Uganda and Rwanda Gorilla permit frequently asked Questions
Before we look at Uganda and Rwanda gorilla permit frequently asked questions, one must first understand the meaning of a gorilla permit.
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What is a gorilla permit?
A gorilla permit is a card or document that permits one to see and observe a group of mountain gorillas in their natural setup in Uganda and Rwanda.
Some common questions about gorilla permits in Uganda and Rwanda include the following?
Where can I get a gorilla permit?
How much is a gorilla permit in Uganda and Rwanda?
Gorilla permits cost $1500 per person in Rwanda, while in Uganda, a gorilla permit is $700. A foreign resident in Uganda can get a gorilla permit at $600, while $500 applies to Rwanda. East African citizens pay shgs250 000 only.
What is included in a gorilla permit?
A gorilla permit, whether for Uganda or Rwanda, included one hour with mountain gorillas, park entry fees, services of a ranger guide, trackers fee, conservation fees, and security while in the forest. In addition, you will be rewarded with a gorilla trekking certificate if you complete your gorilla trekking expedition in either Uganda or Rwanda.
What is excluded in a gorilla permit?
- A gorilla permit excludes transport to and from Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park for the case of Uganda.
- You have to organize your transport through a tour operator or car hire company.
- A gorilla permit does not include accommodation in both Uganda or Rwanda. However, if contacted, Encounter Africa safaris will suggest lodges around Volcanoes National Park or Bwindi where you will spend a night or two before and after your gorilla trek.
- Uganda and Rwanda’s gorilla permit price does not include the porter fee. A porter is your helper during gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Rwanda. They will carry your equipment, backpack and give you a push or a pull as you hike.
- The cost of gorilla permits in Rwanda does not include tips, drinks, and any other personal expenses. Therefore, you need to budget for these separately.
When should I book my gorilla permit to see gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda?
It is advised to book your gorilla permit in advance to make sure you get all the benefits. If you plan to come to Rwanda for gorilla trekking during high season, then book your permit at least six months or a year ahead. During low seasons, gorilla permits can be booked even at the last minute.
How many permits are available in Uganda on a daily?
Over 160 gorilla permits are available daily for gorilla trekking. These are a result of over 19 gorilla families spread in four regions of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and one in Mgahinga National Park.
How many gorilla permits are issued per gorilla family?
Only eight people are allowed to trek a given gorilla family. Therefore, eight gorilla permits are available per gorilla family every day.
Can I reschedule my gorilla permit in Rwanda and Uganda?
Yes, it is possible to reschedule your Uganda or Rwanda gorilla permit just in case you fail to trek gorillas or come for your gorilla trek.
The procedure requires you to write to RDB or UWA stating the reason why you can not come through; once your request is approved, your gorilla permit will be moved to a new date. In Rwanda, a fee is charged for this.
Can I pay for my gorilla permit in installments?
While Uganda and Rwanda governments recommend paying your permit in full, you can pay in installments of 30% and 70%, respectively. It is allowed in both countries to pay 30% cost of the gorilla permit and top-up the rest three months to the trekking date. Failure to do so will be penalized.
Should I book my gorilla permit through a tour operator?
You get several benefits when you book your gorilla permit through a registered tour operator in Uganda or Rwanda. These tour operators have vast knowledge and connections when it comes to booking gorilla trekking. They will do all it takes to ensure your gorilla permit is secured with less hassle.
Tour operators offer additional services like transport, booking accommodation, and negotiating for discounts, and by booking through a local tour operator, you directly employ many people, such as safari consultants and guides.
More Questions about gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda
Going gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is on the to-do list of most travelers on an African safari. Still, the limiting factor is getting the gorilla permits. These are limited to a maximum of eight trekkers per gorilla family daily.
The limited number of gorilla trekking permits available is attributed to conservation reasons, where the number of people visiting the forest must be controlled to avoid mass tourism and all its outcomes.
Most tourists reserve their gorilla permits at least six months in advance or even a year to reduce the chances of panicking to secure the gorilla permits.
Most gorilla trekking safari participants who go to Uganda or Rwanda pause questions as stated below.
Where to do gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda?
Bwindi impenetrable national park
Bwindi impenetrable national park was gazetted in 1942 as a forest reserve but was upgraded to national park status in 1992. the name Bwindi locally means impenetrable, and indeed, this double meaning is suitable for this tropical forest.
This tropical rainforest is a biosphere reserve that hosted several survivors of the arid conditions of the ice age period that attacked Africa about 25000 years ago. This is one of the reasons for the long list of fauna and flora in this park. Some include about 200 tree species, over 350 bird species, 51 reptiles, about ten primates, 310 butterfly species, and others.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to about half the total number of mountain gorillas in the world. At the moment, about 18 gorilla Families are residents of this park. They live in four gorilla trekking areas where Bwindi impenetrable national park is subdivided. These include Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Rushaga areas.
Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga national park is the smallest home of the mountain gorillas occupying about 33.7 square kilometers. This park is composed of three distinctive volcanoes of the six Virunga volcanoes. These include Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Muhavura, and Mountain Sabyinyo.
Only one gorilla family, Nyakagezi, is currently open for tourism in this park. Mgahinga National Park has some of the best natural sceneries that are hard to find because it’s less visited. During an 8 hours hike to the summit of any of these mountains, you enjoy the best view of Mgahinga National Park.
Several other primates reside in this park, including golden, blue, vervet, red-tailed, grey-cheeked mangabey, olive baboons, etc.
