How To Plan A Last Minute Uganda And Rwanda Gorilla Safari
How to plan a last-minute Uganda and Rwanda gorilla safari. If Uganda and Rwanda are your last-minute choice for a gorilla safari, you must check availability and book a gorilla permit as soon as possible. We consider last-minute gorilla safari booking from 90 days to a day to gorilla tour.
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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park are Uganda’s only gorilla safari homes. While in Uganda, you can do gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experience, but you need a gorilla permit. Currently, Uganda has 152 gorilla permits open to the public from 19 gorilla families. 8 gorilla permits are open for gorilla habituation experience from two gorilla families.
Volcanoes National Park is the only home of the mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Currently, Rwanda has 96 gorilla permits open to public booking from 12 gorilla families.
Both Uganda and Rwanda have gorilla tours as their foremost safari activity. Depending on your holiday time, you can also make a combo of gorilla safaris and other wildlife activities. When you contact us at Encounter Africa Safaris, our safari consultants are ready to work with you in planning a workable and affordable Uganda and Rwanda gorilla safari.
If Uganda and Rwanda are your safari destinations, you must secure a visa if it’s one of the travel requirements you must possess before entering either country. Purchasing the East Africa visa allows you to enter Uganda and Rwanda without bothering to re-apply for a visa for either country. Uganda and Rwanda are both in the East African community, where the East African visa allows you entry into at least two East African countries.
Note: last minute gorilla permit availability in Uganda and Rwanda may come
with challenges so you need to have some level of patience and be ready to cooperate for the best experience.
How To Plan For Last-Minute Gorilla Safaris In Uganda And Rwanda?
Book Uganda and Rwanda gorilla permits
Booking the gorilla permit is the only ticket and confirmation of this last-minute African tour. You need to check for Uganda and Rwanda gorilla permit availability. Using an accredited tour operator is the only way you can get quicker access to the gorilla permits, especially during the peak season. The peak Uganda tourism season usually is June, July, August, September, December and January. As the days draw closer to gorilla safari day in the peak season 90 days to one day, gorilla permits become rarer.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development Board are the only bodies that regulate and sell gorilla permits in Uganda. If you contact a tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris, we may also advertise for these permits through the tour operator umbrella body, the Association of Uganda Tour Operators. You may win this jackpot if a member has these gorilla permits on resale.
How to book Uganda and Rwanda gorilla permits
Have a confirmed date and the number of people you hope to do gorilla safaris within Uganda and Rwanda.
When you enquire from us, our safari consultant checks for Uganda and Rwanda gorilla permit availability from the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development Board list. Upon finding the required gorilla permits, we advise clients to purchase them immediately. This is because they sell out fast on a first-come, first-served basis, and none is secured without payment.
Forward us some of your details to include on your gorilla permit for identification your full name as indicated on the passport, date of birth, Nationality, and expiry date.
How Much is a Uganda and Rwanda gorilla permit?
When you choose to do gorilla trekking in Uganda, a gorilla trekking permit costs $700 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents and 250000shs for East African residents.
Uganda Gorilla habituation experience permit costs $1500 per person for foreign nonresidents, $1000 for foreign residents, and 750000shs for East African residents.
Rwanda gorilla trekking permit costs $1500 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $500 for foreign residents and $200 for East African residents.
The gorilla permit cost covers park entrance fees, ranger guide fees, security, local community support, government tax, mountain gorilla conservation, certificate after gorilla safari, one hour of gorilla trekking or four hours of gorilla habituation experience.
Exclusions in the cost of a gorilla permit: snacks, gorilla safari gear, transport, accommodation and any other items of personal nature.
Secure accommodation to use during gorilla safari in Uganda and Rwanda
Spending your gorilla safari nights closer to or within the gorilla safari destinations of Uganda and Rwanda is very important. In Uganda, gorilla trekking permits are booked according to the area, and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is divided into four areas: Buhoma, Rushaga, Nkuringo, and Ruhija. It would be best to secure accommodation closer to where your gorilla permit is booked so as not to drive in the dark to catch up with briefing in another area.
The accommodations to use during gorilla safari are categorized into Luxury, Mid-range and Budget.
- Bwindi accommodations: Clouds Lodge, Gorilla Safaris Lodge, Gorilla Forest Camp, Silverback Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas
- Mgahinga accommodations: Gahinga Lodge and others in Kisoro town
- Volcanoes National Park accommodations: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Kinigi Guest House
Reserve transport to the gorilla safari destinations
You can get to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga National Park, and Volcanoes National Park by road and air transport.
Hiring a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle saves you from getting stuck on the road, as the countryside roads have challenges. The drive time from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park is about 8 to 9 hours.
The drive time from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park is about 3 hours.
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we have hired only professional and experienced drive guides for our clients on safari.
From Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip, you can secure a seat on the daily domestic flights to Kihihi or Kisoro Airstrip. You need a transfer vehicle to your lodge.
Charter flight services are available too at Entebbe airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Kihihi or Kisoro airstrip. From Kigali airport, charter flight services are available for a more private gorilla safari in Rwanda.
What is the difference between Gorilla safari In Uganda and Rwanda?
No matter where you go for a gorilla safari, the feeling you get when standing before the mountain gorillas is unmatched. They are such adorable primates, too, and meeting them makes you forget all you may have gone through coordinating the gorilla safaris. The few differences between gorilla safari in Uganda and Rwanda come with:
In Uganda, gorilla safaris are in two National Parks: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. Rwanda has only Volcanoes National Park as its gorilla safari destination.
