As 2019 comes to an end, there is a lot that has changed and will continue to influence gorilla trekking in 2020 and 2021. Gorilla trekking being an expensive tourist activity, there is always a need to have proper preparations basing on the latest information available. Here is the latest and updated information about gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda by Encounter Africa safaris. This post looks at changes in the price of permits, the number of mountain gorillas, discounts available in each country, and so much more.
2020-21 Updates on gorilla trekking in Uganda.
There has been a change in Uganda that one needs to know before booking a holiday to see gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park. One noticeable change is that of the price of Uganda gorilla permit.
New price for Uganda gorilla permits
Uganda Wildlife Authority has increased Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla permit price from $600 to $700 per person for foreign residents and $600 from $500 per person for foreigners living in Uganda and other African countries of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Southern Sudan. The price change only affects permits for the regular one-hour gorilla trek. Read more about booking gorilla permits here.
Much as there has been an increase in the price of gorilla permits by $100, Uganda remains an affordable and relatively stable country compared to her counterpart Uganda. For those who are sensitive to prices should consider visiting Uganda instead of Rwanda. Encounter Africa safaris organizes both private and group tours to see gorillas in Uganda and below are some of them.
Sample Uganda gorilla tours for 2020-21
- 3 Day gorilla trekking tour from $400pp
- 3 Day Uganda gorilla tour starting via Kigali from $490pp
- 3 Day Uganda double gorilla trekking via Kigali from $560pp
- 5 Day Gorilla and chimpanzee trekking safari
- 5 Day Gorilla and game safari with tree climbing lions
- For safaris of more than 5 days, please request for tailor-made safaris here
Gorilla habituation permit price remains unchanged for 2020-21.
Gorilla habituation experience safaris allows you to spend 4 hours with mountain gorillas under habituation. Training mountain gorillas to get used to human beings takes 2-3 years where experts in this keep training wild gorillas to get used to human beings. This activity is being sold to individual tourists who love spending more hours with gorillas and love to experience how training wild gorillas to get used to human beings is done. For more information about gorilla habituation experience, safaris read here. The price for gorilla habituation experience permits remains at $1500 per person for Foreign non-residents and $1000 for Foreigners living in any of the five East African countries. For more information about gorilla habituation and how to book a tour, please click here.
Sample gorilla habituation experience safaris from 2020-21
- 3 Day gorilla habituation experience safari from $490pp excluding permit
- 3 Day gorilla habituation experience safari via Kigali from $560 pp excluding permit
- 5 Day Gorilla and chimpanzee habituation experience safari
- For more days and more things to see in Uganda, click here.
Mountain gorilla numbers in Uganda increase
According to the current mountain gorilla census that was conducted in the Virunga region which has three National Parks of Mgahinga, Volcanoes and Virunga plus an independent one for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the outcome indicated that Uganda so far has the highest number of mountain gorillas in the whole world beating Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park alone recorded an increase in numbers from 400 to 450 individuals with now 50 mountain gorilla families from 36. This has been achieved by numerous positive efforts to save mountain gorillas which are no longer on the list of endangered species. When you choose to visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you would have selected a park that has the highest number of gorillas in the whole world.
The highest number of habituated gorilla families in the whole world.
As you plan to visit Uganda to see gorillas in 2020-21, you should know that it is now on record that Bwindi impenetrable National Park has the highest number of habituated mountain gorillas in Africa. The number stands at 19 habituated families with 2 of them reserved for gorilla habituation experience while the rest are for the regular one-hour gorilla trek.
Please note that the above-habituated gorilla families can trek from different regions that make up Bwindi impenetrable National Park. These regions include Buhoma in the north, Ruhija in the East, Nkuringo and Rushaga in the north. For more information about the best region for gorilla tracking, click here.
Gorilla family allocation is done on the day of trekking.
Booking gorilla permits is done in advance, and you can only book permits for a given region (e.g. for Buhoma or Rushaga). You will get to know the family on the day of trekking. Different mountain gorilla families can be trekked from different regions, and allocation to a given family is decided on the very day of trekking. Allocation to a given gorilla family depends on the interest of an individual as well as physical fitness. You will have to express your interest on the very day of trekking. Click here for more information about gorilla family allocation.
Gorilla permit booking and availability check goes online.
All gorilla permits for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park are now online and can be booked anytime and any day. Please note that access to Uganda wildlife Authority gorilla permit online database is only by registered Uganda tour operators like Encounter Africa. We are therefore able to check, and reserve gorilla permits any time of the day, including weekends and nights which as not possible before. Initially, one would have to check availability and book permits during the day(working hours) which used to make the whole process tiresome.
Uganda gorilla permits are more competitive than before.
Indeed, Uganda does not invest so much in marketing; it gorilla tourism, but factors from outside have resulted in the rush for Uganda gorilla permits simply because of the price. Many people who used to trek in Rwanda are now looking for cheaper gorilla permits in Uganda at $700 instead of $1500 in Rwanda. The above rush tends to cause shortage mostly in high seasons. Book your gorilla permit in advance to avoid all this.
Possible to visit Uganda from Rwanda
It’s now possible to reduce on the drive time from Kigali Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga by avoiding landing in Entebbe Airport in Uganda. It is approximately 4-5 hours drive from Kigali to Uganda via Katuna or Chanika border. Encounter Africa safaris are now able to pick you from Kigali International Airport and bring you to Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park for gorilla trekking. There has been some tension between Uganda and Rwanda, but this has not affected the movement of visitors from one country to another. Find out more about Uganda gorilla safaris starting from Kigali here.
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