Before you set off for a gorilla safari to Uganda, first you must have a gorilla permit. This is a very significant tool when it comes to gorilla trekking. It is what offers you a chance to take part in this most thrilling experience in Bwindi National Park or Mgahinga National Park and 1 gorilla permit is equal to 1 habituated gorilla family. With about 17 groups that today are available for trekking, about 136 permits are available every day for booking in Uganda. However, note that the cost of this adventure differs from one Tour Company to another. Each tour operator gives his or her quotes and the relatively cheaper gorilla tour should be between $1000 but this may base on how people. The luxury safari on the other hand may cost you about $1500-$2000 each person.
How much are gorilla permits in Uganda.
Uganda still features as a relatively affordable gorilla destination with permits costing $600 per person. A permit at hand offers you opportunity to have great time with the world’s powerful primates while in their natural habitat. In Uganda, treks are done only in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park southwest. You are encouraged to book your permit in advance to avoid any kind of disappointment. Note that the demand is high and the fact that treks are limited to only 8 visitors per habituated family, you really need to secure a permit early enough before the actual trek. Things can even get worse when it comes to dry season which is usually a peak season for this lovely adventure. The peak season begins from June to September and from December to February. However, it is also possible for you to take part in this amazing experience during the wet season that starts from March to May and from October to November.
You can book your permit through a ground tour operator and in Uganda, they are many but you need to choose that trust worthy, reliable tour operator to deal with. The other alternative is for you to book through a reservationist at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). Booking a permit through a local tour operator usually makes the process faster compared to if you booked it through Uganda Wildlife Authority. Note that, tour companies usually add an extra fee of about $60-$100 per permit but of course there is no additional charge for you to buy a permit provided you are going to utilize other tour services for instance transfers and if you only need a permit then you will have to extra charge of about $100 per permit they book the fact that this may involve them making calls, pick permit, deliver it to you and many other administrative costs.
To book your permit, you need first to let the tour operator you intend to deal with know the dates you intend to track gorillas in Uganda. A tour operator then lets you know if the dates you prefer to take part in this adventure are indeed available and temporarily book them for you. You will be sent bank details for you to make money transfer for your permit or even make payment by credit card. The tour operator then sends you acknowledgement email for the money transfer and you are requested to instruct your bank deduct bank charges for the transaction from your account to avoid less payment for the permit that may make you miss your permit or incur extra cost. The additional costs may be for services such as telephone calls, transport that are incurred while securing a permit for you. After, you will be required to send a copy of your passport that has your details that will be used during permit registration. In most cases, your full names, nationality and the passport number are key things needed when registering your permit. Your names will then be registered and a permit is acquired for you. Once the payments are effected the permit is obtained for you however, take note that this permit alone doesn’t guarantee you a 100 percent to see mountain gorillas but gives you about 98 percent chances.
Most significantly, tour operators under their umbrella AUTO usually purchase about 80 percent of the permits for a period of about 2 years to the intended date of trekking these creatures. Every member in the agencies can purchase 20 permits in one month while those not part of AUTO can buy about 2 permits. Note that permits are never sold in the open!
In conclusion, securing a permit in Uganda for a gorilla trek is the most significant thing one can do if you are to allowed to allowed to explore the rare mountain gorillas in the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park or Mgahinga National Park.