How to habituate mountain gorillas? – Mountain Gorilla Habituation Experience takes place deep inside Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park of Uganda. To get to this safari moment, you have to hike up steep mountain slopes through a tangled undergrowth of giant stinging nettles and weeds that clasped at ankles and legs.
It will take you sometime to locate a family of Mountain Gorillas. Quickly other Gorillas will come visible. Some of them will be clearly uncertain about this rude human intrusion, and they will tuck themselves up into the darker shadows. Others in the group will unfazed by your presence and allow you to approach within a few metres of them.
how to habituate Mountain Gorillas to human presence is a painstakingly slow process and exciting of the charge faded away. In the beginning only very fleetingly from a distance and the rangers have to act like the Mountain Gorillas. They pick leaves and pretend to eat them. This is so that the Gorillas get interested and come and see what is happening.
This is done every day for about a year and slowly, slowly the distance between rangers and the Mountain Gorillas reduces as they get more used to the presence of the rangers. After a year, they start to allow tourists to visit them. This is done so that the Mountain Gorillas get used to new faces, white skin and cameras. After two years, they are usually close to properly habituated and they allow people to approach very close to them. This might sound like a long time, but compared to the Chimpanzees, which can take longer to habituate, it’s a very fast process.
Mountain Gorilla trekking safaris have been receiving many visitors for years and they are so well habituated to your presence that they literally regard you as just another forest object. This means that they will often look right through you and barge you out of the way if you don’t move fast enough when they approach.
At times, the experience can almost feel a little too ‘zoo-like’. A Gorilla habituation experience is different. The Gorillas, visitors are taken to see, are normally only halfway through the habituation process, and some members of the group will very much keep their distance. So this begs the question.
Why sign up for it? Well, two big reasons stand out. Firstly, unlike on a standard Gorilla visit, where your time with the apes is limited to one hour, you get four hours with the Gorillas. Secondly, up to eight tourists (plus guides and rangers) are permitted to visit each Gorilla family in a normal Gorilla watching visit, but on a habituation experience, only four tourists are allowed. This provides a more intimate experience.
Whether you are seeing fully habituated Gorillas or those in the Gorilla habituation experience, nor Gorilla tracking experience is ever the same, and with so many day-to-day variables involved it’s very hard to compare like for like. One day the Gorillas could be sleepy and lazy, but the next day that same group could be excited and active. One day they could be hidden in dense bush, and on another day they might be playing in a clear forest glade.
Keeping all these day-to-day variables in mind, how does the Gorilla habituation experience compare to a standard Gorilla viewing? Well, yes you will be concerned that the Gorillas wouldn’t be much habituated at all and that you would only have distant, fleeting glimpses of them.
You will be taken to see a Gorilla family that is about halfway through the habituation process. However, the family actually in most cases contains 2-4 Gorillas one female and the dominant silverback male. The fact that these Gorillas are completely unfazed by the presence of people they give the rest of the group a little more human confidence and in many respects the viewings are as close and personal as they are with a fully habituated Gorilla family.
Gorilla habituation experience is only done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in southwest Uganda. Gorilla habituation permits cost USD1500 per person per trek. This is undoubtedly very expensive, but when you consider that Rwanda charges the same just for a standard Gorilla visit permit, it starts to sound more financially worthwhile. Full Gorilla habituation tours available through.