What is included and excluded in a gorilla permit of Uganda and Rwanda
What is included and excluded in a gorilla permit of Uganda and Rwanda? The gorilla permit for Uganda or Rwanda includes Park entrance fees for the time you are trekking the mountain gorillas and lasts 24 hours. Every person in a national park is required to pay park entrance fees as a way to support park activities and maintenance.
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The conservation of mountain gorillas has come a long way, right from the time of American primatologist Dian Fossey, who dedicated her life to saving the existence of the mountain gorillas amidst criticism from the locals and poachers to animal traffickers.
By the 1980s, according to the population census she and her team carried out, 250 mountain gorillas were living then. When their fate came to the knowledge of conservationists in the world, mountain gorillas were placed on the list of highly endangered primates. The need to create harmony between the mountain gorillas and humans arose.
Gorilla trekking was one of the ways to curb this animosity and support the conservation of the mountain gorillas.
In Uganda, gorilla safaris happen in Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. At the moment, Uganda has 19 gorilla families open for gorilla trekking and 2 gorilla habituation experience families. The Uganda Wildlife Authority is the gorilla permit regulating and selling the body of Uganda.
Rwanda has Volcanoes National Park is the only home of the mountain gorillas, currently having 12 gorilla families. Rwanda Development Board is the country’s only gorilla permit regulating and selling body. You can book a Rwanda gorilla permit through an accredited tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris.
When you purchase a mountain gorilla permit, you support the sustainable existence of the mountain gorillas and the local community.
What Is Included In The Cost Of Gorilla Permits for Uganda And Rwanda?
Park Entrance Fees
The Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development Board require park fees from everyone who enters into a National Park. This is one of the ways to collect funds used for the conservation of wild animals and park maintenance.
With the gorilla permit, the cost of park entrance is embedded in the permit. The park entrance fees last 24 hours from when you enter the park.
Ranger Guide Fees
Rangers need to receive payment for their dedicated service during gorilla safaris in Uganda and Rwanda. They give their life to the existence of the mountain gorillas. Having a knowledgeable and experienced guide gives you confidence during gorilla safari. These rangers also undergo periodic retreats to equip them with new information about the mountain gorillas and other forest dwellers as discovered by researchers.
You can also reasonably tip your ranger guide as a token of appreciation for the service rendered to find the mountain gorillas during the trek. This gives them courage to continue defending the mountain gorillas.
Security during gorilla trekking
Security during the gorilla safari adventure in Uganda and Rwanda is very important. Gorilla trekking involves tourists moving on foot in the jungle, so one to participate needs assurance of returning in one piece. One of the escorting ranger guides carries a rifle in case you encounter any threats while searching for the mountain gorillas. Another ranger carries a machete for trimming thick, tangled creepers and creating a way for tourists to access the mountain gorillas.
The ranger guide is always in constant communication with the security team at the ranger station through a walkie-talkie in case backup is required.
The parks also collaborate with other security teams in Uganda and Rwanda in order to maintain law and order around the parks. In case extra energy is needed in the security teams of these parks, other security bodies are always on standby, like the tourism police of Uganda.
Mountain Gorilla Conservation Support
Sustainable mountain gorilla conservation is the aim of all internal and external conservation bodies in Uganda and Rwanda. As mentioned above, mountain gorillas were at the brim of extinction by the 1980s, but with the conservation funds, the current population census indicates that over 1000 mountain gorillas are living.
More funds are required to keep conserving the mountain gorillas and their habitats as encroachers are in place to destabilize the natural life of the mountain gorillas.
More to this, the funds collected for mountain gorilla conservation are used to form more gorilla trekking families through gorilla habituation. Gorilla habituation is a process where researchers and trackers escort a wild gorilla family to get them used to human presence without altering their nature. The period taken to form a gorilla trekking family varies according to how fast or slow the gorilla family adapts to human presence.
Local community support
Annually, a portion of the funds collected from gorilla safaris is given back to the local community. They use this money to support their projects like road maintenance, upgrade schools, dig water sources, and others.
When you purchase a gorilla permit, you support the community park relationship. In order to conserve the mountain gorillas and their habitats, the local community around the park needs to be involved. They need to understand the relevance of the mountain gorillas in their community.
The park often conducts community sensitization about the need to protect mountain gorillas, forest dwellers, and their habitats. These sessions are supported by some of the funds collected from the sale of the gorilla permits.
Hiring a porter before the gorilla trek or habituation experience is one of the most direct ways to support the local community. They use the funds collected to support their families by buying scholastic materials, health care, buy food, and others.
Certificate after gorilla trekking or habituation experience
Upon successful completion of the gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation experience, each tourist is handed a certificate as a souvenir for having maneuvered the obstacle of gorilla adventure.
The certificate of gorilla safari completion is branded with your own name, the date of the trek, and others. Some of the details you forward before the gorilla permit is collected are the information used.
Time with the mountain gorillas
Upon locating the mountain gorillas during gorilla trekking, only one hour is allowed before them. During the gorilla habituation experience, four hours are allowed with the mountain gorillas. This time was agreed upon so that mountain gorillas are left alone to continue running their day to day life.
