How to book 2021 gorilla tracking and trek permits for your tour in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park – Quickstep illustration of how you can buy the gorilla permit 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 unreliability of the mountain gorillas of Mgahinga, most of the gorilla permits sold are for Bwindi.
From December 2020 to June 31st 2021, each gorilla permit costs US$400 in Uganda but will cost USD700 starting July 2021.
Booking 2021 Gorilla Permits directly through UWA
To book your gorilla permit (from out of Uganda) you first have to contact UWA’s reservation office by email inquiring about 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.
If the exact dates you want are unavailable, you can request UWA to let you know of the nearest dates. You then reply to them expressing your intent to book those permits, and requesting 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 electronic transfer of the money. Please remember to immediately send a copy of the transaction voucher/ receipt by email or fax to UWA.
The transfer should usually take not more than 3 days and UWA will keep your tentative booking for at least 7 days as they await the transfer to go through. Please ensure that you instruct you bank to deduct the bank charges from you. Otherwise is the money sent is less, your permit may not be booked.
Booking Gorilla Permits through a Tour and travel agent
Many intending gorilla trekkers have however found the above procedure tedious and have sought our quicker and less tedious ways of reserving their gorilla permits by working with local Uganda tour operator. The tour operators will usually charge a fee of US$25-$60 per gorilla permit. Gorillas and wildlife safaris will not charge you for buying gorilla permits if you are getting other tour services (like transfers and tours) through them but if you only would like us to help you acquire the gorilla permit alone, a maximum of $45 applies on each gorilla permit we book.
The procedure is almost similar as above, except that the tour agencies tend to speed-up the process, and most likely you will get your gorilla permit confirmation faster.
- Contact us and let us know of the dates you want to tour Uganda with the days you want to see the gorilla permits
- We let you if the days you want for your gorilla tour are available for gorilla tracking and tentatively book them for you (but with no guarantee).
- We send you our bank details for you to send the money for gorilla permits.
- It takes about 16 hours for us to receive the money from your bank and pay for your permits. We shall send you an acknowledgment for the money and the official Uganda Wildlife Authority Receipt (by scan and email). Please ensure you pay the bank charges when authorizing the transaction. We do not charge any fee for gorilla permits buying/booking if you are booking the rest of the tour (or a part of it) with us. In case we do charge, this is to cater for any costs like telephony, transport, etc we incur to get you the permit.
- Send us your passport details to register your gorilla permits. Usually, we only need the Full names, passport numbers, and nationality.
- We register your names and get the gorilla permits. We send you scanned copies of your gorilla permit.
As soon as the payment has been received, the permits for gorilla tracking be purchased. Getting a gorilla permit is not a guarantee of seeing a gorilla. However, the chances of seeing them are 98%.
However, Uganda tour operators through their umbrella association (AUTO) almost buy up to 80% of the available tracking permits at up to 2 years out from the intended month of tracking. Each member may purchase 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.
Individuals and non-members of AUTO can purchase 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.
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