Buying a gorilla permit on the actual day of trekking experience
Buying a gorilla trekking permit on the day of trekking experience is possible but very risky. You are not sure of a no show yet you have secured accommodation already. In Uganda, gorilla trekking permits are booked according to area and a no show may be in another area of Bwindi impenetrable National Park. This requires you to drive earlier in order to catch up with briefing in one area to another.
This is usually inconveniencing and chances of over spending are high since you have no choice while at the destination.
In Rwanda, gorilla trekking is done in Volcanoes National park but you need to attend briefing at ORTPN. Chance of no-show are limited especially in peak seasons.
Most Popular Gorilla Safaris
- 3 Day Uganda Gorilla Trekking
- 5 Day Gorilla and Chimp
- 8 Day Gorilla Tracking
- 2 Day Bwindi Gorilla Via Kigali
- 3 Day Uganda Gorilla Via Kigali
- 5 Day Chimp and Gorilla Habituation
- 3 Day Fly in Gorilla Habituation
- 3 Day Fly in Safari to Murchison Falls National Park
- 3 Day Bwindi Double trek via Kigali
- 5 Day Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
To succeed in obtaining the gorilla permit on the last day, you must have a good network to do the search for the gorilla permit for you on ground earlier.
You may contact Park headquarters too because they may have some space for you to join other trackers.
Much as these options are stated above, we advise our clients not to wait for last minute gorilla trekking. It is risky attempt to travel to the gorilla trekking destinations without a gorilla permit. Even the accommodation choices for you are limited giving you one of the nasty experiences of an African safari.
When Is The Best time To Book Gorilla Permits
The gorilla trekking permits are sold out fast and yet limited to maximum 8 permits per day per trek. You need to book them in advance at least 90 days to the date of trekking but to be safe, 6 months to the day of trekking is comfortable.
Chances of paying for the gorilla permit in advance are high when you book earlier than the last day of toping up which is 90 days to the date of gorilla trekking.
At times tourists secure their gorilla trekking permits earlier at least a year in advance.
In case you have a group of trekkers you hope to travel with, it is best to reserve the gorilla permits at least 6 months in advance to reduce on the chances of not finding availability for the number you want.
In Uganda, you must know the area where your gorilla permit is booked that is For Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Four gorilla trekking areas can be booked in Bwindi Impenetrable National park that is Buhoma area, Ruhijah area, Rushaga area and Nkuringo area.
The Rwanda gorilla permits are booked according to available gorilla families of which 13 gorilla families currently are open for tourists visits.
Where To do Gorilla Trekking In Africa
Bwindi Impenetrable national park
This park lies in south western Uganda and has about 10 primate species living in its vicinity including the mountain gorillas. About 18 gorilla trekking families are open for trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The word Bwindi means impenetrable and indeed this double meaning is apt for its thick vegetation.
Bwindi forest is estimated to be holding vegetation that has survived over 25000 years. It offers refuge to more that 350 bird species including Albertine rift endemics. More than 310 species of butterflies live here, 51 reptiles, 200 tree species, 88 moths and others all form this biosphere reserve.
You have to overnight within or close to the area where your gorilla permits is booked. Different types of accommodations are available here graded according to luxury facilities, mid-range and budget accommodations. Some of the accommodations you can book for gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National park include Buhoma lodge, Buhoma community Bandas, gorilla Forest Camp, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Engage lodge, Silver Back lodge, Volcanoes Lodge and others.
Mgahinga National park
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park is done with so far only one gorilla family called Nyakagezi. This family in the past used to wonder into Rwanda because they are free animals that move with no knowledge of the political boundaries that exist.
Mgahinga national Park is one of the less visited gorilla habitat occupying an area of about 33.7 square kilometers of land. The park has a lovely backdrop of three volcanic ranges that is mountain Gahinga, Mountain Muhavura and Mountain Sabyinyo.
The park has a lush green vegetation cover ranging from montane woodland, to bamboo zone, montane forest and Ericaceous zone. These can be hiked in a day and you must have an escorting ranger guide.
You must obtain a gorilla trekking permit from Uganda wildlife Authority to allow you to attend this adventure on the day you wish to enjoy it.
Accommodations for Mgahinga National park include Gahinga Lodge and others that can be booked from Kisoro town.
Volcanoes National Park
This park is in Rwanda the only home of gorilla trekking in the country. At the moment about 13 gorilla trekking families have so far been opened for tourists to visit. You must get a gorilla trekking permits from Rwanda development Board to be allowed access taking part in Rwanda gorilla trekking.
A number of other primates live in Volcanoes National Park including golden monkeys, blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys and others.
A number accommodation facilities are in place for tourists to book depending on their budget. The Volcanoes National park accommodations include Sabyinyo silverback lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, La Palme hotel, Kinigi Guest House and others.
How Much is the Cost of the Gorilla Permit In Africa
The Uganda gorilla trekking permit at the moment cost $700 per person and Rwanda gorilla permit currently costs $1500 per person.
