Why is it important to book gorilla permits in advance?
Why is it important to book gorilla permits in advance? In Uganda, there are two natural habitats for mountain gorillas which include Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park, and they are found in the southwestern region of Uganda. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park holds over 18 habituated gorilla families and each family is trekked by only 8 people per day for 1 hour. Therefore, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park has 144 gorilla permits available every day. Tourists who are interested in visiting mountain gorillas of Bwindi forest, you are advised to pay a deposit for a gorilla permit in advance. This is not applying in only Uganda but also to other gorilla destinations such as Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A gorilla permit in Rwanda is the most expensive among others and goes at $1500 per person per trek while that one for Uganda costs $700 for foreign nonresidents per person per trek, for foreign residents are $600 and 250,000 Ugandan shillings for East African citizens and the Democratic Republic of Congo is the one with the cheapest gorilla trekking permit which is going at $450 per person per trek. One to participate in gorilla trekking must have a valid gorilla permit which allows you to see these unique apes.
Reasons why is it important to book gorilla permits in advance
High demand for gorilla permits during the peak season.
Most of the travelers have a dream of visiting the few remaining mountain gorillas on earth. About 90% of guests come to Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda to do gorilla trekking as their priority. This means that gorilla trekking permits are in high demand if compared to the availability hence chances for those who book early enough and pay a deposit.
Gorilla permits at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) are issued out on first come first serve thus tourists who book early have high chances of getting the gorilla permits.
Gorilla permits are issued to the clients who book in advance thus tourists who book for permits early enough, are assured of accessing the Gorilla permits first than the ones who purchase them directly at the offices after having arrived in Uganda. Currently, Gorilla permits in Uganda are in high demand due to the high cost of Gorilla permits in Rwanda. The high demand for permits in Uganda has caused a scarcity of Gorilla permits thus some trips end up being canceled. June, July, August, September, December, January, and February, is the peak of the season hence the high demand for Gorilla permits.
Timely booking of lodges and hotels.
Early booking of a Gorilla permit enables early booking of suitable lodges ensuring quality food and accommodation services. This is applicable in all four trekking sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable National park. The lodge booked, depends on the Gorilla group that exists in the region. Lodges in Bwindi are split into Rushaga, Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Buhoma sectors that are necessary for a tourist to trek Mountain Gorillas near the lodge allocated.
The fact that the Gorilla permits in Bwindi National Park bear the name of the sector, makes it easy for the travel operators to book the appropriate Safari Lodge which saves time and energy of travelers on the date of trekking the Gorilla. Each sector is at distance from one to another, it could be inconveniencing for clients and tiresome if a client sleeps in one sector and is to drive to trek in another sector the next day. Lodges get occupied to capacity at the peak of the season since they also serve rooms on a first-come-first-served basis.
Ensuring Early and Enough Preparations
Early booking of a Gorilla permit, allows the traveler to have enough preparations for the travel. This can be in form of physical exercises that encourages physical fitness when that day comes. Since it is a life-changing experience, trekking gorillas is not for the weak-hearted hence travelers are advised to have enough preparations for this adventurous safari to eliminate and disappointment.
Purchasing a gorilla permit gives relief to a traveler by relaxing while waiting for the actual day of the Gorilla trekking experience than being stressed while looking for money to pay at the last moment. When the payments have been done, everything is left in the hands of the travel operator.
Therefore, advanced booking of gorilla permits, is essential for all travelers who intend to trek these giant families of the great apes. Book for a gorilla safari to Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo for an ultimate, Authentic, Adventurous, and lifetime experience.
What to carry on my packing list?
You need to consider what to carry for gorilla trekking Bwindi forest. Try as much as possible to carry the following;
Hiking boots make you comfortable for handling muddy and slippery slopes.
Garden gloves are also important because you hike while touching the mountainous areas.
Long-sleeved clothes protect you from tropical insect bites because this activity is carried out through hiking thick forests.
A good camera with extra batteries to capture the mountain gorillas as well as a binocular for a bird lover.
Other items you need to put in your bag are insect repellent, a hat, waterproof jacket, sunglasses, enough drinking water, snacks, and packed lunch, and others.
A hiking stick will be provided at the starting point.
Accessibility of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National park lies in southwestern Uganda about 512 km away from Kampala. The park can easily be accessed using different routes which include the following.
Queen Elizabeth national park route.
The route passes through the park’s southern Ishasha sector providing a chance to a stopover to search for the famous tree-climbing lions. Bwindi is about 160 km from Mweya and 64km from Ishasha.
Kampala – Ntungamo, Rukungiri- Kihihi – Buhoma.
This is the quickest and most direct route from Kampala. It follows a tarmac road up Rukungiri for 390km followed by about 112 km on a marram road to Buhoma.
Kampala – kabale – Kanungu – Buhoma.
The route follows a tarmac highway to Kabale districts about 414kms. The next section flows a winding marram road of about 120km that passes through Kanungu town and Kanyantorogo and takes about 4-5hrs.
Travelers can fly from Entebbe or Kampala (Kanjansi) airfield to the modern tarmac airfield in Kisoro district where visitors to southern Bwindi can hire a vehicle to Nkuringo and Rushaga tourism zones. Meanwhile, chatter planes from Entebbe and Kajansi to Kayonza airstrip in savanna 40km away can be used when you intend to travel to the Buhoma tourism zone is also possible.