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COMPARING GORILLA TREKKING AND THE GORILLA HABITUATION EXPERIENCE

Gorilla Trekking and Gorilla Habituation,  are common activities undertaken by tourists during gorilla safaris but a first time traveller may not understand the difference between these two amazing gorilla activities. Therefore this article brings you all the information you need to know about these two amazing tourist activities and their differences.

Firstly, Gorilla trekking is conducted in three countries-Rwanda within Volcanoes National Park, Uganda in Mgahinga Gorilla and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks and Democratic Republic of Congo in Virunga National Park while the Gorilla Habituation Experience is only conducted in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Both activities involve trekking through the jungles for the mountain gorillas and time spent in trekking depends on the location of the family and your Pace of movement.

Although Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the only destination where the Gorilla habituation Experience is conducted, it is not done in all the four sectors of the Park but rather within the southern sectors of Rushaga and Nkuringo.

The following are the Main differences

How the activities are done

With gorilla trekking, tourists visit an already habituated gorilla Family with currently over 18 habituated gorilla families open for trekking while with the Gorilla Habituation Experience tourists visit a semi-habituated gorilla family or the one still undergoing habituation to make it accustomed to human presence. Currently there are only two Gorilla families available for the experience.

Time spent with the Mountain gorillas

Both offer different encounters in terms of the time tourists spend with the Mountain gorillas. With the Gorilla Habituation Experience, tourists get the chance to spend up to four hours with the mountain gorillas which is not the case with gorilla trekking where tourists only spend one hour with the mountain gorillas. The time involved in searching for the gorilla family is between 30 minutes and 3 hours for both.

Cost of gorilla permits

Both are interesting because they allow tourists to spend time with the giant apes in their natural habitats but differ in terms of cost. For instance, permits for gorilla trekking in Uganda cost $700 per person for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents and Shs 250,000 for East African community residents, $400 per person for the activity in Uganda and $1500 for the same activity in Rwanda. Gorilla Habituation Experience which is conducted in only Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park costs $1500 per person for foreign non-residents (the same price as it is for gorilla trekking in Rwanda), $1000 for foreign residents and Shs 750,000 for East African community residents.

Number of persons involved

Gorilla trekking involves more participants than the Gorilla Habituation Experience. Besides the armed rangers, guides and porters, the usual/regular gorilla treks involve 8 tourists while for the Gorilla Habituation Experience, 4 tourists are involved in addition to armed rangers, guides, porters and researchers/scientists.

In conclusion, both interesting tourist activities with chances of spending time with the mountain gorillas but differ in terms of the time tourists spend with the giant apes, number of people that track a particular family, the cost of gorilla permits and how the activities are conducted.

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