The Great Gorilla Trekker Migration to Uganda resulted in Permit Shortages
2019 Gorilla Permit Booking in Uganda for Gorilla Trekking and the Gorilla Habituation Experience
Gorilla permit booking -Your gorilla Permits in Uganda have become a precious and a much sought after commodity in Uganda. The summer of 2018 had weeks where there was not one permit to be had. Many were disappointed not having their magical encounter with the Gentle Giants of the Forest and that in spite of Uganda Wildlife adding two additional gorilla Groups for Trekking.
The now famous Summer of 2018 Gorilla Permit shortage was a direct result of what could be called a permit price manipulation by Rwanda in May of 2017.
That single move of raising the Gorilla Permit Price from 750 USD to 1,500 USD triggered the what we call “the Great Gorilla Trekker Migration” to Uganda. The closing of Virunga National Park due to insecurity in DR Congo only added fuel to the great trekker migration resulting in severe shortages and disappointed potential Trekkers.
A re-run of the summer of 2018 will likely happen in December of 2018 and January of 2019 and more shortages on the horizon during the summer of 2019 – the Solution is that plan Gorilla Safari now and have flexible dates.
2019 – Your Practical Guide to Gorilla Permit Booking in Uganda
Where and how do I get Gorilla Permits for my Safari in Uganda in 2019?
Use an AUTO Gorilla Tour Operator such as Kabiza Wilderness Safaris for the Safari including Permits:
The easiest way is to deal with an authorized Gorilla Tour Operator that has authorized access to permits such as Kabiza Wilderness Safaris belonging to the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO). Simply book a safari with us that includes Trekking – 600 USD or the Habituation Experience which is 1500 USD for 4 hours – the latter takes place in Rushaga.
You can get your own permits, however the reality is that securing a gorilla permit without knowing the ins and outs, the way thatt things work in Uganda is a hassle, add-on top of that knowing where to book your lodging where you do not have to drive for hours to get to your gorilla group for which you have permits on the day of tracking..
(Permit Distribution – 70% go to the Association of Uganda Tour Operators – the other 30% is available to all inlcluding AUTO members. – use an authorized Tour Operator such as Kabiza Wilderness Safaris.)
We take the hassle out of the process and offer you permits and all – a Hakuna Matata – Worry-Free Safari. We are the Gorilla Matchmakers, we arrange the date with the Gorillas for you, the actual experience is up to the Gorillas you meet on your date, encounter.
There are now 136 Gorilla Trekking Permits available in Uganda – that compares to 80 in Uganda
The Number one Gorilla Permit Mistake made by African Travelers is that Gorilla Trekking is an afterthought, an add-on.
Such planning often results in no Gorilla Trekking or Gorilla Habituation Experience Permits.
The way to avoid hearing that Permits are sold out is simple. For the African Safari, it means reverse planning, not beginning with the Serengeti or Masai Mara that can be done anytime but beginning with the Gorilla Trekking portion of your time in Africa.
Avoid hearing the permits are sold out on the dates you gave us. Other Gorilla Trekking Mistakes to Avoid.
When to apply for a Permit – Book a Gorilla Safari in Uganda?
Gorilla permit booking – It is our suggestion to book a gorilla safari 6 months before the date that you want to trek. We suggest 9 months earlier during the peak seasons of June – July – August – December – January – February,
This is especially recommended as permits have risen in Rwanda to 1500 USD while Uganda maintains 600 USD permits – meaning more traffic for Uganda, and there has been an increase in Trekking in Uganda.
The thing that Gorilla Trekkers often overlook is that Uganda is much more than the Gentle Giants of the Forest but a Big-5 Plus Gorillas and Chimpanzees found in its 10 National Parks.
Kabiza Wilderness Safaris is an authorized Partner with the official Uganda Wildlife Authority Permit issuing Agency in the promotion and selling of Uganda Gorilla Permits and Gorilla Habituation Gorilla Permits. When you go on Safari with us you are dealing with a Tour Operator that has direct access to 70% as a member of AUTO plus the remaining 30%.
Gorilla Habituation Permits are obtained in the same way that we get Gorilla Permits for you – direct from Uganda Wildlife Authority at their Kampala offices.
