Seeing mountain gorillas is the wild, is becoming as become a must do activity for all Africa adventure seekers today. Although it attracts many tourists going trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest and Virunga Conservation Area including Mgahinga Gorilla National Park near Bwindi, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park Eastern DRC.
Only a few tourists (8 tourists – per 1 gorilla family per day in Uganda and Rwanda and 6 people per 1 gorilla family in DRC are in position to encounter endangered gorillas just for 1 hour in the wild.
When buying a gorilla permit you must be in position to respect all the eco tourism rules and regulations governing gorilla trekking taking place at secured, nature and tourist friendly stations. Tourists are welcomed directly by the official tourism bodies selling permits and managing gorilla trekking and other tourism activities.
Depending on the choice of a tourist, trusted tour operators organize gorilla safaris in Rwanda, Uganda and DRC also sell gorilla permits through their umbrella associations at no extra cost.
They also organize tailor made gorilla trekking tours and other wildlife safaris including cultural tours.
Therefore, tourists are required to contact their tour operators to decide on the specific dates and month of the year intended to trek gorillas. Depending on the availability of gorilla permits, it’s easier to effect payments and confirmation for your gorilla trekking permit with the online gorilla permit booking means. Gorilla permits must be booked and paid for in advance of 2-3 months because there are few permits which completely sold out daily, hence the earlier the booking the higher the guarantee for your permit.
There are several means available for tourists to book their gorilla trekking permits directly with Uganda wildlife authority for Uganda, Rwandan development Board or Virunga national park staff. Tourists can apply through reservations emails, direct booking and front office telephone contact. Once you have agreed, payment procedures are sent for you to return back with proof of payment via email.
Gorilla permits in Uganda are directly and officially sold by the Uganda Wildlife Authority for Bwindi impenetrable forest national park with 12 habituated gorilla families and Mgahinga gorilla national park with 1 gorilla family. The number of tourist visiting each group of gorillas is 8 per day. Hence a total of 96 permits are sold out daily, thus one must have booked and secured one in advance. Each gorilla permit costs 600 USD per foreign non residents, 450 USD for foreign residents.
Bwindi is divided into 4 gorilla trekking sections (Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga) all with habituated gorillas monitored by the Uganda wildlife guides, tracker and rangers who give tourists a memorable experience with gorillas. Given the different gorilla trekking trailheads, trekkers should be able to stay in lodges or camps within or near the park since trekking is starts early morning.
Trekkers can use an electronic wildlife card to avoid carrying large sums of money during transfer from Kampala to southwestern Uganda. Upon entry into the park, tourists present the card for registration and verification for gorilla trekking.
In Rwanda, gorilla permits are issued based on available purchases and demand by the Rwandan Development Board for Volcanoes national park Rwanda. The board staff is available 24-7 to respond to clients questions about gorilla permits booking. Volcanoes national park has 10 habituated gorilla families with over raping home ranges.
Rwandan gorilla permit is sold at 750 USD per person, on a daily basis, a total of 80 permits are sold because each gorilla family is limited to 8 tourists only for 1 hour per day. Trekking is conducted at kinigi the main center for tourist registration, orientation for gorilla trekking led by Rwandan development board guides.
Gorilla trekking permits for Virunga national park DRC can be officially and directly obtained from the park website www.visitvirunga.org which works closely with Congolese institute for wildlife and nature conservation. Each gorilla permit is sold at 450 USD per person. Virunga has 6 habituated gorilla families, contrary to Rwanda and Uganda, the number of trekkers is limited to 6 people per gorilla family for 1 hour per day.