Booking gorilla permits in Uganda is mandatory especially for those interested in tracking mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable national park or in Mgahinga national park in Uganda. This also applies to tracking of gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Below is a quick illustration of how you can buy the gorilla permits for your trek this year.
In Uganda, gorilla tracking is done in either Bwindi impenetrable national park or Mgahinga Gorilla national Park. However, because of the irregularity of the mountain gorillas of Mgahinga, most of the gorilla permits sold is for Bwindi. Each gorilla permit costs $ 600 per person in 2018. The discounted permits ended distribution in 2017. On each particular day, about 80 people can visit gorillas in Bwindi, 8 people per each gorilla family.
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is done in Volcanoes National park located in Ruhengeri province. The gorilla permit in Rwanda goes at $1500 per person and its only 8 people that are allowed to see the gorillas per group.
The gorilla permits in Uganda for both Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks are bought from Uganda Wildlife Authority head quarters in Kampala, either directly or through a tour operator. The gorilla permits in Rwanda are bought from Rwanda Development Board directly or you can get them through a tour operator.
To be able to book your gorilla permit from out of Uganda, you need to contact UWA’s reservation office by email inquiring about the availability of the dates you intend to track the gorillas. Note that you need to consider a full day of travel from Kampala to Bwindi after you have landed in Kampala.
In case the exact dates you want are not available, you can request UWA to let you know of the nearest dates that are available. You can also reply to them by expressing your intent of booking these permits, and also request them to temporarily hold them as you make payment. At this time , they will advise you of their banking details, so that you can proceed to make an electric transfer of the money. Also remember to send a copy of the transaction voucher/receipt by email or fax to UWA.
Also to book permits from Rwanda, you will need to contact Rwanda Development Board about the availability. These will provide the availability and then you will be able to book the dates that you are interested in after.
The transfer in Uganda usually takes not more than 3 days and UWA or RDB will keep your tentative booking for at least 7 days as they await the transfer to go through. Please ensure that you bank enough since bank charges are deducted from you. In case you send less money, your permit might not be booked.
Booking the gorilla permits through a tour and travel Agent; many intending gorilla trekkers have however found the above procedure dull and have sought our quicker and less dull ways of reserving their gorilla permits by working with the local Uganda tour operator. The tour operators will charge a fee of $25 -$50 per gorilla permit. But our company will not charge you in case you are getting other tour services through us in case you only want a gorilla permit, we shall charge you only $30 per permit. This procedure is almost similar as above, except the tour agencies tend to speed up the process and most likely you will get your gorilla permit confirmation faster.
You can contact us and we let you know the dates you want to take a gorilla safari in Uganda with the days you want to see the gorillas. We shall let you know if the days you want for your gorilla tour are available for gorilla tracking and tentatively book them for you. We then send our bank details for you to send the money for the permits. It takes about 16 hours for us to receive the money from your bank and then pay for the permits. We shall send you an acknowledgement for the money and the official receipt from UWA. You will then send us your passport details in order to register for the permits. We shall then send you a scanned copy of your permits.
However, Uganda tour operators through their own umbrella association buy up to 80% of the available tracking permits at up 2 years out from the intended month of tracking. Each member may buy up to 20 permits in any month. A deposit of 30% (US$75-) is payable on each permit booked with the balance needing to be paid 3 months (91 days) from the month of tracking by the first working day of the month Monday-Friday. The individuals and the non members of AUTO can buy a maximum of 2 permits each in the month 3 months prior to the intended month of trekking when the booking opens on the first working Monday – Friday of the month. Permits not sold on the day the booking opens will be sold on the following day with no limits put on the number of permits purchased by an individual or tour operator.