UNDERSTANDING THE GORILLA PERMIT POLICY OF UGANDA
The gorilla trekking safaris and tours in Uganda form the center of the myriad reasons why people visit the Pearl of Africa. The world travelers spend great deal of time planning their travel to fulfill their dream of spending a moment with their long lost cousins that thrive in the abundant forest cover of Africa.
However, to some, the process has at times ended in disappointments other than the great excitement that they held at first. And this has partly been brought by not understanding the Uganda Wildlife Authority policy on gorilla permits. The travelers intending to take up gorilla safaris in Uganda ought to understand the following.
The Uganda gorilla permit booking for all the two destinations; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which feature a minimum of 400 mountain gorillas with twelve (12) habituated groups thus capable of supplying 96 gorilla permits and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park – Uganda’s section of Virunga massif where the remaining 480 mountain gorillas are known to thrive with one habituated gorilla family thus capable of supplyin
g eight (8) permits is conducted at the main headquarters of Uganda Wildlife Authority positioned at Plot 7 Kira Road in Kamwokya Kampala. An advance phone or e-mail inquiry crosschecking the availability is very significant to avoid setting travel dates where the permits are missing. Following the confirmation of availability, one can then go ahead with the booking where the payment can be done in cash or by Bank Transfer.
The permit is an essential component of a Uganda gorilla safari tour and therefore securing it is a big step to realizing your safari dream. In Uganda, the foreign nonresident can secure the gorilla permit during season at $600 while the foreign resident and East African Citizens can secure it at $500 and 250,000/= respectively. However, the country extends discounted gorilla permits to all these groups in the off season months of April, May and November. The Foreign Non residents are charged 450, the Foreign residents and the East African Community Citizens pay $400 and 200,000/= respectively.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority policy on gorilla permits has provision for refund in case of cancellation but of course putting in consideration terms and conditions. The 50% refund is often extended to the travelers on gorilla safaris and tours in Uganda who have failed to track because of illness. The visitor has to be confirmed by the Park warden in charge meaning that it applies to those who would have traveled to the ground. For those that fail to see gorillas because they have moved to an adjacent country, the traveler gets his / her full refund on the permit. The refunds are implemented at the Headquarters of Uganda Wildlife Authority in Kampala – the Uganda’s capital.
For other cancellations, the UWA has provision for the following refund percentages; 75% will be given back if the notice is above 91 days, 50% for the 46 – 90 days, 25% for the 9 – 45 days and no refund for 8 days. UWA retains the full control of the gorilla permit selling and thus those interested in gorilla safari in Uganda can purchase then direct or through a travel agent. The minimum age limit stands at 15 years.