Africa Overland Tours
Everything You Need to Know About the Uganda Gorilla Permit
As you may know, the Uganda Gorilla permit is quite a grey area. In other words, where do you actually buy one and how much do they cost? Most often, you will find that contacting a tour operator is the only way and even then, how do you know if this is the correct price?
The truth is, there is so much shady practice with these permits. That is to say, the Uganda gorilla permit is an easy way for shady characters to make a bit of extra money. For example, if there are no Uganda Gorilla permits on any given day, they can still be sourced – somewhere!
How to Buy a Uganda Gorilla Permit
Buying a gorilla permit is a pretty straight forward process when you have contacts in Uganda. After all, this is precisely how tour companies in the rest of the world obtain them. In case you might be asking yourself, in my time as an overland tour leader, I was responsible for organizing hundreds of these permits for my guests. The truth is, all it took was a simple phone call to the right person.
By the way, is this an option for you?
Absolutely, just hit me up in the chat box and I can pass you the relevant details.
But let me tell you a bit more about my experience with the Uganda permit
My Experience with the Uganda Gorilla Permit
When I first went backpacking Uganda, we went “bird watching” instead of gorilla trekking. Yes, due a spontaneous gunfight, we were unable to travel into the Congo (where we had our permits) and needed to source them elsewhere. However, we were unable to get a Uganda Gorilla permit because they were all sold out and so they gave us bird watching permits to use as cover for a sneaky trip up to the gorillas. Make sense?
To summarise: we pretended to go bird watching but the trackers actually brought us up to see the gorillas. It was illegal and we paid less money, but this money did not go toward conservation. And just so you know, tour operators have nothing to do with this process – they merely send the money to a middle man in Africa, and the middle man takes care of the rest.
But what should this mean to you?
Well, I strongly advise you should buy a Uganda Gorilla permit from someone trustworthy.
Do You Really Need a Uganda Gorilla Permit?
You simply must buy a gorilla permit for Uganda if you want to spend time with them. These permits are taken extremely serious and without one, you will not be permitted to trek for the gorillas.
Why are Gorilla Permits Even Necessary?
Mountain Gorillas are an endangered species. For this reason, precautions are taken by the government to protect and preserve their privacy.
At the same time, this is also a great source of revenue for the government – hence, the high price.
Do You Need a Travel Agent or Tour Operator to Get a Gorilla Permit?
Yes and no. Yes, if you want to save yourself a lot of hassle. And no, if you know the right people to contact.
The Uganda wildlife authority are responsible for issuing these permits but the purchase is most often taken care of by a local tour operator. In other words, you can usually send someone to collect your Uganda Gorilla permit at the UWA offices in Kampala.
About the Limit for Uganda Gorilla Permits
Only 96 gorilla permits are available each day. Most of these are issued for Bwindi National Forest and the rest, for Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Uganda Gorilla Permits for Bwindi: 88
Uganda Gorilla Permits for Mgahinga Gorilla National Park: 8
When is the Best time to go Gorilla Trekking in Uganda?
The best time to visit the gorillas in Uganda between June and September or December and February.
The Peak seasons June, July, August, September, December, January, and February are especially a hard time to obtain gorilla permits.
Then Why Do You Need Someone to Purchase Your Uganda Gorilla Permit?
You don’t but unless you arrive several weeks or months before you intend on trekking, they will be sold out.
So what does this mean to you?
It means you should either join an organized tour or contact a local who can organize and collect the Uganda Gorilla Permit for you.
PS. Mountain Gorilla Permits are available on this 3-Day Gorilla Tour from Kampala.