Step by Step: How to Book Gorilla Permits

How To Book A Gorilla Permit

A gorilla permit is an essential tool every visitor should have and it is what lets you visit a habituated gorilla family in Uganda, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Booking a gorilla permit is one important step in planning a gorilla safari in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC.

Mountain gorillas exist in only the three countries (Uganda, Rwanda and the DR Congo) and gorilla permits can be booked through a credible tour company/agency and for this case, simply get in touch with reservation team to assist you secure your gorilla permit while you sit back home. Alternatively, gorilla permits can be booked directly through a respective conservation agencies depending on the country you plan to visit for gorilla safari.

Congo Mountain Gorillas

Gorillas in DR Congo

Respective gorilla destinations issue out gorilla permits to tourists who are above 15 years and each permit lets you visit only one habituated family with only an hour of a magical encounter. In Uganda, gorilla permits can be booked through our reservation team. We are a credible tour company in Uganda offering authentic gorilla trekking experiences and our team is available 24/7 to ensure you make your dream come true. Procedure of booking a gorilla permit in Uganda through a tour operator/company or Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)-an organ in charge conservation and management of wildlife in and outside protected areas in Uganda.

  • Contact our reservation team or at reservation team at UWA.
  • We shall cross check to find out availability of dates you intend to go trek mountain gorillas.
  • After, we shall get back to you as soon as possible.
  • You will be required to submit your details.
  • A deposit of 30 percent will be required for you to make and the rest can be cleared within 91 days to actual gorilla trek.
  • Payments can effected through account details provided to you by us or the tour operator you choose to deal with or reservation team at the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Once you make payment or deposit, the tour operator secure or book for you the permit.

To book a gorilla permit through tour operator is easier than booking direct with UWA given the tedious process. 80 percent of all the gorilla permits are given to only members of Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) and this means, booking with UWA leaves you with only 20 percent.

How much are gorilla permits?

Between now and 30th June, Uganda issues out gorilla permits at $600 per person-for foreign non-residents, $500-for foreign residents and 250.000 Uganda Shillings for East African residents.

However, effective 1st July, 2020 each gorilla permit in Uganda will be obtained at $700 for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents and 250.000 Uganda shillings for the East African citizens. Obtaining a gorilla permit in Uganda lets you visit gorillas in Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

In Rwanda, gorilla permits are issued out at $1500 per person. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is conducted only in Volcanoes National Park which is set in the Northern Province. To secure your gorilla permit in Rwanda, you can still get in touch with a credible ground tour operator or do so through a reservation team at Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

In the DRC, each gorilla permit is obtainable at $450 per person. Visitors on Congo gorilla safari can go gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park and permits can be booked through a registered tour operator or reserve it through the park authorities. Besides mountain gorilla trekking, DR Congo is known for Eastern lowland gorilla trekking which is conducted in Kahuzi Biega National Park.

When to book a gorilla permit

To book a gorilla permit in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC, you are advised to do so at least 3 to 4 months before the actual tracking date. Usually, other visitors do book permits even a year before the embarking on the actual trip. Please note, gorilla permits are scarce in the months of June, July, August, September and December, January, February. This is because the demand for gorilla permits increases during the peak season.

Choosing the most suitable places to stay for your Gorilla safari

In Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has four sectors where gorilla tracking takes place. There sectors are;

  • Buhoma
  • Ruhija
  • Nkuringo
  • Rushaga

Each of these sectors has different habituated gorilla groups, and each sector has different accommodation options, ranging from basic / budget lodges and campsites to mid-range and luxury lodges.

Gorilla Close Up Lodge

Gorilla Close Up Lodge

Before choosing any accommodation unit, make sure that, that lodge or camp site is located in the sector where your gorilla permit was booked. All sectors are distant from one another, therefore, staying in one sector and tracking gorillas in another sector can ruin your gorilla trekking experience! For example, if you book accommodation in Buhoma sector, with gorilla permit for Ruhija sector, you will be required to wake up early and drive for 90 minutes in the Jungle for your trek. Things become worse if your accommodation is in Buhoma sector and gorilla permits for for Rushaga or Nkuringo sectors, to be honest, you can not make it in time because the journey takes more than 3 hours.

