compare price of gorilla permit in Bwindi and Virunga National park
compare price of gorilla permit in Bwindi and Virunga National park: Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is one of the places to meet endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda and Virunga national park is the only place to meet mountain gorillas in DR Congo. Both national parks harbor different mountain gorilla populations with Bwindi harboring the highest number in its 4 sectors – Nkuringo, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Buhoma. Bwindi harbors 21 mountain gorilla families of which 2 are semi habituated and Virunga national park harbors 8 mountain gorilla families.
compare price of gorilla permit in Bwindi and Virunga National park
Mountain gorillas are closest relatives to human beings with 98% human DNA and for this reason, a lot of travelers leave their homes and visit gorilla parks to encounter these creatures in their natural habitats. This enables them to learn about their habits, compare them to human beings and watch them do daily activities such as coupling, nesting, grooming, breastfeeding, eating, and much more.
For any travelers to encounter mountain gorillas of Bwindi and Virunga national park, they must have a gorilla permit which is a ticket or document issued by a government body in charge of tourism in the country to allow you to encounter mountain gorillas. The gorilla permit is issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority in case of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Institute Congolese pour la Conservation de la Nature for Virunga national park to travelers that are 15 years and above.
Compare the price of gorilla permit in Bwindi and Virunga national park
Gorilla trekking in Virunga national park is cheaper compared to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. One of the reasons as to why gorilla trekking in Virunga national park is cheaper is because there is political instability in DR Congo. Virunga national park is safe for travelers to visit but there are times when rebels reach the national park and for this reason, there is always tight security from the border to the park and even during your time in the park. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park of Uganda has never faced any wars and is therefore safer for gorilla trekking. DR Congo is however trying to end the wars and after that its tourism will attract more travelers and the gorilla permit prices might increase.
The gorilla permits for Virunga national park change according to the season for example in the dry season of June to September and December to February they are $450 for foreign non-residents, $200 for foreign residents, and $20 for East African residents. In the rainy season of March to May and October to November, the gorilla permits go for as low as $200.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park has two kinds of gorilla permits which are normal gorilla trekking permits and gorilla habituation permits. Gorilla trekking permits do cost $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 for East African citizens. Gorilla habituation permits do cost $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 foreign residents, and UGX750,000 citizens of East Africa. The prices of gorilla permits in Uganda don’t change no matter the season but the only way travelers can get discounts on their safaris to this park is by visiting in the low season because the lodges are very cheap.
Gorilla permits are issued to travelers that are 15 years and above although there are circumstances under which those that are below can also get the permits. fir Bwindi impenetrable forest national park its Uganda Wildlife Authority and Virunga national park its Institute Congolese pour la Conservation de la Nature that issues out the permits. The gorilla permits for Bwindi and Virunga national park can still be got through a trusted local tour operator at the same fee.
To book the gorilla permits for Bwindi and Virunga national park, you need to get the dates of the month and year you want to trek and then whom you are going to use to book the permits. You will contact your local tour operator or reservation office of the government body of the park you want to visit via email. The email should contact the dates of the month and year you want to travel and the information shall be used to check for the availability of the permits.
If the gorilla permits ain’t available, you will be given dates nearby to choose or you will be asked to get other dates. But once the permits are available, you will be sent an email containing different banking details and the prices of the permit. You will send the money and then a scanned copy of the receipt of payment via email. When the money or email has been received, your permits shall be booked. For travelers visiting Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, it’s better you book your permits 3-4 months early in advance because the permits sell out quickly especially in the dry season from June to September and October to November.
When to book gorilla permits for Bwindi and Virunga national park?
Gorilla permits for Bwindi and Virunga national park can be booked if available at any time before the trekking date. The best time for booking the gorilla permits depends on the season you want to trek the mountain gorillas and for the case of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park if you are to visit the park in the high season which occurs from June to September and December to February, its better you book gorilla permits 3-4 earlier in advance because they tend to sell out quickly. If you are visiting the park in the low season of March to May and October to November, you can book the permits even a few weeks before the trekking date and they will be available. This is because a few people visit the park in that season due to heavy rainfall.
Travelers that are visiting Virunga national park don’t have to rush booking the gorilla permits since they are always available. It’s very rare to find gorilla permits for Virunga national park sold out because the place is visited by a few travelers due to political instability. Gorilla permits for Virunga national park will always be available even on the day of trekking but it’s because you book them early for proper planning of your safari.
Best national park to visit
Between Bwindi and Virunga national park, we would advise travelers to visit Bwindi even though its gorilla permits are expensive compared to those of Virunga. Bwindi is safe compared to Virunga national park where DR Congo is still facing political instability. The other reason is Bwindi is easily accessed compared to Virunga national park. Bwindi can be accessed from Kigali taking 4-5 hours through Katuna border or Cyanika border and Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale or Kisoro in 9-10 hours. Virunga national park is hard to access because there are no airports working in DR Congo there fire a person will have to pass through Uganda or Rwanda to access the park. For budget travelers, we advise you to visit Virunga national park because the permits are cheaper.
Best time to visit Bwindi and Virunga national park
Bwindi and Virunga national park can be accessed at any time of the year however there are months that are better than the rest. The dry months of June to September and December to February are the best to visit these national parks because they are characterized by little or no rainfall that makes the trekking trails stay dry, the vegetation is short and thin with good views of the mountain gorillas while the roads connecting to the parks are passable.
Travelers can still visit Bwindi and Virunga national park in the rainy seasons of March to May and October to November and this enables them enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities and for those visiting Virunga national park, the gorilla permits are half the normal price. Travelers should however note that the rainy season is characterized by too much rainfall that makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall and thick with unclear views of the mountain gorillas while the roads connecting to the parks are in poor conditions.