How to book Nkuringo gorilla permits and safari holidays
Reserving gorilla permits for Nkuringo sectors, you are required to have a date when you hope to do gorilla trekking. The number of days on a gorilla trekking safari depends on the time you have on holiday; however, the last time you can be on a gorilla tour in Uganda is three days.
Nkuringo is one of the four gorilla trekking areas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The vast area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which covers approximately 327 square kilometers, is composed of thick, tangled vegetation draping over several volcanic remains. For better administrative work, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was subdivided into four areas, Buhoma and Ruhija in the northern sectors of Bwindi plus Rushaga and Nkuringo in the southern sector.
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When booking the gorilla permit, you need to suggest in which area you wish your permit to be booked, but this is more applicable when you book it in advance. In the past, gorilla trekking permits were booked according to gorilla families, but this was later adjusted to area.
Currently, the Nkuringo area has three gorilla families open for trekking: the Muhozi family, the Christmas family, and the Nkuringo family. That is 24 gorilla permits open per day.
Procedure To Use When Booking Nkuringo Gorilla Permits
- Have a date when you hope to do a gorilla trekking adventure in Uganda and the number of gorilla permits you wish to book. Remember that only a maximum of 8 tourists are allowed to visit a gorilla family per day if you are traveling for gorilla trekking in a large group.
Having the number of gorilla permits you wish to reserve before checking availability saves you from moving back and forth with finding availability.
- Enquire about gorilla permit availability through a tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris. We are one of the few accredited companies with access to the gorilla permit status list. We reserve gorilla permits for our clients and other safari amenities like accommodation booking, vehicle hire, and much more, which we put in a safari package. You can also enquire from the Uganda Wildlife Authority about gorilla permit availability.
You can request for Nkuringo area gorilla permits at this point.
- Upon finding favorable gorilla permit availability, we advise clients to purchase their gorilla permit as soon as possible because they get sold out fast. Yet, a first come, first served basis is used to reserve them. The peak season gorilla permits are sold out fast because of high demand worldwide, yet supply is limited to 8 per gorilla family.
- Forward some personal details for identification on the day of trekking. Some passport details are required, such as full names as indicated on the passport, nationality, date of birth, and passport expiry date.
These details are added to the gorilla permit card issued per person for identification.
You need to book the gorilla permit at least 6 months to a year in advance to avoid last-minute panic as you search for possible availability. Finding last-minute gorilla permits is challenging, especially in the peak season: June, July, August, September, December, And January.
How Much Is A Gorilla Permit For Nkuringo Area?
A gorilla permit costs $700 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents, and 250000shs for East African residents.
What Is Comprised And Omitted In The Cost of Gorilla Trekking Permit?
The gorilla permit cost comprises park entrance fees, ranger guide services, security during gorilla trekking, one hour with the mountain gorillas, conservation, and local community support.
Omissions in the gorilla permit cost are transport, accommodation, snacks, packed lunch, and any other items of a personal nature.
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we book safari amenities like accommodations, provide transport, driver guide services, and others on behalf of our clients. We meticulously tailor gorilla safari to the best of our client’s need. Our safari consultant puts together a gorilla tour package that suits every client’s budget and with the client’s input. Our over 10 years in organizing Uganda and Rwanda safaris have fetched us a lot of experience and created a great working relationship with a number of service providers and destination management.
When Is The Best Time To Book Gorilla Safaris To Nkuringo Area?
Visiting the Nkuringo area or doing gorilla trekking in Uganda is open all year; however, the dry season is normally June, July, August, September, December, And January.
The precipitation in the forest is less in the dry season as less rains are received, although it may rain anytime without warning. Most forest dwellers, including mountain gorillas, are more actively searching for a meal to support their bulky bodies. The average weight for a fully grown mountain mountain gorilla is about 200 kilograms, 450 lb.
Other forest dwellers like birds, butterflies, and merry make more in the dry season, making it easy to be spotted by trekkers.
Trails are drier, with less undergrowth protruding through to obstruct your way. However, competition for gorilla permits in the peak season is overwhelmingly high.
During the wet season, which is the same as the low Uganda tourism season that runs March, April, May, And November, the trails are more slippery because it may rain without warning. There is less sunlight penetrating through the dense forest canopy to the ground.
Even mountain gorillas spend most of their time on the slopes and keep away from the ever-wet ground during the wet season.
How Sure Can I Be To Find The Mountain Gorillas In Nkuringo Area?
No matter the season, be 99% assured to locate the mountain gorillas in the Nkuringo area. Mountain gorillas live in cohesive families that can only move with a reason approved by the dominant silverback. A mountain gorilla family occupies a particular area for some time, and when food is exhausted, they move.
Each day, a team of trackers and rangers wakes up earlier than anyone to establish where the mountain gorillas may be nesting or their possible way about for the day. They forward a report about each gorilla family to park management, and this clue is what rangers use when escorting a group of tourists.
