How to book a gorilla trekking safari on Christmas Day in Uganda and Rwanda
Christmas with the mountain gorillas is remarkable, but you must reserve your permit in advance. It is best to reserve your gorilla permit for safety at least six months to a year prior. Last-minute searching to get a gorilla permit is puzzling and creates panic. During the festive season, gorilla permits in Uganda and Rwanda are sold off early, at least by the last quarter of the year; just a hand full may be left.
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Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. You need to book the Uganda gorilla trekking permit through a tour operator or directly from the Uganda wildlife authority.
Rwanda gorilla trekking destination is Volcanoes National Park, so you need to book a Rwanda gorilla permit. The Rwanda Development Board is the gorilla permit-selling and regulating body. Using a tour operator like Encounter Africa, Safaris lifts off your shoulder the burden of long telephone calls to check availability from Rwanda Development Board.
When To Book A Gorilla Trekking Permit?
Booking a gorilla trekking permit at least six months to a year in advance secures your time when preparing for your Christmas day safari.
The demand for festive holiday gorilla permits is high; many tourists want to make memories.
If you are considering last-minute gorilla trekking permit booking on Christmas day, you may not get one, as their demand tends to increase, especially in the last quarter of the year.
What is a gorilla permit?
A gorilla permit is a card or permit that allows tourists to follow a fully habituated gorilla family and have just one hour with them. Unfortunately, only tourists aged 15 years and above can go gorilla trekking. This is because of the nature of the adventure, where you walk through the vast forest, wondering exactly where to locate the mountain gorillas. This is why it gets hard to predict the time for locating the mountain gorillas in the wilderness.
How Much Can I Purchase A Gorilla Trekking Permit?
A gorilla trekking permit for Uganda costs $700 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents, and 250000shs for East African residents.
Rwanda gorilla trekking permit costs $1500 per person per trek
What Is Included And Excluded In The Gorilla Permit?
The cost of the gorilla trekking permit includes one hour with the mountain gorillas, community support, ranger guide fees, park fees, security, and a certificate after gorilla trekking.
Exclusions in the cost of gorilla trekking permit transport, drinks, snacks, tipping, accommodation, and other items of personal nature.
Can I Pay For The Gorilla Permit In Instalment?
Paying for the gorilla permit in installments, especially when you purchase it at least 90 days before the date of preference, is permitted. You may buy the gorilla permits in an installment of 30% and 70% of the total cost. Always remember to top up 90 days to the gorilla trekking date. Failure to do this attracts a penalty.
It is best to purchase your gorilla permit in full, as securing it is the only way to show commitment to attending the gorilla trekking safari.
Can I Reschedule The Gorilla Permit For Rwanda Or Uganda?
When your request is approved, your gorilla permit is rescheduled for the date of your preference. The Rwanda gorilla permit rescheduled has a charge attached to it.
Rescheduling Uganda gorilla permits has two free chances; however, the executive director of Uganda wildlife authority has to approve the third time and a surcharge of 25%.
How To Prepare A Gorilla Trekking Safari For Christmas?
Preparing for a gorilla trekking safari on Christmas day requires booking for necessary services, as choices are slim as the day gets closer.
It all starts with the gorilla permit for Uganda or Rwanda, as you have no gorilla safari without a gorilla permit. As mentioned above, the best time to secure a gorilla permit is six months to a year in advance.
Reserving accommodation to use during gorilla trekking safari is vital. It is best to spend at least a night in or closer to the gorilla trekking park your permit is booked to.
You must know where your gorilla permit is booked for Uganda accommodations to use during gorilla trekking. This is mainly for Bwindi’s impenetrable national park. It is divided into four areas: Buhoma in the North, Ruhija in the East, Nkuringo, and Rushaga in the South.
Selecting the means of transport for the gorilla trekking safari is essential, especially if you use air transport. You need to book a seat in advance for domestic scheduled flights in Uganda. When chartering, booking, and clearance are required.
Is Fitness Necessary For Gorilla Trekking Safari?
Yes, having some fitness level during gorilla trekking gives you comfort and resilience to complete this lifetime dream safari. The topography of the Virunga area is volcanic, so expect to hike at times to get to where the mountain gorillas may be spending their day.
You do not need to be in the gym all the time but start with some simple exercises to stretch your joints a little more so as not to get muscle pulls or a twisted ankle during gorilla trekking.
How Long Is Gorilla Trekking?
The time taken for a gorilla trekking safari is still being determined as it depends on the conditions prevailing in the forest.
From the starting point of the gorilla trek, you may take about 2 hours to three-quarters of the day, depending on what is happening in the forest. The ranger guide leading you follows the trails leading to where the mountain gorillas were last seen the previous night.
Sometimes mountain gorillas relocate to new areas if their food is exhausted. Therefore, locating the gorilla family may take some time.
