Gorilla Permits in Uganda
Gorilla Permits in Uganda are the identification that Uganda Wildlife Authority issues to travelers that are willing to pay for gorilla trekking. Gorilla trekking safaris are the most sought after safaris in the pearl of Africa Uganda. Uganda is one of the three countries in the world that has mountain gorillas living in their natural habitat. It’s also important to note that Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda is home to over half of the total number of the world’s mountain gorillas living in their natural habitat. This makes Uganda the perfect destination for a mountain gorilla trekking safari because you are assured you will definitely sight a couple of mountain gorillas among the many living in Uganda and this is the dream of every mountain gorilla trekker.
Uganda has 18 habituated families that can be seen by trekkers on their safari, 17 of these families are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National park and one in Mgahinga National Park, however in 2019 a gorilla family from Rwanda migrated to Mgahinga, making it 2 families in Mgahinga National Park.
The mountain gorilla families by name are:
- Hirwa (migrant from Rwanda)
For a mountain Gorilla safari, you can either go for a trekking experience which is one hour with on viewing the primates or the habituation experience which about four hours spent with the gorillas helping them get used to humans.
Whichever experience you choose, you will have to get a permit; this permit is your legal access to this experience with the mountain gorillas. You should know that for you to engage in this activity you will need to present a permit that gives you access to the gorillas.
Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority at fee of 600 USD till June 30th, 2020 and 700 USD from July 2020 per permit. Uganda Wildlife Authority is the only body in Uganda with the authority over and to issue mountain gorilla trekking permits for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park.
The revenue from the permits facilitates the conservation works of the endangered primates. The revenues fund the different conservation projects at the park, park rangers, trackers, tourism police, mountain gorilla doctors and support the local communities e.t.c.
The Uganda Tourism Board also uses part of this revenue to market the mountain gorillas as part of the tourism products in the Pearl of Africa.
The mountain gorillas are categorized as critically endangered species by IUCN and at one point they were nearly extinct, if it was not for the conservation works by the different conservation bodies, gorilla lovers and local communities.
Apart from the uniqueness of the endangered mountain gorillas; which means travelers are always drawn to getting a glimpse of them, Uganda’s gorilla trekking permit prices are the fairest among the three countries. Rwanda deals in luxury safaris so their mountain gorilla trekking permits are 1500 USD and Congo Gorilla Trekking Permits are 400 USD however because of the insecurities in the country the gorilla safaris are not certain. This makes Uganda the best option for your safari. The gorilla trekking permits at Uganda Wildlife Authority are ever on a very high demand that for one to be sure of getting a permit you need to book your permit between 5 to 3 months in advance.
So if you are planning to have your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, you will have to book your permit 5-3 months before your desired day of trekking. Once you have secured your trekking permit, you then plan to be in Uganda to take part in this once in a lifetime experience.
The advance booking ensures that you have a timely allocation of a gorilla family since the gorilla families live in different sections of the parks; but also when you book in advance, it will be of help to you in the selection of the best accommodation in the section of your trekking experience.
Gorilla Trekking Permits in Uganda only give you access to the mountain gorillas but don’t cater for any other thing on your safari like accommodation, meals, tour guides, etc. Also on the trekking day, if you choose to have a porter, a trekking stick or any other thing at the park, this will be privately paid for by you and not covered by the trekking permit.
The trekking permits are issued to people 15 years and above because at that age one is considered physically able to take on that trekking experience.
To book your gorilla permit it’s much easier to use a tour operator because they are on ground and can easily purchase and deliver the permits to you, however, if you choose to do it yourself, you just have to go to the Uganda Wildlife Authority website click gorilla permits and then follow the prompts or rather you can call the Uganda wildlife offices differently.
When booking your permits it’s wise to book a permit for the dry seasons because the mountain trails in both Mgahinga and Bwindi are easier to trek making your Gorilla trekking experience less tedious. However you should also know the dry seasons are the peak seasons for mountain gorilla trekking, so book your permits way in advance.
A trekking permit is valid only for the day the trek is taking place and if by anything you miss the trek, you will have to acquire another trekking permit for another day. Also unfortunately if you fall sick on the day of trekking you will not be allowed to trek with the rest meaning you will also have to acquire a permit for another day.
The mountain gorilla permits in Uganda expire after your time with the gorillas which is one hour for just viewing the gorillas and four hours for habituation; this time is counted from the moment you meet the gorillas, it doesn’t include the trekking time. The permit cannot be reused or transferred to another person.