About UWA the gorilla permit issuing body
Uganda wildlife Authority is the gorilla destination activities controlling body in Uganda. This body has the responsibility of selling all gorilla permits for Uganda. At the moment about 19 gorilla families are open for tourist viewing in Uganda. These gorilla families live in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga National Park.
This body also have the responsibility to regulate other national park activities in Uganda including chimpanzee trekking, spot fishing, birding in Uganda, game drives, launch trips, Nature walks, golden monkey trek and others.
Most Popular Safaris
- 3 day Uganda gorilla trekking
- 5 days gorillas & chimp safari
- 3 day Uganda gorilla via Kigali
- 5 days gorilla trekking Rwanda
- 5 day Uganda gorillas & wildlife
- 3 day fly in gorilla habituation
- 5 day gorilla habituation and chimps
- 3 day Bwindi double trek via Kigali
- 5 days gorillas & game safari
To issue gorilla trekking permits for Uganda, the Uganda wildlife Authority set a policy of purchasing gorilla permit per area especially for Bwindi Impenetrable national park. This is because this forest is vast. In the past, people used to prefer booking gorilla permits for the Northern Sector especially Buhoma area.
Bwindi forest has 4 gorilla trekking areas called Buhoma area, Ruhijah area, Nkuringo area, and Rushaga area. one needs to have an overnight in the area where their gorilla permit is booked. This is because rising up early to catch up with gorilla trekking briefing in another area is quite disturbing.
The roads are slippery at times, may find a log obstructing the road in night, get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere and so much more.
Requirements For Booking A gorilla Trekking Permit From Uganda Wildlife Authority
Know the date when you wish to do gorilla trekking so as to make checking availability quick. The gorilla trekking permits for Uganda are sold per day of the year. Having the number of people you hope to travel with for gorilla trekking is necessary.
Incase availability is positive, you need to purchase your gorilla permit as soon as possible. This is because no permit is reserved without payment. Purchasing the gorilla permit is the only confirmation for your interest in gorilla trekking experience. First come first served basis is used when reserving the gorilla permits and there status changes any time.
When you reserve your gorilla permit, some personal details are required and these include, your full names on your passport, Nationality, date for birth, passport expiry date and others.
A gorilla permit card from Uganda Wildlife Authority is issued with your details at the dark stripe behind the card. On the day of gorilla trekking, this card is swiped into a machine for these details to be obtained at the park headquarters.
What Is the Cost Of Uganda Gorilla Permits
The cost of Uganda gorilla trekking permits is $700 per person per trek for non-resident tourists, $600 per foreign resident, and 250000 Uganda shs for East African residents. within the cost of gorilla permits are the below
Park Entry fees
Uganda wildlife authority levies park entry fees for each park under there care. Within the cost of gorilla permit is the park entry fee per person. This contributes to the general conservation fund for Uganda wildlife Authority.
Ranger Guide Fee
Each gorilla trekking adventure is guided by an experienced ranger guide who takes the group in his company into the life of the gorilla family they are trekking. They have the history of the gorilla family, number of family members, names of family members and others
With the money you pay for the gorilla trekking permit, the salaries of these ranger guides are paid. This encourages them to continue supporting the conservation of mountain gorillas which is quite challenging at times.
Gorilla Medical Care Fund
Although mountain gorillas have to live as wildlife in search of their own treatment, they need extra support at times. When they get badly injured, the mountain gorillas may die which is not the reason for conserving them. the gorilla doctors administer treatment to injured gorillas in the wilderness.
Periodically the gorilla doctors obtain samples from different gorillas for health checks ups for these gentle giants.
Bwindi Impenetrable National park and Mgahinga National park in Uganda require maintenance. The trail maintenance, upgrades at the briefing point and so much more. Even the communication gadgets used during gorilla trekking maintenance
Security Of Uganda Gorilla Trekking Destinations
Bwindi forest and Mgahinga National park are vast forests which need extra security support from organs in the country. The security organs of Uganda collaborate with rangers in these parks to provide security for tourists and locals close to the park
Community Support from Gorilla trekking safari proceeds
20% of the annual proceeds obtained from the sale of gorilla trekking permits is given to the community to encourage them to conserve the mountain gorillas. They used some of this money to support community projects like health care, road maintenance, support schools and others
When Is The Best Time To Book Uganda Gorilla Trekking Permits
All year round Uganda gorilla permits can be booked from Uganda wildlife Authority depending on availability status prevailing
Reserving the mountain gorillas’ permits at least 6 months is advance is safe especially permits for peak season which is June to September and December to January. This is because of the high demand yet they are limited to maximum of 8 permits per gorilla family.
When you purchase your gorilla permits in advance 90 days before the date of gorilla trekking, you may be allowed to pay installments as long as you remember to top off before 90 days. This arrangement is according to Uganda Wildlife Authority guidelines.
