For any gorilla trekking safari in Uganda to be confirmed, you need to have a gorilla permit. In Uganda the Uganda Wildlife Authority UWA is the body responsible for selling all Uganda gorilla trekking permits.
The cost of a Uganda gorilla trekking permit is $700 per foreign nonresident, $ 600 foreign residents and 250000shs for east African residents. Advance booking of your permit guarantees that your preferred dates are available for your dream come true meeting with the mountain gorillas.
The price of the gorilla permits was set as a contribution towards conservation of the mountain gorillas that were at the rim of extinction by the 1980s. In Uganda, the mountain gorillas only live in Bwindi Impenetrable National park and Mgahinga National park. In the entire world, only the Virunga area that is to say Volcanoes National Park, Virunga National Park, Bwindi Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park have the mountain gorillas.
Each day gorilla trekking permits are released for tourists booking but only 8 permits per gorilla family are released per day. In Uganda, gorilla permits are sold according to area that is to say Buhoma gorilla trekking area, Ruhija gorilla trekking area in the Northern sector of Bwindi. Nkuringo Gorilla trekking are and Rushaga Gorilla trekking sector in the southern part of Bwindi Forest. Nyakagezi gorilla family is open for tourist viewing in Mgahinga National park.
Each area has gorilla families and at the moment 19 gorilla trekking families are open for tourism in Uganda. Some of the families include Mukisa gorilla family, Habinyanja gorilla family, Rushegura gorilla family, Bitukura gorilla family, Mubare Gorilla family, Nkuringo Gorilla family, Bweza gorilla family and others.
Is The Gorilla Permit In Uganda Worth The Price
Mountain gorilla conservation is key in gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation every penny received plays a big part in preserving the mountain gorilla existence. The fund acquired from gorilla permit sell are used to provide extra security for the mountain gorillas. 20% of proceed acquired annually ae give back to the community to encourage them to participate in mountain gorilla conservation in Uganda.
Gorilla Doctors use the part of the funds from selling the gorilla permits to purchase medical treatment for the gorillas especially the injured one. Yes they need to get all there needs from the forest but at times its beyond the gorilla’s control.
The funds help in establishing the mountain gorilla population because that is the only way the conservation team both domestic and foreign can prove that there efforts are yielding fruits.
History Of Gorilla trekking in Uganda
Philanthropist American Dr Dian Fossey realized during her research that to save the mountain gorillas, humans have to be engaged in there lives. This is the birth of gorilla habituation which later opened the doors for gorilla trekking.
In Uganda gorilla trekking started in 1993 when the first habituated families were opened for tourists viewing. Habituating the two gorilla families had started in 1990 with Katendegyere gorilla family 11 members and Mubare gorilla family 13members in Buhoma area.
Katendegyere gorilla family reduces to 3 gorillas that moved to Sarambwe game reserve in D.R.Congo but up to today they have never been seen. Mubare Gorilla family was reduced to 5 members under Ruhondeza silverback who dies in 2012. Mubare gorilla family later increased to 12 members.
Kyaguriro gorilla family was habituated in 1990 in Ruhijah but this was under private research from Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation Effort. In 1995, 4 of its members were poached and killed. Another research group took the family up and members increased to 18 gorillas.
More habituation is taking place in Bwindi Forest to date increasing the families to about 18 gorilla families right now.
How To Book Uganda Gorilla Trekking Permit
When you establish the dates when you expect to do gorilla trekking and the number of people travelling with, you send us an Enquiry.
Our safari Consultant checks for possible availability of the gorilla permits according to you date, month and year. We have turnaround time of about 24 hours depending on the response from Uganda Wildlife Authority.
This doesn’t guarantee that the same amount of permits will be the same forever because gorilla permits are sold on first come first served basis. No one is allowed to preserve any gorilla permits for anyone unless its paid for.
After full payment, we require you to send some personal detail with those of people you are travelling with if any. Some of the details we need include full names on the passport, nationality, passport expiry date, date of birth as so much more. These are requirements for issuing a gorilla permit card.
At Arch safaris and Tours, we scan and send the purchasing receipt to our clients as a way to confirm that the permit has been reserved in advance. On the day of gorilla trekking, our safari guide presents the permit card to the ranger guides on your behalf.
