How to book a gorilla permit
What is a gorilla permit?
A gorilla permit is a card issued by Wildlife Authorities in Uganda, Rwanda or DRC that allows any individual, above the age of 16 years, to be escorted into the rain-forest jungle to trek mountain gorillas. And when found, the individual is allowed to spend 60 minutes in the presence of the creatures. The gorillas are jealously protected (by government authorities) and without the gorilla permit, you’ll not be allowed anywhere near them or even take a picture of them.
Why a permit to see wild animals in their natural habitat?
Well, habituating a family of mountain gorillas (10-30 individuals in a single group) for human contact is a massive job that can take up-to three years and thousands of dollars in expenses. Plus gorillas are sensitive to human diseases and are hunted down by gangs of poachers. To keep them safe and healthy requires careful coordination, money and a dedicated team of doctors, researchers, guards, trackers and volunteers. This is all put in place by Government Authorities that and they need your support to keep it going. So, the gorilla permit is the only way!
How much is a gorilla permit?
A gorilla permit costs a hefty amount because of the reasons above. In Uganda the permit for non-residents costs US$600 but this may change in 2020 to US$700 for Foreign non residents, and US$500 to US$600 for Foreign residents, according to UWA (the governing authority).
In Rwanda, the price of the permit doubles that of Uganda at US$1500. Rwanda has various reasons why this is so and one of them is the luxury and ease of access to the creatures.
Where can you purchase the gorilla permit?
Travelers can book directly with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB)—firstname.lastname@example.org or call them +256-705-487-517.
In Uganda permits are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Call +256312355000
K-Safaris, we process gorilla permits for all our travellers with an all-inclusive African Safari. We’ll go through all the huddles too find any of our travellers a permit to view the gentle giants and nothing can stop us. Talk to our consultants.
Gorilla Trekking Tours
- 3 Day Gorilla Tracking Safari
- 5 Days Gorillas & Wildlife Safari
- 4 Day Gorillas & Golden Monkey Safari
- View more safaris
When is the best time to purchase a gorilla permit?
When you’re ready to track gorillas of course. It can’t be that easy, though!. Mountain gorilla permits are very scarce due to high demand by huge numbers of travellers wanting to meet the magnificent creatures. Most East African safaris bound to this small corner come to catch a glimpse of the mountain gorilla and yet the habituated number of gorillas is still low. This makes the gorilla permit so hard to get especially at short notice in high demand seasons (June-Sept).
We recommend you acquire your permit waaaaay before your trip date. About six months before would be really safe for your assurance to meet the gorilla. With that grace gap your tour operator can find all possible ways to find you a permit, even if it means re-purchasing from another traveller.
Watch out for the peak seasons of June, July, August, September, December and February. These are scarce times for the permit but gorilla trekking is guaranteed when you finally acquire a permit.
How do you know you have the right gorilla permit?
Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, where you find almost half of the 1000 remaining gorillas in the world, has several trail-heads or regions where gorilla trekking starts. This means that if you acquire a permit for one trail-head, you cannot use it at an alternative gorilla section.
So, if you want to track gorillas in Uganda, make sure you have to right permit for your selected trail-head. This will also help you determine which accommodation or safari lodge to book. Bwindi sections include:
- Buhoma in the North,
- Ruhija in the East,
- Rushaga and
- Nkuring in the South.
Each region has its own gorilla groups or families that a permit allows you to trek. It’s important your tour operator tells you which gorilla section has simple or hard to trek gorilla families considering your physical ability. Otherwise, you may chose the wrong one and spoil the whole adventure with cursing and complaints to the operator.
What is required to get the gorilla permit?
Let’s borrow from Muzungu’s blog, she exhaustively writes about the requirements of the gorilla permit as follows:
- The date(s) you would like to track the gorillas. Suggest a few dates in case your first choice of date is already booked up. Ideally, scan and email a copy of your passport to whoever is organising your permits.
- Your name, nationality and passport number. Gorilla tracking permits are non-transferable. (Note that you will need to show your passport or some other form of identification at the pre-tracking briefing).
- Payment. The best way to pay is by bank wire transfer. Remember to instruct your bank to deduct any transaction charges from your account.
- If you are buying gorilla tracking permits directly from UWA or RDB, you will need to send them the bank payment confirmation email.
- If you are buying gorilla tracking permits from a tour operator, note that not all tour operators in East Africa accept credit cards. Of those that do, many add a hefty surcharge (of between 3% and 9%). Once the tour company have your preferred dates and personal details, they can make a temporary reservation with the authority.
- Confirmation of your reservation. You should receive a scanned copy of your gorilla tracking permit within a few days or weeks. When you arrive in country, your tour driver guide will give you your original permit or you will collect it from the UWA / RTB office (if you are travelling independently).
Your gorilla tracking permit will have a unique serial number and your personal details written on it. It is non-transferable.
Remember that you will need to show your passport or some other form of identification at the pre-tracking briefing.
There you have it folks. That’s mostly it about Gorilla Permits. If you have questions about the topic, write to at email@example.com or tell us what you think in the comments bellow. We would like to hear from you. Better yet, we would like to help you plan your gorilla trip. We have been doing this for while and we think we’ve got the whole planning thing sorted.