As mentioned above, you need to reserve your gorilla permit in advance to avoid last minute panic to obtain one. The gorilla trekking permits are on high demand yet just a few are released for the public to book per day.
When obtaining the gorilla trekking permits first come first served basis is used at the selling bodies so expect the status of availability to change any time. No one of allowed to preserve any permits without payment.
What Is Included In the Gorilla trekking Permits Cost
The ranger guide fee that is used to pay the escorting rangers who give explanations about the gorilla family you visit.
Medical care support for the mountain gorillas especially in case they fall ill and require extra treatment from the gorilla doctors. Mountain gorillas must take care of there own well being but at times its beyond there control and need extra help. An example are the mountain gorillas rescued from snares and are badly injured need treatment for there wounds at times but this is administered from the wilderness.
Securing while in the wilderness is necessary so that you go through the forest well with no disturbance from unknown intruders.
20% of the total earnings from the sell of mountain gorilla permits is given to the local community to support there projects.
Park fees are included in the gorilla permit cost which is one way to support park maintenance. The park need support to run its day today activities
What Is the age Limit For Gorilla Trekking
15 years and above is the age limit for preserving the gorilla trekking permits because of the nature of the topography where trekking is done.
The topography of where the gorillas live is generally mountainous so expect some hiking which may not go well with a child below this age. Even some level of fitness is required to enjoy gorilla trekking which may be quite challenging to do by a child below this age.
Time taken to locate the mountain gorillas is not known. This is hard to contain by a child below this age. It may cause him or her to throw a tantrum which may lead to a stamped in the gorilla trekking area.
How many Gorilla Trekkers Are Allowed To Do Gorilla Trekking
Maximum of 8 tourists are allowed to see the mountain gorillas each day. This was done to reduce on the number of people that visit the forest each day.
The gorillas feed entirely on foliage like bamboo, soft stems, leaves, fruits which nature provides. In case a large population is allowed into the forest, they may trample on the vegetation causing food scarcity in the forest. Mountain gorillas have to eat food that can sustain them through night and day.
Mountain gorillas fear to be surrounded because they feel ambushed in case a large population of people is allowed into the forest, they may surround these gentle giants causing them to go into hiding.
Controlling a large population of tourists in the wild may be hard for the rangers so the limited number can audibly hear what the ranger is saying and enjoy the experience too.
During habituation, the mountain gorillas are trained to be in the presence of maximum 8 tourists.
How safe Is Gorilla Trekking
- Gorilla trekking is safe in Uganda and Rwanda. Safety during gorilla trekking safari however starts with you.
- Do not carry valuables with you for gorilla trekking even if you are travelling in a group. In case the person you share your room with is not known to you, they may pick your belongings. Declare any precious valuables to the lodge captain so that they are stored in a safe. Remember to collect these valuables as you leave.
- Walking alone on the streets is not safe because you may find pick pocketors.
- Counting a lot of money in public is unsafe because this may attract the wrong people who may ambush you even on the streets.
- Do not give your credit card details to anyone you do not know. They may use them for fraud.
- In case you need help when withdrawing international cash do not ask for help from any one on the streets. They may be the bad people.
- Ensure you request for direction from someone formal so that you are not given the wrong direction.
- In case you are to walk on the streets before or after gorilla trekking do it in a group or use car hire like UBAA.
- Eating street food from undesignated places may cause you food poisoning so avoid it when you can.
How Aggressive are Mountain Gorillas
In nature mountain gorillas are serene creatures. They are shy that is why tourists are advised not to stare at them in the dark brown eyes. They may way ay into hiding in case they feel uncomfortable.
During gorilla trekking, tourists are advised to stay in a tight group so that they do not make the gorillas feel ambushed. They are very sensitive apes that walk into hiding in case they sense something suspicious.
Provoking the mountain gorillas is forbidden because it may not go well with the moods. Tourists are advised to slowly move back in case the mountain gorillas approach you. This is to avoid doing anything that may agitate them. Remember just an hour is allowed to stay with the mountain gorillas.
When the gorillas get angry, they thump there chests, pull the grass around them, may walk on one leg and retreat into hiding. No tourists in the history of gorilla trekking as yet been reported being attacked by the mountain gorillas.
What To pack for Gorilla Trekking
- A camera to keep memories of this Africa safari but must not give flash photography
- Safari boots to go through the trek and walk on the slippery slope. The wilderness is full of pricking surfaces that may hurt you.
- Energy snacks to keep you walking after your breakfast.
- Insect repellant to keep away stinging insects that may attack you.
- Garden gloves to catch a tighter grip in case you need to hold onto creeper in the wilderness
- A foldable safari hat to wear over your head and protect it from buzzing insects.
- Long sleeved shirt and trouser to protect your skin from stinging nettle and harsh surfaces in the wilderness.
- Toiletries in case your lodge doesn’t provide.
- Pajama to wear in the night when going to bed.
Contact us for more information about your gorilla trekking permits.