Organizing Uganda gorilla safaris from Juba or South Sudan border
Organizing Uganda gorilla safaris from Juba or the South Sudan border. Flying from Juba in southern Sudan into Entebbe airport to start the gorilla safari is the best option. Although South Sudan is in East Africa, you can use the East African Visa to cross into Uganda, and road transport is possible through the Nimule border into Uganda, the on-ground insecurity in South Sudan may not permit your safe arrival.
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You must purchase your gorilla permit per your day of preference in advance. The gorilla permits sell out fast, especially in the high season of June, July, August, September, December, and January. Gorilla permit demand surpasses supply because only 8 gorilla permits are issued per gorilla family daily.
Uganda has two gorilla trekking destinations, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, with 18 gorilla families open to public booking. Two gorilla families are available for gorilla habituation experience in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
It is hard to find last-minute gorilla permits in the peak season because most of them are bought in advance.
Later, it would be best if you secured accommodation to use on the day of the gorilla trek. If your gorilla permit is booked in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you must know in which area the permit is booked before securing accommodation. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is divided into four areas: Buhoma area, Rushaga area, Nkuringo area, and Ruhija area.
Transport to the gorilla safari destinations is key, especially during the high tourism season when most professional driver guides are booked upfront. To go to the gorilla trekking destinations, you can use a road, preferably a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle. Or air transport, depending on your budget.
During a gorilla safari in Uganda, you can do gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation experience.
What is a gorilla trekking safari?
Gorilla trekking adventure is a safari where tourists follow a fully habituated gorilla family and stay with them for one hour. A maximum of 8 tourists are allowed to go gorilla trekking for conservation reasons.
What is the gorilla habituation experience?
The gorilla habituation experience is an adventure where tourists escort a team of researchers to follow a semi-habituated gorilla family and stay with them for four hours. The gorilla habituation experience is in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, with only 8 gorilla permits open daily.
How to plan gorilla safari in Uganda
Book a gorilla permits
Whether you do gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation experience, the gorilla permit is like the entry ticket into the national parks. To be safe, you must secure the gorilla permit at least 6 months to a year upfront. Last-minute gorilla permits are hard to find, especially in the peak season when demand is at its highest point.
Note the area where your gorilla permits are booked to avoid waking up in the dark to drive and catch up with briefing.
Secure accommodation to use during gorilla safari
Accommodation is the amenity you need to secure before attending the gorilla trekking or habituation experience. Bwindi impenetrable national park has a variety of accommodations ranging from Luxury, Mid-range, or budget accommodations. You can secure your gorilla permits upfront and accommodation because the best choices are saved in advance.
Finding somewhere comfortable and within your gorilla safari budget gets challenging as the days of your safaris draw closer, especially during the peak season. Chances of discounted accommodation facilities may be open in the low season when demand is high.
Reserve additional activities to combine with gorilla trekking.
Uganda is a country gifted by nature, so after or before gorilla trekking, you may make stopovers to different safari destinations. In Kibale National Park, you can do chimpanzee trekking, birding, and others. Game drives in Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, and Lake Mburo National Park. To mention a few, white water rafting and visiting the River Nile’s source.
Having extra days on your Uganda Safari would be best to get to some of these destinations. Uganda is an all-around African safari destination. Though the country has no coastline, you can enjoy other freshwater activities.
How Much Is A Gorilla Safari In Uganda?
The cost of gorilla safari is categorized into upscale, mid-range, and budget, but each activity has a number of characteristics. The gorilla permit is the common composition of all safari categories. Each Uganda gorilla permit costs $700 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents, and 250000shs for East African residents.
Other factors considered when costing a gorilla safari include:
- The number of people on a gorilla safari.
- The number of days on a gorilla safari.
- Additional activities to combine with gorilla trekking.
- The safari category you choose.
Is Gorilla Trekking Safari Worth The Money?
Planning a gorilla safari is worth every penny, from purchasing the gorilla permits to putting together other amenities. In the world, mountain gorillas are residents of only three countries: Uganda, Rwanda, and D.R.Congo. The mountain gorillas were on the verge of extinction by the 1980s, according to the census carried out by American primatologist Dian Fossey. The results indicated that by then, about 250 mountain gorillas were living.
Because of selling gorilla safaris, more funds are being collected to help conserve the endangered mountain gorillas, and according to the recent population census, about 1,000 mountain gorillas are living. The gorilla permit costs include mountain gorilla conservation support.
Whenever you purchase a gorilla permit, you support the existence of mountain gorillas. For every penny you pay while on gorilla safari, you contribute to the sustainable existence of the mountain gorillas.
The cost of a gorilla safari is worth every penny you spend.
Can I Reschedule The Gorilla Permit For Uganda?
You can reschedule the Uganda gorilla permit but must seek approval from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Every person who purchases a gorilla permit would like to see the mountain gorillas; however, this may not be possible due to a number of factors.
