Gorilla trekking is a sensational experience that every traveler dreams to have on their safari in Uganda, because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that can happen in only four national parks in the world; these are Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National Parks in Uganda as well as Virunga National Park of Democratic Republic of Congo.
There is nothing as remarkable as looking eye to eye with these endangered and rare creatures which makes them to be highly sought after worldwide. The excitement of this activity starts from the time you confirm that there are gorilla permits available for the date you intend to trek these giant primates, through the time you obtain your tracking permit, the time you land in Uganda for the expedition up to when you finally meet the mountain gorillas.
Imagine getting ready for this activity and then you happen to change your mind (obviously due to unavoidable circumstances) not to visit Uganda for gorilla tracking; imagining what would happen to your gorilla permit? This is the question for everyone.
The good news is that Uganda Wildlife Authority (Uganda Wildlife Activity, which is in charge of selling gorilla permits) can be able to refund your money back depending on the number of days you want to cancel before the actual tracking date.
If you cancel trekking due to illnesses, UWA refunds at least 50% of total permit money upon recommendation of the warden in Charge who has to ascertain that you are sick. This policy applies to those tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National park.
For those who may track the entire day but fail to find a mountain gorilla family for one reason or another, they shall be refunded at least 75% of the gorilla tracking fee, effected through UWA headquarters in Kampala.
When you decide to cancel your gorilla trekking permit intentionally, the Uganda Wildlife Authority retains the following percentages of the gorilla permit fees;
Cancellation from 0 to 8 days to the tracking date, you shall not be refunded anything by UWA.
For cancellation from 9 to 45 days to the tracking date, UWA shall retain 75% of the tracking fee and refund only 25 % to the tourist.
From 46 to 90 days to the booked tracking Date, 50% of the total permit fee will be refunded and UWA shall retain 50%.
From 91 days and above, 75% will be refunded and UWA retains 25% of the gorilla permit fee. Travelers should note that this only applies to those who have paid 100% gorilla permit fees because deposit is non-refundable.
Gorilla trekking has continuously become a competitive activity yet the number of gorilla permits sold per day are not increased or only increase but slightly.
This sets in a lot of competition for gorilla permits; hence tourists are advised to book for permits at least 6 months in advance before the tracking date. The 6 months reservation is a short term while the long term reservation can even be up to 2 years before the tracking date.
What travelers need to do is to pay a minimum deposit of 30% at the time of reservation, and the balance can be paid at least 91 days before the gorilla tracking date. If travelers fail to pay within the required 91 days, the reservation will be automatically cancelled without refund.
The above mentioned gorilla cancellation policy is only effected by UWA and not the tour operators who sell gorilla tours also have their own safari cancellation policies where you will be charged for the administrative fees (in case you booked for the permits through a tour operator)
If you book for a gorilla permit but would wish to cancel it due to unavoidable circumstances; e.g. sickness or other personal issues, you deserve a refund by UWA as per the set cancellation terms and conditions.