Best time for gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi
What is the best time for gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi gorilla park? Gorilla habituation experience is one of the most exciting tourist activities in Uganda that give travelers an opportunity to encounter mountain gorillas. The gorilla habituation experience is only done in Bwindi gorilla park which gives trekkers an opportunity to be around mountain gorillas for 4 hours. Bwindi gorilla park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda and apparently, it harbors about 21 mountain gorilla families and 2 of these are open for habituation exercises.
Mountain gorilla habituation in Bwindi gorilla park was started by the Uganda Wildlife Authority to enable tourists around mountain gorillas and see how mountain gorillas can be taught how to get used to human presence. Mountain gorillas were known to be dangerous wild animals not until Dian Fossey an American primatologist started the whole thing of habituation in Rwanda. Habituation is done by a group of trekkers, researchers, and conservationists who slowly make mountain gorillas get used to the human presence around them.
The best time for gorilla habituation in Uganda
Mountain gorilla habituation experience is done in Bwindi gorilla park throughout the year. Uganda has 2 dry season and 2 wet seasons
The dry season: The 2 dry seasons are the best time for gorilla habituation safaris in Bwindi gorilla park and they do occur from June to September and December to February. During the two dry seasons, there is little or no rainfall and this leaves the roads connecting to the park passable. During the dry season, the trekking trails are dry and less slippery meaning they don’t affect the speed of trekkers. Lastly, the vegetation is short and not so thick giving clear views of the park animals, the vegetation along the trails is dry and there is less fog giving clear photography of mountain gorillas.
The wet season: Bwindi gorilla park comprises of tropical rainforest which means any time can be a rainy day. The park has 2 rainy seasons which from March to May and October to November. During the rainy season, there is plenty of rainfall and this makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery hence reducing the speed of trekkers. The vegetation is thick with unclear views of the mountain gorillas, the fog is too much giving unclear photography and the roads leading to the park are not in good condition thus not the best time for gorilla habituation experience.
Two mountain gorilla families in Bwindi gorilla park are currently going through habituation in Bwindi gorilla park and these are biking gorilla group and Bushaho gorilla families. Unlike gorilla trekking where trekkers interact with mountain gorillas for 1 hour, gorilla habituation allows trekkers to be around gorillas for 4 hours. The activity restricts the trekkers to a maximum of 4 people that are joined by armed ranger guides, researchers, and conservationists.
Gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi starts early in the morning in Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors. The park wardens teach trekkers about the rules and regulations of the gorilla habituation activity before trekkers head out to the jungle. People that are above the age of 15 years of age are the only ones that can be part of the gorilla habituation activity.
Searching for the semi habituated family can take 2-7 hours and during the search, the trekkers are able to meet some of the park primates, mammals, and birds. When the mountain gorillas are sighted 4 hours according to Uganda Wildlife Authority start counting. The trekkers are able to be around these apes, talk to them, make them get used to human presence, take part in naming if any, watch them do daily activities, learn about their habits, and take photos. The gorilla habituation exercise is done for 2-3 hours until the mountain gorillas get used to the human presence around them.
Gorilla habituation is done by those that have gorilla habituation permits issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The gorilla habituation permits are sold to people above the age of 15 years old and they cost $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 foreign residents, and UGX750,000 East African citizens. Travelers intending to visit Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors for gorilla habituation must book their permits in advance of 3-4 months.
Packing list for gorilla habituation in Bwindi?
for the best Gorilla experience, Travelers intending to visit Bwindi for gorilla habituation must come well prepared with a number of essentials in order to have the best of their safari. To have an amazing gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi gorilla park, you must come with waterproof hiking shoes, cotton stocks, a pair of gaiters, long-sleeved pants, long-sleeved shirts, a rain jacket, scarf, a light backpack, a camera, a pair of binoculars, a hat, sunglasses, energy-giving snacks, drinking water bottle, facemask, sanitizer, and insect repellents among others.
How to access Bwindi gorilla habituation
There are several ways travelers can get to Bwindi gorilla park. Travelers can access Bwindi gorilla park in 2 hours using air transport or road transport in 9-10 hours. luxury travelers can use chattered flights from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Kisoro airstrip where they will use ground transport to connect to the park.
Travelers that are okay with traveling long distances can use road transport to access Bwindi for gorilla habituation from Kampala or Kigali. Travelers from Kampala can use Masaka – Mbarara – Kabale – Kisoro. From Kisoro, travelers can branch off to Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors. Travelers from Kigali can access Bwindi for best gorilla experience using Katuna border in Kabale or Cyanika border in Kisoro.
Where to stay during gorilla habituation in Bwindi?
Gorilla habituation in Bwindi gorilla park is done in Nkuringo and Rushaga sectors only and these sectors have lots of accommodation facilities where tourists can stay. The accommodation facilities in these sectors range from budget to mid-range to luxury options and ae of different prices offering different services.
Accommodation in Rushaga sector: Rushaga Gorilla Lodge, Four Gorillas Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Bwindi Jungle Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge, Nsongi Camp, Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Resort, and Wagtail Eco Safari Lodge.
Accommodation in Nkuringo sector: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Heights Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Bwindi Backpackers Lodge, Mutanda Eco Community Centre, Nshongi Camp, Crested Crane Bwindi Hotel, Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge, and Virunga Campsite