How to plan for a summer holiday gorilla trek to Uganda
How to plan for a summer holiday gorilla trek in Uganda. Gorilla trekking is a fun activity we have expertise in organizing for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda. Gorilla trekking on a summer holiday can easily be organized. On these holidays, you can also visit other national parks within the country and enjoy game viewing. Summer from June to September is when most countries in the northern hemisphere experience summer. This is the same period when most of the schools are on break, making it the best time to start planning for a gorilla safari in Uganda.
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Coincidentally, summer and the dry season are considered the best times for gorilla trekking in Uganda, falling in the same months, June to September. Are you in any countries that experience summer and are looking at spending it in Africa? The best thing to do is to contact us to help you organize a summer holiday gorilla trek safari to Uganda.
Planning a summer holiday gorilla trek in Uganda is easy if you have the correct information about gorilla trekking, and with the right tour operator, it becomes a smooth path. There are a lot of things you need to know about gorilla safaris, and these are:
- A gorilla permit and how to get it
- The cost of a gorilla safari
- The best time to travel for a gorilla safari
- what to pack for a gorilla safari and the rules to follow while gorilla trekking in the country
We will help you organize a pocket-friendly gorilla trek in the country for those who wish to have both short and long gorilla trek safaris. You can go for a gorilla trek or habituation experience, where you spend more hours with the gorillas.
The gorilla habituation process is only carried out in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It is where research is carried out on the gorillas to study their behaviors and train them to be more accepting of human presence. During gorilla habituation, tourists engage in the research and spend 4 hours with the gorillas studying them. A gorilla habituation permit must be booked in advance and is slightly more expensive, costing $1500 per person.
A gorilla permit
A gorilla permit is a card or document issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority giving you access to the gorilla trekking destinations in the country. At the point of booking for the permit, you will be asked to provide your name, the dates of the trek, and your passport information to validate your age.
With about 20 gorilla-habituated families, Bwindi with 19 families, and one family in Mgahinga, the Uganda Wildlife Authority prints 160 gorilla permits (152 for Bwindi and 8 for Mgahinga) per day. Gorilla trekking permits in Bwindi are printed according to the sectors found in the park. Ruhija gets 24 permits, Nkuringo gets 24 permits, Rushaga gets 43 permits, and Buhoma gets 40 permits. Therefore, when booking, ensure you know the sector booked because that is most likely where your accommodation will be.
How to purchase a gorilla permit:
Gorilla trek permits can be purchased through the Uganda Wildlife Authority or a local tour operator. Contacting UWA directly might be a long process, and the best option is to purchase from a registered tour operator. You will be required to provide all your information, starting with the desired names and trek dates, and the next step will be to check if the permits are available. We will review, and after confirming that the permits are available, you will be required to send payment, and this should only be done using company bank details and not personal bank accounts.
Note that no booking will be made until you have completed the payment details. After payment confirmation, a copy of the permit will be sent to your email. Contact us for more information about the gorilla permits, and we will be able to help you.
One thing you need to know is that gorilla permits are sold at face value, which means that the cost of the permit is the same no matter where you have bought it. The cost of the gorilla permit is as follows.
Foreign non-residents $800
Foreign residents $700
EAC citizens 300, 000UGX.
Can I cancel a gorilla trek permit in Uganda?
Yes, you can cancel a gorilla permit and get a refund if you have fully paid for it, but there are cancellation policies that are applied to give you a refund.
0 to 8 days before the trek date. No refund
9 to 45 days before the trek date 25% refund
46 to 90 days before the trek date 50% refund
91 days and above
Gorilla trekking rules and regulations
The Uganda Wildlife Authority came up with rules and regulations that you have to follow during the trek and when with the gorillas. This is to not only protect the Mountain gorillas but also keep the trekkers safe, and these include:
All trekkers have to be 15 years and above. No one below the age of 15 will be allowed to trek because it is sometimes hard to control children and make them follow all the rules and regulations. They are not mentally ready to sit still and watch the primates.
A gorilla family is trekked by a maximum of 8 people per day. This is to ensure that the gorillas are not disturbed by large crowds of people.
Tour guides always carry machetes with them to clear the overgrown bushes during the trek, so when you feel like going to the toilet for number two, dig a hole (30cm deep) away from your group, and after finishing with your business, cover it up well to avoid getting the gorillas sick.
When with the gorillas, there are a few rules that you need to follow, and these are:
- Keep your voice low at all times, and use low tones if you want to communicate with others.
- If possible, turn off your phone or put it in flight mode to avoid abrupt noise.
- Never smoke when with the gorillas. This affects their health.
