Difference Between Gorilla Habituation Experience And Gorilla Trekking
Mountain gorilla habituation experience and gorilla trekking are two rare primate adventure experiences offered to visitors on Africa safari. They differ from each other in one way or the other despite the fact that they all attract tourists into Africa. For starters, both gorilla habituation experiences and gorilla trekking are done within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwestern Uganda. We can differentiate between gorilla habituation experience from gorilla trekking by considering different factors.
Where to go for mountain gorilla habituation experience and gorilla trekking
Mountain gorilla habituation experience is conducted only in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, is situated in Southwestern Uganda, 9-10 hours’ drive from Kampala and 3-4 hours’ drive from Kigali Rwanda. Gorilla trekking, on the other hand, is done in Uganda and other 2 countries namely; Rwanda and DR Congo. In
In Uganda, gorilla trekking activity is conducted in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in southwestern Uganda.
Rwanda gorilla trekking, on the other hand, takes place in Volcanoes National Park while in D.R Congo, gorilla trekking takes place in the Magnificient Virunga National Park in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
- Number of hours given
Mountain gorilla habituation experience is a process where semi-habituated gorillas are made to get used to human presence and it takes the whole day with 4 hours given to visitors to catch a glimpse, take photos and have an in-depth exploration about mountain gorilla behaviours, body gestures. Unlike the usual gorilla treks, visitors have only an hour of magical encounter with the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, photo taking and exploring their behaviours, body gestures among others.
Also, trekking to see mountain gorillas isn’t predictable where your trek can last between 2 and 6 hours depending on your hiking speed, nature of the habitat and where the gorilla family assigned to you is found in the course of the day.
- Type of gorilla family assigned
Mountain gorilla habituation experience is conducted only on semi-habituated gorilla family while gorilla trekking is done in already habituated gorilla groups. Currently, habituation experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is conducted in Kutu gorilla family and gorilla treks are conducted in the 21 habituated gorilla groups in Uganda and they include Bushaho, Kutu, Bikingi, Bitukura, Mukiza, Oruzongo, Kutu, Mucunguzi, Mishaya, Kahungye, Busingye, Nyakagezi, Nkuringo, Hirwa (although this migrated from Volcanoes National Park to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park), Christmas, Katwe, Rwingi, Kyaguriro, Habinyanja, Rushegura. In Rwanda, there are 10 habituated gorilla families set for tourism and they include Umubano, Hirwa, Susa A, Karisimbi, Bwenge, Agashya, Amahoro, Ugenda, Sabyinyo and Kwitonda. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there are eight habituated gorilla families and they include
- Cost of the permits
Mountain gorilla habituation experience permits are issued out by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) at $1500 per person for foreign non-residents, $1000 for foreign residents and Uganda Shillings 750,000 for the East African citizens. Gorilla trekking permit prices differ depending on the gorilla destination you plan to visit. In Uganda, each gorilla permit costs $600 per person for foreign non-residents, $500 for foreign residents and shs.250000 for the East African citizens. The current rates will run till the end of June 2020 and starting from 1st July 2020-2022, Uganda Wildlife Authority will be issuing out gorilla trekking permits at $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents and 250,000UGX for the East African citizens. In Rwanda, gorilla trekking permits cost $1500 per person (applies to all categories of visitors) and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, you need to have $450 to book a gorilla permit which lets you visit the mountain gorillas in the Virunga National Park or Eastern Lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park.
- Nature of adventure
Mountain gorilla habituation experience involves following semi-habituated family and it is conducted mostly by researchers, scientists, trackers unlike gorilla trekking which is conducted in habituated gorilla families. Mountain gorilla habituation exercise takes about 2 or more years depending on how fast the mountain gorillas can get used to human presence.
- Packing List
When planning for mountain gorilla habituation experience and gorilla trekking, what you pack does matter a lot as each item play a significant role. Nearly, the packing list is the same except on a few as will be noted below.
- Long-sleeved shirt or t-shirt-to protect your hands from falling tree branches.
- Gardening gloves, these are important to protect your hands especially when you need to get support and you grab thorns or itching plants.
- Gorilla permit-very essential tool whether you plan to go for mountain gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Volcanoes National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Virunga National Park or Kahuzi Biega National Park for Eastern
- Sunglasses-this is good for you to protect your eyes from the sun rays.
- Bottled water to keep you hydrated throughout while on mountain gorilla habituation experience or gorilla trekking. For habituation, you may need about 2 or more since it takes the whole day.
- Waterproof hiking boots-these should be lightweight and comfortable while you are hiking. They are ideal in safeguarding you from the muddy ground.
- Daypack-get a waterproof day to help protect your documents and other essential travel items.
- Insect repellents-to protect you from biting insects.
- Camera with no flashlight-this is for your photography.
- Trousers-these are the best in safeguarding you from biting insects and scratches. You will be required to tuck into the socks.
- Hat-a good safari hat to help protect your head from sun heat.
- Energy giving snacks essential for you to keep strong so that you make a complete trek.
- Rain jacket or poncho-for protecting you in case of rain while you are on a gorilla trek.
In conclusion, mountain gorilla habituation experience and gorilla trekking are two unusual primate adventure experiences offered to visitors on a gorilla safari in Africa. Each of them rewards visitors differently and to have the absolute experience, better you embark on both and you won’t be the same.