What is a Gorilla Permit?
In order to trek Mountain Gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda, one needs to have a Gorilla permit. This document permits you to trek gorillas and to spend an hour with the allocated gorilla family. It is offered by a registered tour company or can be directly obtained through UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) or by the Rwanda Tourism Board in Rwanda. When you are purchasing your gorilla permit, it is important to specify which park you would prefer to visit.
On another hand, it is faster and much easier to buy the permit through a tour company you are using for your safari. And also why you should use a tour company to book the gorilla permit is that they are well conversant with different gorilla families or sectors, the surrounding communities, lodging facilities and can even make lodge bookings for you.
A tour company can also give you more travel information in case you want to visit other places in Uganda. Hence, reach out to us at Tranquil Safaris, make your gorilla permit booking or inquire more about other safari details to different tourist sites.
For the clients that would prefer booking their permits directly through UWA or RTB; you can go there by yourself and make your payment or in case you are not in Uganda, you can send an E-mail to their reservation offices inquiring about the location and available dates for gorilla trekking.
Where to Trek Gorillas?
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in only two National Parks; Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga both situated in the southwestern part of the country. Bwindi has four sectors where you can find these mighty giants; Ruhija, Rushaga, Nkuringo and Buhoma. Mgahinga has one sector called Nyakagezi. Whereas, trekking Gorillas in Rwanda is done in Volcanoes National Park. As long as you have your permit, you don’t need to worry about where to stay because in all these sectors are fully furnished accommodation facilities.
Before you start trekking you are guided by skilled ranger guides on which family of gorillas you will meet, the dos and don’ts while with them and many other things.
When to Book a Gorilla Permit?
It is advisable to book your trekking permit three or six months or even one year earlier before the tracking date. This is because you would like to travel in a peak season and because of high demand the permits may not be there on the day you would need, that is why when you book your permit earlier it is better for you since you will be sure that you shall track on any day you choose. In Uganda, there are months regarded as the ‘Peak season’ for gorilla trekking because they are drier months. They include; January, February, June, July, August, September and December. The other months are also favorable to track gorillas. The choice is yours.
How much is a Gorilla Permit?
In Uganda, the permit costs $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents and Shs250, 000 for the citizens in the countries part of the EAC (East African Community).
There is also another activity called Gorilla Habituation, this gives you more time to associate with the gorillas, observe what they do, eat, behave, among other things throughout the day. The habituation permit in Uganda costs $1500 which is equivalent to the cost of Rwanda’s gorilla permit. Meaning tracking Gorillas in Uganda is cheaper than Rwanda. However tracking gorillas in Rwanda is also worth your time and money.
While purchasing your permit, you need to avail your personal details, such as; names, passport number, date of birth and country of origin. Before trekking gorillas, you will need to present your identification and proof of payment indicating the right trekking date.
Finally, after paying for your permit, you will receive a scanned copy of your permit from your Tour Company, UWA or RTB and upon arrival for gorilla trekking you will have the real permits to enable you trek gorillas.
What else does the Gorilla Permit cover?
The permit only covers your complete trek and skilled & armed ranger guides from the time you enter the jungle in search for gorillas until you are done and back to where you started from. So other costs like the porters, meals, water, transportations, accommodation are not accounted for on the permit. That’s why it is very key for you to discuss well with your tour operator about every other thing you will need before, during and after the trek.