In Uganda Mountain Gorillas are found in two National parks that is Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which are all situated in the southwestern region of Uganda, at the rim of the western arm of the rift valley. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the oldest and the largest park covering an area of 331square kilometer of its low land.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the tropical rain forests that survived in ancient times, is the famous Park that has gorilla trekking as the major tourist attraction in the world. With almost half of the mountain gorillas living in the forest, Bwindi is a favorite destination for gorilla trekking safaris in Africa.
The less known Mgahinga Gorilla National park is the smallest park in Uganda with high altitudes ranging between 2227meter and 4127meter bordered with Rwanda and Congo. It was formed to protect the rare Mountain Gorillas that inhabits its dense forest Mountain Gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking is one of the most interesting and experiencing activities that everyone wishes to engage in, which involves walking in the wilderness of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in search of these great apes. Though it is an enjoyable activity it requires someone to be reasonably fit before undertaking to venture in the activity, Gorilla trekking can be done with a maximum of 8 tourists booked per group per day.
Apart from the mountain gorillas, there are many other things to see on a Uganda safari through Bwindi Forest. Tourists tracking the mountain gorillas can be able to view waterfalls, swamps, rivers, and high levels of wildlife conservation. Elephants can be sometimes be sighted and this why you are escorted by armed rangers for your safety in case they charge at you. They scare shoot so that they do not get closer.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has 16 habituated Gorilla families which are found in its four different sectors. The Buhoma in the of the Park with four Gorilla families, Ruhija which is found in the eastern part of the park with four groups of Gorilla families, Rushaga and Nkuringo in the south with five and three Gorilla families respectively. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has one Gorilla family for Gorilla trekking.
How to Book Gorilla Permits
In Uganda, gorilla permits can only be sold at Uganda Wildlife Authority at a cost of $600 per person per trek for non-foreigners and East African Residents with a valid work permit at USD450 per person per trek. Contact Great Adventures Uganda to book you a gorilla permit in advance as they tend to sell out quickly, especially in the high season months.
Gorilla permits need someone to book them at least three months in advance. Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) allows advanced booking of up to two years as long as you pay a deposit of 30% and the balance can be paid within 91days of the trekking date.
Beyond 91 days of clearing the balance of 70% is not allowed, you will have to pay 20% as surcharge beyond which deposit is made but without refund 80% of Gorilla permits. Tour operators can book Gorilla permits for that particular month on the day the booking opens.
Booking of Gorilla permits can be done only on week days from Monday to Friday the first working days of the month and are not sold on the day the booking opens will be and it also limits on each tour operator will buy.
If visitors fail to trek Gorillas due to weakness in the body will be advised by the warden who is in charge, they make a refund of 50% tracking fee from Uganda Wild Life Authority, and this applies to only tourists who have ever experienced Gorilla trekking at least in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahiga Gorilla National Park.
Uganda Wildlife Authority has decided that a tourist who fails to trek Gorillas due to the result of their movements to the neighboring countries will refund back his or her money in the full amount of US$700.
Tourists who have tracked the whole day and have failed to view or track gorillas for one reason will be refunded 75% of the tracking fee, and it can be done only at the Uganda Wild Life Authority headquarter through the reservation office.
Uganda Wildlife Authority has retained the cancellation percentages to the visitors that’s to say, 0-8day of tracking no refund will be given,1-45day to tracking date will be 75% but a refund of 25% to the client, 46-90 days of tracking it will be 50% and 91days and above to tracking date will be 25% and refund of 75% to the client.
Gorilla permits must be paid in currencies; Uganda shillings, US dollars, GB Pounds, Euros.
The note must be $100 should be 2009 and above, those who can use bank transfers with pay net of the bank charges. Those who want to use traveler cheques will have to present receipt of purchase of sales 81% charges.