If you’re considering going gorilla trekking in Uganda, the first thing you should do is purchase a gorilla permit. This government document grants you access to Bwindi Impenetrable or Mgahinga National Parks and determines where you will stay and the route to the gorilla park. Keep in mind that there are only about 170 gorilla permits available per day in Uganda, and demand for the gorilla trekking experience often exceeds the number of available permits. To ensure you are able to secure a permit, it is best to start planning your trip well in advance. In this post, we will provide you with additional information and tips to consider as you plan your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda.
A gorilla permit is a document that allows tourists to participate in a guided gorilla trekking activity in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park. It is purchased from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and allows visitors to track gorillas and spend an hour observing them in close proximity (within 10 meters). Before embarking on the trek, park wardens will verify the permit to ensure it was obtained through proper channels, and during the trek, a pair of rangers and a tracker will lead the group to a habituated gorilla family. The fee for the permit not only covers these services, but also contributes to the habituation process for the gorilla family and helps to fund conservation efforts for the gorillas and their habitat.
A gorilla permit in Uganda grants you access to a guided trek to observe gorillas in their natural habitat, as well as an hour of close observation (within 10 meters) of the gorillas. This permit is valid only for the specific date and location stated on the ticket, and cannot be used or claimed after the trek or if you miss the hike. During the trek, you will be part of a controlled group of no more than seven other tourists, accompanied by two armed rangers and a local expert tracker who will provide information about the gorillas and the tracking process. It is important to note that the gorilla permit does not cover any other expenses related to your trip, such as accommodation, meals, transportation, or logistical costs. It is only valid for the gorilla trekking activity and does not include any additional activities or expenses.
The cost of a gorilla permit in Uganda varies based on the visitor’s residency status. Foreign non-residents (those who do not live in Uganda) are required to pay $700 per person per trek, while foreign residents with work permits pay $600. East African nationals (residents of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania) pay UGX 250,000 (about $69) per person per trek. It is important to note that these prices are per person and are only valid for the specific date and location stated on the permit.
In addition to the regular gorilla permit, Uganda also offers a habituation permit for $1,500 per person. This permit allows tourists to spend four hours with a semi-habituated gorilla family, three hours longer than the regular permit allows. Please note that these costs do not include accommodation, meals, transportation, or any other additional expenses related to your trip.
In Uganda, there are a total of 20 habituated gorilla families, and only eight people are allowed to visit each family per day. This means that there are 160 gorilla permits available in Uganda on a daily basis. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest issues 152 permits per day, divided among four different sectors: Buhoma in the north (40 permits), Ruhija in the west (24 permits), Rushaga in the south (48 permits), and Nkuringo in the south (24 permits). Mgahinga National Park, on the other hand, issues only 8 permits per day. It is important to note that the permits are specific to the sector in which they were issued and cannot be transferred to another sector in Bwindi. When booking your permit, be sure to confirm the sector where you will be staying and purchase a permit for that specific sector.
There are two main ways to obtain a gorilla permit in Uganda: through the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) or through a licensed tour operator.
To obtain a permit directly from UWA, you can visit their head office in Kampala at Plot 7 Kira Road and purchase the permit in person. Alternatively, you can contact the office by phone at 0800100960 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements. To purchase a permit from UWA, you will need to bring money (cash or card) and your valid passport.
If you prefer to work with a tour operator, they can handle all of the logistical details for you, including rescheduling the permit if your travel dates change. To purchase a permit through a tour operator, you will need to provide your passport and full payment for the permit. The tour operator will then send you a scanned copy of your booked permit via email to confirm your reservation.
To avoid fraudulent transactions, it is important to work with a reputable and trusted tour operator. Make sure to do your research and read reviews before committing to a particular company.
Need Help with Your Gorilla Trekking Permit? Contact Our Tour Consultants for Assistance on Email: email@example.com
It is possible to purchase last-minute gorilla permits from tour operators who have obtained a large number of permits from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in the hopes of selling them to last-minute travelers. However, it is important to keep in mind that during peak season, gorilla permits in Uganda are highly sought after and tend to sell out well in advance. If you are planning a last-minute gorilla trekking safari to Uganda, it may be worth contacting a tour operator to see if they have any permits available on short notice. However, it is important to be aware that the availability of last-minute permits cannot be guaranteed, and it is always best to plan your trip as far in advance as possible to ensure that you are able to secure a permit.
It is possible to cancel a gorilla permit and receive a refund under certain circumstances. To be eligible for a refund, you must have fully paid for your permit. If you have only made a deposit, you will not be eligible for a refund if you choose to cancel your permit.
If you have fully paid for your permit, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has the following cancellation policies in place:
However, if the park warden determines that you are unable to participate in the trek due to illness, you may be eligible for a 50% refund on your permit. This is because human diseases can be fatal to gorillas, and the warden takes precautions to ensure that everyone participating in the trek is healthy.
If you let your permit expire beyond the trekking date, it will no longer be valid and cannot be used or claimed. However, you or your tour operator may be able to reschedule your permit to another date up to two years in advance, as long as you do so at least one week before the original trekking date. UWA allows for the rescheduling of a permit twice, but a third reschedule will incur a 25% penalty fee. If you have only made a deposit on your permit, you may be able to