- Try as much as possible to avoid touching the gorillas even when they approach you.
- Eating and drinking are also not allowed. It can only be done about 300 meters from the gorillas or designated areas chosen by the guide.
- When a gorilla approaches you, do not run but slowly wait for it to move past you, and lower yourself as a sign of submissiveness.
- You should also avoid making any abrupt movements like waving your hands.
- Tourists are also told not to look at the gorillas in their eyes as this is viewed as a challenge.
- When taking photos, ensure that the flash on the camera is turned off.
- Rubbish or anything brought into the national park that doesn’t belong there must be removed to avoid risking infections to the mountain gorillas.
- All trek groups have to keep a 7-meter distance from the gorillas.
Packing for a gorilla trek safari in Uganda
The packing list for a fun-filled gorilla trekking safari to Rwanda should include the following.
- Neutral-colored clothes to fit in with the jungle. The colors to avoid bringing on your gorilla safari include blue, which is said to attract tsetse flies, black for quick absorption of heat, and camouflage, which is associated with the army. Two pairs of clothes should be enough; don’t forget to bring some undershirts.
- Trousers and long-sleeved shirts are the best for a summer gorilla safari in Uganda—these help with covering your body from scratches and insect bites and keep you warm.
- A warm sweater and waterproof rain jacket for when it rains, which will be anytime, even during the dry season.
- Garden gloves protect your hands from scratches, blisters, and tree splinters as you hike through the forest.
- Comfortable, strong hiking boots that are ankle-length are recommended for the gorilla safari. You will be trekking through unfamiliar territory, and it is only right if you carry something that won’t give you blisters. Running shoes wouldn’t be able to manage the terrain within the park, especially during the rainy season.
- Refillable water bottle, although Uganda has bottled drinking water, you need to carry a refillable of at least 1 litre to use during the trek. Please do not fill the water with tap water because it is unsafe.
- A first aid kit should be among the things you bring for a summer gorilla safari and be fully packed. Make sure that you carry prescribed medicine as well, especially pain relief tablets.
- A camera and all the camera equipment. You cannot go on a gorilla safari and not take some pictures of the mountain gorillas, so that you will need your camera, extra lenses and batteries, lens cleaner, and a tripod.
- Binoculars also come in handy to view hidden or faraway gorillas, and bringing a personal pair is the best choice because sharing might make you miss out on the best shots. Binoculars also help you view other wildlife in the park, like vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, and bird species.
- Adjustable gaiters are necessary not only during the wet season but also during the dry season to protect your legs from water, mud, dust, and bugs.
- Toiletries, snacks, a sun hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, a waterproof backpack to carry all your items, and a walking stick.
What is included in the summer holiday gorilla trek safari?
All our summer holiday gorilla safaris are all-inclusive safaris with transport from Entebbe International Airport to either Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park, gorilla permits, meals, and accommodation. When organizing a gorilla trek safari, we prefer to purchase the permit for you and organize all the components that make a good safari. The gorilla permit cost does not include the cost of other services, and they need to pay separately and in advance.
The cost of a gorilla trek safari
It is hard to determine the cost of a gorilla safari in Uganda, especially when you are on a summer holiday, because this is a peak season, and the service providers increase the cost of everything due to the high number of tourists during this period. Some factors that affect the cost of a summer holiday gorilla safari to Uganda include transportation, the number of people in a group, accommodation, and the travel season.
Tourists traveling in large groups pay less since the costs of some services like accommodation and transport are shared among them. Accommodation is categorized into three categories: Budget, mid-range, and luxury accommodation facilities, and the one you choose will highly determine the cost of the safari. 4×4 safari vehicles are the ones that are mainly used for gorilla safaris, and these can be shared to cut down on costs.
Accommodation when gorilla trekking in Uganda
Accommodation when gorilla trekking is important and needs to be close or within the sectors you have been assigned if you are gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Kisoro town in Mgahinga National Park. The accommodation ranges from budget, mid-range, and luxury facilities, and below is a list of facilities to choose from.
Bwindi lodges: Bwindi View Bandas, Buhoma community Bandas, Buhoma Haven Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Cuckooland Camp, Trekkers Traven Cottages, Nkuringo Gorilla Camp, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla safari Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Silverback Lodge, crested Crane Hotel, Lake Mutanda Resort, and Engagi Lodge among others.
Mgahinga: Virunga Hotel, Travelers Rest lodge, Mgahinga community camp, Mgahinga Rest camp, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Landmark Tours and Travel, Bugondo Guest House and Nkuringo safari lodge.
Contact us to plan your summer holiday break.