How to book a Rwanda or Uganda gorilla trek holiday on New Year’s Day
Booking gorilla trekking for the festive season, especially New Year’s Day, is exciting. Marking the beginning of the year with a visit to gorilla land is a lifetime adventure.
It would be best if you made advance gorilla trekking safari preparations to mark the celebrated birth of a New Year.
You can choose to go gorilla trekking in either Uganda or Rwanda. The Uganda gorilla trekking destinations are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Or Mgahinga National Park. Rwanda’s gorilla safari destination is Volcanoes National Park.
Most Popular Safaris
Booking the gorilla trekking permits for either Uganda or Rwanda is a wise decision because they get sold out fast, especially during the festive period when holidays are in high gear. Therefore, we advise our clients to purchase the peak season gorilla trekking permits latest three months before the New Year. This is because of the high demand for gorilla trekking safaris, as tourists have different motives for marking Newyear with the mountain gorillas.
How To Book Gorilla Trekking Permits
Select a date when you wish to do gorilla trekking in either Uganda or Rwanda. Have the number of gorilla trekking permits you want to purchase. You can do gorilla trekking more than once depending on your budget and time on holiday. Note that each gorilla trekking permit allows you to do one day of gorilla trekking.
When you enquire from us, our safari consultant checks gorilla permit availability as per the dates of your choice. Encounter Africa Safaris is an accredited safari company recognized by Uganda Wildlife Authority or Rwanda Development Board to purchase gorilla permits.
You can also request from Uganda Wildlife Authority about gorilla permit availability. Still, you must be patient with the long queue of calls and annoying voice mail to the reservation office.
If availability is favorable, we request our clients purchase theirs immediately. This is to prevent last-minute panic searching for gorilla permits. They are limited to a maximum of 8 permits per gorilla family daily. They are sold out fast, especially during the peak season: June, July, August, September, December, and January.
Provide personal details like your full name, nationality, date of birth, passport expiry date, and others as required. These are for record-keeping purposes and determining where tourism marketing can be emphasized.
How Much Is A Gorilla Permit
The gorilla permit for Rwanda costs $1500 per person per trek. Uganda gorilla permit costs $800 per person for foreign nonresidents, $700 per person for foreign residents, and 300000 shs for East African residents.
The cost of a gorilla trekking permit includes gorilla conservation support, ranger guide fees, security, park fees, and local community support.
The permit cost includes transport, drinks, packed lunch, tipping, porters, and other items of personal nature.
Can I Buy A Gorilla Permit In Instalment?
You can purchase the gorilla permit for Uganda or Rwanda in installments. It is possible to buy it in 30% and 70% portions. Purchasing gorilla permits in installments is applicable 90 days before the trekking date. Remember to top up 90 days to the gorilla trekking date or stand to lose even the prepaid portion.
Is Refund For Gorilla Permits Possible?
Yes, a gorilla permit refund is possible, depending on the refund policy of both the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development Board. However, you must be patient with the refund process because of the bureaucracy it has to go through to repossess this money.
If you are a no-show on the gorilla trekking date, expect no refund because the permit is only valid until the gorilla trekking date. It ceases to be helpful after the gorilla trekking day. Expect no refund after the gorilla trekking date elapses, and you do not report to authorities in advance, no matter your reason for not showing up.
Can I Reschedule The New Year Gorilla Trekking Permit?
Rescheduling the gorilla permit is allowed as long as it’s before the trekking date. After that, you must write to Rwanda Development Board or Uganda Wildlife Authority. State the reason why you wish to reschedule your gorilla permit. Attach some evidence as a support document for your case.
When you get, the go-ahead for a gorilla permit reschedules, advise our safari consultant on the dates you wish to move your gorilla permit to.
The safari consultant rechecks availability from the gorilla permit listing of the Rwanda Development Board or Uganda Wildlife Authority. Then, your gorilla permit dates are moved to your date of preference in case gorilla permit slots are still available.
Uganda gorilla permit rescheduling can be done twice, but the third time requires the Uganda Wildlife Authority executive director’s approval and a surcharge of 25% of the total permit cost applied.
If discounted gorilla permits are offered, and you wish to reschedule this permit to a date beyond the stated period, you need to top up the permit to the price of that period before moving.
In Rwanda, rescheduling gorilla permits is charged
When Can I Book The New Year Gorilla Trekking Permit For Uganda Or Rwanda?
The New Year is a peak holiday time for tourism in Uganda and Rwanda, so purchasing your gorilla permit at least six months to a year in advance is best. However, many people have reasons for selecting to start the year in the company of mountain gorillas.
This creates a scarcity of these gorilla permits as early as the last quarter of the year and accommodation too.
Last-minute gorilla permit search is nerve-breaking, as you need help finding the gorilla permit and accommodation, especially on desired days like the new year.
How Many Gorilla Permits Are Available For Booking?
Currently, Uganda has 19 gorilla families open for tourism, with 156 gorilla permits open for gorilla trekking and two gorilla families open for habituation with eight permits per day.
