Causes of gorilla permit shortage in Uganda and Rwanda
The number of gorilla trekking permit for Uganda and Rwanda run low because they are limited to a maximum of 8 permits per gorilla family. The mountain gorilla trekking adventure is limited to only three countries, Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R.Congo, in the entire world.
During the peak season that runs June, July, August, September, December, and January, finding availability may be challenging, especially in the last three months towards each month.
Most Popular Safaris
In Uganda, gorilla trekking adventure happens in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park in South Western Uganda. Uganda is believed to host approximately half the total population of the mountain gorillas.
At the moment, Uganda has 19 gorilla families open for gorilla trekking. That is 152 permits and two gorilla families available for gorilla habituation experience.
Rwanda has one mountain gorilla habitat, Volcanoes National Park, in Northwestern Rwanda.
So far, Rwanda has 15 gorilla families open for gorilla trekking, that is to say, 96 gorilla permits per day.
Despite the high demand for gorilla trekking permits, supply is limited to a maximum of 8 per gorilla family. This is one of the causes of gorilla permit shortage in Uganda and Rwanda.
How Many Gorilla Permits Has Uganda?
Currently, Uganda has 152 gorilla trekking permits and 8 gorilla habituation permits open to public booking. The Uganda Wildlife Authority has the mandate
to sell and regulate gorilla permits on a first come, first served basis.
When you book the gorilla permits in advance, you save yourself from last-minute panic as you try to secure an opening to attend a gorilla safari.
How Much Is A Uganda Gorilla Permit?
The Uganda gorilla permit costs $ 800 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $700 for foreign residents, and 300000 shs for East African residents.
How Many Gorilla Permits Has Rwanda?
A Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $500 for foreign residents, and $300 for East African residents.
Rwanda Development Board is mandated to regulate and sell all Rwanda gorilla permits.
What Is Included In The Cost Of Uganda Or Rwanda Gorilla Permit?
The Rwanda or Uganda gorilla permit includes park entrance fees, ranger guide fees, security during gorilla trekking, mountain gorilla conservation, local community support, and one hour with the mountain gorillas.
Eliminations In Uganda Or Rwanda Gorilla Permit Cost
Tips, transport to gorilla trekking destinations, accommodation during gorilla trekking, snacks, and any other items of personal nature. At Encounter Africa Safaris, we can plan your stay on safari in Africa. With your input, our safari consultant can tailor a well-planned gorilla safari itinerary to suit your needs.
We can book accommodations, hire a driver’s guide, secure a plane seat for you, and much more. We have over 10 years of experience in organizing safaris in Africa. This experience has fetched us a number of reviews on forums like Trip Advisor, Safari Bookings, and several others.
What Causes Gorilla Permit Shortage In Uganda And Rwanda?
Increased Demand For Gorilla Permits
The Uganda and Rwanda gorilla safaris are some of Africa’s top-selling adventures. The mountain gorilla safaris happen in only Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R.Congo. Over the years, gorilla trekking has been gaining momentum as one of the sought-after African adventures.
The demand for gorilla permits increases daily in Uganda and Rwanda, leading to scarcity. Tourists book their gorilla permits as early as a year before, and by the last 90 days to the trekking date, chances of finding availability become slim.
During the high tourism Uganda or Rwanda season, gorilla permits sell out, and obtaining one at the last moment is hard.
Finding last-minute gorilla permits may be possible in the low seasons when gorilla safaris are less booked. This, however, is not a guarantee as availability changes over time, no matter the season.
Limited Gorilla Families
Uganda has 19 gorilla families open for tourism, while Rwanda has 15 gorilla families open for trekking. This small number of fully habituated gorilla families in Uganda and Rwanda is coupled with a limited number of gorilla permits, a maximum of 8 permits per day per family.
Discounted Gorilla Permits
In the past, gorilla permits were sold to foreign tourists. Still, with the discounted gorilla permits in Uganda and Rwanda for foreign and East African residents, the locals are also participating in gorilla trekking.
This leads to competition for the gorilla permits from local and international markets. This may be one of the causes of gorilla permit scarcity in Uganda and Rwanda.
Rwanda offers a discount on its gorilla permit for the low season to $1050 per person per trek for those who spend at least two nights in either Akagera National Park or Nyungwe National Park or both.
Availability Of East African Visa
The East African visa permits entry into two East African community members: Uganda and Rwanda. Tourists find this flexible to do gorilla trekking in either Uganda or Rwanda, then carry on to a safari in Masai Mara or Serengeti National Park.
The best of the East African safari experience can be felt with a combo of gorilla trekking and wildebeest migration.
Increased Number Of Tour Operators
The number of local and international tour companies selling gorilla trekking as an adventure is increasing. This competition for everybody to sell this adventure is causing some to secure gorilla permits upfront, causing their scarcity. Tour companies book gorilla permits, especially for the peak season, as early as a year upfront.
They get to sell gorilla safari packages around these permits to clients.
With the scramble to secure gorilla permits at the last minute, they become scarce and even no-shows on the trek day are hard to get.
