Cheap Uganda Gorilla Permits for 2019/20, Budget Trekking Options
How to trek the mountains gorillas on budget, companies offering cheap and affordable gorilla safari tours in Uganda and Rwanda, how to cut costs for your gorilla trip and where to find cheaper acommodation close to the apes.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) the tourism governing body in Uganda sells 96 gorilla permits per day for Bwindi National Park (88 permits for 11 gorilla groups) and Mgahinga National Park (8 permits for one gorilla group). Due to the high demand of gorilla permits in the peak seasons (December to February and June to September) and other months of the year, most willing gorilla safaris trekkers are often left out.
In 2011 UWA then introduced the discounted gorilla permits for the low seasons (April, May and November) so that tourists do not miss the once in the lifetime opportunity to track the mountain gorillas. Ever since UWA introduced these discounted permits, more and more tourists have picked interest in tracking gorillas and participating in other activities like golden monkey tracking, mountain hiking and Batwa cultural trail in the low seasons.
During the low seasons, there is a low turn up of tourists, mainly attributed to the heavy rains in Uganda from April to May and winter in Europe which makes fewer people to travel. To encourage tourists to travel during those seasons, the aspect of discounted gorilla permits was introduced. In most cases tourists are meant to believe that these discounted permits are only for rainy seasons when the trails are impassable, but the fact that Bwindi is in an area of high altitude, it rains anytime even when it is a dry season.so the worry of too much rain should not discourage potential gorilla trekkers from visiting the country in the low seasons for the remarkable activity. One advantage of trekking gorillas in the low season is the fact that there are few tourists, and you get a marvelous feeling that you have the entire jungle to yourself.
During the months of April, May and November the gorilla permits are sold at $450 from the usual price of $600 for foreign Non-residents hence saving $150. Initially when the aspect of discounted permits was introduced, the foreign non-residents were paying $350 but the price was increased by $100. Permits for foreign residents (for those living in Uganda and have a valid work permit) are sold at $400 from $500 thereby saving $100. At first also the foreign resident were paying only $300 but was also increased by $100, and Shs 150,000 from Shs 250,000 for East African Citizens hence saving Shs 100,000. However Rwanda maintains the normal price of $750 for gorilla permits throughout the year without low season discounts on the gorilla permits. This makes most tourists to choose gorilla trekking in Uganda. Also Uganda has a variety of attractions including Lake Victoria, wildlife species in the National Parks (climbing lions, other primates for example chimpanzees, big five animals which makes tourist to still choose Uganda at the expense of Rwanda).
Apparently even the accommodation establishments in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park also offer discounts to tourists in the low seasons. Budget tourists can also be able to afford gorilla trekking safaris and have the most unforgettable experience for a lifetime, but the introduction of discounted permits reduces in the seasonality in the gorilla trekking revenues since more tourists will be encouraged to travel to Uganda for gorilla trekking.
How to acquire the discounted gorilla permits.
Any tourist interested in acquiring these discounted permits can contact Maranatha Tours and Travel to inquire about the availability of the permits in specified days of their (tourists) interest. Once it is confirmed that the gorilla permits are available for the dates you wish to travel, you will be given the Company’s Bank account where you can make payments for your gorilla safari. In case you don’t wish to book for the entire safari with the company we can still acquire for you that permit but you will be required to pay a commission. Once payments are made, permits will be acquired from UWA after inquiring about your passport details (name, country, passport number). A scanned copy of the permit will be sent to you to confirm your participation in gorilla trekking.
Therefore for those tourists interested in trekking gorillas in the months of April, May and November should book now for their permits and the tracking dates chosen should fall within those months that are discounted.
In conclusion, gorilla trekking is a remarkable activity in Uganda, DRC and Rwanda and acquiring a gorilla permit is an important pre-requisite to be able to participate in this life changing activity. However due to the high competition for gorilla permits in other months especially during peak seasons (December to February and June to September), most intending gorilla trekkers are often left out. UWA then though it wise and necessary to introduce the discounted permits to allow those tourists left out to be able to track gorillas during the low seasons hence save more money from the gorilla safari. This move also allows the country fill the gap of seasonality in the gorilla revenue.
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