Do Ugandans trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks?
Yes, local Uganda and other East African residents take part in gorilla trekking to maintain the sustainable existence of the mountain gorillas and their habitat. This move aims to educate the locals about the mountain gorillas and highlight the importance of conserving their fragile forest habitat.
One of the factors that led to the dwindling population of mountain gorillas by the 1980s to about 25o, as recorded by the Dian Fossey team then, was human interference. The local people have myths about the mountain gorillas, and through folk tales, these primates were tagged dangerous.
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When gorilla habituation and trekking started, visiting the mountain gorillas was known to the locals as an activity for foreigners, especially the whites (Muzungu).
A lot of Ugandans for a long time have not been engaged in gorilla trekking safaris because the charges were in dollars which the majority needed help understanding. Currently, the cost of gorilla permits for East African residents is included in the Uganda Wildlife Authority tariffs to encourage local tourism.
What is the cost of a Gorilla Trekking Permit For Ugandans?
A gorilla permit for East African residents costs 150,000 shs per person per trek.
You can purchase your gorilla permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or through an accredited tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris.
The cost of gorilla trekking permits includes security, ranger guide service, a certificate after trekking, briefing time, one hour with the mountain gorillas, park fees, local community support, and gorilla conservation support.
You need to purchase the gorilla permit in advance, even though you are a Ugandan, so the scarce gorilla permit numbers demanded worldwide do not eliminate you. The peak season gorilla trekking permits is June to September and December to January, selling like hot cake as this is peak tourism season for Uganda.
Transport to gorilla trekking destinations, accommodation while on safari, tips, drinks, packed lunch, and any other items of personal Nature.
How To Book Gorilla Trekking Permits As A Ugandan?
Choose a date when you wish to do gorilla trekking and the number of people you hope to do gorilla trekking with. You may contact Uganda Wildlife Authority about gorilla trekking permits or book your gorilla permit through a tour operator.
When you enquire about gorilla permit availability, our safari consultant checks availability from the Uganda Wildlife Authority list as we are one of the accredited companies with permission to this list.
If gorilla permits are still available per the number of people traveling with them, we encourage our clients to secure their permits as soon as possible. No matter where you come from, they are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
Provide personal details like your full name as indicated on your national identity card or passport, date of birth, and nationality.
Can I Purchase the Uganda Gorilla Permit in Installments?
Full payment for your gorilla trekking permit is the best decision but sometimes may go differently than planned. You can pay for your gorilla permit in installments of 30% and 70 % of the total cost. This applies only to those who purchase their gorilla permits 90 days before the trekking date but must top up 90 days before it.
Failure to top up the gorilla trekking permit is equivalent to a penalty.
Is the gorilla permit rescheduling applicable to Ugandans?
Honoring your booked gorilla Trekking date is every tourist’s wish, but due to unpredictable circumstances, you may not be able to hope to travel in the future. However, according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s policy, you can reschedule your gorilla permit.
Write to Uganda Wildlife Authority requesting to reschedule your gorilla permit date. Give any genuine reason for your change of plan, and attach evidence to back this up.
Upon approval, your gorilla permit is rescheduled as suggested, but this depends on the availability of the gorilla permit per your new dates.
Uganda wildlife authority allows two free times for gorilla permit rescheduling. However, the Uganda Wildlife Authority executive director and a surcharge of 25% given only approve the third time.
Can I receive a refund for a gorilla trekking permit as a Ugandan?
A gorilla permit refund only applies when reported before the gorilla trekking date. The validity of the gorilla permit ends on the date it was issued. A no-show without backing information reported to Uganda Wildlife Authority prior does not qualify for a refund.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority has a gorilla permit refund policy that has to be followed. It would be best to have some patience due to the bureaucracy surrounding retrieving the money.
What is the Age Limit For Gorilla Trekking?
The age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 years and above as children below this age may not withstand the rules of gorilla trekking, or the forest conditions may be hard on them, like hiking the slippery slopes, the longtime of searching for the mountain gorillas and so much more.
When Is The Best Time to Book A Gorilla Permit As A Ugandan?
Booking your gorilla permit in advance is the best choice to avoid panicking to secure one at the last minute. Book your gorilla permit six months in advance, especially during the June to September and December to January peak season, to prevent last-minute disappointment. The gorilla permits are limited to a maximum of 8 per gorilla family, competed for worldwide. Uganda currently has 19 gorilla families open for gorilla trekking and two available for gorilla habituation.
As a local Ugandan, you can use the low season, which is March, April, May, and November, when demand for gorilla trekking is low. Even the accommodation and other service providers may offer discounts as some run resident costs in the shoulder tourism season.
Are Mountain Gorillas Aggressive?
In Nature, mountain gorillas are serene and shy primates despite their gigantic size and scary outlook. Their bodies are covered in dark fur, and they have deep brown eyes. Their knuckle locomotion makes you think they are about to grab you.
