A gorilla permit is a card or document issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority and allows the holder to spend one hour with mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park. There things that have to be considered before booking Uganda gorilla permits to see mountain gorillas in Uganda. Questions such as when to book, how-to book, which national park among others must be answered before undertaking any effort to book your gorilla permit to visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park.
What is gorilla trekking?
Gorilla trekking is an activity that is done in four national parks located in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo. It involves following a given group of habituated mountain gorillas in any of the four national parks and once found, tourists are allowed one hour to view, photograph and listen from what the guide/ranger has to say about behaviours and lifestyle of these mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking itself may take 30 minutes or three-quarters of the day to get where the gorillas will be on that particular day. Find out more information by contacting us.
What is included in a gorilla permit?
Before deciding on coming to Uganda to see mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable national park or Mgahinga National Park, you will, of course, need a gorilla permit as one of the three components of a gorilla tour. A gorilla permit includes three important things that one needs to know before taking care of other costs. A gorilla permit issued by Uganda wildlife Authority includes one hour with a given habituated mountain gorilla family in Bwindi or Mgahinga, park entry fees, services of a ranger guide, security while on your trek and a certificate after your trek.
This, therefore, means that you will have to cater to other costs like accommodation, transport and meals besides the cost of gorilla permits. Encounter Africa safaris organizes all-inclusive gorilla safaris to see mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga. Our packages include gorilla permits, accommodation and transport to and from Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park. Below are sample gorilla safaris listed on our website.
Most requested Safari packages including gorilla trekking
How to book Uganda gorilla permits for Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park
There two ways in which one can book Uganda gorilla permits. The first and most convenient way is to book your gorilla permit through a registered and recognized tour operator. Any tour operator of your choice will take care of all details including checking availability, reserving, buying and securing your gorilla permit without you going through all tuff hassles involved. Encounter Africa safaris is one of the most trusted and credible tour operators booking gorilla permits and safaris on behalf of our clients. With so many years of success in organizing gorilla treks for our visitors, you can’t go wrong if you choose Encounter Africa safaris to handle this for you.
The other way on how to book your gorilla permit is to contact the Uganda Wildlife Authority by calling or sending an email via their office lines and email contacts. If you are lucky, you will get a response but many that have tried to call or send emails have been frustrated only to come back to us for help. The issue is not about inefficiency but the reservations department at Uganda wildlife authority headquarters is normally overwhelmed by the number of people who come to the office to book these permits directly. So getting a response might take longer if not forever. To avoid this, we advise those interested in trekking mountain gorillas in Uganda to contact reputable Tour operators like Encounter Africa safaris.
When is the best time to book my gorilla permit?
Uganda is a hotspot when it comes to choosing a destination to visit mountain gorillas. One of the most important things to consider before booking your Uganda gorilla permit is when or time. Uganda gorilla permits tend to sell out quickly and as such booking them in advance will guarantee you a place to visit them. Booking your gorilla permit should be done at least 4-5 months in advance. We have had clients who actually do so a year in advance.
The reason why we encourage all our potential clients to book gorilla permits in advance is that there is competition for Uganda gorilla permits from Uganda tour operators, individuals as well as international tour operators. This competition is as a result of high prices of Rwanda gorilla permits which tend to push them away. Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500 which is more than double the price of an Uganda gorilla permit which is to rise to $700 per person per trek. The fact that gorilla trekking experience in Uganda and Rwanda is the same, many have decided to opt for Uganda instead of Rwanda hence bringing competition for Uganda gorilla permits. Please contact Encounter Africa safaris and we will book your gorilla permit in advance.
How are gorilla permits allocated by Uganda wildlife Authority?
Uganda wildlife Authority issues out gorilla permits according to regions in Bwindi impenetrable National Park. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has four regions and depending on available permits per region, you will decide on the region to visit yourself. If you book buhoma permits, you will trek gorillas in the north of the forest, if you book Ruhija gorilla permits, you will go for habituated gorilla families in the east. If you book rushaga or nkuringo gorilla permits, you will have to drive to the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Mgahinga National Park has one gorilla family so no issues. Depending on our clients’ interests and physical conditions, Encounter Africa safaris will try to book gorilla permits that best suits our client’s demands.
Is it possible to choose a gorilla family of my choice?
