Gorilla Filming in Bwindi Forest
Gorilla filming is a remarkable experience that offers you a great opportunity to capture live videos of the endangered mountain gorillas in the wild. Mountain gorillas are a few of the world’s uniquest species and only exist in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). With not more than 1063 of them still living on earth today, capturing a live video of these massive apes in the wild is possible only while on your Uganda gorilla filming safari.
Gorilla filming is undoubtedly unforgettable experience tourists on a gorilla trek in Uganda shouldn’t miss out. Filming or making gorilla documentaries is what gets you the detailed and quality pictures of mountain gorillas in their natural habitat compared to the normal gorilla trekking experience. On gorilla filming, you have plenty of time but it is costly compared to the usual gorilla treks. Unlike gorilla trekking, gorilla filming involves only filming crew who don’t again mix with other trekkers apart from the experienced park guide who escorts them.
Different gorilla destinations have different policies and requirements for anyone interested in gorilla filming. However, in Uganda, you should have a valid gorilla permit, media accreditation, fixers, filming permission and participants should be above 15 years. Gorilla filming mainly accommodates professionals, television production agencies/companies, individuals. It is a significant activity for government, journalists for documentary, publications to create awareness of value of conserving mountain gorillas.
Places to go for gorilla filming in Uganda
Mountain gorillas are major reason tourists come to visit Uganda and with all the 2 destinations available for you get up-close with these creatures makes it an exceptional destination in Africa. Over half of the remaining 1063 mountain gorillas are in Uganda and gorilla filming safaris are conducted in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
With 2 gorilla destinations all in Uganda, tourists on gorilla filming have a choice to make between Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. All these gorilla filming destinations are found in Southwestern Uganda.
In Uganda, gorilla filming is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and interested visitors must have their permits booked early, about 4 months prior the date of filming safari. UWA is in charge all the 10 national parks in Uganda and to be allowed to participate in gorilla filming, you must apply for a media card also known as the media accreditation from the Uganda Media Centre.
Uganda Media Centre is different from Uganda Wildlife Authority. Each of the filming crew will be required to fill the form from Uganda Media Centre. This is to ensure your details are captured including your names, passport photos, address, purpose of visit, number of days, copy of passport and many others. To have you approved by the media centre, it may take 3-5 days. The gorilla safari company you plan is also in position to access the media form for you and guide you appropriately and have it complete.
Later, you will write to UWA and this will include details of the filming company/agency, reason of the filming project, date you plan to go for filming and the park. You may also state how Uganda as a country will benefit from your documentary.
Once your details have been taken, you will sign a contract with UWA prior obtaining permit to go document mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The official form can be obtained by a gorilla safari company from UWA offices and then the company will forward it to you and later, resends it back to UWA.
A letter will be required from you showing the tour operator/company that will help you process the permit. Upon arrival in Uganda, a filming crew must have their equipment checked, cleared at Entebbe Airport. Details of the equipment will be taken by the airport staff. For those who plan to come with drones or to go for aerial shooting, you will need approval from the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces and the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority. Note, use of drones on gorilla trekking isn’t permitted!
Aside from gorilla filming items, we also advise you to carry essential items to make your filming experience memorable. In your gorilla filming packing list, consider the following a must; insect repellent, plenty of drinking water, snacks, long-sleeved shirts but environmentally friendly, gardening gloves, trousers, first aid kit, daypack and others.
Cost of gorilla filming permits in Uganda
Gorilla filming permits in Uganda are issued at US Dollars 4200 and the cost excludes US Dollars 700 for a gorilla permit. Note, a filming crew can only be allowed to film a gorilla family if the crew booked for that group and their gorilla trekking permits are confirmed. Each of the gorilla families accommodate up-to only 8 visitors and each permit costs tourists US Dollars 700. A deposit of US Dollars 1000 will be required from you and this is refundable upon you sharing your copy of the film with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
Other than Uganda, mountain gorilla filming is also possible in Volcanoes National Park Northwestern Rwanda, Virunga National Park in Eastern DRC.
Where to stay
If you plan to go for gorilla filming soon, we advise you to book the nearby gorilla safari lodges for your overnight stay. The available lodging options for tourists on gorilla filming to retire for the night in Bwindi include Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Bwindi Forest Lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Nshongi Camp, Mahogany Springs Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge.
In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, the lodges to choose for your overnight stay on gorilla filming safari include Mount Gahinga Lodge, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Mucha Hotel, Kisoro Travelers Lodge.
When to go for gorilla filming
Mountain gorillas in Uganda can be visited at any time of the year while on filming tour. But the dry season is the best period to have a smooth journey while on gorilla filming. This begins from June till September and December to February and during these months, there is less or no rainfall received making it the best to move on steep slopes and vegetation is clear.