How to Book a Gorilla Permit for Africa gorilla Safari
For anyone to participate in a gorilla trekking experience, one must first attain a gorilla trekking permit which is issued by the respective countries ‘boards concerned with wildlife and tourism.However,there are various ways through which one can book a gorilla permit and these include;
Through UWA-Uganda Wildlife Authority
To book your gorilla permit (from out of Uganda) you first have to contact UWA’s reservation office by email inquiring about availability of the dates you intend to track the gorillas. Note that you need to consider a full day of travel from Kampala to Bwindi after you have landed in Kampala.
If the exact dates you want are unavailable, you can request UWA to let you know of the nearest dates. You then reply to them expressing your intent to book those permits, and requesting them to temporarily hold them as you make payment. At this time, they will advise you of their banking details, so that you can proceed to make an electronic transfer of the money. Please remember to immediately send a copy of the transaction voucher/ receipt by email or fax to UWA.
The transfer should usually take not more than 3 days and UWA will keep your tentative booking for at least 7 days as they await the transfer to go through. Please ensure that you instruct you bank to deduct the bank charges from you. Otherwise if the money sent is less, your permit may not be booked.
Through a Tour and travel agent
Many intending gorilla trekkers have however found the above procedure tedious and have sought our quicker and less tedious ways of reserving their gorilla permits by working with local Uganda tour operator. The tour operators will usually charge a fee of US$25-$60 per gorilla permit. Gorillas trekking will not charge you for buying gorilla permits if you are getting other tour services like transfers and tours through them but if you only would like us to help you acquire the gorilla permit alone, a maximum of $35 applies on each gorilla permit we book.
The procedure is almost similar as above, except that the tour agencies tend to speed-up the process and most likely they will get you gorilla permit confirmation faster.
1. Contact us and let us know of the dates you want to tour Uganda with the days you want to see the gorilla permits
2. We let you know if the days you want for your gorilla tour are available for gorilla tracking and tentatively book them for you but with no guarantee.
3. We send you our bank details for you to send the money for gorilla permits through wire transfer or Visa credit card for charging.
4. It takes about 16 hours for us to receive the money from your bank and pay for your permits. We shall send you acknowledgement for the money and the official Uganda Wildlife Authority Receipt (by scan and email). Please ensure you pay the bank charges when authorizing the transaction.
We do not charge any fee for gorilla permits buying/booking if you are booking the rest of the tour (or a part of it) with us. In case we do charge, this is to cater for any costs like telephony, transport, etc. we incur to get you the permit.
5. Send us your passport details to register your gorilla permits. Usually, we only need the Full names, passport number, and nationality. So always let us help you book your Gorilla Permit and Safari.
6. We register your names and get the gorilla permits. We send you scanned copies of your gorilla permit.
As soon as the payment has been received, the permits for gorilla tracking will be purchased. Getting a gorilla permit is not a guarantee of seeing a gorilla. However, the chances of seeing them are 98%.
However, Uganda tour operators through their umbrella association (AUTO) almost buy up to 80% of the available tracking permits at up to 2 years out from the intended month of tracking. Each member may purchase up to 20 permits in any month. A deposit of 30% (US$75-) is payable on each permit booked with the balance needing to be paid 3 months (91 days) from the month of tracking by the first working day of the month Monday-Friday.
Gorilla Permits in Rwanda
Before one is accepted to go for gorilla trekking, there are various procedures that one should adhere to before being given a green flag to go in the actual process of gorilla trekking. The most paramount procedure here is securing a gorilla permit which can be done through agents or directly from the responsible authorities.Below is a detailed account of how one can attain these gorilla permits;
Gorilla tracking in Rwanda is done in Volcanoes National Park and gorilla trekking/ tracking permits booking is managed by the Rwanda Tourism Office (ORTPN). Each gorilla permit costs US$ 1500 On each particular day, about 80 persons can visit Rwanda gorillas, 8 persons per each gorilla family given that there are only ten groups.
Gorilla permits are in high demand, because of the stiff competition for them, and therefore are booked with payment on the basis of first come first served. Book your gorilla permit in advance to avoid disappointment.
To track gorillas each person must have the day’s gorilla permit which needs to be arranged and paid for in advance, preferably at least 10 months for the high seasons - June-September and December-February; or latest 4-6 months in advance for the low seasons - October-November and March-May. This can be made possible by the availability of tour operators that are very competent and they normally book your gorilla permits at no extra cost.
Gorilla permits are booked with payment on the basis of first come first serve. Availability of gorilla permits for a required date is not guaranteed. There is a lot of competition for the gorilla permits, which makes it hard to get one for yourself. Any delay in confirmation and or payment may mean that you will be unable to obtain the permit on your preferred date.
Once you book and send your money for permits, the date cannot change (changing a tracking date means a cancellation fee is charged). Rwanda charges $300 for each permit date changed.
There is also another option of booking gorilla permits directly through ORTPN.In case you have to book a gorilla permit from outside Rwanda,you first have to contact ORTPN’sreservation office by email inquiring about availability of the dates you intend to track the gorillas. If the exact dates you want are unavailable, you can request ORTPN to let you know of the nearest dates. You then reply to them expressing your intent to book those permits, and requesting them to temporarily hold them as you make payment. At this time, they will advise you of their banking details, so that you can proceed to make an electronic transfer of the money.
Please remember to immediately send a copy of the transaction voucher/ receipt by email or fax to ORTPN.
The transfer should usually take not more than 3 days and ORTPN will keep your tentative booking for at least 7 days as they await the transfer to go through. Please ensure that you instruct your bank to deduct the bank charges from you. Otherwise if the money sent is less, your permit may not be booked.
The most rampant and sought after module of attaining gorilla permits is the use of tour operators and travel agents. Many intending gorilla trekkers have however found the above procedure tedious and have sought our quicker and less tedious ways of reserving their gorilla permits by working with local Rwanda tour operator. Gorillas and wildlife safaris will not charge you for buying gorilla permits if you are getting other tour services through them.
The procedure is almost similar as above, except that the tour agencies tend to speed-up the process and most likely you will get your gorilla permit confirmation faster as they always send you a scanned copy of those permits as soon as they are issued thus an assurance of proof that you are dealing with competent people. However, there are certain things that you have to put right before your permit is issued like the dates you want to track these primates, your full names plus those of other people you are travelling with as they appear in your passport.
If at all lady luck is on your side, you might get a last minute gorilla permit from any tour operator. There are situations when some tourists buy gorilla permits and then eventually end up not making it to the actual tracking due to various reasons beyond their control. So these permits remain in the hands of these tour operators who now begin looking for buyers of these permits. So when you avail yourself and you want to track on the same dates as inscribed on the gorilla permits available, then you get yourself one at the last hour.