Last-minute gorilla permit booking is possible but you may go into a panic and yet you do not know where to overnight too. In case there is no no-show, you may miss out on this lifelong African safari experience in Africa.
Such confusion may make you miss out on gorilla trekking yet you may have paid a hefty price for your safari. In case gorilla permits availability opens up, it may be in another area where you need to wake up early to catch up with the time of briefing. As mentioned above, the roads connecting different gorilla trekking areas are remote bumpy, or slippery at times. These hurdles make driving challenging to catch up with briefing time.
How Difficult Is Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking is quite challenging because of the nature of the topography of this area. There are many ridges and plateaus which you can hike to find the mountain gorillas. They sometimes lounge or feed on the slopes depending on the prevailing factors in the wilderness.
When it rains, the trails are slippery because of the rain that falls almost all day yet less sunray penetration is received. This thick forest canopy allowed less sunshine to the ground yet sometimes rivers flood to cover the ground creating boggy trails.
The vegetation you pass by to get to the mountain gorillas is full of tangled vegetation with several creepers draping down the huge tree branches. This sometimes has to be cleared by the ranger guides using a machete. You have to walk through this kind of vegetation to reach where the mountain gorillas are.
All tourists are randomly divided into groups of 8 trekkers who have to know idea how to fit each is. The ranger guide follows the pace of the slowest trekker so that no one is forgotten in the forest. With the pace taken by the trekkers, you are able to locate the mountain gorillas fast or after a long time.
Obstruction from other trekkers during mountain gorilla watching. When you locate the mountain gorillas, some tourists may feel obliged to take the best positions for photographing the gorillas without allowing the chance for others to have the shots. You have to know how to handle such fellow clients without causing fracas.
The time taken to locate the mountain gorillas is not known. It is hard to note which gorilla family is quick to locate. The one you may be used to seeing very fast may move into the deeper ends of the forest depending on the prevailing factors in the forest. The time of finding the mountain gorillas is estimated to be 2 hours to about three-quarters of the day.
Which Area Is Best For Gorilla Trekking In Uganda
All areas are very interesting when booked for gorilla trekking. Bwindi Impenetrable National park permits are booked according to the area. This park has four areas that are Buhoma area and Ruhijah area in Northern part of Bwindi, Rushaga area and Nkuringo area in southern park of Bwindi.
Each of these areas has different families to which tourists are allocated after briefing. They all have different unique traits that make them interesting to watch. When you watch the mountain gorillas you get a ting with in of belonging with them.
There is no specific area or family of mountain gorillas that is confirmed as being best to watch in Uganda. This is because just like humans they have mood swings. When they loose a family members, they get into a somber mood. Birth of a new family member brings joy into the family. In case the gorillas family is attacked by another family and they loose some members, they go into hiding and so much more
What Are the Rules of Gorilla Trekking In Uganda
- No feeding the mountain gorillas because they are wild animals that must look for their own food. You must not also feed or smoke 200 meters from the point of viewing the mountain gorillas. They may be enticed to grab what you have in their hand. Depending on human provision is not good for these gentle giants.
- If you catch any communicable infection like coronavirus, cough, flu, and others, volunteer to stay behind so that you do not spread this to the mountain gorillas.
- Littering the forest with garbage especially indecomposable waste like plastic wraps. This alters the nature of the forest where food for the mountain gorillas grows.
- Request for a hole of about 30 centimeters deep in case you want to do a long call. Cover all the waste beyond recognition so that it cannot be exhumed by forest dwellers.
- The use of flash photography is forbidden because mountain gorillas are agitated by unfamiliar occurrences in their presence.
- No noise making in the wilderness when trekking to locate the mountain gorillas. You may decide to talk in a low tone in case it is inevitable. This is to avoid disturbing other forest dwellers like monkey, birds, and butterflies that are interesting to watch
- Spitting on vegetation is forbidden because this is food for the mountain gorillas. You may contaminate their food and spread a communicable infection to them.
- If you need to cough or sneeze, do it away from the gorillas or in your elbow to prevent spreading germs to the mountain gorillas.
- Keep a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas when you locate them. This is another conservation measure.
- The age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 years because of the nature of the topography of this area. This area is volcanic with highlands that you must hike to get to the mountain gorillas. It is hard for a child below this age to withstand these conditions. Even the time taken to locate the mountain gorillas is not known which requires patience. A child below this age may not withstand such conditions.
- Only one hour is allowed to be in the presence of the mountain gorillas when you locate them. They have been habituated to be in the presence of humans for just that hour.
How Long Is Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
The length of time for locating the mountain gorillas is unknown depending on the factors prevailing in the forest.
In case the food for the mountain gorillas is far, they are hard to locate if it’s close, then they may be quick to locate.
During the wet season mountain gorillas feed from the slopes making it challenging to hike and locate them while during the dry season, they feed closer to the slopes.
In case they lose a battle or a family member, they go into a sad mood and retreat into hiding making it hard to locate them.
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