Before any gorilla family is open for visitation, it must to go through an adaptation process called Gorilla Habituation Experience. Habituation simply means the act of a decreased response to a particular stimulus after repeated presentation. So what happens is, a group of tourists are taken to visit a group in question as the process.

As it is well known, the gorilla species are entirely wild animals. Although the fact remains they hold a 99% percentage of human like DNA. In the years of Diane Fossey, gorillas were not much familiar with human presence. However with the habituation experience; interaction with the gorillas is made possible.

Uganda is the only country that offers gorilla habituation. It is a new, unique experience to a tourist. Besides gorilla trekking on a Uganda gorilla safari, a tourist can as well enjoy the gorilla habituation experience.


Gorilla habituation is a process of getting the gorilla species familiar with human presence. It is done through daily interaction with the gorillas. A team of experts, researchers, rangers and other parties are allocated, joining the experience to make it rewarding. Other parties may include paid visitors that would love to join the experience. These people head out into the jungle to study and understand the gorilla behavior and in the same way getting them used to human presence.

In Uganda, habituating mountain gorillas is only down in Bwindi impenetrable national park. This national park is located in the south western region of Uganda. The gorilla habituation experience is done Rushaga, the southern sector of Bwindi impenetrable national park.

As of today, Bushaho and Bikingi families are the only gorilla families set aside for this activity.  Unlike the normal gorilla trekking experience which allows an hour to see the gorillas, the gorilla habituation avails 4 hours of interaction with the gorilla family.

Before heading in for the gorilla habituation, a briefing is always undertaken at the park’s headquarters. At the briefing, a number of guidelines to be followed by the participants are stipulated. The general guidelines of the habituation experience, are not much different with those outlined for the gorilla trekking activity.

A maximum of 4 individual trekkers per day are allowed for the gorilla habituation experience. This is different from the normal gorilla trekking where eight individuals are allowed to trek a particular gorilla family. A reduction of the trekking numbers helps to reduce congestion. Since the mountain gorillas are easily intimidated by human presence that may cause them to be aggressive. A lesser number of visitors would ease the habituation experience hence making it worthwhile.


… A full day is required to fully interact and get to know more about the gorillas during the habituation process. This activity begins early in the morning, going throughout the day; getting to know how the gorillas spent and live their lives. During the day the participants will be encountering gorillas feeding, playing with each other, making human like gestures. And getting to know how these wild apes are tuned to be human friendly.

The full habituation process of a gorilla family, takes about 2-3 years until they are familiar with human presence. After a particular gorilla family has gone through the habituation process, mock test is done. This helps to attest whether, the selected gorilla family has passed the habituation process.  After the process, the gorilla family is ready to be trekked.

There are about 11 habituated gorilla families that are ready to be trekked, both in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park. For Bwindi, the fully habituated gorilla families are found its four sectors read for trekking. In Mgahinga national park, the Nyakagezi family, is the only habituated gorilla family open for the trekking experience.


… For one to encounter the gorilla habituation experience, a purchase of a permit is to be made. A permit for this activity costs USD 1,500 for the non-foreign residents, USD 1,000 for the foreign residents and 750,000 UGX for the East African residents. These permits and all others are purchased through the Uganda Wildlife Authority – the issuing authority. Conversely local tour operators and travel agents are available to purchase these for any interested party. It is advised to book permits 6 months in advance because they are sold on first come first served basis. This is recommended due to the high demands in the high seasons, and limited permits offered in a day.

All things considered, the mountain gorilla habituation-experience is a lifetime venture not to be neglected. Imagine getting to know the in depth livelihoods of our closest cousins, its as fulfilling as it comes.

Book a gorilla safari with Us for an exceptional gorilla experience. Be it gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation experience, Love Uganda safaris offers scheduled and tailor made gorilla safaris to visit these endangered mountain gorillas.