Rwanda currently has 15 gorilla families open for gorilla trekking, with 96 daily permits.
Should I Book A Gorilla Permit Through A Tour Operator?
Using a tour operator to book your gorilla permit lifts off your shoulder the burden of checking availability, booking accommodation, and other safari amenities.
They have significant experience and knowledge with ground safari work and connections with the best service providers. Every tourist would like a memorable gorilla trekking experience that will last a lifetime. It all starts with great and secure preparations, especially if you are a first-time traveler.
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we have over ten years of gorilla safari experience since 3003. We aim for excellent service delivery and offer value for money.
How Safe Is Gorilla Trekking In Uganda Or Rwanda?
Gorilla trekking adventure is safe in both Uganda and Rwanda. Both countries provide maximum security to the mountain gorilla habitats to protect them as other forest dwellers. The ranger guide are well-trained to support the conservation of the mountain gorillas and their habitat,
The rangers collaborate with each country’s security agencies to maintain law and order. Clients returning home safely after gorilla trekking is the ultimate goal for Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development Board.
You must pay attention to personal security by avoiding entering the forest without an escorting ranger guide, be keen with your belongings, and pack the right gorilla trekking gear and others.
Which Country Is The Best For Gorilla Trekking In Uganda And Rwanda?
Taking a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda and Rwanda is the best way to answer this question. When you face mountain gorillas, remember what you may have gone through during preparation. The difference of which country is best for gorilla trekking between Uganda and Rwanda may be determined by:
The gorilla permit cost
A Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500 per person per trek, while a Ugandan gorilla permit costs $800.
Time is taken to the gorilla trekking destinations
You take about 3 hours from Kigali airport to Volcanoes National Park, while the drive time
from Entebbe airport to Bwindi impenetrable national park or Mgahinga National Park is 8 to 9 hours.
Optional Activities After Gorilla Trekking
Uganda has more activities you can combine with gorilla trekking, like visiting the source of the River Nile, chimpanzee trekking, game drives, launch trips, and others. Unfortunately, Rwanda is limited in options to combine with gorilla trekking. Other Rwanda safari activities include game drives in Akagera national park and chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe national park.
Uganda has nineteen gorilla families and two gorilla families open for habituation safari, while Rwanda has 15 gorilla families open for tourism.
You can go gorilla trekking in Uganda through Rwanda as this is about a 6 to 7-hour hour drive from Kigali airport to Bwindi Impenetrable national park Uganda. This gives you an experience of both countries.
How Long Is Gorilla Trekking In Either Uganda Or Rwanda?
The time of locating the mountain gorillas is unpredictable because of the different occurrences in the wilderness. However, from the gorilla trekking starting point, you may take about 2 hours to three-quarters of the day.
Finding the mountain gorillas depends on factors like the proximity of their food, in case of a fight with another gorilla family or amongst the family members, death of a member, victory, having an adventurous dominant silverback, and others.
Some factors determine how fast or late you get to the gorilla family you are allocated to.
The pace of the groupmates you are allocated with to do gorilla trekking also contributes to how fast or slow you get to the mountain gorillas. The ranger guide follows the pace of the slowest trekker so that no one is forgotten in the wilderness.
During the severe rain seasons, the ground and trails are slippery ads soggy, delaying the gorilla trek.
It would be best to be patient while searching for the mountain gorillas because they are wild animals that freely meander the forest. They have no restrictions and rules in the woods that bar them from moving.
How Difficult Is Gorilla Trekking?
The Virunga area is composed of volcanic remains in the form of mountains, ridges, plateaus, and other landforms. Expect to hike some of them during gorilla trekking, as mountain gorillas sometimes spend their daytime on the slopes of these highlands.
Having some fitness level allows you to get to the mountain gorillas.
The ranger guides also use machetes to cut through creepers that drape over these highlands to create a way for tourists to get to the mountain gorillas.
Wearing the proper safari boots and applying insect repellants provides extra protection to your body during gorilla trekking.
Packing List For Gorilla Trekking Safari
- Safari hat
- Wearing a foldable safari hat protects your hair from flying insects
- Garden gloves as the forest have stinging nettle where you may land your palms when your tripe.
- Insect repellant protects your skin from stinging ng insects in the jungle.
- Safari boots that can walk through the soggy ground and wet slippery trails
- Sunglasses to protect your eyes from buzzing insects
- Long trousers and a sleeved shirt in wilderness-friendly colors like tan or khaki. Bright colors like blue, black, and white may attract insects like tsetse flies.
- Extra batteries to exchange with in case one runs low.
- A pair of binoculars for clearer visibility.
- First aid kit with emergency items that you may need in the wilderness.
- Foldable water bottle for carrying drinking water to quench thirst during gorilla trekking.
- Pajamas warm enough for the night, as this area is cold
- Flip flops to wear after gorilla trekking
- Extra clothes to wear after gorilla trekking
- Sweater or poncho as temperatures in this area may drop to about 7 degrees centigrade.
- Toiletries in case your lodge does not provide them or your skin is susceptible.