The presence of humans disrupts a number of mountain gorilla activities of the day, like feeding, grooming infants, recreation, lounging, and others. Even the more time mountain gorillas spend with humans, the more chances of getting offended by humans; mountain gorillas are sensitive primates. This is why rules for gorilla trekking are in place to support the conservation of these gentle giants.
Researcher Fees During Gorilla Habituation Experience
Gorilla habituation experience currently happens in only the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The gorilla habituation experience is an adventure where tourists follow a team of researchers and trackers in the wilderness to search for a semi-habituated gorilla family and spend four hours with them,
Researcher services are required during the gorilla habituation experience as they are the ones with knowledge about the gorilla family and its traits. The information about the gorilla families under habituation experience is still scanty and being gathered. Researchers need to be supported and encouraged to carry on with this work that requires dedication.
For every gorilla permit sold, tax is levied on it as a must contribution to the government.
What is excluded from the Gorilla permit cost for Rwanda and Uganda?
Transport to gorilla trekking destination
Each tourist is required to secure transport to the gorilla safari destinations that are located in the remote areas of the country, Volcanoes National Park lies in the Northwestern part of Rwanda. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park lie in the southwestern corner of Uganda.
You need to hire a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle because the roads in these areas are bumpy, providing the renowned African massage, and may be slippery during severe rainy seasons.
Air transport by charter from Kigali airport to Volcanoes National Park is available for more private travel.
Daily domestic flights from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi to Kihihi or Kisoro Airport are available, but you need to reserve a seat as soon as possible. Charter flight services are available too in Uganda.
You need to hire a transfer vehicle from the airstrip to the lodge.
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we can help reserve transport to use during gorilla safari.
Tips are not included in the gorilla permit cost for Rwanda. A tip is a token of appreciation for a service rendered during gorilla safari. Although no specified amount is set for tipping the rangers, we encourage tourists to tip the rangers generously. They do dedicate their life to the existence of the mountain gorillas. Sometimes, they have to rise in the night to risk their lives for a mountain gorilla.
Accommodation During Gorilla Safari
Spending the night within or close to the gorilla safari park in Uganda or Rwanda is important. This is because you need to rise up to catch up with the briefing at the ranger station or ORTPN. When you spend away from the briefing point, you may be required to drive in the night to get to the park in time for the briefing.
No matter what reason you have for missing the briefing, you may be registered as a no-show without reason. The chances of being considered for a refund may be slim. Encounter Africa Safaris has nothing to do with gorilla permit refunds but with the Uganda Wildlife Authority or Rwanda Development Board.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park accommodation: Gorilla Safari Lodge, Clouds Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas, Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge, Bwindi Back Packer’s Camp, Engage Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge.
Mgahinga National Park accommodations: Gahinga Lodge, Majambere Iwachu, Community Camp, Mountain Gahinga Lodge, Mutanda Lake Resort.
Volcanoes National Park accommodations: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Kinigi Guest House, La Palme Hotel, Hotel Muhavura
Snacks during gorilla trekking
As you trek to find the mountain gorillas, you need some re-energizers as breakfast is taken so early to last the entire gorilla safari. During the breaks, you can munch on these snacks before proceeding to find the mountain gorillas.
Porters during gorilla safari
As gorilla safari is a tedious adventure, you need support from a porter. A porter is a local person affiliated with the park that carries your gorilla trekking gear and can give you a push where necessary in order for you to enjoy the gorilla trek successfully.
Any Other Items of Personal Nature
You may need to purchase souvenirs as a remembrance for the gorilla’s safari, carry some drinking water to quench thirst, gorilla trekking gear, and others.
What is the cost of a Gorilla safari?
The cost of a gorilla safari is categorized into luxury, mid-range, and budget packages. The key cost of a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda or Rwanda is the gorilla permit, whose price cuts across all budgets. Some of the following are considered to make the cost of gorilla tours.
The number of people traveling for gorilla trekking, days to spend on a gorilla safari, additional activities to combine with a gorilla tour, time of booking the gorilla safari, and others.
Is gorilla trekking cost worth the money?
Every penny you spend on gorilla safari is worth the wilderness adventure. Even the time you inject into the gorilla tour preparations is suitable. When you get face to face with the mountain gorillas, you feel your heart melting with joy. Gorilla trekking is indeed a mystical African adventure.
To support the sustainable existence of the mountain gorillas, part of the funds collected from selling the gorilla permits in Rwanda and Uganda are used. Mountain gorillas are some of the endangered primates of the world, and thanks to conservation, the population has risen to about 1,000 mountain gorillas.
Although gorilla safari is costly, it is worth every expenditure you make. It is indeed a dream come true wilderness adventure.
At Encounter Africa safaris, we can help reserve a gorilla permit for you, book accommodations, hire a driver guide, and other amenities that support your stay during the gorilla safari. We have over 10 years of experience in planning and conducting safaris in Africa.
Contact us for further information.