Planning a Gorilla trekking safari on Christmas in Rwanda and Uganda
Spending the Christmas holiday in the company of the mountain gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda is a remarkable African holiday time.
Carrying good tiding for Christmas to the mountain gorillas is an extraordinary experience. Christmas is a time to rejoice and create everlasting memories until the next Christmas. You may do gorilla trekking on Christmas with family or friends with whom you can remind each other of this gorilla trekking experience.
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Christmas is the festive season. Also, holiday demand is at its peak, so booking the gorilla permits for either Rwanda or Uganda or both for this season is fantastic.
To plan for a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda or Rwanda on Christmas, you must first secure the gorilla permits. Before preparing for a gorilla safari, you need to understand what a gorilla permit is and why secure it first.
What is the gorilla permit?
A gorilla permit is a document or card used as an entry ticket to do gorilla trekking for just one hour when you locate the mountain gorillas. One hour may seem small; however, it is worth your effort as you see the mountain gorillas in the wild other than those kept in confines. It is a seek-and-find adventure where you must locate a family of habituated mountain gorillas in the wild.
What is the cost of gorilla permits during Christmas?
In Rwanda, a gorilla permit costs $1500 per person for foreign nonresidents, $500 for foreign residents, and $200 for East African residents.
Uganda gorilla permit costs $700 per person for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents, and 250000shs for East African residents.
What Are the inclusions and exclusions of the gorilla permit cost?
The gorilla permit cost includes the following:
- Park entrance fees.
- Ranger guide fees.
- Security during gorilla trekking.
- Local community support.
- Conservation support.
- A certificate after completing gorilla trekking.
- One hour with the mountain gorillas.
Exclusions of gorilla permit cost are; tips, snacks to eat during gorilla trekking, packed lunch, and any other items of personal nature.
You can contact Encounter Africa Safaris to organize a gorilla safari package for Uganda or Rwanda. We tailor your Africa Safari itinerary to your needs and provide free relevant ideas wherever possible.
When Is The Best Time To Book Christmas Gorilla Permit For Uganda And Rwanda?
Securing your gorilla permit in advance for Christmas is a lovely idea. You can book your gorilla permit at least 6 months to a year before Christmas day, the 25th of December every year.
Gorilla permits for the festive season get sold out by the last quarter of the year, and so are accommodations.
If you are traveling with family for the Christmas holiday, note that only children aged 15 years and above can do gorilla trekking. The misty Virunga jungle and its topography may not be comfortable for a child below this age. Following the rules of gorilla trekking safari may be challenging for a child below 15 years.
Book Accommodation To use During Gorilla Trekking In Uganda or Rwanda on Christmas
After securing the gorilla permit, the next plan is the accommodation you hope to use during the gorilla safari. This is because as you draw closer to the Christmas or festive period, accommodation options are slim because of holiday demand.
In Uganda, in case your gorilla permit is booked in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you must know in which area it is booked. Bwindi forest has four areas where your gorilla permit is booked that are Buhoma area, the Ruhija area, the Rushaga area, and the Nkuringo area.
It is best to overnight closer to the areas where your gorilla permit is booked because the roads connecting one area to another are very far and need to be fixed by the weather conditions of this area. You must attend the briefing early to be allowed to do gorilla trekking.
For every gorilla trekking day, those who do gorilla trekking more than once have to attend the briefing. Mountain gorillas have mood swings and do not possess the same traits, so you need to be briefed about what to expect during every trek.
Accommodations to book for gorilla trekking safari are graded according to Luxury, Mid-range, and Budget.
Bwindi impenetrable national park accommodations: Gorilla Safari Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Gorilla Forest Camp, Bwindi View Bandas, Silverback Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Lodge, Nkuringo Safari Lodge, Clouds Lodge, Gorilla Resort, Trekker’s Tavern, Chameleons Lodge,
Mgahinga National Park accommodations: Gahinga Lodge, Mgahinga gorilla Triangle, Majambere Iwachu, Community Camp, Mutanda Lake Resort
Volcanoes National Park accommodations: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Kinigi Guest House, Hotel Muhavura, Hotel La Palme, Hotel Mill Collines, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge.
Where to go for gorilla trekking on Christmas
Bwindi’s impenetrable national park is Uganda’s most prominent host of mountain gorillas, covering about 327 square kilometers. Currently, 18 gorilla families are fully habituated and open to the public t book. Two gorilla families in the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are open for gorilla habituation experience.
You need to book Uganda gorilla permits in advance as only 152 gorilla permits are released for public booking each day, yet festive season demand is at its peak.
Bwindi forest also hosts other nine primate species, including chimpanzees, blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, black and white colobus, L’Hoest’s, potato, and others.
The Bwindi forest bird list is huge, with over 350 bird species being residents, including Albertine rift endemics.
Mgahinga National park
Mgahinga National Park, known for its fantastic untamed scenery, is home to so far one gorilla family called Nyakagezi. In the past, the Nyakagezi gorilla family used to wander into Rwanda, making pre-booking its gorilla permits a challenge.
This gorilla family has been steadily living in Uganda, so Mgahinga gorilla permits are available for pre-booking, depending on prevailing availability.
A number of other primates are residents of the park, including golden monkeys, black and white colobus, vervet monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, blue monkeys, olive baboons, and others.
The bird list for the Mgahinga forest is still expanding as ornithologists confirm about 115 bird species as residents of this park, including Albertine endemics.
Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park lies on the Northwestern side of Rwanda, and it is the only home for the mountain gorillas here. Only 12 gorilla families are confirmed open for gorilla trekking in Rwanda.
