Are you planning to visit Africa for the mind-blowing Gorilla Habituation Experience but limited by time? Many times tourists are interested in enjoying this riveting activity but worried about the long distance from Kampala to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (8-10 hours) where it is conducted. This should not be an issue because you can actually enjoy the Gorilla HabituationExperience in Uganda via Kigali International Airport.
With more than 1004 mountain gorillas living in the thick Tropical rainforests of Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda), Virunga National Park (in Democratic Republic of Congo) as well as Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National Park, gorilla trekking takes place in these four destinations but the Gorilla Habituation Experience only takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Gorilla Habituation is the process when wild gorillas are made used to human presence and usually lasts 2-3 years and involves frequent visits by researchers to learn and document the group composition and behavior in addition to naming individuals. Once the gorillas are proved ready for tracking, a mock exercise involving few individuals like journalists and scientists is conducted.
Instead of traveling 8-10 hours from Kampala to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you can have a less hectic journey by using Kigali International Airport (as your arrival airport) then crossing over to Uganda through Cyanika border in Kisoro or Katuna border in Kabale, then continuing to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in a journey that lasts approximately 4 hours.
As earlier mentioned, Bwindi is actually the “ONLY” place in the whole World where this riveting experience can be enjoyed. What is unique about the experience? Unlike gorilla trekking where tourists are limited to only one hour with the gorilla family, participants have more time (up to four hours) with the gorilla family still undergoing habituation. Even if you pay $1500 per person ($900 more than normal trekking), the experience is worthwhile because you will be part of the habituation team (researchers, rangers and conservationists).
Currently there is only one family in Rushaga sector that can be visited for this mind-blowing experience, thusa only four persons (instead of the usual 8) are allowed meaning only four permits are available per day. Because a Visa is required, intending trekkers can acquire the East African tourist Visa ($100) which also allows you to visit Kenya (if interested) without hassle.
How Gorilla Habituation Experience is done
Gorilla Habituation Experience in Uganda via Kigali starts with arrival at Kigali International Airport, situated within the suburb of Kanombe (the eastern border of the City). It’s from here that you will proceed to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park through the Katuna and Cyanika borders. Unlike gorilla trekking, the Habituation Experience starts earlier with arriving at the briefing point with the right equipment (walking stick, non-flash camera and backpack (containing a jacket, packed lunch and drinking water among others) and appropriate dressing (long sleeved shirt, long trousers, hat, gardening gloves and strong waterproof hiking boots).
While at the briefing point, you will be told about what to expect and the dos and don’ts of the activity). The trek, lasting one hour to 4 hours in the jungle starts at 7:00am and involves passing through areas of different elevations with varying levels of difficulty as well as vegetation types and culminates in an encounter with the gorilla family, with whom you will spend four hours.
In conclusion, the Gorilla Habituation Experience is an extraordinary activity that can only be enjoyed from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in south-western Uganda but you can connect from Rwanda’s Kigali to avoid the tiring 8-10 hours’ journey connecting from Kampala to Bwindi.