Gorilla Permits availability In Uganda
Gorilla permits in Uganda are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority a government body that manages tourism and wildlife conservation. It is possible to book the permits directly from UWA. But the most convenient way is to use a reliable tour operator. Most tour operators include a gorilla permit as part of the overall cost of a gorilla safari.
Mountain gorillas in Uganda are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Which is home to about 19 habituated gorilla families and Mgahinga gorilla national park which is home to one habituated gorilla family. And gorilla trekking in both destinations allows a maximum of 8 people to visit each habituated gorilla family. Therefore there are about 160 gorilla trekking permits that are available for visitors daily.
These are split between the habituated gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park.
Note that a permit only grants access for a trek and one hour with the gorillas. It does not include any other costs, such as accommodation, guides, trackers, meals, etc.
Gorilla Permit Availability and Securing your Gorilla Permit
Presently there is only one way to obtain Gorilla and Chimps permits. And that’s going through the Kampala-based Uganda Wildlife Authority central reservations office. Pre-booking permits for as early as 6 – 12 months is advisable as it’s practically impossible to book the same day or a few weeks (2 years is max).
The earlier you book, the more choice you have on where you track and where you stay. Last-minute bookings may be possible during low season or when just one or two people are tracking. But the availability of gorilla tracking permits is not guaranteed. This applies in Uganda in particular where there is high competition for permits.
Individuals can independently book trekking permits by applying directly to UWA via Email and Telephone obtainable from their website. This option however requires a lot of patience since it turns out frustrating to many. If you are buying gorilla tracking permits directly from UWA, you will need to send them the bank payment confirmation email.
The best and simple way to successfully obtain your permit is to use a Ugandan Tour Operator that is a member of the association of Uganda tour operators. Over a thousand Tour Companies are operating in Uganda of those are officially recognized partners in the Marketing and Sales of Gorilla Permits.
Understanding that Permits are non-transferable and unique to each traveler if you have booked the permits but for some reason, they are unable to travel an earlier notice allows a local Tour Operator to resale the permits though this cannot be guaranteed.