Small Group Safari

Gorilla Habituation Safari

This safari offers a rare opportunity to spend a full day in the company of conservationists and researchers tracking and habituating gorilla families. This is a truly unique wildlife experience.

Duration 8 Days
Price From $6,107
When Year Round
Destination Uganda

Safari Overview

Introduced in 2015 and available for a very limited duration of only 2-3 years is the gorilla habituation experience in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. In order to become habituated to the presence of tourists, each gorilla group has undergone an extremely delicate process, lasting around five years, gradually getting accustomed to the presence of humans. Park rangers start off by spending a short period of time with the gorillas every day, at a certain distance that represents the limit of the gorillas’ comfort zone. As the years go by, they gradually increase the time and reduce the distance until they deem the gorillas ready for paying clients to visit them. The gorilla habituation experience for the first time allows paying clients to participate in this process. It is limited to two gorilla families in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Bukingyi and Bushaho, in the Rushaga sector of the park. Due to the steep terrain, dense vegetation and high altitudes a high level of fitness is required.

What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Snap up the rare chance of spending a full day with the ‘great apes’ of Uganda.
  • Experience the exhilaration of sighting a silverback gorilla.
  • Close encounters – come face to face with habituated gorillas (maximum 1 hour encounter).
  • Your participation supports the crucial work in habituating gorillas and ensuring their survival.

Enjoy close encounters with gorilla families and know that you are some of the first to meet these gorillas.

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Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Entebbe

Upon arrival at Entebbe airport you will be met by our representative and transferred to your guesthouse for dinner and an overnight stay before your adventure begins in Bwindi Forest National Park.

Day 2

Entebbe - Bwindi Forest National Park

You will be transferred back to Entebbe for the scheduled flight to Kihihi airstrip where your private vehicle and guide await to escort you to your lodge (approx. two hours). In the afternoon relax at the lodge or go for a community walk. The Batwa Cultural Experience is a community preservation project, initiated to preserve and celebrate the culture and traditions of the Batwa pygmies, who were evicted from Bwindi when it was gazetted as a national park in 1991.

Overnight: Bwindi Lodge B, L, D

Day 3

Bwindi Forest National Park

Set off to the park headquarters to meet with your guides and find out which gorilla family you will be tracking today. Hiking through mixed terrain you may encounter the gorilla family after a short period or can walk for several hours before encountering them. Time with the gorillas is strictly limited to one hour (add USD $600 per person for the gorilla permit).

Overnight: Bwindi Lodge B, L, D

Day 4

Bwindi Forest National Park

Today there is the option of taking a second gorilla tracking expedition (add USD $600 per person for the gorilla permit). Or you may like to relax at the lodge or take a forest walk and prepare for the Ivy Trail hike onward to your next destination.

Overnight: Bwindi Lodge B, L, D

Day 5

Bwindi – to southern sector of Bwindi

On this walk you are likely to see primates like black-and-white colobus monkeys, red-tailed, blue and Lhoest monkeys, yellow-backed duikers, bush backs, lots of bird life, bush pigs eating wild pumpkins and on very rare occasions, chimpanzees.

Continue to the Ivy River where you will cross the river on a traditional bridge, this marks the end of the primary forest and into the buffer zone comprising largely of tea plantations. This last section is a medium to hard hike which brings you to Nteko Village where a vehicle awaits to transfer you (35mins) to your lodge.

Day 6

Bwindi Gorilla Habituation

Gorillas soil their nests and then abandon them to build new ones each night, and trackers are able to tell the age of the nests as well as which group made them – though this is more difficult on rainy days. If your trek to find the gorillas has not been unusually long, you are likely to reach their location during their long midday rest and play period. At this time of day, the dominant male (usually a silverback) generally lounges on the ground or against a tree while youngsters roll in the vegetation and climb on trees, vines, and each other. Females nurse and play with their infants. Occasionally, a curious youngster may approach you or someone in your group. Though it is tempting to touch, this is STRICTLY forbidden. Your tracking group will be instructed to stay together and crouch down whilst observing the gorillas. This is so the dominant male can see you at all times and the family does not feel threatened, surrounded, or overwhelmed. After spending the full day with the gorillas on what will be an exceptionally intense and intimate wildlife experience, return to your lodge early evening.

Day 7

Bwindi Gorilla Habituation (optional)

Enjoy a relaxing recovery day or set off on a second day of gorilla habituation (add USD $1,500 per person for the second permit).

Day 8

Bwindi - Depart

Early morning transfer to Kisoro airstrip for the flight to Entebbe in time for you onward flight home.

Trip Details

Trip Information

Based in Bwindi Forest National Park your first encounter with the gorillas will be on a regular gorilla tracking expedition to one of the already habituated families. Following an optional second day of tracking, set off the next day to follow the Ivy Trail hike to the southern side of the park sighting black-and-white colobus monkeys, along with red-tailed, blue and Lhoest monkeys and a multitude of birdlife along the way. Arrive at your next base for the following three nights. A full day gorilla habituation activity is included, with the option of adding a second day on the gorilla habituation programme. Gorilla habituation is a year-round activity, whatever the weather. The experience commences every morning from the park headquarters at 6:00am, and lasts until 6:00pm, or until the client is exhausted enough to want to return back to base. Once the gorillas are located, your group will be allowed to spend the entire day with them, a truly rare opportunity.

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