What is a gorilla permit?
What is a gorilla permit?: A gorilla permit is a card or ticked issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority to travelers that are above the age of 15 years to trek and encounter mountain gorillas in their natural habitats. To confirm the age of a traveler Uganda Wildlife Authority asks for passport details or a national identity card. A gorilla permit is a document which every individual must have to be allowed to trek mountain gorillas. There are two types of gorilla permits and they include gorilla habituation permits that allow a traveler to be part of the process of gently introducing the apes to the presence of human beings for 4 hours.
A gorilla trekking permit is a card that allows travelers to be around mountain gorillas that have been fully habituated for 1 hour in order to learn about their behaviors since they are said to be sharing 98% DNA with human beings. The gorilla trekking permit also comes with an opportunity of photographing mountain gorillas and recording videos to go and share with friends and family. There are only 160 gorilla permits in Uganda, 152 are for Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and 8 are for Mgahinga national park. There are also 8 gorilla habituation permits in Uganda and these are used in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park only.
Gorilla trekking permit prices include park entrance fees, ranger guide fees, trackers fees, security in the park, community development fees, and one hour around mountain gorillas. The gorilla habituation fees include all things that are on a gorilla permit fee apart from the time around mountain gorillas. For those that paid gorilla habituation permits, they will be allowed to be around mountain gorillas for 4 hours and do all activities that make the apes get used to human presence around them. The gorilla permit fees exclude accommodation, transport to the park, porter’s fees, and sedan chair fees for the disabled, elderly, or pregnant women.
Where to get a gorilla permit
A gorilla trekking permit can be got from the Uganda Wildlife Authority which is a government body that manages tourism and wildlife conservation in all national parks of the country. The gorilla permit can also be got from a trusted local tour operator at the same price. Travelers can use local tour operators recommended by a friend who has traveled before or they can search on google for the companies that are licensed by Uganda Tourism Board to carry out tourism activities.
How to book a gorilla permit
Travelers that are intending to organize the gorilla safaris themselves can book gorilla permits directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority. A traveler will have to contact the reservations office via an email that should contain the dates of the month and year you want to trek gorillas. The email should also contain the national park you want to trek or even the region you want to visit if you are visiting Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. The information shall be used to check for the availability of the gorilla permits and if they are available you will be able to go for gorilla trekking. In case the permits are not available on the days given then you will be asked to change the dates. If the permits are available, you will be sent an email containing the cost of the permits as well as the different banking details where you will choose and send the money for the whole permit or booking. Once you send the money, you can email us the scanned copy of the receipt and we shall be able to book the permits for you. You will have to visit the Uganda Wildlife Offices to collect your permits before going to the park.
Using a tour operator
Gorilla permits can be booked using a local tour operator at the same price. To book with a local tour operator, look for one you trust and then contact them via email that should contain the dates of the month and year you want to trek gorillas and the national park you would love to visit. The information shall be used to check for the availability of the gorilla permits with the Uganda Wildlife Authority. If the permits are available, you will be sent an email containing how much the permit you want costs and also the different banking details of how you will pay the money. If you pay money, you will have to send a scanned copy of the receipt for confirmation and the permit shall be booked.
Can I pay for a gorilla permit in installments?
Yes, travelers can now pay for gorilla permits in installments from Uganda Wildlife Authority or local tour operators. A traveler can pay 30% of the total gorilla permit price at the time of booking and then 70% must be paid 3 months before the gorilla trekking date. Travelers who fail to pay the balance 3 months before the trekking date will automatically lose the 30% booking.
Cost of a gorilla permit
In Uganda, there is a gorilla trekking permit and a gorilla habituation permit. A gorilla trekking permit costs $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 for citizens of East Africa. A gorilla permit allows a traveler to be around mountain gorillas for 1 hour in their natural habitats. There is gorilla habituation permit that comes with 4 hours around mountain gorillas and a permit costs $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 foreign residents, and UGX750,000 citizens of East Africa.
When to buy or book a gorilla permit?
Travelers need to buy or book the gorilla permits earlier in advance of at least 3-4 months before the gorilla trekking permit. This is because Uganda Wildlife Authority sells the permits on a first come first serve basis. Buying a permit in advance helps you to choose which region you want to trek mountain gorillas and it helps in the proper planning of the safari. Travelers that are intending to visit Uganda in the dry season are the ones that need to book permits 3-4 months earlier because they sell out quickly while those that are planning to visit in the rainy season can book even a month before the trekking activity because the permits will always be available. During the rainy season, a few travelers are planning to visit the park because it’s characterized by plenty of rainfall.