It is now possible to select a gorilla family of your choice if you follow the below. Selecting or choosing a gorilla family is basically done on the very day of trekking but it all starts on the day of booking your gorilla permit. If you prefer gorilla families in let’s say Buhoma, please instruct your Tour operators to book gorilla permits for Buhoma region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. On the day of gorilla trekking, feel free to request for a gorilla family of your choice located in Buhoma. Uganda wildlife Authority will try as much as possible to make sure that it allocated gorilla families to visitors depending on their interest and physical fitness. Contact Encounter Africa safaris about gorilla family allocation and the different gorilla families located in the different regions of Bwindi.
How can I pay for my gorilla permit?
After deciding that you will be trekking mountain gorillas in Uganda. You will then move to the next step of paying your gorilla permit since gorilla trekking safaris to Bwindi impenetrable national park or Mgahinga National Park can only be guaranteed of your permit is paid for. If you book your permit through Encounter Africa safaris, we will provide you with two modes of payment. As a company, we do accept bank transfers as well as Credit/debit card payments much as the later attracts a surcharge of 5%. Once all is agreed, we will send you an invoice indicating our bank accounts details. Once payment is made, we normally request you to send us POP (Proof of payment) so that we use our credit to secure your gorilla permits. This is because funds take 2-3 working days to hit our bank account and if we are to wait for it to show, we may end up losing out on it since they are issued out on first come first serve.
Is there any age limit for booking gorilla permits to see gorillas?
Uganda wildlife Authority has an age limit for those interested in buying gorilla permits to see gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park on Mgahinga National Park. Age limit for gorilla trekking in Uganda is 15 years and above. Anyone below this date is not allowed to trek mountain gorillas or even book Uganda gorilla permits. Before considering to travel with your children, make sure that they have attained 15 years of age. There some particular incidents where children who are about to celebrate their 15th birthday will be allowed to trek gorillas. If your child is 14 years but strong enough, please contact Encounter Africa safaris to see how you can be assisted.
Why are gorilla permits so expensive in Uganda?
Gorilla trekking, in general, is an expensive venture and gorilla permits too are expensive compared to other tourists activities in Africa. Gorilla permits are expensive for one or two reasons. The most important reason is that Mountain gorillas have been for a while listed as endangered species. All efforts to save them from extinction is very expensive. These expenses can be taken care of by charging a high fee to see them. The second reason is to limit the number of people visiting these gorillas. Not all people can afford to part with $700 to see mountain gorillas in Uganda for one hour.
What happens when I lose my gorilla permit?
For one to trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi or Mgahinga, he/she needs to hold or present a gorilla permit on the day of gorilla trekking. Nobody is allowed to trek mountain gorillas without a gorilla permit. Due to the fact that gorilla permits are bought in advance, if not kept properly may be misplaced. In a situation where one loses his permit, he should report to UWA about this. You should be able to present your receipt to this effect as well. UWA will assist and make sure that a new gorilla permit card is issued at a small fee. The worst comes when you lose your permit and can’t find it on the day of trekking.
When you book with Encounter Africa safaris, you do not have to worry since we make sure that we keep records of all receipts, scanned copies of permit cards as well as IDs of each permit. If something like this happens, we will be in a position to rescue you.
What happens if I don’t use my gorilla permit?
A gorilla permit is valid for the date mentioned. If for one reason or the other you don’t show up on the day of trekking, you will completely lose out. If for any reason you get to know that you will not be able to trek gorillas in advance, there two options for you. The first option is to reschedule your gorilla permit to another date and year. The second option is to resale it to whoever is interested. If you book your gorilla permit and for one reason or the other cannot use it, we will assist in rescheduling or reselling it. Please note that on both occasions, there is no guarantee that you will be allowed to reschedule by UWA or getting someone to buy it. Please contact us for details on this.
About Encounter Africa safaris
Encounter Africa safaris is a Local tour operator based in Uganda with its head offices in Entebbe. Encounter Africa safaris is run and owned by Ugandans. We have been in operation for more than 15 years and we specialize in life-changing experiences and sustainable tours and holidays to all East African countries. We are members of AUTO (Association of Uganda Tour Operators) and are registered by UTB (Uganda Tourism Board). We have a good and long working relationship with UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) making it easy to book your gorilla permits. Encounter Africa safaris is highly reviewed on trip advisor as well as Safari bookings. Please contact Encounter Africa safaris next time you intend to visit any of the five East African countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania.