A safari to visit mountain gorillas is the most popular and highly treasured tourist activity in Uganda today. People are traveling from all across the world to the pearl of Africa just to taste the beauty and charm of this exciting experience.
However, there’s always one hindrance that limits their chances, one thing with which you can’t go on a gorilla trekking safari if you don’t have it, and that is none other than a gorilla permit.
Due to the fact that mountain gorillas are such highly endangered species, serious guidelines and precautions have to be followed. One of those key requirements you need to trek gorillas is a gorilla permit.
Gorilla permits are limited in numbers, in such a way to restrict the number of visitors to trek gorillas on a given day, in the long run ensuring conservation of these endangered primates.
Securing a Gorilla Permit in Uganda can be quite a daunting task for anyone dreaming to come to Uganda for this memorable encounter. There have been myths, misconceptions and misinformation about how, where and when to obtain Permits to trek mountain Gorillas.
It is a must that one requires a gorilla permit to be guaranteed space to see Uganda gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park alone has 17 habituated mountain gorilla families. Each gorilla family is visited by a maximum of 8 people per day. Averagely there are 136 people are allowed to trek mountain gorillas per day for one hour.
How early should you book a gorilla permit?
Travelers are advised to book their gorilla trekking permits in advance, at least 4 months before the tracking date. This however comes with several advantages and most tour agencies in Uganda will always emphasize this.
To reserve and confirm your gorilla permit, at least 30% of the total permit price should be paid to UWA, Uganda wildlife Authority.
Why book gorilla permits early.
Gorilla permits for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park tend to sell out quickly giving you a reason to plan and book your gorilla permit in advance. There are several reasons why gorilla permits sell out and why you should avoid last minute bookings when it comes to securing your gorilla permit.
One major reason why travelers are reminded to reserve their gorilla permits early in time is because there is competition for Uganda permits due to their affordability. Uganda gorilla permits are too way cheap following 100% increment for Rwanda permits in 2017. As a result, most travelers are now rushing to track gorillas in Uganda instead of Rwanda.
Rwanda gorilla permits cost USD1500 while those in Uganda cost USD 600 as of 2019. The high price of gorilla permits in Rwanda has caused a lot of demand for Uganda’s permits leading to scarcity.
Timely booking for lodges and hotels.
Booking a gorilla permit in advance enables timely booking of suitable lodges ensuring quality food and accommodation services. This mostly applies in Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable national park where gorilla tours are done in the selected four regions of the park.
The lodge/ resort booked solely depends on the gorilla sector available at the time of booking permits.
Bwindi Lodges in are scattered in Buhoma, Rushaga Ruhija and Nkuringo, which necessitate a traveler to trek gorillas near his/he lodge. Since gorilla permits in Bwindi bear the name of the sector, tour operators find it easy to book the appropriate safari lodge hence saving travelers time and energy on the actual day of trekking.
Gorilla sectors are far away from each other and may be disturbing to sleep in one region and trek gorillas in another sector the next day. Driving distance can be tiring and inconveniencing for travelers. Lodges always get fully booked in the peak season since lodge rooms are also served on first come first serve basis.
To ensure enough preparations.
Advance booking of a gorilla permit gives a traveler ample time to prepare well for the travel. Preparing is in form of physical exercises to ensure physical fitness when that day comes. Much as it’s a life changing experience, gorilla trekking is not for the faint hearted.
Travelers are always told to prepare enough for this adventurous trip to avoid any disappointment. Paying in advance relieves a traveler stress of looking for money but only relax waiting for the actual day of trekking. After paying, all worries of the trip are left in the hands of a tour operator, which is an indirect break of the traveler.
Therefore in a nut shell, a gorilla permit is a necessary requirement for all travelers intending to see these majestic creatures and ought to be booked so early. Not only does this advice apply to Uganda, but also to other countries that inhabit these endangered primates.