In conclusion, for any plans to visit Uganda, Rwanda or DR Congo for mountain gorilla safaris, please make sure you reserve your gorilla permit early to avoid the last minute disappointments, and be careful while booking your accommodation unit.

Prices of Gorilla Permits 2020/ 2022

Gorilla Permit Prices In Uganda, Rwanda And Democratic Congo Republic

Gorilla permit prices in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) vary significantly. Each country has it’s set price for gorilla trekking permits. However, the three countries are the only three in the world where you can trek mountain gorillas which today remain fewer than 1063. Obtaining a gorilla permit lets you trek habituated gorilla family in the respective country’s gorilla parks. A gorilla permit is one essential document every visitor needs to have when it comes to gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo.

Mountain gorillas exist only in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Southwestern Uganda; Volcanoes National Park in Northwestern Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in Eastern DR Congo. For any plans to trek mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo, it is advisable that you reserve your permit at least 2-4 months or even a year prior embarking on the actual trek.

Gorillas in the Jungle

Gorillas in the Jungle

Gorilla permit prices in Uganda

Gorilla permit prices in Uganda as for January to 30th June 2020 range as follows; $600 for foreign non-residents, $500 for foreign residents, Uganda shillings 250000 for East African citizens. From 1st July 2020-2022, Uganda will be issuing its gorilla trekking permits at $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 foreign residents and Uganda shillings 250000 for the East African citizens.

However, for visitors who may wish to enhance on their gorilla experience, they can opt for gorilla habituation experience and each gorilla habituation permit for this adventure costs $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 for foreign residents and Uganda shillings 750000 for the East African citizens.

Gorilla permits in Uganda are obtainable in two ways. You can book a gorilla permit in Uganda through reservation team of your travel agency or tour operator, or reservation team at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) an organ that conserves and manages wildlife in and outside Uganda’s protected areas, and also in charge issuing out gorilla trekking permits to visitors. Please note, only persons above 15 years are considered eligible to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo.

Gorilla permits in Uganda can be obtained at least 2-4 months or a year before you set off for actual gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Gorilla treks in Uganda are only conducted in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. These protected areas are set in Southwestern Uganda about 9-10 hours’ drive from Entebbe or Kampala, and 4-5 hours from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Gorilla permit prices in Rwanda

Gorilla permits in Rwanda are obtainable at $1500 per person. Rwanda increased the price of its gorilla trekking permits from $750 to $1500 which applies to all visitors on Rwanda gorilla safari to Volcanoes National Park where gorilla trekking is conducted in the Land of a Thousand Hills.

Like Uganda, gorilla permits in Rwanda can be secured through your travel agent or tour operator offering excellent gorilla safari experiences. Alternatively, visitors can reserve their gorilla permits directly through reservation team at Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is done only in Volcanoes National Park which is situated in northwestern part of the country. It currently consists of 10 habituated gorilla groups; Ugenda, Karisimbi, Agashya, Bwenge, Umubano, Amahoro, Kwitonda, Susa A, Sabyinyo and Hirwa.

Gorilla permit prices in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo issues out its gorilla permits at $450 per person. You can reserve your gorilla permit in the DR Congo through your tour operator or travel agent, or directly through the park authorities and Virunga Foundation.  Booking gorilla permit in DR Congo allows you to visit the mountain gorillas in the magnificent Virunga National Park in the East and Eastern Lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park.

Gorilla Trekking Congo

Gorilla Trekking Congo

What are the requirements for booking gorilla permits in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo?

To book a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo, you should be 15 years and above. Booking gorilla permits also depends on the availability of the dates you wish to trek mountain gorillas or Eastern Lowland gorillas in DR Congo. You need a valid passport which you will be required to present to the respective park authorities before setting to search for mountain gorillas.

