Where to buy gorilla permits in Uganda
Where to buy gorilla permits in Uganda: Uganda wildlife authority is the only government body that issues gorilla permits in Uganda. The government controls and manages national park activities. Tourists can also buy gorilla permits from a licensed local tour operator at the same fee UWA sells its permits. Travelers who book with Uganda Wildlife Authority will collect their permits from their offices in Kamwokya Kampala while those that buy gorilla permits from local tour operators will find their permits with their safari driver guiders on arrival into the country.
Gorilla permits in Uganda are used by travelers that want to encounter mountain gorillas that are said to be close relatives to human beings with 98% human DNA. These mountain gorillas live in two national parks which are Bwindi impenetrable forest national park with the highest population of mountain gorillas and Mgahinga national park with the least population. Other places outside Uganda where mountain gorillas are found include the Virunga national park of DR Congo and Volcanoes national park of Rwanda.
To encounter mountain gorillas in any of the national parks, you are supposed to have a gorilla permit which must be got before arriving in the country. A traveler must get a gorilla permit before even booking transport and accommodation during the safari because it’s the only ticket that can allow you to encounter mountain gorillas in the wild. The gorilla permits are issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority to travelers that are 15 years old and above at a fee.
Where and how to buy gorilla permits in Uganda
Uganda wildlife authority
Gorilla permits in Uganda can be bought from Uganda Wildlife Authority which is a government body managing and controlling national park activities. Travelers can buy gorilla permits in Uganda directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority by contacting the reservations office via email. Before contacting Uganda Wildlife Authority, you need to first get the dates of the month and year you want to trek mountain gorillas as well as the national park you want to visit. You will send all that information to the reservation’s office via email. The information shall be used to check for the availability of gorilla permits and once they are available they will send you an email containing the cost of the gorilla permits and the different banking details to use to send the money. After you have sent money, you will also send a scanned copy of the receipt of payment for us to prove because the money takes 2-3 days to get to Uganda. After they have confirmed that you have paid, they shall go ahead and book gorilla permits for you.
A local tour operator
Getting a local tour operator to trust with your money and permit booking is not easy especially if it’s your first time traveling. Travelers can however ask friends about the tour operators they have used before or even Google tour operators that are licensed by Uganda Tourism Board to carry out tourism activities. Africa Adventure Vacations is one of the local tour operators in Uganda that helps travelers to book gorilla permits if they ate intending to visit the country and encounter the endangered apes. To book with us, you will contact us via email about the dates of the month and year you want to travel and we shall use that information to check for the availability of the gorilla permits with the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Of the permits are available, we shall send you an email containing the price of the permit and the different banking details. You will send us money for the permit and email us a scanned copy of the receipt to prove that you have paid. We shall go ahead and book the gorilla permit for you and when you arrive for gorilla trekking you will find it with us.
When to buy Uganda gorilla permits
Travelers especially those that are intending to visit Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national park in the dry season must buy gorilla permits 3-4 months early in advance. This is advised to enable travelers to secure a spot for gorilla trekking, trek gorillas in the best region, and also to plan well for their safari. Uganda has 160 gorilla permits and these are few compared to the number of travelers that want to encounter mountain gorillas especially in the dry season of June to September and December to February.
Travelers that are visiting Bwindi gorilla park and Mgahinga national park during the rainy season can book the gorilla permits earlier but it is not necessary. Gorilla permits will always be available in the rainy seasons because there are a few travelers intending to visit the national park. A few travelers trek mountain gorillas in the rainy season because there is always plenty of rainfall in the park. Travelers visiting Uganda in the low season can buy gorilla permits even a few weeks before the trekking day because they will always be available.
The cost of gorilla permits
There are two kinds of gorilla permits in Uganda and these are gorilla trekking permits that allow a traveler to be around mountain gorillas for 1 hour and then the gorilla habituation permits that allow travelers to be around mountain gorillas for 4 hours. Gorilla trekking permits are used in both Mgahinga national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park but the gorilla habituation permits can only be used in Bwindi because that is where gorilla families going through habituation are found.
Uganda wildlife authority sells each gorilla trekking permit at a fee of $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 citizens of East Africa. The gorilla habituation permit cost $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 foreign residents, and UGX750,000 citizens of East Africa. Gorilla permit prices include 1 hour or 4 hours around mountain gorillas, park entrance fees, ranger guide fees, and community development fees.