This park hosts other primates like golden monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus, olive baboons, grey-cheeked mangabey, and red-tailed monkeys.
Many birds live in Volcanoes National Park, with so far more than 200 species as residents, including Albertine rift endemics.
How To Book Gorilla Permits For Christmas In Uganda or Rwanda?
To book gorilla permits for the festive season, you must do it at least 6 months to a year in advance. This is because they get sold out fast, even before the last quarter of the year, because of high demand worldwide.
When you book a gorilla permit for Christmas, you must know the destination you wish to go gorilla trekking, whether in Uganda or Rwanda.
Identify the number of people you hope to do gorilla trekking with and a number of times you can do gorilla trekking more than once but on different days.
When you enquire about gorilla trekking at Christmas, our safari consultant checks availability from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or Rwanda Development Board permit list. Encounter Africa Safaris is one of the accredited companies allowed access to this list.
Once availability is proven positive, we advise clients to purchase their gorilla permits quickly because they get sold out fast. No gorilla permits are reserved without payment, yet a first come, first served basis is used to purchase the gorilla trekking permits.
Book Transport To The Gorilla Trekking Destinations
You can use road transport to the gorilla trekking destinations in Uganda by using routes like :
To Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Kampala to Ntungamo to Rukungiri to Kihihi to Buhoma
Kampala to Kabale to Nkuringo
Kampala to Kabale to Kanungu to Buhoma
Queen Elizabeth National Park to Kihihi to Buhoma
To Mgahinga National Park
Kampala to Kabale to Kisoro to Ntebeko
To Volcanoes National Park
Kigali to Musaze to Volcanoes National Park
Uganda has daily domestic flights from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe airport to Kihihi or Kisoro.
Charter flight services are available at Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe Airport to Kihihi or Kisoro.
In Rwanda, charter flights are available at Kigali airport to Volcanoes National Park.
How difficult Is Gorilla Trekking Adventure?
Whether you book gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda, know the topography of this area is ragged with highlands like plateaus or ridges covered with tangled vegetation. Sometimes the mountain gorillas feed from the slopes, so you need to hike. When it rains, the way may be slippery and soggy from the water that logs, creating boggy ground. The forest’s ground receives less sunray penetration due to the dense canopy.
Sometimes the dense network of rivers floods making the way soggy, so you need to carry safari boots that can withstand such conditions.
Some level of fitness is necessary when trekking to get where the mountain gorillas may be spending the day or lounging.
What Is The Cost Of Gorilla Safari In Uganda Or Rwanda During Christmas?
The gorilla safaris in Uganda or Rwanda are packaged according to Luxury, Mid-range, and budget. Whether you do a gorilla tour in Uganda or Rwanda, the cost of the gorilla permits cuts across all categories.
In Uganda, a gorilla permit costs $700 per person per trek, while in Rwanda, a gorilla permit costs $1500 per person per trek.
When costing the gorilla safari packages, the below factors are considered :
The time booking the gorilla safari where the festive season, the services providers charge high prices due to the demand
The number of people traveling for gorilla trekking on Christmas
The more people included in the gorilla safari, the less the per-person cost. As a solo traveler, you bare the entire safari cost.
Additional activities combined with gorilla trekking
Including other activities like game drives, chimpanzee trekking, birding, fishing, and others increases the safari package cost.
Which is the best Country For Gorilla Trekking On Christmas Of Uganda And Rwanda
Whether doing gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda, the moment you face the mountain gorillas is exceptional. Some tourists say you get to forget all you may have gone through while preparing for this Christmas holiday experience.
The difference of which is the best country for gorilla trekking on Christmas of Uganda and Rwanda can be pointed out with
- The cost of gorilla permit
The Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500, while the Uganda gorilla permit costs $700 per person
- Number of gorilla trekking families
Uganda has 19 gorilla trekking families and two gorilla habituation experience families.
- Optional activities to combine with gorilla trekking
Uganda has more optional activities like white water rafting, visiting the source of the river Nile, chimpanzee trekking, game drives, and others. Rwanda is limited with optional activities to combine with gorilla trekking like game drives, chimpanzee trekking, and genocide memorial visit.
- The drive time from Airport to Gorilla Trekking Destinations
The drive time from Kigali airport to Volcanoes National Park is 3 hours, while from Entebbe airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park is about 8 to 9 hours.
What To Include On The Packing List For Gorilla Trekking Safari On Christmas
- A safari hat with a large brim to protect your hair from water that drips from the trees.
- Binoculars to get a clear picture of fur-hidden animals and birds.
- Sunscreen to protect your skin from sunburns and to apply on your way to the gorilla trekking destinations.
- Bring a backpack with your belongings in case you need to hand them to a porter. It must be waterproof too.
- It would be best if you packed some long-sleeved shirts and convertible trousers. The color of the clothes to pack must be dirt friendly, like Khaki. It would be best if you had extra wear to change into after gorilla trekking.
- A raincoat to cover yourself with if it rains without warning when you are in the forest.
- Avoid bright colors like black, blue, and white because they may attract stinging insects that harm your body.
- Snacks to munch on during gorilla trekking as breakfast is taken too early to last the entire trek.
- A camera for taking memories of your Christmas Africa holiday adventure in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park.
- Some hard cash to exchange into local currency in case you need an on-ground transaction.
- Another fully charged battery to switch with in case one runs low.
- Insect repellant as the wilderness has stinging insects that may hurt your skin.
- First Aid kit for just in case of any illness that is known to you or in case you need emergency treatment.
- Toiletries, just in case the lodge doesn’t provide them. Your skin must be comfortable with them as some skins are very sensitive.
- Energy snacks to bite while on game drives and other activities in the pack.
Contact us for more information.