Gorilla Habituation Experience

Gorilla Habituation Experience Uganda – Stay 4 Hours with Mountain Gorillas

Gorilla Habituation is a wildlife process whereby researchers train wild mountain gorillas to get used to the presence of human beings. With is kind of experience visitors spend 4 hours with gorillas while in the forest. Gorilla Habituation Experience also means the training of wild mountain gorillas so that they get used to the presence of human visitor in their natural habitats. Gorilla Habituation Experience is only offered in southern Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with gorilla sectors of Nkuringo and Rushaga. The concept is executed by various categories of people including trackers, conservationists, researchers as well as rangers. These people spend about two to three years trying to make the primates get used to seeing people. However, it can simply be known as the act of training wild gorillas to become used to the sight of people. Gorilla Trekking and gorilla habituation experience are two of the top tourism activities in Uganda.

Gorilla Habituation Experience Permit

Gorilla Habituation Experience

Such close touch with gorillas is very common with Gorilla Habituation Experience

To enjoy this gorilla experience, you need to book a gorilla habituation permit at $1500 per person per every gorilla encounter. In 2015, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) introduced mountain gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. With the common Gorilla trekking, visitors interact with the gorillas for only one hour, Gorilla Habituation permits a person 4 hours in the midst of the gorillas. This experience is all about people getting very close to the gorillas and learn more about them.

Uganda Wildlife Authority set aside special gorilla families for habituation in the Rushaga sector and Nkuringo sectior in the south Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. These are two out the four gorilla trekking sectors of Bwindi forest, others being Buhoma sector in the north and Ruhija in the east of the park.

Under the Gorilla Habituation Experience, visitors stay with mountain gorillas for more hours (four hours) as opposed to the ordinary gorilla trekking limited to one hour only upon meeting the endangered primates in their jungles. With the gorilla habituation experience, tourists move with researchers who habituate gorillas, take more time with the apes and learn how they are adapted.

This experience is loved much since more time with the mountain gorillas means more enjoyment and close observations of their characters. However, those for the experience excursion should expect to visit semi-trained mountain gorillas that may choose to hide or behave in an unusual way prompting the experience to be stopped upon the researchers’ advice.

For gorillas to be open for habituation by visitors, it may take from two to three years to make them ideal for familiarization by humans. During such period, researchers sustain visiting a particular Wild gorilla group and they study in details about the individual gorillas and how the behave. Over time, such gorillas become used to those researchers and in the process, each single gorilla is named.

When the researchers are well sure that the mountain gorillas are safe for trekking, they then undertake a mock habituation exercise. In such an exercise, a few people that may include scientists, journalists and educationists begin visiting it to prove its habituation worthiness. Upon confirmation that a gorilla group has passed the mock exercise, it is then opened for the habituation experience trekking.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has got about 15 habituated gorilla groups and these include Habinyanja, Mubare and Rushegura in Buhoma area found in the north the park. There is Bitukura, Oruzogo and Kyaguriro in Ruhija located in the Eastern side. There is as well Nshonji, Busingye, Mishaya, Bweza and Kahungye in the Rushaga area plus Nkuringo Gorilla Group all in the southern section of Bwindi. Out of the many families in Bwindi Forest, only two groups have been put available for the gorilla habituation experience and they are found in Nkuringo and Rushaga southern sections of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Quick Facts 

Gorilla Habituation Experience vs Ordinary Gorilla Trekking

Gorilla Habituation Experience

  • Gorilla Habituation Experience is only offered in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Nkuringo and Rushaga areas. Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo don’t have Gorilla Habituation.
  • At present, gorilla groups available for Gorilla Habituation Experience are Bushaho group in Nkuringo (this gorilla family at times travel towards Rushaga and trekking may start from Rushaga) and Bikingi group in Rushaga.
  • Tourists going for the habituation experience should expect visiting semi familiarized mountain gorillas that may hide or act in an unusual style that may prompt the researchers to stop the exercise.
  • With gorilla habituation, clients move with researchers and use more time to see how gorillas are habituated.
  • One spends 4 hours with the Mountain Gorillas and the tracking starts at 7:30 am at Rushaga or Nkuringo to go to the group for habituation.
  • A number of 4 visitors are permitted per day for a group visited under the habituation experience.
  • A Gorilla Habituation Experience Permit is at USD 1500 per person per day.

