In the event that a client is unable to travel on the booked dates for their gorilla habituation experience, rescheduling permits can provide a welcome relief. There are numerous reasons why a traveler may be unable to make their scheduled gorilla trip, such as illness preventing air travel, flight delays resulting in missed dates, or the loss of a close family member. It can be distressing to think that the cost of a missed trip could amount to USD 1500. However, Trek Africa Expeditions is available to assist clients with submitting a request to Uganda Wildlife Authority for rescheduling their permits to a future date of their choosing. The request will need to include a valid reason for missing the trip, and if approved, the permit can be moved to a new date depending on availability. It is essential to notify the company in a timely manner to ensure a smooth process.
The Gorilla Habituation Experience is an unparalleled activity that occurs exclusively in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. This extraordinary opportunity is often described as a once-in-a-lifetime experience to witness the endangered mountain gorillas. Habituation is the process of gradually acclimating wild mountain gorillas to human presence through repeated visits by researchers, guides, and visitors. This process can last up to two to three years, during which researchers learn about the gorillas’ individual behaviors, movements, feeding habits, and daily life. Eventually, the gorillas become accustomed to the researchers, and each is given a name. Once researchers determine that the gorillas can tolerate visitors, a mock exercise is introduced, where a small group of people, including scientists and guides, visit them.
The Gorilla Habituation Experience takes place daily in the Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The activity begins at 7:00 am with a briefing on the guidelines for visiting the gorillas during the habituation process. Only four visitors are allowed to join researchers and guides on this activity per day. The trek duration can vary from several hours to half or even a full day, depending on the gorillas’ movements. The Uganda Wildlife Authority, the governing body of all conservation areas in Uganda, introduced the Gorilla Habituation Experience in 2014 for those interested in spending more time observing the unhabituated gorillas. During this experience, visitors can spend up to four hours with the gorillas in their natural environment.
Rescheduling your gorilla habituation permits in Uganda is a simple and achievable process, and as Trek Africa Expeditions, we are always ready to help you with the rescheduling to the dates that suit you best. To request a reschedule, you need to submit a letter to the Uganda Wildlife Authority with valid reasons for the rescheduling. We write letters on behalf of our clients to facilitate the application process.
It is understandable that situations like illness, bereavement, financial constraints, or any other reason may require you to change your travel dates, and that’s why Uganda Wildlife Authority has a flexible policy that allows rescheduling of purchased permits to new dates. To reschedule your gorilla habituation permits, you must have made full payment for the permit to enable it to be moved to new dates of your choice.
Trek Africa Expeditions is always ready to assist you with the rescheduling process and ensure that your gorilla habituation experience is not missed. Don’t worry about losing your investment of $1500 in the gorilla habituation experience and the entire trip. Notify us in good time, and we will help you reschedule your permits with ease.
If you need to reschedule your gorilla habituation permit in Uganda, Trek Africa Expeditions can help process the change to your desired travel dates. We will write a letter to Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) on your behalf to submit the request for rescheduling, providing valid reasons for the change.
To reschedule, you must have already made full payment for the permit. Simply choose your preferred new date and let us know, and we will check the availability of permits for those dates. During peak season, many dates may be sold out, so checking availability is crucial to avoid applying for sold-out dates. If the date you request is sold out, UWA will not allow you to reschedule to that date.
You can request rescheduling at any time after booking but before two weeks prior to the trek date. When you reschedule your permit, your travel dates will change as well. Trek Africa Expeditions will help you re-book all your services, including lodges, to your new dates. We will ensure that your new confirmed dates for all services are booked, so you can enjoy your gorilla habituation experience on your preferred dates.
The cost of a gorilla habituation permit in Uganda is similar to that of a Rwanda gorilla permit in Volcanoes National Park. However, the advantage of a habituation permit in Uganda is that it allows you to spend four hours with the gorillas compared to just one hour in Rwanda. The gorilla habituation permit costs USD1500 for Non-Foreign Residents, USD1000 for Foreign Residents, and UGX 750,000 for East African Citizens. If you are planning to obtain a gorilla habituation permit, Trek Africa Expeditions can assist you in securing the permit for your preferred date, depending on availability, as well as all the necessary services for your gorilla trekking experience.
