Are you or have you been planning to visit Uganda to see primates amid this prevailing COVID-19, yes this is now very possible given the fact Uganda primate national parks have reopened with strict SOPs. These primate national parks were closed back in March after the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 to avoid the spread of the virus to the primates. Major Primate National parks in Uganda include Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park home to the endangered Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park home to endangered Mountain Gorillas and Golden Monkeys, Kibale Forest National Park home to 13 species of primates including more than 1500 chimpanzee individuals. Primate activities at all these national parks are now open for visitors and will now be a bit different compared to how they used to be due to the effect of COVID-19 various SOPs have been put in place that will be followed during various primate activities to avoid the spread of the deadly virus to the endangered primates. Some of the SOPs include social distancing during the treks as well as the old rules and regulations will still be applied accordingly at all the national parks. Encounter Africa Safaris is well prepared and ready to host you to visit the primates while following all set SOPs and measures to control the spread of the virus, we have different packages for you to choose from basing on your budget and travel time.
Set SOPs for Gorilla and Chimpanzee Tracking in Uganda
The following are SOPs which have been set by the government of Uganda through the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities and Uganda Wildlife Authority which will be followed by visitors interested in visiting the primates, these will help control the spread of the virus to the endangered primates which include chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and other various primate species.
- At the briefing points, visitors and staff shall wash hands or sanitize and have their body temperature taken.
- Briefing and debriefing shall be done in small groups of eight (08) tourists after they have been assigned gorilla families for tracking.
- Tourists, staff, and porters who, during the briefing, are observed to be sick shall not be allowed to track. These include anyone with signs of flu and those who report having diarrhoea, stomach upsets and malaria among others.
- All the visitors, staff and trackers must wear masks.
- A maximum of eight (8) tourists shall be allowed to track a gorilla group per day.
- A maximum of six (6) tourists shall be allowed to track a chimpanzee group at a time.
- The tourists must keep a distance of not less than 10 meters away from the gorillas and chimpanzees during this period.
- The assigned UWA guides shall ensure there is the social distancing of 2 meters among the tourists while tracking where practical.
- Before the gorilla and chimpanzee viewing commences, all people in the group shall sanitize their hands again.
- The tourists shall carry light equipment to minimize the need for porters while they undertake the tracking.
- Due to the reported side effects of wearing masks for long periods and in high altitudes, visitors shall take frequent breaks during the tracking give themselves time to breathe fresh air. During these breaks, social distancing shall be strictly observed.
- In case a tourist or accompanying members of the team experiences a health-related problem, UWA staff shall apply the established evacuation and first aid guidelines to move the affected individual from the field.
Things to do in Uganda Primate National Parks
Bwindi has half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world and has attracted visitors from all over the globe. To do gorilla tracking, Gorilla permits must be booked in advance, permits are purchased from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) on behalf of our clients, Gorilla tracking permits cost USD 700 per person for Non-Foreign Residents, USD600 per person Foreign Residents and Uganda shillings 250,00 per person for East African Citizens.
Gorilla Habituation Experience
Gorilla Habituation Experience gives you an opportunity to spend much time with the mountain gorillas that is four hours encounter different from the one hour encounter during the normal gorilla tracking. This experience is unique given the fact it gives you an opportunity to learn more about mountain gorillas. It is done is a group of 4 visitors tracking a given semi-habituated gorilla group it is recommended to book in advance atleast 3-4 months.
Golden Monkey tracking and Golden Monkey Habituation
This is done in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. A golden monkey tracking permit costs USD100 and Golden monkey habituation permit costs USD140 per person per trek. Both activities can be booked on arrival at the park headquarters.
Nature walks through the forest can be arranged while on your stay at the Camp. Local guides will walk you to the forest and there is a lot to see, the tree species, Birds, Monkeys and many more. There is also includes guided walk s to Bwindi swamp and to a water fall.
Batwa Pygmies cultural encounters
The Batwa are the indigenous people who used to stay in the forest before Gorilla tourism and conservation was effected. There are Batwa communities leave in outside parts of the parks who demonstrate their beliefs, traditions, dances, Art, Language and way of life they live now and then.
Is it possible for me now to do my gorilla and chimpanzee trek?
Yes, it is now possible to do your gorilla and chimpanzee trek given the fact the primate national parks in Uganda are now open, however, we still wait for the Airport to open as well for international travellers. For those within Uganda they are able to travel to the park to go trek the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest National Park and Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 many safaris were affected and many travellers who had booked there safaris to Uganda did not make it due to the closure of border entry points and travel. These safaris included primate activities such as the gorilla, chimpanzee and golden monkey tracking which require you to have a permit for you to be allowed to do the trek however since many did not manage to travel to Uganda during this period this made their permits to expire. Give the fact travel was halted by the outbreak of the global pandemic COVID-19 Uganda Wildlife Authority was forced to relax its reschedule policy making it easy for many travellers who had booked during this time to shift their trips to future dates when it is safe to travel again.
