How to book Bwindi gorilla trekking permits
Booking a gorilla trekking permit for a safari to prehistoric Bwindi Impenetrable national park proceeds with any preparations for gorilla safaris in this park. In Uganda, the Uganda Wildlife Authority is responsible for selling and regulating all gorilla permits. Bwindi forest provides a dazzling variety of natural wonders in a crowd-free setting.
All Bwindi Gorilla permits are booked according to the area where the park is subdivided for quicker administrative services. The four gorilla trekking areas of Bwindi Impenetrable national park are the Buhoma area in the North, the Ruhija area in the East, Rushaga and Nkuringo areas in the South.
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For this reason, before reserving accommodation during the gorilla safari, you need to know in which area your gorilla permit is booked. Bwindi’s impenetrable national park is a vast pristine forest covering about 327 square kilometers, which cannot be traversed quickly. Connection from one area to another is quite long and disturbing because of the possible hurdles you may encounter, like slippery roads, fog, total darkness, flat tyre, etc. These may cause you to miss gorilla trekking day if you do not attend the briefing.
Before proceeding with details of how to book a gorilla trekking permit for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, let us first understand what a gorilla permit card is.
What is a Gorilla trekking Permit card?
A gorilla permit card is a renewable plastic card bearing a black strip at the back where your passport details are preserved and retrieved on the gorilla trekking day. This gorilla trekking permit card is solely the property of the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
What Is the Procedure for Book Bwindi Gorilla Permits?
Have a date when you wish to do a gorilla trekking safari, either confirmed or tentatively. Knowing the number of gorillas permits you wish to book is superb.
Enquire from an accredited tour company like Encounter Africa Safari or contact Uganda Wildlife Authority directly. Note that the phone lines for the Uganda Wildlife Authority reservation office are usually busy, so you need to have some patience.
Upon receiving your enquiry, our safari consultant checks availability from the Uganda Wildlife Authority gorilla permit list.
When there is gorilla permit availability, we advise clients to pre-purchase their gorilla permits to avoid last-minute quests for them when they are sold out. Most of the gorilla permits for the peak season, which is June, July, August, September, December, and January, are sold off in the earlier months.
It is best to reserve your gorilla permit at least 6 months to a year for comfortable gorilla safari planning.
Before collecting your Uganda gorilla permit card, you need to forward us some passport details like your full name as presented on the passport, nationality, date of birth, passport expiry date.
How Much Is The Cost for a Gorilla Trekking Permit At Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
The current cost for a Uganda gorilla trekking permit is $800 per person per trek, $700 per person per trek, and 300000shs for East African residents.
When you purchase the mountain gorilla permit, you contribute to the sustainable existence of the mountain gorillas. These primates were on the verge of being wiped out of the world wildlife scene by the 1980s, according to a population census carried out by American Primatologist Dian Fossey and team, where they confirmed about 300 mountain gorillas were living then.
With gorilla trekking, you contribute to the fund that supports the mountain gorilla conservation campaign.
What are the inclusions and exclusions of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Gorilla Trekking Permit?
Each gorilla trekking permit cost includes park entrance fees, nationality, date of birth, ranger guide services, local community support, gorilla conservation support, certificate at the end of gorilla trekking.
Exclusions of gorilla permit cost for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include snacks to munch on during the gorilla trek, packed lunch, tips, transport to gorilla trekking parks, accommodation to stay at during gorilla safari, and others.
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we can solve your dream African primate holiday with the mountain gorillas. In our line of business, we have made business friendships with a wide variety of accommodation facilities of all budgets. We can assist in putting together an itinerary that soots your needs and priorities depending on your Uganda safari time.
When Can I Book Gorilla Permits For Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
Booking your gorilla permit at least 6 months to a year is comfortable, but booking can go up to 3 months prior to gorilla trekking day. Bwindi impenetrable national park permits are available all year round however, the peak season gorilla permits are highly demanded and get sold out fast. When reserving the gorilla permits, a first come, first served basis is used because of a limited supply of maximum of 8 gorilla permits per day per trek.
In case you want last-minute gorilla permits for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the low season, which is March to May and November, may have that opportunity because of less demand for safaris then.
Can I Reschedule Gorilla Permits For Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
If you wish to reschedule your gorilla permit date, you must write to the Uganda wildlife authority first seeking permission.
You must have a new date on which you wish to move your gorilla permit.
Write to Uganda Wildlife Authority requesting to reschedule your gorilla permit, adding an attachment with the reason why you wish to change your date in case you have any. This acts as backup for your gorilla permit reschedule request.
When your request is approved, your gorilla permit is moved based on prevailing availability per your new date.
Can I Get A Refund For A Gorilla Permit Of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
A gorilla permit refund is applicable according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority refund policy. In case you are a no-show on gorilla trekking day with no backing up evidence reporting your fate to Uganda Wildlife Authority prior, your gorilla permit is deemed invalid. Every gorilla trekking permit is only valid until the day of gorilla trekking.