The losers may be forced into hiding when there is a fight among the mountain gorillas, especially with another family or family feud. If it is the gorilla family you are allocated to trek, you may take some time to trace it.
If the pace of the tourists you are allocated to do gorilla could be faster, you may take some time to find the mountain gorillas. The ranger guide follows the pace of the slowest trekker so that no one is forgotten in the wilderness.
Which Is The Best Country For Gorilla Trekking On Christmas Of, Uganda And Rwanda?
No matter where you go, gorilla trekking, the moment you stand before the family of these gentle giants is phenomenal. Some tourists say that moment makes you forget all you may have gone through trying to prepare for gorilla trekking.
The difference of which country is best for gorilla trekking on Christmas between Uganda and Rwanda can be concluded from factors like:
The cost of a gorilla permit
The Uganda gorilla permit costs $700 per person per trek, whereas the Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500 per person per trek.
The number of gorilla families
Uganda currently has 19 gorilla trekking families and two gorilla habituation families, while Rwanda presently has 12 gorilla trekking families.
Time is taken to get to the gorilla trekking destinations
From Kigali airport, you take about a 3-hour drive to the volcanoes national park in Rwanda. The drive time from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable national park or Mgahinga national park is about 8 to 9 hours.
Optional Activities To Combine With Gorilla Trekking
Uganda has a variety of other safari activities to combine with gorilla trekking, whereas Rwanda is limited in choices.
Is Gorilla Trekking In Uganda Or Rwanda Safe?
Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is safe. Each day a group of rangers patrols the forest on foot to establish where the gorillas might have spent the night before the tourist visit. They give a report to the park warden and the ranger guides taking tourists for a trek.
Other security organs of Uganda and Rwanda that keep law and order supplement the security of the gorilla trekking destinations.
You must pay attention to personal security by only venturing into the forest with an escorting ranger guide. Stay closer to the group you are trekking gorillas with so you are not lost in the wilderness. Pay attention to the dos and don’ts of the gorilla trekking safari during briefing so as not to agitate the mountain gorillas.
Are Mountain Gorillas Dangerous?
At a glance, the look of the mountain gorillas may stimulate some adrenaline; however, they are naturally shy and serene primates. To complement this trait, before you visit the mountain gorillas, they are habituated sometime for human presence. Although they do not lose their natural characteristics, the mountain gorillas are not violent.
Avoid provoking the mountain gorillas because they also get agitated, yet you have one hour with them.
In the history of gorilla trekking, no one has ever been attacked by mountain gorillas during safari. Rules and regulations that govern gorilla trekking are in place to create harmony.
Mountain gorillas show their anger by hooting, thumping their chests, pulling the grass around them, and treating into the deeper ends of the wilderness.
Which Accommodations Can I Book For Gorilla Trekking Safari In Uganda Or Rwanda?
Accommodations used for gorilla trekking overnight in Uganda or Rwanda are graded according to luxury, mid-range, or budget.
Bwindi accommodations for gorilla trekking include Gorilla Safari Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp, Clouds Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, Trekker’ Tarvern, Mahogany Springs, Silverback Lodge, Lake Kitandara Tented Camp, Gorilla Resort, and others.
Mgahinga accommodation for gorilla trekking: Gahinga Lodge and others in Kisoro town
Volcanoes accommodations: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Kinigi Guest House, Hotel Mille Collines, Le Bambou, And Others.
What Are The Rules Of Gorilla Trekking Safari?
- Lower your voice while searching to locate the mountain gorillas or keep quiet to avoid disrupting the mountain gorillas and other forest dwellers.
- Wear a clean mask and sanitize your shoes before starting your gorilla trekking adventure.
- When coughing or sneezing, do it away from the mountain gorillas in a handkerchief or elbow to avoid passing infectious germs to the highly susceptible mountain gorillas.
- Keep a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas when you locate them. This prevents the chances of passing a communicable infection to these primates. Even when they advance, retreat slowly to maintain the gap between you and them.
- Volunteer to stay behind if you catch an infection because passing it to the mountain gorillas may cause their massive death. Conservation of the mountain gorillas has come a long way.
- Try not to spit on the ground or vegetation on which mountain gorillas feed. You may pass germs to these endangered primates susceptible to human infection.
- Avoid dumping garbage on the ground that can alter the nature of the environment where mountain gorilla food grows.
- Only one hour is allowed with the mountain gorillas when you trace them. This is because they are habituated to be in human presence for just that time. After that, they must go about their lives, like feeding and grooming, away from human interference.
- Stay in a tight group during gorilla trekking because they may feel ambushed when you surround the mountain gorillas and move into hiding. The mountain gorillas are sensitive primates.
- Feeding the mountain gorillas is forbidden as wild animals must search for their food. Therefore, depending on human provision is not accepted.
- Avoid provoking the mountain gorillas because your actions may prompt them to move into the deeper ends of the forest if agitated.