You need to follow the rules of gorilla trekking religiously so that you case no chance of looking suspicious.
When angry, the mountain gorillas hoot, thump their chests, pull grass around them, and dive into the forest. This, however, doesn’t mean they are agitated by human presence, as sometimes they have family feuds.
When you notice this, the rangers first establish the cause, and in case it is not anyone’s fault, they tell you what is expected of you now. Be very obedient to all the rules and regulations of gorilla trekking because you have just one hour allowed with the mountain gorillas.
How Difficult Is Gorilla Trekking?
The topography of the gorilla trekking area is generally volcanic, so expect to hike some ridges and plateaus to get to where the mountain gorillas may be spending the days. The trails are sometimes covered with overgrown plants and slippery due to regular rains.
The thick forest canopy allows less sunray penetration to dry away water from the rains that regularly, and the dense network of rivers at times overflows, leading to the soggy and boggy ground.
Having some level of fitness saves you from getting so tired during gorilla trekking and from passing out in case you are exhausted.
Pack the right gorilla trekking gears that can save you from forest conditions and protect your feet from the sharp surfaces of the jungle.
How Long Is Gorilla Trekking?
The time taken during gorilla trekking is unpredictable, as some tourists have made it in two hours while others three-quarters of the day. The time of finding the mountain gorillas depends on factors like the proximity of their food, the death of a family member, a fight with another gorilla family, or with the family and others.
After the briefing, you are subdivided into groups of a maximum of 8 tourists, but each one’s pace differs. The ranger guide follows the pace of the slowest trekker so as not to forget anyone in the jungle.
You can hire a porter to carry your gorilla trekking gear throughout the gorilla trekking experience. They can give you a push when you are tired too.
Is Gorilla Trekking safe?
Gorilla trekking is a safe adventure because rangers are in place to escort you, one with a gun and another with a machete, to clear the way in case of obstructing creepers. In addition, the rangers coordinate with other Uganda security agencies to keep law and order in the national parks.
You need to pay attention to your belongings because different people travel with other intentions. Only walk into the forest with an escorting ranger guide. The forest has other inhabitants like forest elephants and giant forest hogs that may not be ready to see you, especially if you have nothing to defend yourself with.
Wear the right gorilla trekking gears that can support you throughout gorilla trekking.
What Can I Pay For A gorilla trekking safari As a Ugandan Citizen?
The cost of a gorilla trekking safari varies with the package you choose for your tour. Gorilla trekking safaris are packaged according to luxury, midrange, and budget.
You must purchase a gorilla permit as its cost doesn’t distinguish your chosen package. The current price of gorilla permits for Ugandans is $150000 shs per person per trek.
Other factors to consider when making gorilla trekking packages include:
A number of people traveling with you for gorilla trekking as more people join you for gorilla trekking, the less the per person cost. You can share some expenses like gas, vehicle hire, fuel, etc.
The timing for booking the gorilla trekking safari is the peak season. The cost of most services is high, like accommodation, and no discounts; the low seasons sometimes come with values, like on accommodation.
Number of days on gorilla trekking safari. The more days, the higher the safari cost.
A number of other activities to combine with gorilla trekking. The cost is higher when you combine safari activities like game drives, launch trips, chimpanzee trekking, and birding.
In the gorilla trekking safari pack, you choose where by when you travel luxury, mid-range, or budget; the safari cost differs with the inclusions and exclusions of each package.
What pack for gorilla trekking safari
- A camera to store memories of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
- Energy bites to munch on because breakfast is taken too early to last the entire time in the jungle.
- Warm wear like a sweater, fleece, or shawl, as the temperatures of this area may go as low as 7 degrees centigrade.
- A pair of binoculars to better understand the interesting far-ranging features.
- A pair of stocking to tack in your clothes and keep away creepers that can penetrate
- Rainproof gear in case it falls while you are gorilla trekking
- A torch to use in the night when lights go off. Solar power is the main power supply for this area, yet sunlight is mild at times to last the entire night.
- Some cash in case you wish to buy some souvenirs.
- Safari boots are comfortable for hiking and going through boggy and soggy ground.
- If you land your palms in stinging nettles, garden gloves are on other rough surfaces in the jungle.
- Waterproof Backpack in which you can carry your belongings during gorilla tracking.
- Water bottle to carry drinking water with to quench thirst as you go about the day.
- Long-sleeved shirt and trousers to wear during gorilla trekking and protect yourself from forest dwellers like stinging nettles.
- Insect repellant to smear yourself with and keep away stinging insects that can bite you.
- Pajamas are warm for very cold nights, especially during the severe rainy seasons.
- Charger in case your gadgets run low on power
- Extra fully charged batteries to exchange with in case one runs low.
- First aid kit with relevant items you can use in an emergency.
Contact us for further information.