants.
Best time for these activities
Even though the dry and sunny season offers the optimum conditions for both activities, one can engage in trekking and habituation at any time of the year. Uganda naturally experiences two wet seasons, from March to May and from October to November, however the dry season is longer, making it more conducive to activity.
When both activities were first introduced
Mountain gorilla safaris were first conducted in 1993 when a first group of visitors traveled to Bwindi’s northern region in search of Mubare, the first habituated gorilla family. The Uganda Wildlife Authority first used the term “gorilla habituation” in the Rushaga region of the park in 2015.
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