Uganda Travel News

How to book a gorilla safari to Bwindi impenetrable National Park

Booking a gorilla safari to Bwindi impenetrable National Park in Uganda involves doing lots of research to find the best tour operator to handle all your reservations and bookings.  Lots of information is available online but Encounter Africa safaris tries to provide accurate and timely information about gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park, in terms of the best time to visit, how to book a gorilla permit, price of gorilla permits, how to check availability of all services among others. As a registered and trusted tour operator in Uganda, Encounter Africa safaris is glad to take you through all stages and requirements of booking a successful gorilla tour to see mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable National Park. We have sample gorilla safari packages listed on our website and we invite you to choose one and get back to us for a discussion.

Sample gorilla safaris to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park that might excite you

Interested in safaris of more than 5 day? Click here for more information.

About gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park started in 1993 when the first gorilla family was fully habituated and opened up for trekking in the northern part of Bwindi. Mubare gorilla group was the first gorilla family to be trekked by a group of 8 people in Buhoma region of Bwindi. As tourists got more interested in visiting mountain gorillas in their natural habitats, more gorilla families have been opened up and as we talk, more than 19 gorilla groups are already habituated and trekked in all four regions of Bwindi. These regions include Ruhija in the East, Buhoma in the North, Rushaga and Nkuringo in the south.

You may also read about

  1. Gorilla trekking rules and regulations
  2. Gorilla trekking age limit
  3. Gorilla permit booking information
  4. What to pack for a gorilla trek in Bwindi

Components of a gorilla tour to Bwindi

Planning a successful gorilla safari needs one to understand the components of a gorilla safari package. Once these are known, then the next stage will be how to book them. A gorilla safari has three major components which include a gorilla permit, accommodation and transport to and from Bwindi impenetrable National Park. Once you have established that you will need this, the second step is how to book them. You may choose to do it yourself or contact a tour company such as Encounter Africa safaris. Let’s look at each individual component of a gorilla tour to visit mountain gorillas in Bwindi.

Selecting a Tour company to book and organize your gorilla safari to Bwindi

Now that booking your Bwindi gorilla safari is the most dependable method, you will need to do a thorough research about Uganda Tour operators. There so many Uganda tour companies organizing safaris to Bwindi but how do you know which one is legitimate? The first step is to go online and look at the reviews on each company on Trip advisor and safari bookings, the second step is to check if that company is a member of AUTO (Association of Uganda Tour Operators), the third step is to check who owns and runs this company and for how long has this company been in operation. You may as well call AUTO, UTB (Uganda Tourism Board) and UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority).  Encounter Africa safaris is a member of AUTO, Licensed by UTB, has access to UWA gorilla permit system and has great reviews on Trip advisor and Safari bookings. Encounter Africa safaris has been in operations for more than a decade and we are passionate about what we do.

Booking a gorilla permit for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

The first and important component of a gorilla tour is a gorilla permit. A gorilla permit is one single item that will guarantee you to see gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable National Park on a given date. You need to find a way of checking whether the date/month and year you intend to visit Uganda has availability. You also need to establish how much it will cost to get that gorilla permit and which region does this gorilla permit belong. Let’s go into details now

Price of gorilla permits in Uganda/Bwindi National Park

Bwindi Gorilla permits cost $600 per person per trek up to 30th June 2020 and will cost $700 effective 1st July 2020 onwards to 2021. If you want to take advantage of the current price of $600, better contact Encounter Africa safaris to organize for you a gorilla safari before 1st July 2020 when the price will increase by $100. The above price refers to ordinary gorilla trek which allows you to spend one hour with mountain gorillas. Those interested in more hours with mountain gorillas should opt for gorilla habituation experience permits which cost $1500 per person.

Checking gorilla permit availability in Uganda

Gorilla permits to see mountain gorillas in Bwindi are controlled by Uganda Wildlife Authority and there three ways on how to establish if there permits on the day you intend to trek gorillas or not. The first on is to use services of a well known and recognized tour operator like Encounter Africa safaris. Once contacted, we will check on UWA system and provide you with accurate number of permits available. We have the ability to reserve them on UWA system for 7 days as we wait for you to make payment. The second way is for you to call directly and find out the number of permits. Calling UWA can be hectic as they rarely pick their phones. The last option is to send them an email and wait for their response. The last two tend to be time consuming and remember gorilla permits are issued on a first come first serve. By the time you receive a response chances are that permits would have been sold to another person. That’s why we advise you to contact Encounter Africa safaris to assist in arranging your gorilla permit.

