To trek mountain gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda and the Congo, one must first acquire a gorilla permit or pass. Gorilla passes are sold out by the country’s tourism governing bodies. Its very much possible for an individual to directly contact their offices or email them, to pay and reserve your gorilla permit. Mountain gorilla permits are however in limited numbers as only a number of 8 people is allowed to visit a single gorilla group. Permits get finished quickly especially in the high seasons and its advised to acquire one early enough before the actual trip day like 3-4 months prior to your trip. Visiting gorillas in Africa is carried out in a very well organized way, and hence once you secure your permit, it’s a guarantee to visit the gentle endangered giants on the dates indicated on your gorilla permit.
Gorilla permits, in Uganda can be got from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) offices in Kampala at 600 USD per person or You can book your tour with a local tour operator, who once you confirm your tour will reserve your gorilla permit for you. Make sure to request for a scan of your gorilla permit form your tour operator.
Note: In Bwindi national park, you should be mindful about which area you will be watching gorillas, as your accommodation booking greatly depend on the areas your tracking gorillas.
The Bwindi Impenetrable forest National Park has 3 sectors, which are quite distant from each other. (Buhoma sector, Ruhija sector and Nkuringo sectore)Each section has its own hotels with ease to access your tracking point.
In Rwanda, mountain gorilla trekking permits are sold at 1,500 USD and can be got from The Rwanda Development Board. Like Uganda, there are mountain gorilla trekking regulations and the most important one is the number of visitors allowed per given gorilla family group a day. That is usually 8 individuals to a specific group per day and for a period of an hour.
In Congo, a gorilla tracking permit in The Virunga National Park can be obtained at 450 USD per person.
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
It is always best for a tourist to make early permit bookings and payments 4 months prior to the actual trekking month especially those thinking of visiting in the high seasons of January –February, June – September and December and for the low seasons, no need to worry because the demand and competition for these permits is low by then.
After booking and making payments, there cannot be any cancellations and if done there’s a penalty that awaits like Rwanda charges about 100USD.for any changes that one may need to make on the set tracking day.