Best time for gorilla habituation experience in Uganda
Best time for gorilla habituation experience in Uganda: Gorilla habituation a unique activity done in only Bwindi gorilla park can be done at any time of the year. The best time for mountain gorilla habituation is not specific as Bwindi gorilla park is open throughout the year. However, it’s better to know the best time to visit the national park for habituation in order to enjoy your once in a lifetime activity. Only 2 mountain gorilla families are open for gorilla habituation in Uganda and these are Bikingi and Bushaho gorilla families all living in the southern part of the park.
Bwindi gorilla park where mountain gorilla habituation is done in Uganda has 2 dry seasons and 2 rainy seasons. All these seasons are good for trekking based on the traveler’s budget however there are those that are better than the rest. The two dry seasons are the ones good for gorilla trekking. The short dry season occurs from December to February and the long dry season occurs from June to September.
The dry season is the best time for gorilla habituation experience in Uganda because the months are characterized by little and sometimes no rainfall. The dry season attracts the highest number of visitors and the habituation permits are always scarce and also sell out quickly because they are few and sold on a first come first serve basis.
During the dry season, travelers should expect little or no rainfall but they should move with their rain jacket and waterproof hiking shoes. The trekking trails are less muddy and some days they are dry which doesn’t affect the speed of trekkers, the vegetation is short giving the best views of gorillas, photography is very good and the roads leading to the different sectors of the park where gorilla habituation is done are in good condition.
Gorilla habituation can still be done in the rainy season because the park is always open. This time favors the budget travelers because the lodges are very cheap reason being the owners reduce the price to attract the few customers that are always in the park. The dry months do happen in March, April, May, October, and November. They are characterized by too much rainfall that makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall and thick with unclear views of the park animals.
Gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi
The gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi is done by a maximum number of 4 people and these must have valid gorilla trekking permits. The activity is done in Nkuringo and Rushaga region and starts with a briefing at the park offices early in the morning. The park wardens teach the trekkers about the rules and regulations of the gorilla habituation activity and then two armed ranger guides lead the trekkers in the jungle. The armed ranger guides are accompanied by researchers and conservationists who teach them how to make mountain gorillas get used to human presence.
The gorilla experience takes trekkers through different trekking trails looking for the semi-habituated mountain gorilla family. The activity takes 2-7 hours and the time taken to locate the gorilla family depends on the location of the mountain gorilla family and the speed of the trekkers. During the time you take searching for the mountain gorilla family, there are opportunities of meeting different park animals such as buffaloes, leopards, duikers, bush pigs, giant forest hogs, birds, and much more. The moment the semi habituated mountain gorilla family is located, the trekkers spend 4 hour around gorillas, watch them do daily activities, take photos, and record videos. You will be part of the activities that do make mountain gorillas get used to human beings together with researchers and conservationists. If you are very lucky, you will be part of the gorilla naming and later you will trek out of the jungle and collect your gorilla trekking certificates.
How much is a gorilla habituation permit?
The gorilla habituation permit is a document that allows any travelers to encounter semi habituated mountain gorillas in their natural habitats. The gorilla habituation permit is sold to those that are 15 years and above by Uganda Wildlife Authority. A single gorilla habituation permit costs $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 foreign residents, and UGX250,000 citizens of East Africa.
How many gorilla habituation permits are in Uganda?
There are only 8 gorilla habituation permits in Uganda and they are all for Bwindi gorilla park where mountain gorilla habituation does take place. The gorilla habituation permits are only 8 because there are only two groups designed for habituation in the country (Bushaho and Bikingi) and each of these is trekked by a group of 4 people.