How To Book A Gorilla Trekking Permit In Uganda-2020-2021
It is not an assumption, by the time you ask yourself how to book a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda, you are hopefully planning a guided safari in Uganda or a self-guided safari. Regardless of the category, you might belong to, as Verdoro Safaris Uganda, we help you through this article to answer a few of the main issues concerning booking a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda.
Gorilla Trekking Parks In Uganda
Uganda has mainly two national parks that offer gorilla trekking, Mgahinga gorilla national park, and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Mgahinga gorilla national park seems to be less popular compared to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park due to its former history of tourists failing to see mountain gorillas on some treks.
However, this is no longer heard of in Mgahinga gorilla national park that tourists failed to spot mountain gorillas during their gorilla trek in Mgahinga gorilla national park since there is a permanent resident gorilla family in the park that no longer transfers to Rwanda for any reasons.
The availability of one habituated gorilla family in Mgahinga gorilla national park means that the gorilla trekking permits in this park get sold out quickly however much it is not as popular as Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. And if you are the kind that considers golden monkey tracking on your Itinerary in Uganda, then Mgahinga gorilla national park is the go-to location since it offers both gorilla trekking and golden monkey tracking.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park unlike Mgahinga gorilla national park has over 14 gorilla families available for gorilla trekking throughout the year. This also means that there are higher chances of acquiring gorilla permits in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park! So it seems; it is only easy if you are not sector selective.
What is a Gorilla Trekking Sector?
In case you have read about gorilla trekking in Uganda before, you have heard of gorilla trekking sectors such as Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo, Rushaga; but what are gorilla trekking sectors in Uganda?
You have to know that gorilla trekking sectors in Uganda only exist in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. This raises a question; why are there no gorilla trekking sectors in Mgahinga gorilla forest national park?
There is only one gorilla family in Mgahinga gorilla national park. However, when it comes to Bwindi the 331km2 forest national park, there are several habituated gorilla families. It does not mean that because the family has been tagged to a certain sector in the park, they have no right to move to another part of the forest as though they are in a zoo.
Rather, Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo, Rushaga are like what you would have for a compass direction; North, East, west, and south. Unfortunately, the park is not demarcated according to compass directions but according to the dominant gorilla group and many other factors; you may have to look into the history of gorilla trekking sectors in Uganda.
All that aside, a gorilla trekking sector is a proportion of the park that has been identified with certain gorilla families for a reasonable number of years. Though sometimes these mountain gorillas migrate, they sometimes return, and when they shift to another location, we are always notified by the Uganda wildlife Authority.
How To Book A Gorilla Permit In Uganda
We assume that at this point, you are aware that a gorilla permit in Uganda is US$700 per foreign non-resident and US$600 for foreign residents while East Africans are charged UGX250,000. Below are the steps you have to follow in booking your gorilla trekking permits in Uganda.
- Choose your desired gorilla trekking date
- Choose between Mgahinga gorilla national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Or you can simply buy from the park that has availability. However, when you choose Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, you might also have to be specific on the gorilla trekking sector. Please note; Buhoma is the most popular gorilla trekking sector in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Therefore it is likely not to have availability in case you do not book early enough. We recommend Ruhija for the steep trek and Rushaga for having more availability compared to other sectors.
- Confirm availability for the gorilla trekking permits through an inquiry with Uganda wildlife Authority or any certified Uganda tour operator.
- Pay for the gorilla permits. You can pay for the permits directly or through any tour operator. We recommend tourist to buy gorilla trekking permits through tour operators because it saves them from the hustle of picking the permits from Uganda wildlife Authority offices and the worst can happen when you are arriving on days when the Uganda wildlife Authorities are closed more so on public holidays or weekends. The tour operator will help you pick them when they are ready to be picked saving you from the closed office horrors.
- In case you fail to get availability; the tour operator can help you acquire resale permits in case the opportunity arises. Resale permits are simply permits from clients who have canceled or postponed their trips; this leaves tour operators with no option other than reselling the permits since it is not common for tour operators to process refunds from Uganda wildlife Authority since they are likely to simply get credit notes.
- After buying your permits, you will be given receipts and the gorilla trekking cards are sometimes available two weeks to the gorilla trekking dates. However, on certain days, you might have to simply use your receipts to go gorilla trekking in any Ugandan park.
There you have it, six steps of booking a gorilla permit in Uganda. Please note; for the months of July, August, January, and late December, you might have to book at least 4 months prior to being assured of availability. Please visit Verdoro Safaris Uganda for the best gorilla trekking packages and Chimpanzee tracking packages in Uganda.