When can one book a gorilla permit to Bwindi?
When can one book a gorilla permit to Bwindi? : Are you planning to go gorilla trekking in Bwindi? Then the first thing you should think about is when to buy the gorilla permit before anything else. A gorilla permit is a card that will allow you to encounter mountain gorillas for 1 hour or 4 hours in the park. The gorilla permits are issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority which is a government body controlling and managing Bwindi gorilla park.
Bwindi gorilla park has over 160 gorilla permits but there are times when the number of people wanting to encounter mountain gorillas exceeds the number of the permits. Well, we are going to look at when you should secure yourself a permit and avoid last-minute disappointments so that you be assured of encountering mountain gorillas on your planned travel dates.
Best time to book a gorilla permit to Bwindi
The best time to book a gorilla permit to Bwindi depends on the season you are going to visit the park. Travelers that are intending to visit the park most especially in the dry season which is also known as the high season should book the gorilla permits in advance. Gorilla permit booking should be at least 3-4 months or even a year before the gorilla trekking activity day. This is to enable them to avoid last-minute booking disappointments and inconveniences.
The dry season occurs from June to September and December to February and that’s when most travelers visit the park because there is little or no rainfall and most of the travelers be escaping winter in their countries to enjoy the sunshine in the country. Travelers that are intending to visit Bwindi gorilla park most especially during the dry season should note that there are times when the demand for the gorilla permits exceeds the number of the gorilla permits available each day.
Travelers intending to visit Bwindi and trek mountain gorillas in the rainy season or low season of March to May and October to November can still book the gorilla permits 3-4 months earlier in advance but they can still get the permits one month or even a few weeks before the trip. This is because there are a few travelers visiting the park in the rainy season due to too much rainfall every day in the region.
Advance booking of gorilla permits gives travelers a chance to choose the region they want to trek gorillas or even the gorilla family they want to trek. A traveler will also have a lot of accommodation facilities to choose to stay in while on a safari. But those that do last-minute gorilla permit booking will have no chance to choose the gorilla family or sector to trek because most of them are always taken.
Last-minute gorilla permit booking
Travelers can buy last-minute gorilla permits from only tour operators and this is only possible if the tour operator has booked plenty of permits from the Uganda Wildlife Authority with a plan of selling them to last-minute travelers. If a traveler is planning to trek Bwindi gorillas in the high season and they can’t get a permit with Uganda Wildlife Authority then they can search for local tour operators to get them gorilla permits. Last-minute gorilla permit booking is normally done by those that visit the country for relief work, conferences, business trips, and family visits and would want to trek gorillas before going back to their homes.
How and where to book buy gorilla permits
Travelers can buy Bwindi gorilla permits direct from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or a trusted local tour operator. The best way would be to book using the tour operator who will organize the whole safari for you for they get you the permits at the same price. A traveler would take the same procedure to book gorilla permits for Bwindi whether they used a trusted local tour operator or Uganda Wildlife Authority.
To book the gorilla permits, you will have to contact the reservations office at Uganda Wildlife Authority or a trusted local tour operator via email. The email should contain the dates of the month and year you want to trek gorillas and this information shall be used to check for the availability of the trekking permits. When the permits are available, you will be sent an email containing the price of the permits and different banking details is that you choose how to send money for the permit.
When you are done sending the money you can send the scanned copy of the receipt as they wait for a notification that you have sent and the permit shall be booked. When you book the gorilla permit with Uganda Wildlife Authority, you will find it at their offices in Kampala but when you use a local tour operator, they will pick it up for you and give it to you on your starting day of the safari. The other benefit of booking the gorilla permits with a local tour operator is that they can help you in rescheduling the permits in case you change your travel plans.
How much are Bwindi gorilla permits?
A single Bwindi gorilla trekking permit costs $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 citizens of East Africa. The gorilla habituation permit is $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 for foreign residents, and UGX750,000 for citizens of East Africa. The normal gorilla trekking permit comes with 1 hour around mountain gorillas, the habituation permit comes with 4 hours around mountain gorillas, park entrance fees, and ranger guide fees.
How many gorilla permits are in Bwindi?
Each day there are 152 gorilla trekking permits in Bwindi gorilla park. A maximum of 8 people is allowed to trek a single gorilla family in Bwindi and the fact that 19 gorilla families are habituated brings the total number of permits to be 152 on a daily basis in this park. There are only 2 semi habituated families in Bwindi and a maximum of 4 people are allowed to trek a single group which means 8 habituation permits are available in the park on a single day. The total number of both gorilla trekking permits and gorilla habituation permits in Bwindi is 160.