If you have to cancel your gorilla trekking trip but would like to receive a refund for your permit, you need to deal with this in advance according to the refund policy of the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
What Guarantees Locating The Mountain Gorillas During Gorilla Trekking?
Locating the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is 99% chance. The Mountain gorillas have a bulky size of about 300 kilograms for an adult male mountain gorilla. This sheer size does not permit the mountain gorillas to move fast in the forest.
This is one of the reasons why at the start of the gorilla trekking day, you follow the train where the mountain gorilla was last seen the previous day. They normally do not feed far from there.
When you do gorilla trekking the entire day and fail to locate the mountain gorillas, you may receive a refund of about 75% of the gorilla permit cost in Uganda.
What Is The Age Limit For Booking Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Permits?
15 years and beyond is the minimum cap for gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This is because of the nature of the topography of the Bwindi forest, which is volcanic with jagged highlands whose slopes may act as feeding or lounging spots for the mountain gorillas.
Children under 15 may not find it quick to hike these plateaus and ridges.
The way to locate the mountain gorillas is slippery at times from the regular rains that fall and a dense network of rivers that may flood all over. Children below 15 years may not be in a position to go through these surfaces.
At a glance, the mountain gorillas may seem scary because of their physical outlook, which may stimulate some adrenaline. If not steady, a person may scream. This reaction is more possible for children below the age of 15 if they are allowed to do gorilla trekking. Mountain gorillas are scared of unfamiliar noise and occurrences in their presence, so with noise, they may retreat into the deep forest.
Which Accommodation Can I Book For Gorilla Trekking In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
To book accommodation for gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you must know the area where your gorilla permit is booked first. Bwindi forest has four areas that are Buhoma area, Ruhija area, Rushaga area, and Nkuringo area, each with its accommodations.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park accommodations
Buhoma area Accommodation; Gorilla Forest Camp, Mahogany Springs, Engage lodge, Silverback Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas, Gorilla Resort, Volcanoes Lodge
Nkuringo area accommodations: Clouds Lodge, Nkuringo Safari Lodge, Gorilla Hill Eco Lodge
Rushaga area accommodations: Rushaga Gorilla safari Lodge, Nshongi Camp, Rushaga Gorilla Lodge, Nshongi Gorilla Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Trekkers’ Tavern, Broadbill Camp
Ruhija area accommodations: Ruhija Gorilla Lodge, Broad Bill Lodge, Chameleons ’
How To Get To Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
- From Kampala to Kabale to Kanungu to Buhoma
On this route, you follow the highway to Kabale for about 414 kilometers which take 5 hour to 6 hours. You continue driving on a winding murram road for 150 kilometers through Kanungu and Kanyantorogo for more 4 to 5 hours. You need to have a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle.
- From Kampala To Ntungamo To Rukungiri To Kihihi To Buhoma
It is the most direct route from Kampala or Entebbe airport where you drive to Rukungiri which is 390 kilometers then follow a murram road for 82 kilometers to Buhoma.
- From Kampala To Kabale To Ruhija To Buhoma
From Kampala to Kabale, you take 414 kilometers the continue for 95 kilometers to Ruhija to Buhoma road which is in a poor condition so you need a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle.
- Queen Elizabeth National Park To Kihihi To Buhoma
From Mweya area, you drive for about 160 kilometers to Buhoma and 64 kilometers from Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park.
How Safe Is Gorilla Trekking In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is safe for gorilla trekking as each of the gorilla families opened to public booking is first habituated to human presence. Gorilla habituation is a process where researcher and trackers follow a wild mountain gorilla family to get them used to human presence without altering the nature.
The gorilla habituation process takes some time 2 years and more depending on how long the mountain gorillas get used to human presence. This period is enough to neutralize the possible animosity that could happen between the mountain gorillas and humans.
Uganda Wildlife Authority has a well-trained team of rangers that escort each gorilla trekking group one holding a machete and another holds a rifle. These tools are used for timing creepers and create way for tourists or a rifle to defend you in case need arises.
What Are The Guidelines For Gorilla Trekking In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
- Keep a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas when you locate them. This is to prevent chances of passing an infection to the mountain gorillas.
- In case you are sick, volunteer to stay behind especially if you have a communicable infection like flu, cough, covid-19. The mountain gorillas are highly susceptible to human infections.
- Only children aged 15 years and beyond are allowed to do gorilla trekking
- Never enter Bwindi Impenetrable national park without an escorting ranger guide
- In case you want to defecate, ask the ranger guide to dig a hole of about 30 centimeters and cover well later beyond recognition.
- Spitting on vegetation or the ground is forbidden as you may pass an infection to the mountain gorillas and others forest dwellers.
- Provoking the mountain gorillas is forbidden because you may cause them to go into hiding yet just one hour is allowed in there presence.
- When taking photographs, do it without flashlight as new occurrences that happen in the wilderness may scare the mountain gorillas.
- In case you wish to eat or smoke, do it away from the mountain gorillas so as not to entice them to grab it from you. They are wild animals that must not depend on human provision.
- Only one hours is allowed before the mountain gorillas when you locate them.
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