A Rwanda gorilla trekking permit costs $1500, while the Uganda gorilla trekking permit costs $700 per person per trek.
Uganda offers extra hours with the mountain gorillas during gorilla habituation experience apart from one hour of gorilla trekking, while so far Rwanda has gorilla trekking which lasts only one hour with the mountain gorillas.
Drive time from Kigali airport to Volcanoes National Park is about 3 hours, from Entebbe airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park is about 8 to 9 hours. You can also drive from Kigali to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park in Uganda in a duration of about 4 to 5 hours.
Currently, Uganda has 152 gorilla trekking permits from 19 gorilla families and 8 gorilla habituation permits from two gorilla families. Rwanda currently has 96 gorilla trekking permits from 12 gorilla families.
After or before the gorilla safari, Uganda has several options for additional activities to combine with gorilla tours like game drives, chimpanzee safaris, launch trips, white water rafting, a visit to the source of the River Nile and others. Rwanda has limited options to combine with gorilla safaris, but you can do game safaris, chimpanzee trekking, Rwanda birding, visit genocide memorials, and others.
Gorilla safaris in Uganda and Rwanda are not only for fun, but you also get to support the conservation of the only leftover mountain gorillas in the world.
How Long Is Gorilla Safari In Uganda And Rwanda?
The duration of the gorilla safaris varies and depends on where the mountain gorillas are. Sometimes tourists locate the mountain gorillas in two hours, while others spend more time. Finding the mountain gorillas depends on factors like the proximity of their food, in case of the death of a family member, if there is a fight with another gorilla family, weather conditions prevailing in the day, the pace of tourists, and others.
The range guides follow the pace of the slowest tourists during gorilla adventure but take the rest.
When you find the mountain gorillas, only one hour is allowed during gorilla trekking as they are habituated to be in the presence of humans for just one hour and carry on. Four hours with the mountain gorillas is allowed for gorilla habituation experience as you may get to assist researchers with collecting samples and observing the behaviors of the mountain gorillas and others.
During gorilla safaris, tourists need patience because you need to figure out when to find the mountain gorillas. An open mind saves you from getting bored before locating the mountain gorillas. The Virunga area has several attractions like other primates and birds, including Albertine rift endemics, huge mature trees, sparkling waterfalls, and others.
Is Gorilla Safari adventure in Uganda and Rwanda difficult?
Gorilla safari destinations are situated in areas that are volcanic, with ridges and plateaus as remains. These are draped with tangled vegetation that has been overgrown for a long time. During the severe wet seasons, the trails in the gorilla destinations tend to get slippery and soggy from rotting matter and logged water. One must have comfortable safari boots that can withstand the harsh conditions of the wilderness.
One of the ranger guides carries a machete to trim the overgrown and protruding vegetation and create a path to get where the mountain gorillas are.
Sometimes, the mountain gorillas spend their day on the slopes or deep in the valleys, so you must hike to get where they may be. This is quite challenging in case you need to be fit.
Tourists are advised to take some pre-safari physicals in order to counter the challenges you may find during the safari.
Carry your gorilla safari gear like safari boots, insect repellants that protect you from stinging nettles, rainproof gear, and others.
What are the Guidelines for Gorilla Safari Adventures in Uganda and Rwanda?
Although gorilla safaris are open to the public, conserving them is the priority because just a few are left worldwide. Following the guidelines for gorilla safari is very important.
- No one with a communicable infection is allowed to visit the mountain gorillas. Some communicable infections include cholera, ebola, COVID-19, flu, diarrhea, etc. This may lead to their massive death. Mountain gorilla conservation has consumed much time and money, so they must be highly protected.
- Do not surround the mountain gorillas, but remain in a tight group. This makes the mountain gorillas feel ambushed.
- When you locate them, keep a space about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas. This is to passing any contiguous infection to the mountain gorillas or them spreading it to humans.in case the mountain gorillas approach you, try to move backward stealthily.
- Wearing a mask during gorilla habituation experience and gorilla trekking because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This became one of the rules to be followed when you locate mountain gorillas.
- No using flash photography when with the mountain gorillas because it scares them. Mountain gorillas are frightened by new occurrences in their presence.
- Never drink or smoke about 200 meters from the mountain gorillas because you may only know the smoke’s effect further in the mountain gorilla’s life.
- In case you wish to sneeze or cough, do it away from the mountain gorillas or in your elbow to prevent the spreading of germs. Cover your mouth or nose with a handkerchief for hygiene purposes in this case.
- Ask the ranger guide to dig a hole if you need to ease yourself. Cover everything well in a hole over 30 cm beyond recognition so the primates cannot exhume it later.
- Never dump garbage in the forest and volunteer to pick it up if you find it. The forest is the sole food provider for mountain gorillas and other primates, so it must be kept in its natural setting.
- Please do not spit on vegetation or soil in the park during gorilla habituation experience or gorilla trekking because its unhygienic and vegetation is food for the mountain gorillas.
- The age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 years because of the nature of this experience. The time for locating the mountain gorillas is still being determined, yet the way is strenuous because of steep topography and slippery ground.
- Do not attempt or provoke the mountain gorillas because they will move into hiding, yet every tourist in the group has individually paid for a gorilla permit to be in the presence of the mountain gorillas for the time allocated.
- Try to keep your voice low with the mountain gorillas and avoid sudden movements. The mountain gorillas are sensitive to unfamiliar noise in their vicinity.
- Just one hour is allowed with the mountain gorillas during gorilla trekking and four of gorilla habituation experience when you locate them to allow them to go about their day’s activities.
Contact us to check the availability of permits and book your last-minute gorilla safari.