Mountain gorilla habituation is a process of training and taming the gorillas live closer to people and get used to human presence as they continue with their day to day lives. Gorilla habituation allows visitors the opportunity to spend more time with the gorillas which provides the opportunity for deeper understanding of their daily routines, social interactions, dynamics, habits and gorilla individual personalities. It is therefore an opportunity for one to spend quality time observing the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat before their group is opened for trekking. Mountain gorilla habituation for now only operates in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The Rushaga sector is one of the four gorilla sectors in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is known to house half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population. This sector is situated in the southern section of the Park housing to about five gorilla families which include the Mishaya family, Bweza, Busingye, Kahugye and Nshongi family.

Mountain Gorilla Habituation experience

Gorilla habituation is only limited to four tourists who join a group of researchers and experienced rangers very early in the morning to start following after a selected gorilla group for their gorilla study as they also undergo the habituation process. It involves moving through dense vegetation and steep terrains while cutting some tree branches with machetes to make pathways. There are only two gorilla families available for the habituation experience that have been followed since 2016 while rangers gradually increase time spent near them so as they become used to visitors. Once the eye sight and contact is made, one can spend up to 4 hours with the mountain gorillas as he/she observes the gentle giants closely interacting with each other in their families. You will surely draw parallels between these gorillas and humans as you appreciate the presence of our closest cousins. It is always an entire day affair and later return to your lodging facility for relaxation, meditations, dinner and an overnight stay as you wait for activities to be undertaken in the next day. During mountain gorilla habituation, researchers and rangers have the opportunity to study the health situation of the gorillas and immediately involve gorilla doctors if any of them shows signs and symptoms of illness. It is therefore fascinating and wondrous to identify yourself standing in Bwindi’s dense and misty forests amidst a few of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas.

The best time for gorilla habituation

The best time for gorilla habituation in Rushaga is during the two dry seasons in the months of June to early September and December to February when there are less or no rainfalls. During this season there are less humid conditions in the forest and the terrains are dry making it easy to move through the forest closer to the mountain gorillas. However gorilla habituation can be done with in this sector all year round.

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