Refunds and Cancellation Policies for Gorilla and Chimpanzee Trekking Permits affected by Covid-19
For those who had booked there gorilla and chimpanzee permits and there travel was affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 Uganda wildlife Authority has given them an option to reschedule twice forward and backward for any dates they choose depending on availability up-to December 2022. Given the fact now the activities Gorilla tracking, Golden Monkey tracking, Gorilla Habituation Experience and Chimpanzee tracking are now all open to business it is possible to reschedule your permits backwards to near dates in 2020 if you had rescheduled to next year 2021. Contact us here for details and we will be able to help you all through the process.
Gorilla and Chimpanzee filming activities have also resumed in Uganda.
With the reopening up of primate national parks in Uganda, it is now also possible to film Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees in Uganda. Filming Gorillas and Chimpanzees in Uganda is one of the most exciting adventure activities giving you an opportunity to learn and create awareness of conservation of these great apes. Filming mountain gorillas in Uganda is done in Bwindi Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Filming Chimpanzees is done in Kibale Forest National Park, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kalinzu Forest and Budongo Forest close to Murchison Falls National Park. Filming Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees requires you to secure all required permissions for you to be allowed to film in Uganda national parks. Contact us here and we will help you secure all the required paperwork to film Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees in Uganda.
Uganda Wildlife Authority introduced new filming and photography fees for Uganda National Parks including the primate National Parks. In their new filming fees for 2020-2022 which effectively started on 1st June 2020 Uganda Wildlife Authority is now charging 40% of any activity fee as filming fees and 10% monitoring fees to cater for monitoring of all filming activities and damages that may result during filming in a given park. For Filming Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks, every person on a given film crew have to pay $700 for the gorilla permit and then $280 as 40% of the gorilla permit this fee will give you an opportunity to film the mountain gorillas for one hour during the encounter with them. For those who are interested in filming mountain gorillas for four hours will pay $1500 for the gorilla habituation permit and $600 as 40% of the permit in Bwindi Forest National Park.
For Filming Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park and Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda Wildlife Authority will charge 40% of the Kibale Chimpanzee permits and Kyambura Gorge chimpanzee permits. Same like filming Gorillas you will be required to pay for the chimpanzee permits at areas of interest and then the 40% monitoring fee separately. During filming amid the prevailing COVID-19 all persons on a given film crew will as well need to follow the set SOPs and COVID-19 preventive precautions as set by the government of Uganda.
One of the amazing series to film now about Gorillas in Uganda in Bwindi Forest is the GORILLA BABY BOOM IN BWINDI WHERE A FIFTH NEW BABY HAS BEEN BORN IN JUST SIX WEEKS
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has risen to yet another great moment amid the dark times of COVID-19. The park has received 5 new baby gorillas in just 6 weeks with the recent new baby gorilla in Buhoma. The young baby comes from Rushegura gorilla family born from Adult Female Ruterana increasing the family membership to 18 gorillas. This takes the tally of new births in the Bwindi forest to 5 in just six weeks. Other births were seen in the southern part of the park within the Rushegura family which this year has been blessed with multiple births. Not long ago in April 2020, Rushaga sector registered the birth of two babies in Muyambi and Nshongi mountain gorilla groups. Muyambi group on the other hand is the newest group that opened to tourism in 2019. It has six family members. The great moments has happened aftermath the death of Rafiki a silverback in Nkuringo sector. Thanks to the conservation agents in Bwindi and Uganda Wildlife Authority. Are you interested in filming primates in Uganda, Film crew Fixers is a local fixer company based in Uganda, we assist filming companies and Production agencies in Uganda and East Africa as a whole for the last 8 years. We handle all fixer services required with our professional team of local fixers and driver guides. We have all relevant connections with other service providers and government agencies to make sure that accreditation and filming permits are processed in the shortest time possible, Contact us here.
How to book Gorilla Permits in Uganda during Covid-19
Booking your gorilla permits in Uganda now easy online and should not be stressful and hustle as Encounter Africa Safaris is here to help you with all our travel needs. Encounter Africa safaris has been around since 2003 and it has mastered the art of booking tailor-made safaris with over 200 reviews on trip advisor, we take pride in all this. However, you should note that you have to make your booking in advance since permits will require reserving, Booking you flights as well, plus accommodation. These permits are usually on high demand, your flights to have to be confirmed and sometimes the lodges might have no availability so it is always advisable to book in advance and make a small deposit for your safari to secure all your services.
Best time to see Primates in Uganda
Primates in Uganda can be seen and trekked throughout the year given the favourable weather conditions Uganda has. The best and favourable time for gorilla and chimpanzee tracking in Uganda is during the dry season months of June, July, August, September and December, January and February every year.
Why book with Encounter Africa Safaris your Gorilla and Chimpanzee Trek in Uganda
Encounter Africa safaris offers amazing gorilla trekking experiences in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. Contact us here for our discounted packages and also tailor-made safaris, we are ready to follow all set SOPs to ensure all our clients are safe during travel amid COVID-19. Our magic in organizing authentic experience stems from the fact that we have overtime assembled a team mixed with young and energetic staff guided by well experienced mature managers and directors who are Ugandans and passionate about what they do. Encounter Africa Safaris is highly rated and reviewed on trip Advisor and safari bookings to help you learn on the experiences of the other travellers who have travelled with us.