Is there Gorilla Habituation in Rwanda

Is there Gorilla Habituation in Rwanda?

Gorilla habituation experience is an activity done in national parks to enable gorillas get used to human presence and behavior. This experience usually takes 2 to 4 years and then the habituated gorilla group is open to tourists for daily trekking exercise. Gorilla habituation is done by researchers, conservationists, scientists and rangers. They study each member in the gorilla family during the habituation process and later give names depending on the behaviors of that individual.

Rwanda is one of the three countries where mountain gorillas live in Africa and the world at large. Mountain gorillas are only found in the Virunga massif which is shared among the three countries – Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Rwanda, gorillas can be found in Volcanoes national park. It is important to note that gorilla habituation started from this park, way back in early 1970s by Dian Fossey who was a primatologist and researcher stationed within the Virunga massif.

Volcanoes national park is located far northwestern part of Rwanda and covers a small area of only 160 square kilometers. Its rich diversity includes over 200 colorful bird species, different mammals as well as primates like golden monkeys, mountain gorillas and monkeys. This park encompasses 5 of the 8 Virunga Volcanoes including Karisimbi, Bisoke, Gahinga, Sabyinyo and Muhabura. Different activities can be done in this park such as gorilla trekking, nature walks, hiking, golden monkey trekking, bird watching, and many more.

Volcanoes National Park has 11 habituated gorilla families that are open to tourists on their gorilla safari to Africa and specifically Rwanda. It is therefore important to note that Rwanda only offers gorilla trekking and not gorilla habituation experience. Therefore, as you plan to take a gorilla habituation safari in Africa, you need to know that gorilla habituation only takes in Bwindi impenetrable national Park, Uganda in Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors with each sector having only one gorilla family to habituate on daily basis. Only 4 visitors allowed to habituate each gorilla family in question.

Gorilla habituation adventure offers a fascinating experience compared to gorilla trekking; during gorilla habituation, visitors are allowed to spend maximum of up to 4 hours in the presence of mountain gorillas while enjoying their movement, behaviors, and feeding style. Following them for four hours is a fulfilling and memorable experience that will create a smile on your face.

The advantage of gorilla habituation in Uganda is that it happens in Bwindi forest which is not so far from Rwanda and can be accessed easily by road, only 4 – 5 hours’ drive from Kigali city and 2 to 3 hours’ drive from Volcanoes National Park. Therefore you can fly to Rwanda from your home country and then drive for a short distance to Bwindi national park in either Rushaga or Nkuringo to enjoy your gorilla habituation experience the next day.

You have a chance of visiting one of the two semi-habituated gorilla families, either Bikingi gorilla family or Kutu gorilla family. All you need is a valid gorilla habituation permit that currently costs USD 1500 per person per trek. This should be bought at least 5 to 6 months earlier because they are limited as only 8 visitors per day are allowed to visit the two gorilla families.


A valid gorilla habituation permit is a must and visitors ought to have 15 years of age or above, free from contagious diseases like flu, cough, common cold, Ebola, etc. keep a snack and drinking water to keep you energetic, insect repellants, camera and enough batteries for photography, long-sleeved shirt/blouse, a pair of garden gloves, hat or cap, sunglasses among others.

For the best gorilla habituation experience in Africa, visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park a popular UNESCO heritage site and most visited in Uganda.