Gorilla trekking safaris in Africa require a valid gorilla permit, which allows individuals to enter the jungle and find these endangered mountain gorillas. Without this permit, it is impossible to undertake these treks. Gorilla trekking is a thrilling, popular, and fulfilling wildlife experience in the African continent, although it is also considered costly. This is primarily due to the fact that it is a highly sought-after experience and the giant apes must be protected from stress and the risk of disease. A total of 8 gorilla permits are issued for every habituated gorilla group on a daily basis, and the demand for these permits is usually higher than the supply. For this reason, it is recommended to book gorilla safaris at least 4-6 months in advance.
Sometimes, unforeseen circumstances may arise and last-minute bookings may become necessary. If you find yourself in this situation and still wish to book a last-minute gorilla safari, please reach out to us and we will do our best to make it happen. In Uganda, valid gorilla trekking permits can be acquired from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or credible tour operators, however, they must be booked at least 4-6 months in advance due to high demand during peak seasons.
Booking gorilla permits at the last minute can be challenging, as availability is often limited. To check for permit availability, you should contact the Uganda Wildlife Authority immediately. If you are lucky, you may be able to secure a permit in one of the four sectors (Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Rushaga) or in nearby Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. However, your choices for which sector or region to trek the mountain gorillas may be limited, as you will have to go with what is available.
When booking gorilla permits at the last minute, visitors often have to settle for Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, a 33.7-square kilometer protected area that is home to only one habituated gorilla group, known as Nyakagezi.
For those looking to book a last-minute gorilla safari, reaching out to other tour operators within the country is also a viable option. The Uganda Wildlife Authority implemented an online system in 2016, allowing select tour operators to check for permit availability and book for gorilla safaris without needing to go through the UWA’s main office, which was previously a time-consuming and costly process.
Gorilla safaris can be planned throughout the year, but the most ideal time to go on these trips in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks or Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is during the dry months of January, February, June, July, August, September and December. These months have minimal rainfall, making the conditions more pleasant and suitable for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda. Conversely, during the wet months of March, April, May, October and November, the trekking trails and park roads may be muddy, slippery, and more difficult to navigate due to heavy precipitation, which can make the gorilla trek more challenging.