The details on the passport should tally or match with those of the gorilla permit. To reserve your gorilla permit, you are required to effect payment depending on the bank details submitted to you by the tour operator you are dealing with, or reservation team at respective conservation organs in gorilla destination you plan to visit.

What is included in your gorilla permit price in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo

Gorilla permit prices in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo include park entrance fees, service of the park rangers and guides. Please make sure you reserve your permit early before the actual trek to avoid any disappointment.

Additionally, the activity is done only in the morning in all destinations, start with a briefing from the park officials about gorilla trekking experience in the Jungle. The briefing starts at 7.30 am, therefore, one must spend the first night near the park headquarters, there are many accommodation options around each gorilla park. Don’t forget to carry some packed lunch or snacks and bottled mineral water for refreshment.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Unlike other countries, Rwanda is gifted with Mountain Gorillas found in Volcanoes National Park. In Rwanda, you can only track mountain gorilla in Volcanoes National Park (Parc National des Volcans), a part of the wider Virunga (mountains).

At least 500 mountain gorillas inhabit this (Virunga) complex and live at altitudes ranging from 2,300-4,500 m within the southern part of Virunga National Park (DRC), and the Volcanoes National Park in northern Rwanda, while a few use the Mgahinga National Park, southwestern Uganda.

In Rwanda, Gorilla’s families or groups are divided into two those which are for the study/ research purposes and these are only accessed by scientists and researchers. These include: Beetsme, and Pablo’s Shida’s and have the largest number of individuals
The park is easily accessible from Kigali city and visitors on tight schedule can as well consider taking a 1 day gorilla trek and back to their home countries. The quickest and low budget Gorilla safari is:

GORILLA TRACKING RWANDA SAFARI (1 DAY)
This itinerary is made to offer a quick experience of an encounter with the mountain Gorillas in Rwanda. From Kigali, the journey will take us through the rolling hills which characterize much of Rwanda. Take photos while traveling to the home of mountain Gorillas (Volcanoes national Park) to enjoy a life-time wildlife experience tracking Gorillas.

DAY 1: EARY MORNING TRANSFER TO VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
Wake up very early for break fast; be picked from your Hotel in Kigali by 4:30am Rwandan time to the home of mountain gorillas. Be at the briefing point by 7:00am for the tips concerning gorilla trekking.

In accompany of senior ranger guides, move into the jungle and start searching for the intelligent, gentle apes. Stay amidst gorillas for a maximum of one hour, take photos. Return to Mountain Gorilla view lodge or Muhabura Hotel for lunch. Return to Kigali airport for your flight back home.

Gorilla trekking permit costsUS$ 1500 per person and Gorilla permits are bought in advance from Rwanda Development Board (RDB) or from local tour operators you trust. Gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park is guaranteed since the park has ten Gorilla groups namely Susa Group with 33 members, including 2 Silverbacks, Sabyinyo Group with 13 members, including 2 Silverbacks, one of whom is the biggest of all the silverbacks in the volcanoes, Amahoro (‘Peace’) Group has 18 members, including 2 Silverback, Group 13 name changed to Agashya (meaning special) with 27 members, including 1 Silverback, Umubano (‘Live Together’) Group with 13 members, including 2 Silverbacks, Kwitonda Group has 23 members, including 4 Silverbacks, Hirwa Group with 16 members, including 1 Silverback, Karisimbi Group has 16 members, including 2 Silverbacks, Ugenda Group has 11 members including 2 Silverbacks and Bwenge Group has 11 members including 1 Silverback.

Like human families with the man as the head of the family, each gorilla group is headed by the silverback to lead, control, mate females and defend the family against any danger.

Volcanoes National Park – Gorilla tracking experience is conducted in the Bamboo forest making it less strenuous to find Gorillas in their natural environment. Unlike in Zoos, meeting Gorillas in their natural habitat is incomparable. Successful trekkers are awarded certificates by the Rwanda Development officials for record keeping and future memories.