Reasons to book your gorilla permit in advance during peak season
Reasons to book your gorilla permit in advance during peak season. When you book your gorilla permit in advance, especially during high season, you save yourself from last-minute panic as you check for possible availability. The peak tourism season for Uganda and Rwanda usually is June, July, August, September, and December. At this time, the influx of tourists seeking to do gorilla safaris is at its peak, too.
The gorilla permits for the peak season run low towards the peak season because supply is limited to a maximum of 8 per gorilla trekking family and 4 for gorilla habituation experience.
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To reduce the hassle of last-minute panic while checking availability, reserving the gorilla permit at least 6 months to a year is the safest approach.
During the peak season, competition to ensure gorilla permits is cutthroat, yet a first come, first served basis is used to reserve every permit. This was set to avoid preserving a gorilla permit for those who may not be joking or ready to travel.
Reserving a gorilla permit goes hand in hand with securing accommodation for the nights during gorilla trekking or habituation safari. Since gorilla safaris start as daytime unfolds, one must be at the briefing point early in the morning. Missing briefing may be one reason to disqualify you from attending a gorilla safari.
When you spend your night before gorilla trekking or habituation adventure far from the park or area of your trek, you may have to drive in the dark to get there in time. The Way has many obstacles that may disrupt you, like logs across the road, poor vision due to mist, and slippery roads, to mention but a few. You need to reserve accommodation that you are comfortable with during gorilla safaris in Uganda or Rwanda.
Before going into detail about why you need to book your gorilla permit for the peak season in advance, let’s first understand the meaning of gorilla trekking or habituation experience.
What is gorilla trekking?
Gorilla trekking adventure is a safari where tourists can search for a fully habituated gorilla family and spend one restricted hour with them. A maximum of 8 tourists are allowed to do a gorilla trekking safari per day per family.
How many gorilla trekking families are in Uganda or Rwanda?
Uganda has 19 gorilla trekking families living in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. The country has released 152 gorilla permits for public booking. The mountain gorillas live in two national parks in Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park in southwestern Uganda.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park gorilla permits are booked according to the area in which the park is subdivided, which is the Buhoma area in the north, the Ruhija area in the East, Nkuringo and Rushaga areas in the south.
How many gorilla trekking families are in Rwanda?
Rwanda has 12 gorilla families open to public booking. Some of them include the Kwitonda family, Sabyinyo family, Agashya family, Muhoza family, Amahoro family, and Karisimbi family, to mention but a few.
What is gorilla habituation Experience?
The gorilla habituation experience is an adventure where tourists escort a team of researchers and trackers to follow a semi-habituated gorilla family and stay with them for four hours.
A maximum of 4 tourists are allowed to be with the gorillas during the gorilla habituation experience.
Uganda is the only gorilla habituation experience destination with two gorilla families open. Gorilla habituation experience in Uganda happens in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Why Book Your Gorilla Permit For The Peak Season In Advance?
Gorilla Permits for peak season Sell Out before the season
Peak-season gorilla permits sell out fast, and by 90 days before the start of the season, their availability could be better. If you hope to travel as a group for a gorilla safari, chances of getting gorilla permits in the same area or family are slim towards and during peak season.
To be on the safe side, we advise clients to reserve their peak season gorilla permits for at least 6 months to a year upfront. Chances of finding a gorilla permit available three months before the trekking date is open. However, just a few permits are left.
Last-minute gorilla permits are easy to find during peak season if you are waitlisted, which is also risky. Sometimes, those booked by tour operators may find gorilla permits on resale or no-shows on the day of the trek. This is all a probability approach to depend on during gorilla safari.
However, availability may be possible during the low season because fewer people are booking gorilla safaris; however, this is not a guarantee.
Reserve Peak Season Gorilla Safari Accommodation
When you reserve the gorilla permit in advance, you get to secure your accommodation, too, with the assurance of attending gorilla trekking or habituation. It would be best to secure a facility of choice to enjoy a comfortable stay as you do a gorilla safari adventure in Uganda or Rwanda.
Gorilla safari accommodations are categorized into luxury, mid-range, and budget facilities.
For the gorilla safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you need to book accommodation within or on the outskirts of the area where your gorilla permit is secured. If you spend your night before the trek in another Bwindi area, you may need to drive in the dark to catch up with the briefing early morning.
To avoid chances of ruining your gorilla safari, you must overnight closer to where your gorilla permit is booked.
Bwindi accommodations: Buhoma Lodge, Clouds Lodge, Silverback Lodge, Bwindi View Bandas, Gorilla Forest Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Lodge, Bwindi Backpacker’s Camp, Engage Lodge and others
Mgahinga accommodations: Gahinga Lodge, Mgahinga Gorilla Triangle, Majambere Iwachu, Community Camp, Mountain Gahinga Lodge, Mutanda Lake Resort, and others in Kisoro town
Volcanoes National Park accommodations: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, La Palme Hotel, Hotel Muhavura, Kinigi Guest House,
Secure Other Gorilla Safari Amenities
When you preserve other gorilla safari amenities, like transport, driver guide, and additional safari activities in time, you get a better way to plan. All this can only be possible after securing a gorilla permit in Uganda or Rwanda.