Gorilla permit allocation in Bwindi impenetrable National Park

Uganda Wildlife Authority sells gorilla permits per the four regions of the forest. Bwindi has four regions that you need to be aware of. The four regions include Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga. After doing your research, you will have to choose the region you want to trek gorillas. Once you are satisfied with the region, you will have to go ahead to check availability and then secure your permit. Its from this that you can go ahead and choose accommodation in the same region. Please note that different lodges are located in different regions so need to know exactly which region you will trek gorillas before booking your accommodation. If for example you book gorilla permits in Ruhija, you have to look at lodges in Ruhija located in the eastern part of Bwindi impenetrable National Park

Paying your gorilla trekking permit

Encounter Africa safaris accepts two modes of payment. Once we confirm to you that UWA has availability and that we are holding them on the system, we will send you an invoice to make payment. Encounter Africa safaris accepts both bank transfers and credit card payment. After making payments using the above methods, please send us proof of payment so that we go ahead and buy your gorilla permit. In many cases, payments take 2-3 working days to appear on our bank account but once we have POP, we will use our credit to pay your gorilla permit. To prove to you that your gorilla permit has been secured, we normally send you scanned copies of receipt issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Choosing the right accommodation property for your overnight stay

After securing your gorilla permit, Encounter Africa safaris will inform you of the region where you will trek gorillas. It’s the region that will determine where to book accommodation. If Encounter Africa safaris books for you a gorilla permit to trek in Rushaga, we will advise Lodges around this area. Each of these regions have all categories of lodges ranging from Budget, Mid range and Luxury. Please tell us your budget and we will go ahead and advise a lodge that suites your budget and interest. Encounter Africa safaris works closely  with selected Lodges in each sector and we are in position to choose the best out of the many. Once we have done so, you are free to check reviews on trip advisor to see if they fit in your interests. Most lodges that we use are close to the Bwindi impenetrable National Park head quarters, rooms are self contained, they serve a three course meal and have WIFI in public areas.

Transport to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Encounter Africa safaris organizes transport to and from Kampala/Entebbe or Kigali to Bwindi impenetrable National Park. Our road trips are conducted in 4×4 Land Cruisers (for Luxury) and 4×4 Safari vans for Budget Safaris. All our vehicles come with drinking water, fuel and are driven by well trained safari guides. There is an option of flying to and from Bwindi impenetrable National Park and depending on your budget, we are able to book you on daily scheduled flights or arrange a charter flight to Bwindi. Bwindi impenetrable National Park has two Airstrips where one can land which include Kisoro for the southern sector and Kihihi for the north and Eastern sector.

Accessing Bwindi impenetrable National Park

Depending on your flights and interest, you may decide to Land in Entebbe International Airport and then drive 8-10 hours to Bwindi or Land in Kigali and drive 4-5 hours to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. While a drive from Entebbe to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is long, there is a lot to see en route. For those that want to avoid the long drives should consider booking our Bwindi gorilla tours staring from Kigali Rwanda.

When is the best time to visit Bwindi for gorilla trekking?

Bwindi impenetrable National Park can be visited all year round because of the favorable climatic conditions enjoyed by Uganda as a nation. It is important to note that many people prefer visiting Bwindi impenetrable National Park in dry seasons/months of June, July, August and Mid September, this is because of the brief that gorilla trekking is much easier with less rains and dry grounds. During this time, gorilla permits tend to sell out quickly and we thus advise our clients to book their gorilla permits in advance. Wet seasons of March, April, May, November and October tend to be less attractive to tourist and during these months, lodges and tour operators tend to give discounts.

Why is gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park expensive?

A gorilla trekking permit alone costs $700 to spend one hour with mountain gorillas or $1500 for gorilla habituation which allows you to spend 4 hours with mountain gorillas under habituation. This is very expensive if you consider that this fee only caters for one hour or four hours with gorillas, park fees, services of a ranger guide, security in the forest and a certificate after the trek. The fee does not include accommodation and transport to Bwindi impenetrable National Park. The reason why gorilla trekking is an expensive venture roots from the fact that mountain gorillas have been for long endangered species that need protection. To avoid large numbers or many people per day, the countries where these gorillas are decided to set a high price. Second point is that conservation of gorillas to make sure the numbers increase is an expensive venture as well. Nevertheless the experience you get after gorilla trekking is worthwhile and contributing to the conservation of these great apes is ever more better and rewarding.

Uganda besides gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National Park

You need three days to trek gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable National Park if you pass through Entebbe International Airport. 2 Days may be possible if you access Bwindi impenetrable National Park via Kigali. If you have enough days for your holiday, we can organize a holiday of more than 20 days. You can choose to visit National Parks such as Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park and Murchison Falls National Park.

Encounter Africa safaris operates in both Uganda and Rwanda and we have been organizing gorilla tours in these two countries for more than 10 years. Encounter Africa safaris is highly rated on Trip advisor and safari bookings where you can see what our former clients say about our service. We offer affordable and value for money Uganda safaris from 3 to more than 20 days. Contact us for details.

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