Volcanoes National Park
This is Rwanda’s only home of the mountain gorillas in the Northwest. Volcanoes national park is home to about 12 mountain gorilla families that meander the slopes of five distinctive volcanoes. These include mountain Gahinga, Mountain Karisimbi, Mountain Muhabura, Mount Sabyinyo, and mountain Bisoke.
Volcanoes National Park hosts other primates like golden monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, grey-cheeked mangabey, and red-tailed monkeys, to mention but a few.
This park is an excellent Rwanda birding destination hosting over 200 bird species, including the rare Albertine endemics.
How Difficult Is Gorilla Trekking In Uganda And Rwanda?
Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda combines hiking and sloping a ragged area. The Virunga area is composed of Volcanic landforms on which the forest that protects its fauna and flora thrives.
You are expected to have some fitness level to enjoy the entire gorilla trekking experience. But it would be best to do this before arriving for gorilla trekking. This is to help your muscles stretch before the long time you are expected to take in the forest.
When you encounter the crisscrossing creepers, your ranger guide may have to use a machete to create a way for you to reach where the mountain gorillas are lounging or feeding from.
How safe is Gorilla Trekking in Uganda and Rwanda?
Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is very safe because of the security cooperation of this area between the two countries. Even the rangers work with other security bodies in their respective countries to protect these highly endangered mountain gorillas and the others forest dwellers.
- Consider personal security over your life, like only eating street food in case you wish to taste local cuisines. Then, ask the ranger for a decent spot to taste these meals without worrying about food poisoning, which may cost you a gorilla trekking adventure.
- Carrying valuable items like jewelry is risky on safari because you may attract the wrong people.
- Pack little bags that are also possible for you to carry in case you get no assistance and can monitor any time.
- Carry a first aid kit that you can use in case you need emergency assistance. Include some anti-venom because this is the wilderness where all wildlife lives.
When Is The Best Time To Book Gorilla Trekking In Uganda And Rwanda
Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is open all year round. Still, tourists prefer the drier months: June to October and December through January.
During this time of the year, the forest receives less humid conditions, and the rains are not so severe. Therefore, the trails are passable, and even forest dwellers are most active this season.
Suppose one needs to combine with other activities like game drives, chimpanzee trekking, birding, and others. In that case, it is most applicable in this season.
However, the low seasons also have advantages like the possibility of discounted prices from other service providers like accommodations, vehicle hire, driver guide fees, and others.
The chances of being unprepared for an exclusive gorilla trekking adventure are high in the low season because fewer people are booking. If you are the only person booked for the day, you go alone and set your pace for the gorilla trek.
How Many people are allowed To Do Gorilla Trekking in Uganda And Rwanda?
Only eight tourists can go gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda per gorilla family per day. This is for conservation reasons to reduce the chances of mass tourism.
The more people allowed in the forest, the higher the chances of trampling on the food for the mountain gorillas and the more stress instilled in the mountain gorillas.
Even managing a large crowd may be challenging for the ranger guides since everyone would like to hear about the details of the mountain gorillas.
The mountain gorillas are habituated to being in the presence of only eight tourists, so when they exceed, they may get agitated and go into hiding.
Which Is the Best Country For Gorilla trekking In Uganda And Rwanda
This can only be answered when you take a personal gorilla trekking trip in Uganda and Rwanda. Everyone explains their feelings after meeting the mountain gorillas and comparing them with the expectations of the gorilla trekking adventure.
The difference, however, may come with items like
- The cost of the gorilla trekking permit, whereby the Rwanda gorilla ticket costs $1500 per person, whereas the Uganda gorilla permit costs $700 per person per trek.
- The time to taken traveling to get to the gorilla trekking destination.
- The drive from Kigali airport to Volcanoes National Park is about 3 hours while the drive from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park is about 8 to 9 Hours.
- Uganda has about 19 gorilla families open for tourism, while Rwanda currently has about 12 gorilla families open for tourism.
What Is the Cost of Gorilla Trekking Safari in Uganda and Rwanda?
The gorilla trekking permit is the general cost for either country; where by in Uganda, the gorilla permit costs $700, while in Rwanda, the permit price is $1500 per person.
Other factors that make up the cost of gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda include
- The number of people going for the gorilla trekking tour.
- The more paying people included in your gorilla trekking safari, the less the safari cost per person. You get to share the components of a gorilla trekking tour, like vehicle hire, driver guide fees, gas, accommodation in case it’s twin rooms, and others. You encounter the entire safari cost when you take a solo gorilla trekking safari.
- Timing for booking your gorilla trekking safari.
- The more safari days, the higher the cost of the safari. This is because most service providers charge per day. The peak seasons also call for the increased demand for the components of gorilla trekking. The low seasons sometimes also may attract discounted prices on components like accommodation.
- The number of other activities you combine with gorilla trekking
- The more activities you combine with gorilla trekking, the higher the gorilla safari quotation.
Encounter Africa Safaris has featured Rwanda and Uganda gorilla safaris that can be customized to meet your budget, time, and interests. For example, if you select Uganda, you can do standard gorilla trekking for one hour or choose gorilla habituation experience, which allows you to spend more hours with mountain gorillas.
Gorilla habituation takes place in the southern part of Bwindi where two gorilla families are reserved for this experience.
Encounter Africa safaris is a top destination management outfit offering safaris to Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Kenya. In addition, we provide expert advice to all planning to visit East Africa. For more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by email or WhatsApp, and on