It is easy to book gorilla permits for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The numbers of gorilla permits available for gorilla trekking have increased to 104 passes available per day.
Currently gorilla permits cost US$700 per permit including park including entry fee and are booked on first come first serve basis. Gorilla permits can be booked at the Uganda Wildlife Authority Offices in Kamwokya, Kampala or through local tour operators who get availability updates online from UWA. You can also book a fully inclusive tour with a gorilla permit from international and local tour operators.
There are 18 habituated mountain gorilla groups that are open to tourists and these groups can be visited from various sectors of the park; Buhoma Sector, Nkuringo sector, Rushaga, and Ruhija.
How to check availability of Gorilla Permits in Uganda
Are you planning and interested in trekking mountain gorillas in Uganda? Uganda is one of the three countries in the world where you can see the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, the other countries being Rwanda and DR Congo. For you to be able to see the gorillas, you will need to have a gorilla permit which is recommended to be secured in advance. However, for you to book your gorilla trek, it is advised you first confirm availability of gorilla permits with your tour operator or with Uganda Wildlife Authority so that you are not frustrated by booking for sold out dates. It is easy to check availability of Gorilla Permits in Uganda once you inform your tour operator or Uganda Wildlife Authority directly. You will be able to know which dates have permits available and then you can book your trek on those dates accordingly.
Cost of Gorilla Permits in Uganda
A Gorilla Permit costs USD700 per person per trek for Foreign Non-Residents, USD600 for East African Residents and USD70 for East African Citizens. There is also gorilla habituation permit which costs USD1500 and this allows stay with the gorillas for four hours as opposed to one hour allotted for gorilla tracking permit.
Procedure for Booking Gorilla Permits:
- Booking Office
- Booking for all gorilla permits in Bwindi and Mgahinga is done at UWA Headquarters in Kampala. For permit fee information please check on the tariffs section.
- Long Term (Two Years in Advance) Booking Allocations
- Advance booking shall be allowed up to two years as long as a deposit of 30% is made and the balance shall be paid 91 days to the tracking date. Late topup of 70% is not permitted but may be considered 7 days, and will attract a Surcharge of 20% beyond which deposit is forfeited without refund.
- 80% of all the gorilla permits in each month can be booked for two years in advance by the Association of Uganda Tour Operations (AUTO) members only. Foreign tour operators will book through local tour operators.
- Each tour operator (AUTO) shall book up to only 20 permits for that particular month on the day the booking opens, which is the first working day (Monday to Friday) of the month.
- Short time booking (three months in advance)
- Individual trackers can buy from Uganda Wildlife Authority not more than 2 permits for the month. There is no guarantee, which dates or how many per day will be available. Booking can be done on the day the booking opens, which is the first working day of the month.
- Permit Limits
- Permits not sold on the day the booking opens will be open for sale the following day with no limits on the number each tour operator would buy.
- Refunds/Cancellation Guidelines
- UWA shall refund 50% tracking fee, if the visitor fails to track due to illness, this will be at recommendation of the Warden in Charge and this clause only applies to visitors who have already tracked BINP or MGNP.
- Visitors who fail to track the gorillas (MGNP) as a result of their movement to the neighboring country shall receive a full refund on their permits. However, those who would have tracked the whole day and failed to view the gorillas for one reason or another will be refunded 75% of the tracking fee. All refunds shall be effected through the Reservation Office at UWA Headquarters in Kampala.
- UWA will retain the following percentages upon cancellations;
0 – 8 days to tracking date – no refund
9 – 45 days to tracking date – 75% (25% refund to client)
46-90 days to tracking date – 50%
91 days and above to tracking date – 25% (75% refund to client)
- Any refund to be made on the 30% deposit shall be at the value of the permit.
- Permits must be sold at face value, whoever sells at higher value will be penalized.
- Primary sale of permits by individuals or tour companies anywhere is illegal. All permits MUST be sold by Uganda Wildlife Authority only.
- Payment for gorilla permits must be made directly to Uganda Wildlife
- Reschedules of Permit Reservations
Reschedules of Permit reservations are not permitted, except if it is more than 91 days to tracking date and is within (7) seven days of rescheduled date.
This will attract a reschedule fee of 20%. Any other charges of the date will be considered as a cancellation and a re-booking. A cancellation policy will therefore apply and re-booking a new date at the full cost of a permit.
The acceptable payment methods are:
- Cash (Uganda Shillings, US dollars, GB Pounds, Euros),
Note: 1. US$ notes below $100 should be 1990 & above
- Us$100 notes should be 1997 & above
- Bank Transfers (net of the bank charges)
- Traveler’s Cheques (Present receipt of purchase at point of sale & 1% charge)
The tracking time is limited from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All visitors are expected back at the campground by 7:00 p.m
Why should you book your gorilla trekking permits through a Tour Operator?
Booking your tour through a tour company will help you get advice on the booking process. The tour operator can easily find out availability, can easily design the itinerary, will advise on the best accommodation suitable for your travel, in case of any need to cancel, the tour company easily handles the cancellation or reschedule with Uganda wildlife Authority. You will as well be advised on different gorilla trekking safari packages ranging from budget, mid-range to luxury options that you can book including the gorilla permits and extending the tour to neighboring wildlife national parks for more safari.