The plot of how your gorilla safari flows starts with serving a gorilla permit. If you have an extra species safari, you can add other safari activities in Uganda or Rwanda to add species to your African tour.
At Encounter Africa Safaris, our safari consultants are ready to advise you on the possible activities you can combine with gorilla safaris if you wish to have more Uganda or Rwanda destinations.
In Case Of Instalment Gorilla Permit Booking
When you secure your gorilla permit in advance, you may have a chance to pay for it in installments. We recommend tourists purchase their Uganda or Rwanda permits to remember to top up; however, sometimes, it is impossible.
To qualify for an installment gorilla permit purchase, you must secure the permit 90 days before the trekking date and remember to top up 90 days before the trekking date. Failure to comply may attract a penalty.
Chances to gorilla permit reschedule
When you secure a gorilla permit, you want to attend this once-in-a-lifetime adventure in the African jungle; however, sometimes circumstances may push you to change your dates. Uganda and Rwanda accept gorilla permit reschedule terms and conditions apply.
Write to Uganda Wildlife Authority requesting to reschedule your gorilla permit to a future date.
Include why you would like to change the date if you have any. This acts as a backup for your gorilla permit reschedule request.
Upon approval, your gorilla permit is rescheduled to a new date, depending on prevailing availability.
Uganda allows two free gorilla permit reschedules on the same permit, but the Uganda Wildlife executive director only approves the third.
Rwanda charges for gorilla permit reschedule.
When Is The Best Time To Book Gorilla Permits For The Peak Season?
When you book the gorilla permit 6 months to a year upfront, you save yourself from last-minute panic, especially during the peak season when permits sell out in advance. This allows you to secure other safari amenities since their choices are slim as the peak season unfolds.
You can still reserve a gorilla permit three months to the day of the trek, but this is hassling for those traveling in a group.
Which Country Is Best For Gorilla Safari During Peak Season In Uganda And Rwanda?
Gorilla safaris are exciting no matter which country you select, Uganda or Rwanda. The feeling of standing before the mountain gorillas is unmatched and unique.
Some of the differences you may get whether to do gorilla safari in Uganda or Rwanda during the peak season include
The chances of obtaining the gorilla permits
Uganda has more chances to secure gorilla permits because it currently hosts 152 permits, while Rwanda has 96 gorilla permits.
Cost of gorilla permit
The current gorilla permit costs are $1500 per person per trek for Rwanda, while Uganda costs $700 per person per trek.
Time from the airport to gorilla safari destinations
The drive time from Kigali Airport to Volcanoes National Park is about 3 hours, while from Entebbe Airport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park is about 8 to 9 hours.
Additional Activities To Combine With Gorilla Safari
Uganda has a number of activities you can combine with gorilla safari, even those you can do en route. Some of these Uganda safari activities include gorilla habituation experience, chimpanzee trekking, game drives, visiting the source of the river Nile, white water rafting, Uganda birding, sport fishing, and cultural experience, to mention but a few.
Rwanda is limited in choices of what to combine with gorilla safaris, such as chimpanzee trekking, game drives, and visiting genocide memorials, to mention but a few.
What To Pack For Gorilla Safari In Uganda Or Rwanda?
- Safari boots can take you through the hike in case that is where the mountain gorillas are lounging.
- Garden gloves protect your hands from getting hurt in case you wish to hold a tighter grip from falling.
- Insect repellant to protect yourself from biting insects in the wilderness.
- Long-sleeved shirt and trousers to walk in the wilderness and protect your body.
- Toiletries in case your lodge doesn’t provide them.
- A large brim foldable hat to cover your head from water falling off the tree leaves and the dew.
- A pair of binoculars to get a clearer view of far-ranging features.
- A torch to use in the night when lights run out.
- Stockings to tack in your clothes and prevent insects from creeping into them.
- Duffel bag to carry in your belongings and easily transfer them anywhere if you have no one to help.
What are the rules of Gorilla safaris in Uganda Rwanda?
- Volunteer to stay behind in case you catch a cold, flu, covid-19 as mountain gorillas are susceptible to
- Keep a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas when you locate them to prevent exchanging infection.
- Spitting on vegetation is forbidden as you may pass germs to these highly endangered primates.
- Littering the forest changes the nature of the forest where mountain gorillas thrive.
- Mimicking or provoking the mountain gorillas may cause them to feel agitated and push them into hiding.
- One hour is allowed with the mountain gorilla during the trek. Four hours in company with the mountain gorillas during the gorilla habituation experience.
- Keep your voice low or quiet while searching for the mountain gorillas.
- Only children aged 15 and beyond can do gorilla safaris in Uganda or Rwanda.
- Wear a mask and hand sanitize before searching for the mountain gorillas in the forest.
- Do not use flash photography when taking photographs, as you may push these gentle giants into hiding.
- If you wish to eat or smoke, do it away from the mountain gorillas at least 200 meters.
Contact us for more information.