Gorilla trekking is one of Africa’s most popular tourism activities. Though gorilla trekking can be done in more than five countries on the African continent; Uganda and Rwanda rank as the top two gorilla trekking destinations in Africa. This is partly attributed to the security, and accessibility in these two countries compared to countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic among others.
Each country has its terms for booking the gorilla trekking permits as well as the rates. For the case of Uganda, there are a few things to put into consideration but instead of sharing those tips, allow us to take you through the process of booking gorilla trekking permits in Uganda.
1. Design Your Itinerary To Confirm Your Gorilla Trekking Dates
Gorilla trekking in Uganda requires prior booking, but you cannot make a booking unless you have a specific date in mind. But having a date in mind is not enough, you need to get a date that fits your itinerary, you cannot book a gorilla trek in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park yet the previous day will be spent in Kidepo valley national park.
It is therefore wise to choose gorilla trekking dates following a proper itinerary. It is necessary to spend the night before gorilla trekking in the park or near the national park. Gorilla trekking starts as early as 7:45 am, therefore you need to spend your night in a place not far from the place where you will trekking the gorillas.
2. Share Your Gorilla Trekking Dates with a Tour Operator
There is a lot of outdated information suggesting that you can email the Uganda wildlife Authority directly to arrange your gorilla trekking permits. This is no longer true. It is only registered tour operators that are allowed to book none foreign residents’ gorilla trekking permits.
For this reason, you will need a registered tour operator to book gorilla trekking permits in Uganda. In order to identify one, visit the Uganda tourism board website for the list of registered tour operators who are allowed to buy gorilla trekking permits from the Uganda wildlife authority.
Once you are able to identify a tour operator of your choice, you can share with them your preferred gorilla trekking dates. They will cross-check with the Uganda wildlife authority to confirm availability.
3. Choosing A Gorilla Trekking Sector
Once you have your itinerary well planned, you will then have to not only choose between Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park but also to get specific with the sector for the case of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
There are four gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park; Rushaga, Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Buhoma sectors. Each sector has its own cons and pros, therefore you have to look into all those details before choosing a gorilla trekking sector in Bwindi impenetrable national park.
4. Sending The Permits Money
Once the tour operator has confirmed availability for the gorilla trekking permits, they will ask you to send the money for the gorilla trekking permits. Each permit goes for $700.
There are mainly two mediums through which companies often receive money in Uganda. Pesapal or wire transfer. The terms vary from one company to another. It is therefore important that you agree in detail with the tour operator to avoid misunderstandings.
Along with the money, the tour operator will need your passport copies. Uganda wildlife Authority captures the passport details on their gorilla trekking permits. However, sometimes they simply print the permits with company names instead of individual names.
5. Buying Permits
The tour operator will proceed to buy your gorilla trekking permits once they receive the money. However it should be noted, that gorilla trekking permits are only printed about 3 weeks before the trekking date. However, under special request, the permits can be printed earlier than that.
After buying the permits, the tour operator can share with you the booking I.Ds. It is these booking I.Ds that you can use to follow up on your permits in case of anything.
6. Printing Gorilla Trekking Permits
The tour operator will print your gorilla trekking permits once the dates draw closer. It is these documents that you will present at the park sector offices with your passport to start off your briefing thereafter gorilla trekking.