To get started, you can contact us with your trekking plans and preferred dates, and we will check the online system for Uganda Wildlife Authority to determine permit availability. If the permits are available, we will send you an invoice to make payment, and if they are not available, we will recommend other dates with permit availability. Once we receive your payment, we will book and secure your permits from Uganda Wildlife Authority and send you a receipt and booking ID to confirm your trek. Keep in mind that gorilla habituation permits are limited to only four permits per day and tend to sell out quickly. Therefore, we recommend booking months in advance to secure your preferred date before it sells out.
To ensure the conservation of mountain gorillas for future generations, there are strict guidelines and regulations that tourists must follow during the gorilla habituation experience. Here are the procedures that may change over time:
• To participate in gorilla habituation, you must possess a valid permit which must be booked in advance. The permit is valid for a specific date and must be presented before the experience. Gorilla habituation permits cost USD 1500 for four hours and are sold by Uganda Wildlife Authority.
• Participants must be 15 years or older as this helps to minimize childish behavior and reduce the risk of transmitting communicable diseases to the gorillas. If there is any doubt about your age, you may be asked to provide your birth certificate.
• Keep your voice low and avoid making noise while in the forest to avoid disorganizing the natural ecosystem. This will also allow you to observe other animals such as birds, primates, and mammals that live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
• Do not litter or dispose of plastic bottles on the forest or trails. Use designated trash cans or carry your litter in your backpack.
• Follow instructions from your guide or researcher to ensure an organized experience.
• Maintain a distance of 7-5 meters from the gorillas. This is essential to reduce the risk of transmitting diseases and to prevent the gorillas from charging at you.
• Do not use flash photography, eat or drink during the habituation experience, or touch the gorillas.
• If you need to use the toilet, ask your guide or researcher to arrange for one or dig a hole. If you feel sick before the experience, seek medical attention and Uganda Wildlife Authority may arrange for another experience.
If you’re planning to participate in a gorilla habituation experience, you have two options for getting to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwestern Uganda: flying or driving. One popular option is to fly from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Kisoro Airstrip, and then drive to your booked lodge. Aerolink Uganda is a highly recommended flight company that operates daily flights to Bwindi, with the flight to Kisoro taking about an hour.
Alternatively, you can opt for a road trip from Kampala or Entebbe, which takes about 8-9 hours but offers plenty of enjoyable stops along the way, such as the Equator, Igongo Cultural Museum in Mbarara, and various plantations and landscapes.
For those coming from Kigali in Rwanda, we also organize road trips for gorilla habituation experiences. This trip can start from the airport or hotel in Kigali city and then proceed to Uganda via the genocide memorial before crossing the border at Katuna. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to stop at various viewpoints and take photographs, such as the Lake Bunyonyi Viewpoint and Twin Lakes Viewpoint, as well as stop for lunch in Kabale. The drive from Kigali takes around 4-5 hours, which is shorter than the drive from Entebbe or Kampala to Bwindi. Ultimately, the choice is yours, and you can select the most convenient option for your gorilla habituation experience.
When planning your gorilla habituation safari, it’s important to consider where you will stay during your trip. The Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors in southwestern Uganda offer a variety of lodges, hotels, and camps to choose from, catering to different budgets and service standards.
Trek Africa Expeditions can assist you in booking the hotel of your choice. In the Rushaga sector, you have the option of staying at Rushaga Gorilla Camp for a mid-range option, Four Gorilla Lodge for a luxury experience, or Rushaga Gorilla Havens Lodge for budget-friendly accommodation. In Nkuringo, you can stay at Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge for a budget to mid-range option or Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge for a luxury experience.
It’s important to book your lodge in advance, especially during the high season when they can be fully booked. With various options available, you can select the accommodation that best suits your preferences and budget to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable gorilla habituation safari.