Gorilla tracking in uganda
How to plan a successful gorilla trekking / tracking safari in Uganda
“Suddenly, some twigs snapped; Reuben stopped speaking in mid-sentence and signaled to stay put. Between him and me, a massive gorilla burst out of the bush, followed by wife and child. They stopped in the middle of the path, but the old male disliked something. He looked in all directions, stopped short when he noticed us and dived under the shrubs opposite. While his wife followed obediently, the puppy hesitantly did not move … Left alone, he eventually felt uneasy and looked around helpless. Thank God, mother was already there! Without fuss, she grabbed the small curious youngster by the hand, slapped him on the bottom, and dragged him in the secure woodland.”
Walter Baumgȁrtel, Kőnig in Gorilland, Stuttgart 1960
The Gorilla Permit
The number one item on the list of planning a gorilla safari in Uganda is the gorilla permit. The permit is your gorilla trekking access pass.
Issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the permit allows you one to four hours with a single gorilla family. It comes with complimentary offers like two armed rangers for your security, a trekking guide, and a team of rangers to track the gorillas ahead of you for assurance of meeting the jungle giants.
What is the price of a Uganda gorilla permit?
Any foreign non-resident above the age of 15 can track gorillas for a permit price of USD 700. Foreign residents pay USD 600, and East African Nationals pay 250,000 Uganda Shillings (UGX). However, this permit only allows you one hour with a selected gorilla family.
To get more time with the gorillas in their natural habitat, go for the Habituation permit that currently costs USD 1,500. The Habituation permit offers at least four hours with a gorilla family. If you’re keen to find a physical challenge that will lead to spending priceless jungle hours with gorillas, this is it!
Are there discounted gorilla permits?
Occasionally, the Uganda Wildlife Authority discounts the gorilla permits at least once every year. For example, between Dec 2020 and June 2021, UWA discounted the permit to $400/$300/150,000 (UGX) for foreign non-residents/residents/EA Nationals. To take advantage of the discounted permits, reach out to your tour operator about the latest developments.
Where and how to get a Uganda gorilla permit?
Uganda Wildlife Authority, a government conservation arm, is the only one authorized to issue permits on behalf of the government. You can purchase yours directly from UWA offices in Kampala.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to deal with the cumbersome logistics of rescheduling, canceling, or even just processing to buy a permit, get one through a licensed tour operator in Uganda like scb tours and travel https://scbtoursandtravel.com
UWA licenses several local operators to sell 80% percent of the permits. The other 20% is what is sold directly to tourists. Operators charge about 5-30% of the permit price to deal with the logistics. It is a fair deal considering the modalities of permit processing.
How many gorilla permits are available in Uganda?
Most of the 1070 plus world’s mountain gorillas are wild and far from human reach. However, researchers in Uganda have Habituated 21 gorilla families for tourism and research. 19 gorilla families are available for gorilla trekking, and two are reserved for research and habituation . UWA allows only 8 people to visit and spend one hour with a single gorilla family per day for trekking. Only 4 people can participate in the habituation process with a single wild gorilla family.
Therefore, the Uganda Wildlife Authority issues 152 gorilla trekking permits and 8 Habituation permits per day, all year round.
What are Uganda’s Covid-19 entry restrictions?
Suppose you’re planning your trip to go on an Africa safari and see the mountain gorillas in Uganda, head over to the nearest authorized lab and take your last COVID-19 Vaccine Jab. Don’t leave home for Africa without it; it’s a dangerous journey through airports, flights, and hotels to make it to the gorillas, and a vaccine is the best protection you can have.
A vaccine is not a requirement; however, a VALID NEGATIVE PCR COVID-19 TEST CERTIFICATE is! Immigration will roast you if you don’t carry one that’s been taken within 72 hours of your arrival.
There will be no mandatory testing for COVID for all incoming travelers but testing on exit may be a requirement considering the travel restrictions of your destination country.
These restrictions may occasionally change, and the best way to keep up is to talk with your local travel manager at a relaxing time before you catch your flight to Uganda.
If you make it through the COVID Police, you’ll be one step closer to trekking Uganda gorillas. But you have to deal with the immigration office next.
Do I require a visa to travel to Uganda?
Most probably, yes! Unless your country falls under the COMESA partnership, you need a tourist visa to enter Uganda for gorilla trekking. However, you should check with your consulate about the latest Uganda tourist visa developments.
A Uganda tourist visa cost USD 50 per person and allows you 60 days into the country. If you plan to visit Uganda’s East African neighbors, Rwanda and Kenya, we recommend an East African Visa that costs $100 and lasts 60 days after your gorilla trekking adventure.
From the June presidential directive, all visas to Uganda shall be issued only through the online portal visas.immigration.go.ug to avoid cueing crowds at the airport’s immigration office. Your flight may not even let you onboard if you don’t have a visa processed online.
What gorilla trekking operating procedures should I observe?
Testing negative for COVID-19, wearing a facemask, sanitizing hands regularly, physical distancing, and avoiding public places are the standard gorilla trekking operating procedures travelers should observe from the airport all the way to that jungle moment with you and the gorillas.
You will be required to have two facemasks for the gorilla trekking activity, preferably N95 facemasks, for their durability during physically demanding tasks like trekking. We understand cloth masks are environmentally friendly and would be a better choice, but most of them are homemade and not medically tested. You’ll be required to wear a fresh mask when you meet the gorillas for preventive reasons.
All-access points at hotels, national parks, and random places have temperature checkpoints. Don’t be so frightened or tight teethed when patrons ask to check your temperature before allowing you entry.
Your transfer driver/guide on this Uganda gorilla safari will be following stringent guidelines to keep your vehicle disinfected and to standard capacity to minimize infections. Otherwise, they may lose their license.
The government of uganda imposed a nightly curfew that sweeps across the country from 06:00 to 05:00. If you’re not transferring between the airport and your destination, ask your guide to avoid driving late hours and keep away from public areas. Most hotels in Uganda, gorilla safari lodges, and camps have vast acres of compasses that allow you to stroll uncontrollably. Stay within the hotel or lodge’s compound after curfew in uganda