Choosing between gorilla trekking/tracking and gorilla habituation experience has become one of the confusing things for world travelers as they have failed to differentiate between the two. Mountain gorillas are the largest Apes in the world and the most remarkable species that you shouldn’t miss to see in life. There are nearly 900 mountain gorillas that are believed to be still living in the world and yet they are also the world’s critically endangered species. In the world, they are only found in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. The fact is that gorilla tracking has proven to be one of the leading adventures that reward its visitors with life changing experiences across African continent. With introduction of a new tremendous adventure in gorilla experience especially in Uganda, there is need for travelers to understand the differences between the two experiences so that visitors are able to make perfect choices based on their budget and equally allows them to achieve their long time dreams in the pearl of Africa.
Below is comparison between gorilla tracking and gorilla habituation experience.
The cost of gorilla permits:
A gorilla is a must to have on gorilla trek in Africa and comparably Uganda offers relatively affordable gorilla permits for gorilla tracking. A safari to the misty valleys of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park comes with a gorilla permits at $600 for foreign nonresidents, $500 for foreign residents and shs.250000 for East African residents specifically for visitors traveling during the peak season whereas those who intend to track gorillas during the low season the permits cost $450, $400 and shs.150000 for foreign nonresidents, foreign residents and East African residents respectively. Despite the fact that Gorilla Habituation Experience is only done in Uganda and only in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in the whole world, this experience comes at a cost of $1500 per tourists for foreign nonresidents, $1000 for foreign residents and shs.750000 for East African residents.
The magical hour:
During gorilla trekking, tourists are given only one magical hour to have a face to face interaction with mountain gorillas. For many, habituation experience is preferably the best given the fact it comes with a sum of 4 hours of magical face to face interaction with these tremendous species in the world and yet it also offers visitors a whole day trek habituating gorillas. Both hours equally offer magical experiences but habituation experience rewards with absolute wild experience as it gives more time for visitors to take photos of mountain gorillas, explore in depth the reality about daily behavior of these Apes in their natural habitat. It is also important to note that for gorilla tracking experiences, visitors are assigned to already habituated gorilla families and in Uganda there are 12 habituated gorilla families set for this unlike gorilla habituation experience which takes place in gorilla groups that are still undergoing habituation process and they are only 2 groups (Bushaho and Bikingi gorilla groups) that are set for habituation experience.
Maximum number of participants:
Usually, gorilla tracking accommodates only eight visitors per gorilla group unlike gorilla habituation experience where only four visitors are allowed which means more ultimate experiences for the visitors and they will be able to discover the daily life styles of the mountain gorillas in the wild with researchers and trackers. Visitors who choose gorilla habituation experiences enjoy fewer crowds as the gorilla groups receive fewer visitors, porters, guides, support staff which allows visitors to be focused on what brought to the wild. It is extremely the rarest experience that you must par take in life!
Gorilla habituation experience occurs only in the Rushaga (southern) sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. For gorilla tracking, it is done from Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga sectors of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest as well as in any country where mountain gorillas are protected which isn’t a case with gorilla habituation experience. In Rwanda, gorilla trekking is done from only one place and yet in Uganda, visitors explore various locations of the park which total up to 5, with four inside Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and the other is in located in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. For the case of Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors, visitors can access them even form Kigali Rwanda where they will spend nearly 3 hours to drive to southern sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
In conclusion, gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experience are strenuous adventures that only those visitors who are physically fit can par take. Visitors who intend to participate in any of these adventures must be well prepared to hike through the steep slopes and dense jungles of Africa for authentic African experiences. Remember only those above 15 years are allowed to track gorillas!