When you envision a thrilling gorilla safari, one essential document stands between you and unforgettable encounters with these magnificent creatures in the wild – the gorilla permit. Issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), this permit is your golden ticket to share incredible moments with a habituated family of mountain gorillas in the lush forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. To ensure your place among these extraordinary primates, it’s crucial to book your gorilla permit well in advance, especially during the peak seasons, which occur from June to September and December to February when demand is at its highest. Permits can be secured up to two years prior to your visit, either through a ground tour operator or directly through the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Begin by choosing the dates when you intend to embark on your gorilla trek. It’s a good idea to provide a few date options in case your first choice is already fully booked. Once you’ve decided on your dates, you’ll need to scan a copy of your passport and email it to the tour operator you’re working with.
Furnish the tour operator with your name, nationality, and passport number. This information is crucial for verification when you arrive at the park headquarters for your pre-trek briefing.
Pay for your gorilla permit by following the bank details provided by your tour operator. Be sure to instruct your bank to cover any bank charges, ensuring that the full payment reaches its destination. If you choose to buy a permit directly from the Uganda Wildlife Authority, you’ll need to send them a confirmation email of your bank payment.
Trek Africa Expeditions, for instance, accepts credit card payments. If your preferred trekking dates are available, they will reserve the permits and send you an invoice. Once they receive your payment, a team member will be dispatched to pay for your gorilla permits.
After a few days or weeks, you’ll receive a confirmation of your permit reservation in the form of a scanned copy. When you arrive in Uganda, your original gorilla permit will be handed to you either by your driver guide or, if you’re on an independent trip, you can collect it from Trek Africa Expeditions’ office in Entebbe.
Your gorilla permit is a unique document, featuring a serial number and your personal details. It is non-transferable, and you will be required to present your passport and other forms of identification when you arrive at the park headquarters.
When planning your gorilla adventure in Uganda, it’s important to choose a permit based on the sector and gorilla family you wish to track. Bwindi National Park features four main trailheads for trekking: Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Rushaga. In contrast, Mgahinga National Park has only one habituated gorilla family available for tracking.
The cost of gorilla permits in Uganda is $700 per person, making it a relatively affordable gorilla destination. For those wishing to extend their experience, you can opt for gorilla habituation. This exclusive adventure, available only in Bwindi, costs $1500 per permit, allowing you a full day of close encounters and four hours of face-to-face interaction with the gorillas.
Each gorilla permit includes services of a park guide/ranger, an hour of magical encounter with the gorillas, the overall trekking experience, and your security. However, it excludes accommodation, transportation, and additional activities.
In conclusion, acquiring a gorilla permit for trekking in Uganda is the gateway to a life-changing experience on an African safari. To streamline the process, entrust Trek Africa Expeditions, the best option, to handle the permit reservation for you. Sit back, relax, and await your chance to embark on this incredible adventure.