Gorilla Trekking Permits in Congo are the passes that allow you have access to the areas where gorilla trekking is done e.g Kahuzi Biega National park and Virunga National Park. Gorillas are the most sought after attraction in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in fact you cannot talk about the Democratic Republic of Congo wildlife and Tourism without mentioning the Mountain Gorillas in Virunga Mountains and the Eastern Lowland Gorillas in the Kahuzi-Beiga Mountains.
Gorilla conservation is at the horn of the country’s wildlife and tourism policy strategies and enforcements as the country continues to recover from the long political instability and normalizes in every aspect.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to a third of the world’s mountain Gorillas and the only remaining refuge to the eastern lowland gorillas. You will be pleased to know that the country’s region where the gorillas are is quite safe and politically stable thanks to the numerous efforts of the UN and the several conservation organizations who have intentionally made efforts to ensure that the place remains politically stable compared to the other regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Gorilla trekking permits in Congo are the cheapest in the region compared to the other two countries where gorillas exist naturally i.e. Gorilla Trekking Permits in Uganda cost USD 600 and will cost USD 700 next year in July 2020 yet the most expensive gorilla permits are the Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Permits which are charged at USD 1500.
Gorilla Trekking: Gorilla Trekking is a process of searching in the mountains or deep forests for a Gorilla family or families to view and spend time observing their behaviors. The process normally starts in the morning and about midmorning you find the gorillas, spend an hour with them and then trek back to the park. This is a very adventurous and rewarding experience because of the trek and the interaction with the gorillas.
What is a Gorilla trekking permit?
A Gorilla trekking permit is a legal document in the form of a card, certificate or headed paper issued to a traveler or tourist who intends to view gorillas. The document is issued to you by Visit Virunga and Visit Kahuzi – Beiga in the Democratic Republic of Congo giving you formal authorization to access the Gorilla habitats and clearance to view the gorillas.
Gorilla trekking permits in Congo formally allows you to view gorillas under the guidance and direction of a ranger for not more than an hour. These permits are only valid for one gorilla viewing trek though the trekking itself may be more than 5 hours depending on how far the gorilla family you’re visiting is from your starting point.
Cost of gorilla trekking permits in Congo: Mountain gorilla trekking permits cost USD 400 and Eastern Lowland gorilla trekking permits cost USD 400 too.
When to book Gorilla trekking permits in Congo: The number of tourists visiting Virunga national park and Kahuzi Beiga National Park keeps increasing every month so you’re advised to book your trekking permit at least five months in advance to avoid inconveniences.
Where to get Gorilla Trekking Permits in Congo?
The respective permits can be acquired at the Virunga headquarters in Virunga National Park for mountain gorillas and Kahuzi-Beiga National Park Headquarters for Eastern Lowland gorillas.
When you lose or misplace your permit before the trek, you will not be able to join the rest of the team to do that trekking trip. You will have to acquire another permit at USD 400.
And normally you have to reschedule the trekking trip to a later available date.
Can I transfer my permit to another person?
No, when buying a gorilla trekking permit, the permit will be registered in your names and your various credentials for purposes of planning and catering for all your needs to give you a wonderful experience during the trekking trip.
So you cannot transfer the permit to another person, but if you have not paid yet; you can cancel your booking and register another person who will be required to pay beforehand.
What if I miss going gorilla trekking on the day assigned to my permit?
That would be really unfortunate because the permit fees are not refundable and you cannot join another team/group for the trek, meaning you will have missed out on the gorilla trekking experience. The solution is to book another gorilla trekking trip by buying a new gorilla permit.
In cases where you change your mind about Gorilla trekking and you don’t want to trek anymore; you will surely miss the trekking experience but you will not be refunded your permit money. Permits once issued are not revocable.
Accessing Congo for Gorilla Trekking
DRC is easily accessed via Gisenyi, Rwanda crossing into Goma. You will need a Tourist Visa to enter DRC and a tourist visa costs USD 100.
To acquire a Tourist Visa you apply for it 48 hours in advance with a copy of your passport, yellow fever certificate, booked tourism package/itinerary and hotel booking to clearly indicate what you will be doing in the country and how long you intend to be there.
NOTE: It’s important to note that all Gorilla trekking permit fees once paid are not refundable and you will need to acquire a permit at least 5 months in advance before your planned gorilla trekking trip.