The Permits are 1,500 USD each and they give you 4 hours with a gorilla family, add to that the trek in and trek out and you have a full-day Gorilla Trek in the Rushaga area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
There are 4 visitors allowed per gorilla group for the Habituation Experience with the Gorillas. There is now only one Gorilla Habituation Experience group that can be visited. On several occasions were able to obtain 5 permits for a family of Trekkers through a special appeal that was approved,
Kabiza Wilderness Safaris is the leading Gorilla Habituation Safari Tour Operator in Uganda. We know the ins and outs of obtaining the Habituation Experience Permits and have done so from the Beginning of this activity in 2015 when it was tested with a pilot program.
Please Note: The Gorilla Habituation Experience is not a longer Trek where you are an observer. On the Habituation Experience, you are an actual participant in the Habituation Process. The experience can vary day by day but 99% of our clients have loved it.
Will I get a Copy of the Permit:
Your Passport information for the permit is put on to a scan card. That card is with your Driver-Guide and presented on Day of Trek.
Actual Permits used to be issued but when the Uganda Wildlife Authority upgraded to more modern systems that were one item that was no longer given. Scans and payment receipts are what we have today.
Does it work? – It works well for all concerned and is efficient. We have had no problems having permits on a scan card for either the normal Gorilla Trek and the Gorilla Habituation Experience.
Permits have not been issued for several years, except on scan cards without any problems.
If you like for verification and your Peace of mind we can obtain receipts which show payments for the Permits and for most that have been sufficient.
Changing Gorilla Trekking Permit Date:
Once permits have been purchased they are locked in place. Very rarely can permit dates to be changed. This is especially true the closer it gets to the actual Trek Date. At times, at the request of our Clients, we add a buffer day in case your flight was delayed or rescheduled.
In the case of delayed or lost luggage, we have a plan – B that has worked very effectively. We have had most lost luggage Problems with Ethiopian Airlines. Should your luggage be lost we suggest some helpful ways that you can plan for that.
We encourage our clients to book flights in such a manner that the Gorilla Permit Date can be met and 99% of the time there are no problems.
Changing Gorilla Permit Dates has been a rarity for us, but we can do in some but not all cases.
Canceling your Gorilla Trekking Safari – What happens to Permit?
Over the years we have been in business as a Tour Operator this has rarely happened, When it does happen, we cannot go back to Uganda Wildlife Authority and get the refund for the permit.
What we do is this – we resell your permit to another tour operator, or use it with another client of ours that needs a permit on the same date as the canceled permit.
This has worked 99.5% of the time with one exception. For further help in regards to Safari Refunds, we ask you to read Kabiza Wilderness Safaris Term of Service where this addressed in a more detailed way.
Once again this is a rare occurrence, in most cases, we have resold the permits.
The minimum age for Gorilla Trekking is 15 years of age. Appeals can be made if the child will turn 15 during the same calendar year. Such appeals have to be done in writing by Kabiza Wilderness Safaris.
What about younger Children? Normally on such safaris when the parents track Gorillas our Kid-Friendly Driver Guide will do an alternate Child-Friendly activity that is available near the Park and are proper for that age-level.
For toddlers, we hire a Nurse-Nanny, normally from the excellent Bwindi Community Hospital. This has worked well for us, for the parents and for the children.
Minimum Age for Gorilla Trekking is 15 – it does not matter whether the child looks mature. 15 is the Minimum Age for Gorilla Trekking.
Discounted 450 USD Gorilla Permits are discontinued for 2018-2019:
Gorilla permit booking – Discounted Gorilla Permits were discontinued for 2018. Rwanda’s Gorilla Permit Price is 1,500 USD, Uganda’s Gorilla Permits are 600 USD – a 900 USD savings.
Uganda Wildlife Authority discontinued the 450 USD discounted Gorilla Permits during April, May, November of the year. This was done after Rwanda had increased its Gorilla Permits to 1,500 USD.
A 900 USD saving over permit prices in Rwanda is considered a value not needing the additional 150 USD discount for the off-season.
You will find many Tour Operators that still show discounted permits, that however is not reality. If in doubt, check the official Uganda Wildlife Authority Tariff page. It will not be listed and the same applies to discounted Chimpanzee permits.