When it comes to gorilla safaris, gorilla trekking and habituation are the major activities and therefore the debate of gorilla trekking vs habituation. The three countries of Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo are home to mountain gorillas that are trekked in their natural habitat. Since they live in their natural habitat the only way of seeing them is by taking a gorilla trekking safari.
A standard gorilla trek in Uganda involves hiking through dense forests in search of habituated gorilla families, and then spending up to an hour observing the group. By contrast, the gorilla habituation experience involves spending four hours with a group of gorillas and is only available in the Rushaga sector in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The habituation experience only takes place at Rushaga on the Kisoro side of the park. The starting point for the habituation trek is different from the standard gorilla treks (even if you’re doing a standard trek in Rushaga).
A standard gorilla trekking permit costs $700, while the gorilla habituation experience costs $1,500 at the time of writing.
The gorillas observed during the habituation experience are less used to humans than those seen on the standard gorilla treks (they are still being ‘habituated’). The experience is still completely safe, and the benefit of spending more time with gorillas is that you can better understand their behaviours and social dynamics, as well as get incredible photographs, without being rushed.