To reschedule the gorilla permit, you need to follow the following:
Write to the Uganda Wildlife Authority reservation office requesting to move your gorilla permit. Include the date to which you wish to move the gorilla permit. Attach why you wish to move your gorilla permit if you have any. This will act as backup for your gorilla permit reschedule.
Upon approval, your gorilla permit is moved to a future date according to prevailing gorilla availability.
Uganda Wildlife Authority offers two free times of gorilla trekking permit reschedule, but the third time is only approved by the executive director of Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Can I do Uganda Gorilla Trekking More Than once?
You can do gorilla trekking as many times as you wish as long as you have time on the Uganda safari. Gorilla safari is done once every day for conservation reasons, as the presence of humans disrupts the daily life of the mountain gorillas.
If you wish for more time with the mountain gorillas, gorilla habituation experience is available, where you have four hours with these primates. In Uganda, the gorilla habituation experience only happens in southern Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Gorilla habituation is an adventure where tourists escort researchers and trackers into the wilderness to follow a semi-habituated gorilla family and stay with them for four hours. These mountain gorillas may present some odd behaviors like moving into hiding, hooting at visitors, and so much more.
How much is a gorilla habituation experience permit?
A gorilla habituation permit costs $1500 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $1000 for foreign residents, and 750000shs for East African residents.
The costs of gorilla habituation experience permit include:
Researchers fees, ranger guide fee, mountain gorilla conservation, local community support, security during gorilla safari, certificate after gorilla habituation safari, four hours with the mountain gorillas.
Gorilla habituation experience permit excludes transport, tips, accommodation, and any other items of a personal nature.
How dangerous are mountain gorillas during gorilla safari?
Mountain gorillas are serene primates in nature and only show disgruntlement when agitated. In the history of gorilla safaris, no tourist has ever been a victim of an attack from the mountain gorillas. Before a gorilla family is presented for public booking, it undergoes gorilla habituation for an unspecified time until approved and ready to be presented to the public.
When agitated, the mountain gorillas thump hard on their chest, pull grass around them, walk on one foot, and so much more. Every tourist is advised to attend a briefing to take them through the guidelines of a gorilla safari. When you violate the rules of gorilla safari, you may anger the mountain gorillas by not provoking them, keeping a distance from the mountain gorillas, not using flash photography, and others.
Which gorilla area is best for trekking in Uganda?
No matter where you go for gorilla trekking in Uganda, the feeling of standing just meters away from the mountain gorillas is exceptional. Tourists have different intentions for gorilla trekking and would like to see particular characteristics in a gorilla family; however, just like humans, mountain gorillas have swinging moods.
Uganda gorilla permits are booked according to an area: Buhoma in the north, Ruhija in the East, Nkuringo, and Rushaga in the south. Before securing accommodation during gorilla trekking, you must know where your gorilla permits are booked to avoid having to drive in the dark to catch up with trekking in another area.
Some of the few special contents in the gorilla trekking areas in Uganda are:
The Buhoma area has the highest number of accommodation options to choose from. They are of different budgets. This is also the main administrative area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Ruhija area is the birder’s haven with great chances of spotting Albertine endemics that linger in the forest.
The Nkuringo and Rushaga area in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has the most gorilla families. The Rushaga area has eight gorilla families, and the Nkuringo area has three.
In the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a gorilla habituation experience. So far, two gorilla families are open for gorilla habituation experience. Only four gorilla permits are allowed per day per family.
What Packing guide For Gorilla safari in Uganda
- Packing light but relevant for gorilla trekking provides comfort while you trek to find the mountain gorillas.
- Extra batteries in case you run low with one. Taking photos for your gorilla trekking safari is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
- Extra fully charged batteries to exchange with in case one runs low, especially with a camera.
- Travel Insurance. Buying travel insurance before the safari saves you during times of uncertainty. You need to know what the insurance coverage is.
- Toiletries in case your lodge doesn’t provide them.
- Tracking boots that are comfortable to wear during gorilla trekking or habituation makes the trip so fun. Hiking the slippery slopes and walking through the soggy mud gets challenging sometimes, but with the proper footwear, you overcome them.
- Sunscreen to use en route to the mountain gorillas’ destination.
- A foldable water bottle to carry drinking water in to quench thirst during gorilla trekking.
- A torch to use for lighting in the night when lights run low.
- Safari clothes, especially long trousers and long-sleeved shirts, protect the skin from wilderness bugs.
- Insect repellants to apply to your skin to keep away stinging insects.
- Rainproof gears in case it falls without warning.
- A pair of stockings to tack in your trousers and keep away biting insects that would walk into your pants.
- First aid kit with emergency medication
- Camera to keep memories of your gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation experience.
- Garden gloves to protect your palms from rough surfaces in the wilderness.
- Backpack with your belongings while you trek to find the mountain gorillas.
- Safari hat to protect your hair from buzzing insects in the wilderness.
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