Ordinary Gorilla Trekking

  • Ordinary gorilla trekking safaris are not limited to Uganda. It can be done in Uganda’s Bwindi Forest or Mgahinga National Park, Volcanoes National park in Rwanda or Virunga National Park in the DR Congo.
  • With Ordinary trekking, visitors spend one hour with the gorillas
  • A gorilla permit is priced at USD 700 in Uganda, USD 1500 in Rwanda and USD 450 in Congo


  • All the rules and regulations of gorilla tracking, including clothing, foot wears, and conduct plus health measures apply to the two types of gorilla trekking experiences.
  • The minimum age of 15 years apply to both gorilla encounters.

What to Carry on a Gorilla Tour?

  • Long comfortable shirts
  • Long trousers
  • Insect repellents
  • Strong gardening gloves and a hat
  • Poncho/rain jacket
  • Waterproof backpack
  • Snacks and lunch as the habituation process usually takes the whole day
  • Enough drinking water for hydration
  • Hut
  • Strong hiking shoes
  • Camera
  • Walking stick
  • Insect repellents to protect you against mosquito bites
  • Hire porters to help you carry some heavy loads and also assist you  climb steep slopes.

What happens during gorilla habituation experience tour?

Tours booked for gorilla habituation experience meet at the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park offices in Rushaga for a briefing. This gorilla briefing is done by the Uganda Wildlife Authority official in the presence of researcher at 7:30 am before the activities begins at 8:00 am. Just like gorilla trekking, the minimum age for gorilla habituation experience is 15 years of age. It is highly advised that those interested the habituation process should be fit enough to be able to do hiking steep and the dense part of the forests as the primates happen to move too hard to reach territories of the park. Under the gorilla trekking rules and regulations, the sick are not permitted to participate in the gorilla habituation process. Human illnesses like flue are a risk to mountain Gorillas. Some gorilla rules including not using camera flashed during photo shooting, making of fun of the apes, keep a minimum distance of at least 7 meters away to avoid provoking them and many others.

Just same like the best time for gorilla trekking, the most ideal period for gorilla habituation experience is habitually during the high seasons months running from December through to March plus June to October. Nevertheless visiting gorillas during the low season months of April, May, October, or November is also fine. The low-season period are somehow disparaging as they are characterized by heavy rains that make hiking challenging. This is why we recommend use of the best hiking boots during the trek. Making an early booking for a gorilla habituation experience permit is seriously advised at least 6 months before the tour. This is because there are only two families gazetted for the habituation and each is allocated 4 permits only per day per visit.

Gorilla Families reserved for Gorilla Habituation Experience

There are two gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park reserved by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) for the wonderful experience. Bikingi family and Bushaho gorilla family are the only gorilla groups set aside for gorilla habituation experience. These gorilla groups are found in the south of Bwindi forest, with one families located in Rushaga and another one in Nkuringo Sector of the vast gorilla park. At present, Bwindi National Park has 19 gorilla families available for gorilla trekking where its fellow park, the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park boasts of only family, the Nyakagezi group. This gorilla adventure is a tourism term where tourists visit habituated mountain gorillas in the wild and spend 4 hours with them as they observe and learn about their conduct, traits and characters.

How to Book and Secure a Permit for the experience

Due to the limited number of gorilla groups available for this exercise, bookings for the Gorilla Habituation Permits must be done in advance. For your expediency, write or call us and we shall immediately secure your gorilla permit and work on the trip arrangements. For any gorilla permit booking, contact us today and we shall make all the necessary arrangements for your Africa adventure tour.