If you miss seeing the mountain gorillas, Uganda Wildlife Authority invokes the gorilla permit refund policy. According to the current policy, about 75% of the total permit cost is reimbursed to tourists who need help finding mountain gorillas.
What Accommodation Can I To Book For Gorilla Trekking In Nkuringo Area?
The Nkuringo area has a number of accommodations of different categories that you can book for gorilla trekking. Since the Nkuringo and Rushaga areas are in the southern sector, you can book accommodations in either area.
Nkruringo Area accommodations: Clouds Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, Ichumbi Lodge, Bwindi Backpaker’s Camp, Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge, Nshongi Camp, Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge
How To Get To Nkuringo Area
You can take the Kampala to Kabale to Nkuringo route. The drive from Kampala to Kabale is 414 kilometers for about 5 hours to 6 hours through winding roads. Nkuringo area is 105 kilometers from Kabale, approximately 4 hour’s drive on a mountainous Murram road.
Some tourists stop in Kisoro town, about 80 kilometers from Kabale, then continue the next day for 35 kilometers, approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. A 4×4-wheel drive vehicle is necessary to go through this rough road.
Daily domestic flights from Kajjansi Airstrip or Entebbe International Airport depart to Kisoro Airport. You need to hire a transfer vehicle to the Nkuringo area.
Charter flight services are available at Kajjansi airstrip and Entebbe Airport, but you need to make booking so that necessary clearances are done upfront.
How long is gorilla trekking in the Nkuringo area?
The time it takes to do gorilla trekking in Nkuringo is hard to predict due to a number of factors that prompt the movement of the mountain gorillas in case of a fight with another gorilla family, loss of a family member, especially the dominant silverback, the proximity of there food, the pace of gorilla trekkers and others.
It would be best to have some level of patience as meeting the mountain gorillas is a lifetime adventure that may make you forget the long trek you may have made to find these gentle giants.
Having some level of fitness also protects you from getting muscle pulls. The topography of the wilderness is composed of highlands like plateaus and ridges, which you need to hike at times. You may find the hike challenging if your body needs to be in better shape. Doing some simple exercises before gorilla trekking would be best to get your muscles used to long walks.
Can I Trek Mountain Gorillas In Another Area With Nkuringo Gorilla Permit?
A Nkuringo gorilla permit is booked for gorilla families in Nkuringo, so you can only use it in another area if approved by management. When you spend the night in another area hoping to use your gorilla permit in that area, you may be bounced from doing gorilla trekking. This is because each gorilla family is allocated a limited number of permits.
Even crossing from one area to another gorilla trekking area is challenging because these Bwindi Impenetrable National Park areas are not connected. They are far apart, necessitating you to wake up early to drive in the dark, where you may encounter huddles like fallen logs blocking the way, car punctures, deep fog, slippery roads, and so much more.
You must spend the night before gorilla trekking within or close to the area where your gorilla permit is booked to avoid getting disorganized on the days of trekking. This may also cost you the gorilla trekking experience you may have longed for all your life.
How challenging is gorilla trekking in the Nkuringo area?
The Nkuringo area is generally volcanic, so expect some challenges during gorilla trekking. This volcanic area has ridges and plateaus on whose slopes the mountain gorillas spend part of their time. The slopes of these highlands are shaded with tangled vegetation that has stockpiled over the years.
For you to go through tangled vines, the ranger guide uses a machete to trim and create a way for you to locate the mountain gorillas.
Even the way is slippery due to regular rains that fall and decomposing matter. It would be best to hike to find where mountain gorillas are lounging. Sometimes, the rain falls while searching for the mountain gorillas, but you must have rainproof gear to avoid getting cold.
When packing for a gorilla safari in the Nkuringo area, carry safari boots, a long-sleeved shirt, insect repellant, and others.
What Else Can I Do In Nkuringo Area After Or Before Gorilla Trekking
Gorilla Habituation Experience
The gorilla habituation experience is an adventure where tourists escort a team of researchers in the wilderness to have at least 4 hours in the company of a semi-habituated family of mountain gorillas. When in the Nkuringo area, you can have a gorilla habituation experience.
Birding In Nkuringo
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the largest Uganda birding habitat, hosting over 350 bird species, and so while in the Nkuringo area, you may have access to some of these birds. You may spot birds like Handsome Francolin, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Mountain Masked And Chestnut-throated Apalises, Rwenzori batis, and white-tailed crested flycatchers.
Nkuringo community walk
While in the Nkuringo area, you can interact with a number of local people in the wilderness. You can visit traditional healers, rural homesteads, blacksmiths, and local breweries. Having an opportunity to interact with the people around the park is amazing, and you understand their day-to-day activities.
Nature walks in the Nkuringo area.
While in the Nkuringo area, you can do nature walks but must be escorted by a guide. You may see other interesting primates like black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, blue monkeys, olive baboons, etc.
The forest has a huge collection of plants, including those rarely seen out of the forest.
Contact us for more information about Nkuringo gorilla permits.