When Is The Best Time To Book A Uganda Gorilla Permit
Booking your gorilla permit in advance of travel saves you the on ground panic of acquiring one especially when they are sold out and you are put on waitlist.
We advise our clients to purchase there permits at least 3 months prior so that everything is finalized. Since in Uganda gorilla permit are sold according to area, you need to reserve accommodation in the area close to where the permit is booked. This is to avoid rushing on the last day to catch up with briefing time. Some tourists book there permits at least a year in advance.
In case you miss out on briefing, you are not allowed to do gorilla trekking. Crossing from one area to another gets so difficult especially when the area receiving severe rains. They cause slippery roads and at times fallen logs block the road. Briefing time start at about 0730hours then about 0800hrs gorilla trekking starts.
According to season, the peak season (June to September and December to January) permits are highly demanded. This period also has drier months with less rains received making Bwindi forest trails more passable and taking gorilla photos is better. The shoulder seasons ( March- May and November have more rains and boggy trails but the gorilla permits are more available.
Which Accommodation To Book For Gorilla Trekking Tour
Having knowledge of where your gorilla trekking permit is booked is very important in deciding where to book accommodation on gorilla trekking safari.
This is because as explained above gorilla permits in Bwindi Forest in Uganda are reserved according to area. Overnighting in one area hoping to be at the ranger station on time for briefing is a bad decision. The roads to Bwindi are sometimes impassable yet to catch up with time you need to wake up earlier than others to drive on the road.
Accommodation in different area are booked according to Luxury plan, Mid-range plan and Budget accommodation. Some of the lodges available include Clouds lodge, Gorilla Forest camp, Gorilla safari Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Engage Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas, Gorilla resort Lodge to mention but a few.
How Many People Are Allowed To Do Gorilla Trekking
Each gorilla trekking family must be visited by only 8 persons per day per trek. This is because the gorillas have been habituated to be in the presence of only 8 people. In case they are more people, they may trample on the gorillas’ food since they entirely feed on foliage. Even the more crown the more the noise and the ranger guide may also lose control of the entire party.
Some tines the gorilla may feel ambushed when you are so many and yet everyone want to catch a direct sight of every moment with the gorillas. The group may end up being surrounded and yet this makes them feel uneasy.
Which Gorilla Trekking Area Is Best for Gorilla Trekking
All area used for gorilla trekking in Uganda are entertaining best on what you wish to achieve after gorilla trekking. Whether gorilla trekking in Buhoma area or Ruhija area or Nkuringo area or Rushaga area, the feeling of meeting the mountain gorillas is unmatched.
Some people prefer to do gorilla trekking in more strenuous areas to challenge there fitness, other in the area with many infants, others wish to do birding with gorilla trekking, other in the area with huge numbers of gorillas and so much more.
No matter where you are booked, gorilla trekking is the star of the safari show.
What Is the Age limit For Booking A Gorilla Trekking family
Age 15 year and above are allowed to do gorilla trekking. This is because of the nature of the terrain where volcanic action in the area caused ridges and plateaus to cover the area.
This type of topography may be quite strenuous to a child below this age yet once you go into the forest return time is after meeting the mountain gorillas.
The first glance at the mountain gorillas is quite scary yet you must be brave to look into the eyes of the gorillas. To them, anyone who shows signs of freight looks suspicions which a child below this age may not with stand.
The mountain gorillas also have some teasing tendencies which may not go well with a person below this age yet you are not supposed to make noise while in the forest. Noise may push the mountain gorillas into hiding.
What Time Do You Locate The Mountain gorillas
Finding the mountain gorillas is dependent on the factors in the forest like the proximity of there food, in case they fight with a wild group they may go into hiding, birth of an infant creates happiness, losing in a fight from a wild gorilla group may push them into deeper ends.
The time of finding the mountain gorillas may be between 2 hours to three quarters of the day.
You need to keep up with the pace of the rest of the gorilla trekkers so that you are not the reason to delay the rest of the group. The ranger guide follows the pace of the slowest trekkers so that no one is lost in the wilderness. The ranger guide gives some stops so that you are not exhausted from walking all day long. Cary some snacks too to rev up.
What Itineraries to Book For Gorilla Trekking Safari