When you think of gorilla safari, a permit is one important document you must have. It is what offers you opportunity to have great moments with a habituated family of these unique creatures in the wild. Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is in charge issuing gorilla permits for Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. For any plans to visit Uganda for gorilla trip, you are advised to book your permit early enough to avoid any kind of disappointment. Demand for permits is usually high and in most cases can be worse with peak season which occurs from June to September and December to February. Note that gorilla permits can be bought even 2 years earlier through a ground tour operator or Uganda Wildlife Authority.
To book for a gorilla permit in Uganda, there are certain steps you need to follow and they include;
- You have to provide dates or date you intend to go for gorilla trekking. You are free to make a suggestion on a few dates just in case your first choice of date is already reserved. You have to scan and then email a copy of your passport to a respective tour operator you are dealing with.
- Provide your name, nationality and passport number and this is for clarification while you are at park headquarters before you join in for briefing.
- Make payment-through bank details provided by a tour operator and ensure that the bank you deal with cuts off bank charges to avoid low payment.
- In case you are purchasing a gorilla permit directly from UWA, please send them your bank payment confirmation email
- For those of you who opt to deal with Tour Company, some companies do not transact using credit cards. Once the dates you wish to track mountain gorillas readily available, a tour agent/operator will then reserve them for you.
- You will be sent a confirmation of your reservation inform of scanned copy within a few days/weeks. Upon arrival, you will be given original gorilla permit by a driver guide and for those of you on independent trip can get direct from Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Gorilla permits come with unique serial number and your personal details written on it and non-transferable. You will be required to show your passport and other form of identification once you are at the park headquarters. If you are planning to travel to Uganda for a gorilla tour, make sure that you book a permit based on sector and gorilla family you intend to conduct your treks – Bwindi National Park has 4 main trailheads where treks usually start from and they include Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga and there is only one habituated family in Mgahinga National Park that is readily available for tracking.
Gorilla permits in Uganda cost $600 per person making it a relatively affordable gorilla destination. For those of you who wish to extend their stay, you can embark on gorilla habituation experience which is only conducted in Bwindi. Permits for this adventure cost $1500 and you have the whole day with gorillas and 4 hours of face to face encounter.
Your gorilla permit covers park guide/ranger services, an hour of magical encounter, the experience itself, security and others. It excludes accommodation, transportation to and fro, extra activities.
In conclusion, obtaining a permit for gorilla trekking in Uganda is the best way to if you are to be part of this life changing experience while on Africa safari. To make thing work faster, dealing with tour operators is regarded as the best option and the whole process is done by them as you relax and wait for your permit.