A gorilla permit is an essential part of planning your gorilla trek in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo. Without a gorilla trekking permit, your trek is never confirmed for a given date. For anyone who is planning his or her gorilla trek to Uganda, Rwanda or DR Congo, a gorilla permit is a must to have if you are to be allowed to track one habituated gorilla family in the national park. Usually, intending tourists for this lifetime experience are advised to book their permits at least five months before their actual trek. Booking one permits means you will pay a fee in advance to ease the work of a tour company to access for you the permit given the tight competition gorilla trekking permits especially during the high season which starts from June to September and December to February. With your gorilla trekking permit, you have 95 percent chances of viewing these charismatic creatures in the wild.
To obtain your permit, the following steps are best for you;
In Uganda, gorilla trekking is conducted in two areas-Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. These protected areas are situated in Southwestern Uganda and represent more than half of the rare mountain gorillas in the world. In Rwanda, mountain gorillas can be tracked in Volcanoes National Park. Gorilla permit gives you a chance to track one group of gorillas in the wild however, hiking through the thick jungles to look out for these exceptional creatures, you may spend from 30 minutes to 9 hours or even more.
Gorilla permits in Uganda are obtainable at $600 for foreign non residents, $500 for foreign residents and shs. 250000 for East African residents and this is mainly for those traveling during high season and for those traveling during the off season, they pay $450 (April, May and November). Due to unreliable gorilla permits for Mgahinga National Park, the majority of permits are sold for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Strictly eight permits which represents eight visitors per day per gorilla group.
Mountain gorilla trekking permits for Bwindi National Park can be obtained through Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) at the headquarters Kampala. If you are booking through UWA, you will contact UWA’S reservation office by email inquiring about the availability of the dates you wish to go for gorilla trekking.
Be aware that you need the entire day to travel from Kampala to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. In case the exact dates you need are not there, you can request UWA to let you know about the nearest dates. You will then reply to them expressing your interest to book the permit and request them to temporarily keep them as you effect payments.
They will therefore advise you about their banking details to allow you make an electronic transfer of the money. You are supposed to urgently send a copy of the transaction voucher or receipt by email or fax to UWA. The transfer normally is supposed not to take over 3 days and UWA will keep your tentative booking for about seven days as they await the transfer to go through. What is important is that, make sure that you instruct your bank to remove bank charges from you otherwise the money that you will send might be less and this can make you not to book a permit.
In Rwanda, gorilla trekking permit is issued by Rwanda Development Board Offices (ORTPN) or the Rwanda Development Board in Rwanda- Kigali or Ruhengeri near Volcanoes National Park. The permits in Rwanda are sold at $1500 per person.
Alternatively, you can obtain your permit through a local tour operator of which there are several tour companies or tour operators and agencies in Uganda and Rwanda that can help you obtain it. This is the most liked procedure that most tourists like using given the stressing process of booking a permit direct from the respective park authorities. UWA gives tour operators over 85 percent of permits to sell and this means that if you are booking through UWA you only have about 15 percent which is also competitive.
Like booking through UWA OR Rwanda Development Board, the procedure for booking through a tour operator is also almost the same;
First, you need to contact us at MuAfriKa Adventures in the destination inquiring about the availability of dates that you prefer trekking gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda; the tour agent will let you know if those days are available and tentatively book them for you; You will be sent with company’s bank details for you to send the money for gorilla trekking permit; It takes nearly 16 hours for the tour operator to receive the money from your bank and pay for your permit. You will be sent an acknowledgment fro the money and the official gorilla permit-by scan and email. Make sure that the bank charges are cleared on your account otherwise the money will be less and the permit may not be obtained.
You are required to send your passport details to register your gorilla permit. Your full names, passport number and nationality are normally the most important things that are needed. After, your names will be registered and you get the permit, the scanned copies of your permit will be sent to you.
For visitors who are willing to track the rare mountain gorillas in Uganda, you should bear in mind that the permit that you will book determines the sector that you will be tracking and the lodges. Compared to rest of the protected areas where mountain gorillas live, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park has four main tracking regions which include Buhoma in the north, Ruhija in the East; Nkuringo and Rushaga sector in the south.
In conclusion, gorilla permits are mainly obtained through tour operator or direct from Uganda Wildlife Authority for Uganda or Rwanda Development Board in Rwanda. The procedure is almost the same but the only difference is that tour companies or agencies tend to be faster in their process and tourists can obtain their permits’ confirmation early enough. For more information, simply contact us and every thing will be addressed as soon as possible.