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Comparing Gorilla Trekking and Habituation Experience

1 February 2019


 February 1, 2019
Gorilla Trekking & Habituation
Category: Blog, gorilla safaris, news

Gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experience are common terms in gorilla safari tours. These two languages are inseparable in gorilla tourism that you can hardly read and finish any gorilla safari documentary without finding one or both terms talked about. In some cases, some people have been confused between the two terms while others take them to be similar. In this documentary, we bring you detailed info about the difference between gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experience. The two terms are related since one leads to the other. Read through this article, check the differences and choose which one to do depending on your choice and capability. Gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experience are described based on the following comparisons:

The cost of the permits
Much as the two gorilla terms are relevant, the two differ when it comes to the price of permits. A gorilla trekking permit in Uganda costs $600 for foreign non-residents, $500 for foreign residents and 250,000shs for East African residents. On the other hand, a single gorilla habituation permit costs $1500 paid by all travelers regardless of one’s nationality and citizenship. Both trekking and habituation experience permits in Uganda are issued out by Uganda Wildlife Authority, a government body responsible for tourism and conservation in Uganda. Unlike in Uganda, a Rwanda gorilla trekking permit costs $1500 similar to the habituation permit in Uganda.

What is involved?
Gorilla habituation is the first stage, which mountain gorillas go through before they are claimed free for trekking. The habituation experience involves training wild mountain gorillas to get used to human presence. The training process takes 2-3 years conducted by a team of researchers, gorilla doctors, conservationists, and some tourists. Here travelers also pretend to copy and practice gorilla behaviors such as eating vegetation and walking on arms among others. On the other hand, gorilla trekking involves interacting with the fully habituated mountain gorillas. Travelers in gorilla trekking go along with a ranger guide in search of an allocated gorilla family with which they spend an hour. Gorilla trekking is, therefore, a pro habituation experience worth doing.

The time spent
When it comes to how long one spends in each experience, the two experiences are different. Travelers in gorilla habituation experience spend four hours with mountain gorillas, learning their behaviors and running after them. On the other hand, travelers in gorilla trekking send an hour with mountain gorillas. This hour is for taking the photos, capturing videos and enjoying the human-like characters of mountain gorillas. In both experiences, time is counted from the time traveler’s reach the gorillas. This tells that travelers in both experiences can spend more time in the jungle before meeting mountain gorillas.

The number of people involved
The difference in the number of people allowed to take part in trekking and habituation makes them different. Gorilla habituation allows only four people per gorilla family while gorilla trekking allow 8 people per gorilla family. Travelers are reminded that only 8 gorilla permits are available every day while the availability of gorilla trekking permits vary in each country depending on the number of habituated gorilla families. In Uganda, 144 gorilla trekking permits are issued out every day, 80 permits in Rwanda and 64 permits in Congo. Congo gorilla safaris are present on halt due to the insecurity scandals that happened last year leading to the closure of Virunga national park a home to the endangered gorillas.

Where to do trekking and habituation
Gorilla trekking is done in four national parks, which are Bwindi forest, Mgahinga gorilla, Virunga and Volcanoes national parks in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo respectively. On the other hand, gorilla habituation is only done in Rushaga sector of Bwindi forest national park. There is no habituation experience in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. At present 2 gorilla families I;e Bushaho and Bikyingi are undergoing habituation and will be opened for trekking any time they are ready.
In general, both gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experience are worth doing. The two experiences reward you with a close face to face encounter with the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Book a gorilla safari tour to Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, spend time with mountain gorillas and enjoy their company at fordable prices.

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