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When To Go To See The Mountain Gorillas In Africa?

Although tracking mountain gorillas can be conducted all year round in these two countries (Uganda & Rwanda) due to the somewhat damp seasons experienced by the national parks in which these gorillas stay, the majority of tourists prefer visiting from June to September as well as from December up to February.You can visit Bwindi at any time of the year, the low season calls for cheaper gorilla permit price.

Where To Stay ?

Choosing the best safari lodge or accommodation will depend on how much you can afford. Some lodges charge as high as, $900 while the budget ones can pocket as low as $ 70 for a double room. Its all about the facilities, location, food, services and so much more.  Among the luxury include Clouds LodgeBuhoma LodgeGorilla Forest Camp and Mahogany Springs. For the budget traveler, Nshongi Gorilla Resort is what we recommend.

 

How much does a Gorilla Safari Cost?

Of course, various tour operators will give you quotes, roughly the cheapest gorilla safari should have a price of about $ 1000 of course depending on the number of people. The super luxury should be cost you between $ 1500 to $ 2000 per person. Based on reviews of most tour operators in Uganda, most tourists prefer the mid-range, not so budget, but affordable.  Booking your safari during the low season should get those costs lowered! In Case you are not interested in UgandaClick here for Rwanda Gorilla Trekking or Congo Gorilla safaris,otherwise, proceed with the rest of the article.

How To Get A Gorilla Trekking Permit in Uganda

Within Uganda, Gorilla trekking is conducted in Bwindi National Park or in Mgahinga National Park. But because of the inconsistency of gorillas in Mgahinga, majority of the sold permits are for Bwindi NP. In Uganda, every gorilla permit goes for US $ 600. In the past years, April, May and November used to cost US $ 450.Please note that these offers no longer exist. On a single day, nearly 72 people travel into Bwindi to see gorillas and only 8 people are allowed to see  a gorilla family. We strongly encourage you to book your gorilla permit with a safari agent, the most prominent mistake is to book a gorilla family which is far away from your choice of accommodation! The routes to Bwindi and its various regions are often tricky; this is a remote area. If you would like to do the gorilla trek on your own so as to save costs, you might end up incurring more. Safari guides have been trained to help you with this.

Several travelers intending to trek gorillas have found this process  tiring and they have opted to the quicker less tiring option of reserving their trekking permits through a local Uganda safari operator. These tour operators normally add an extra fee of US$60 to US$100 for each permit. These gorilla tour companies won’t charge you for purchasing a gorilla permit in case you are going to use their other tour services such as transfers however if you simply want only a permit from them then they will put an extra charge of up to US$100 per gorilla permit they book, since they need to make calls, pick the permit, deliver it to you and other administrative costs.

The process is more like the above, although the tour agencies normally speed up the reservation so you will be able to confirm your gorilla permit faster.

  • You inform them of the dates for your tour to Uganda and specify the date for trekking the gorillas
  • They will inform you if your preferred dates are available for trekking and also temporarily book them.
  • They will send you our bank details so that  you can transfer the money for the gorilla permits or even pay by credit card.
  • They will send you an acknowledgement email for the money transfer. Please remember to instruct your bank to deduct the bank charges for the transaction from your account. they don’t ask for any extra money for the gorilla permit if you are reserving the rest of your tour through them. Any additional costs will be for services like telephony and transport that will be incurred when acquiring the permit.
  • You will send a copy of your passport availing the details which will be used to register for your permit. Normally they need just your full names, nationality and the passport number
  • Your names will be registered and then we acquire the gorilla permit. On receiving the payment they will buy the gorilla permit but then having this permit doesn’t 100% guarantee you seeing the gorillas although chances of seeing them are about 98%

 

Important to note is that tour operators in Uganda through their joint organization of AUTO normally buy as much as 80% of the permits for a time of up to two years to the intended date of trekking the gorillas. Each of the member agencies can buy as many as 20 permits in a single month. However individuals as well as those not under the AUTO umbrella can buy at most two gorilla permits every month three months before the intended month of the gorilla trekking when the reservations open on the very-first working days from Monday to Friday of that month. Permits that aren’t sold on opening of the booking days are resold the next day without any limit put on the number of permits sold by a single operator or even individual person.

Are Mountain Gorillas Dangerous Species? Will they hurt me during the trek ?

Visitors into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest frequently inquire if mountain gorillas are dangerous?  Although dominant and very strong, these are gentle as well as shy, and in addition the mountain gorillas which visitors see within Uganda have been habituated.  In other words they are habituated to people, which process that takes close to 2 years.  Dian Fossey actually was against the idea of visiting mountain gorillas which is done today, however it’s the money collected that survival of this endangered species, and seen their number increase over the recent years.

While mountain gorillas are threatened they do attack so as to protect their very own.  When different Mountain Gorilla groups meet, there is a fight between the leader Silverbacks to death.  Recently 2 Silverbacks fought within Democratic Republic of Congo and the rangers had to intervene.

Mountain gorillas exist in groups which differ in size from 2 – 30 or 40, however commonly in groups of 10.  There is no specific mating season while babies are born through the year.  The Males begin breeding at around 15 years while the females start giving birth between 10 and 12 years.  Females can give birth after every 2 to 3 years giving birth to 4 – 6 offspring through their lifetime.

Males leave their group at about 11 years of age, while a little over half of the females will leave their group.

Mountain gorillas communicate through sounds like roars, grunts and shouts, and 25 sounds currently have been documented by researchers

 

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