Uganda Gorilla Permit
Uganda is home to more than half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. These highly endangered apes live between Uganda, Rwanda and Congo (DRC). The only way to protect them is through ecotourism.
The income generated from gorilla tours helps fund the national parks and provides a financial incentive for local people to safeguard the mountain gorillas. In order to see these primates, a gorilla permit is required.
In this post, you’ll find all the information you need to know about a Uganda gorilla permit.
What Are Gorilla Permits?
Gorilla permits are authorization document that allow guests to track the gorillas. The gorilla permits allow countries to control the amount of people visiting the endangered mountain gorillas. The permits grant you access to one trek and one hour with the gorillas.
The length of the trek may vary from 2 to 7 hours, depending on where the mountain gorillas are on any given day.
In Uganda, the gorilla permits apply to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, which has 20 habituated gorilla families, one of which is only visited as part of the Gorilla Habituation Experience.
The Uganda gorilla permits also apply to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, which has one habituated family for gorilla trekking safaris.
What Is A Gorilla Habituation Permit?
The Uganda gorilla habituation permit allows you to take part in gorilla habitation process.
Wild gorillas are not always so placid in the presence of people.
It takes time, money, and effort to achieve this relaxed, almost nonchalant attitude in a process known as habituation.
Gorilla habituation is essential for gorilla tourism. And by participating in this unique Uganda safari experience, you get to spend four (4) hours with a family of gorillas as opposed to the one hour for regular Uganda gorilla treks
It gives you a more fascinating insight into one of the world’s most endangered animals. However, the habituation permits are more expensive.
How Much Is A Uganda Gorilla Permit?
The cost of a single gorilla trekking permit in Uganda is:
- US$700 per person for foreign non-resident visitors
- US$ 600 per person for foreign resident visitors, and
- UGX 250,000 for East African Citizens
However, gorilla permits do vary in price according to the country you want to visit. Rwanda gorilla permits are the most expensive at US$ 1,500 per person and Democratic Republic of Congo has the cheapest gorilla permits at US$400. A Uganda gorilla habituation experience permit costs US$1,500 per person.
Read More: Gorilla Trekking Rwanda Vs Uganda
What Does the Uganda Gorilla Permit Cover?
It is important to note that a permit for gorilla trekking permit in Uganda only grants access for a trek and one hour with the gorillas. And the Uganda gorilla permit excludes accommodation, air tickets, ground transport, meals, other part activity fees, and other expenses
Read More: Uganda Gorilla Trekking Cost:
Why Is The Gorilla Permit Expensive?
Gorilla conservation is expensive.
And it is believed that there are only about 1063 mountain gorillas left in the Africa rainforests jungles of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. They are found nowhere else on earth today and you cannot see them in zoo.
Once on the verge of extinction, their survival is one of Africa’s greatest conservation success stories. Hence, this calls for the need to invest more in the protection and conservation of their shrinking natural habitat.
The revenue received from the selling of gorilla permits also allows national parks to raise the money necessary to protect these endangered primates.
When you are eager to pay 700 USD for a flight to Uganda, please don’t save on a gorilla permit. I agree the trekking permit is a lot of money but once you are eye to eye with a giant silverback gorilla, that moment is priceless and you will most likely forget about the money!
How Many Gorilla Permits Are Available in Uganda?
There are currently around 176 gorilla permits available per day in Uganda.
These are split between the habituated gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (168) and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (8).
How Do You Get A Uganda Gorilla Trekking Permit?
Uganda gorilla permits are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
It is possible to book the permits directly from UWA, but the most convenient way is to use a reliable tour operator like Tulambule. We include a gorilla permit as part of your overall cost of a Uganda gorilla safari.
We organize your gorilla trekking permit for you, as well as your transport, accommodation and more, no matter which gorilla park you choose to visit.
Bwindi Gorilla Permit
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has four sectors to choose from, they are; Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo.
Each of these sections acts as a self-standing gorilla trekking destination, has a number of habituated gorilla families, and accommodation options.
When booking a gorilla permit for Bwindi you must select which sector of the park you want to track from. It is important to note that an issued gorilla permit is not transferable from one region to another.
Assuming a guest purchased a gorilla permit for Nkuringo and mistakenly spent a night in Buhoma, which is about 6 hours’ drive from Nkuringo, UWA official will not allow them to trek gorillas in Buhoma or the nearby Ruhija sector.
Meanwhile, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has just one habituated gorilla group and therefore doesn’t require selecting a sector.
When Should You Book Your Uganda Gorilla Permit?
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is carried out throughout the year.
Although a Uganda gorilla permit is easier to acquire during low seasons (March-April) and beginning of May or November.
In order to avoid queuing in the peak season, book your permits 3 to 6 months in advance. Gorilla permits in the Uganda peak season (Uganda’s dry season of June-September and December-February) – tend to sell out quickly.
The gorilla treks in Uganda are also limited to only 8 visitors per gorilla group per day. Some people try their luck by visiting the Gorilla trekking visitor center for a last-minute gorilla trek, with positive results due to cancellations or open spots.
What Happens When Your Gorilla Permit Expires?
Uganda gorilla permits are issued for a specific date. And as noted above, they are always booked ahead of the trekking time and you pay at least a 30% deposit of the permit price at reservation time.
It is possible that you may not make it for the trip or trek due to unforeseen issues. And when your gorilla permit expires before you track the mountain gorillas, the gorilla trekking activity will forfeited.
Can You Reschedule a Uganda gorilla permit?
Yes, the holder, or the tour operator on behalf of the holder, can reschedule the Uganda gorilla permit to another date, up to a week before the tracking date.
Unfortunately, UWA does not permit any reschedule after the permit has expired.
Can You Cancel A Uganda Gorilla Permit?
If you have only paid a deposit, you will not receive any refund on cancellation.
If you have paid your Uganda gorilla permit in full, the following cancellation rules apply:
- 75% refund if you cancel your permit 91 days or more before your trek
- 50% refund if you cancel 46 to 90 days before
- 25% refund if you cancel nine to 45 days before
No refund if you cancel zero to eight days before.
Can You Resell The Gorilla Tracking Permit?
This may be the best option if you are cancelling and planning to come another time. You can resell your permit if there is demand on your dates.
However, this option is easier if you have booked your ticket or tour through a local tour operator who would easily sell to another tour operator or would know if someone is looking for a ticket on your cancelled dates.
What Happens On The Day Of The Trek You Wake Up And Cannot Trek Because Of A Sickness?
If you cannot trek the gorillas because of illness (established on site); 50% of the gorilla permit fee may be refunded to you.
This is to encourage people to be more honest about feeling unwell (even a common cold can be fatal for gorillas) and prevent the gorillas becoming sick.
What Happens When You Track The Gorillas And Fail To Find Them?
Your chances of seeing gorillas in Uganda are around 99%.
But, suppose it so happens that you track the gorillas and fail to find them. In that case, the Executive Director may authorize rescheduling the permit to the following day, subject to the availability of trekking slots.
Where there are no available slots for rescheduling the permit, the Executive Director shall authorize the cancellation of the permit and a refund of 50% of the permit value upon certification/confirmation of the inability to access gorillas by the respective Chief Warden/ Warden in Charge.
Are There Discounted Gorilla Permits in Uganda?
Currently, there is no discounted gorilla permits in Uganda. The discounted permit offer in Uganda was offered by Uganda Wildlife Authority during the period of COVID-19. It was from 1st December 2020 to 30th June 2021.
Contact us today to book your Uganda gorilla permit as well as our affordable safari packages and enjoy a great time in this Pearl of Africa.
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