Variation In Gorilla Permit Cost
The gorilla permit cost for Uganda is currently $800 per person per trek, while Rwanda gorilla permits cost $1500 per person per trek. This puts Uganda in the upper hand in selling gorilla permits, which leads to a scarcity of Uganda gorilla permits, especially when tourists are on a limited budget.
Those who opt for road transport but want to use a limited time on the road purchase Rwanda gorilla trekking permits, as the drive time from Kigali airport to Nyungwe National Park is about 3 hours. The drive time from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park is about 8 to 9 hours.
This may also be one of the causes of the shortage of Uganda and Rwanda gorilla permits.
Which Is The Best Country For Gorilla Trekking, Uganda Or Rwanda?
Encountering mountain gorillas brings some chills as you get to shiver as you sweet. Looking into the deep brown eyes of the huge mountain gorillas may stimulate some adrenaline but cause lots of excitement, too, as you feel a burning sensation within you.
No matter where you go for gorilla trekking, whether in Uganda or Rwanda, the feeling you get when encountering mountain gorillas is hard to explain. You may need to remember what you may have gone through while planning to take this safari.
Some of the points that bring out the difference of which country is best for gorilla trekking of Uganda and Rwanda include:
The Cost Of Gorilla Permit
The current cost of a Rwanda gorilla permit is $1500 per person per trek, while the Uganda gorilla permit currently costs $800.
Time taken from airport to gorilla trekking destination
The drive time from Kigali airport to Volcanoes National Park is about 3 hours on a reasonably smooth road. The drive time from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park is about 8 to 9 hours. You can make stopovers en route from national parks to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
You can also do gorilla trekking in Uganda through Rwanda by using the East African visa.
Additional activities to combine with gorilla trekking
Uganda has a number of other activities to combine with gorilla trekking, such as chimpanzee trekking, visiting the source of the River Nile, and a number of game parks, to mention but a few.
Rwanda is limited to additional activities combined with gorilla trekking, such as chimpanzee trekking, genocide memorial visits, and game drives in one national park called Akagera.
Number Of Gorilla Families
Uganda has 19 gorilla families fully habituated and open for gorilla trekking. The total number of Uganda gorilla permits per day is 152, and these are the only ones booked the world over.
Rwanda so far has 15 gorilla trekking families open for public booking. At the moment, 96 gorilla trekking permits are available for public booking.
How Dangerous Are Mountain Gorillas?
In nature, mountain gorillas are serene and shy; however, some animations and films portray them as violent. That time you stand face to face with the mountain gorillas is unmatched. It brings a lot of mixed feelings, too many, but by the end of that one hour before the mountain gorillas, you find gorilla trekking worth every minute of your planning.
Although the mountain gorillas are shy, they have feelings too. When agitated, the mountain gorillas thump their chests, pull grass around them, walk on one foot, pull grass around them, and so much more.
When you notice some odd behavior, wait for the ranger guide to establish the cause of the matter before you react. Sometimes it is a family feud or an attack from a wild mountain gorilla trying to provoke the gorilla family you are trekking. Try to follow the instructions given by the ranger guide to spend one hour successfully with the mountain gorillas.
Try not to stare into the mountain gorillas’ adorable little sunken brown eyes, as this makes you look suspicious.
Note that in the history of gorilla trekking, no tourist has so far ever been attacked by mountain gorillas.
What Are The Guideline For Gorilla Trekking In Uganda And Rwanda?
- Refrain from surrounding the gorillas, so stay closer to the group of trekkers you are allocated to not make them feel ambushed.
- Speak at low tome when you communicate while searching for the mountain gorillas in the wilderness. The mountain gorillas and other forest dwellers are very suspicious of intruders in their vicinity.
- Spitting on the ground and vegetation is forbidden because this is food for the mountain gorillas.
- You may pass germs to these highly susceptible primates to human infections.
- Volunteer to stay behind in case you catch a communicable infection like Coronavirus. This may lead to the massive death of the mountain gorillas. The mountain gorillas have about 96% human DNA.
- Provoking the mountain gorillas is forbidden as this may cause them to move into the deeper ends of the forest once they are agitated.
- Never feed the mountain gorillas because they are wild animals that must search for their own food.
- Wearing a mask is a must during gorilla trekking as a measure adopted after the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce the chances of passing this virus or other infections to the mountain gorillas; remember to sanitize your shoes before starting the gorilla trek.
- Only persons aged 15 years and above are allowed to do gorilla trekking. This is because the time of locating the mountain gorillas is still being determined, yet the forest topography is steep. These may not favor a child below this age.
- Only one hour is allowed with the mountain gorillas when you locate them. This is for conservation reasons as they are habituated to be in human presence for just that time.
- Dumping garbage in the wilderness, especially indecomposable waste like plastic wraps, may alter the nature of the forest where mountain gorillas feed. The forest is the sole provider for the mountain gorillas.
Contact us for more information if you are interested in trekking the mountain gorillas, and let us book your permit in time.