Uganda is a haven to more than half the World’s population of Mountain Gorillas with more than 400 individuals and 15 habituated Gorilla Families being in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and only 80 individuals as well as only one Habituated Gorilla Family (known as Nyakagyezi) calling Uganda’s smallest National Park (Mgahinga) home. With this, a total of 120 Permits per day are issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
As the month of April is approaching, many intending gorilla trekkers are preparing to undertake gorilla safaris from Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National Parks with the hope of receiving discounted gorilla permits (for the months of April, May and November) but it’s unfortunate that there will be no discounted permits for 2018.
Since 2014, the Government of Uganda through the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) had been offering discounted gorilla permits at $450 for foreign non-residents, $400 for foreign residents and Shs 150,000 for East African residents thus making Uganda a favorite place for budget gorilla travelers but this will stop in 2018.
UWA came to the conclusion that the discounted permits have become obsolete in light of the new market created by Rwanda increasing price of gorilla permits and there is thus no reason for Uganda to further reduce prices during the low season. Even with this, Uganda still remains an affordable destination for budget travelers intending to track the mountain gorillas because the neighboring Rwanda charges $1500 for all tourists planning to track gorillas from the famous Volcanoes National Park thus making it the most expensive destination to undertake a gorilla safari.
Rwanda recently (6th May 2017) increased the cost of gorilla permits from $750 to $1500 (100% increment) but Uganda on the other hand did not follow suit and maintained the original $600 per person for foreign non-residents (hence you will be able to save up to $900), $500 for foreign residents and Shs 250,000 for East African community residents but instead scrapped off the discounted permits. Additionally, these prices is likely to remain until 2019 hence you can book for the gorilla permits at least 6 months in advance to avoid disappointment due to the high demand for this activity in Uganda.
Uganda still remains the best destination for gorilla trekking safaris because while in this country, you can relish the Gorilla Habituation Experience at $1500 per person to spend up to four hours with a gorilla family still undergoing habituation and this is the same amount you will have to pay for tracking and spending only one hour with a gorilla family in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
However, all hope is not lost because you can still acquire discounted Chimpanzee trekking permits at $100 per person for the months of April, May and November. Not only that, the luxury Safari Lodges still continue with the practice of offering discounts for room rates during the low season (April, May and November) hence there will be substantial savings for the number of nights you spend within Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National Parks.
Therefore, when everyone expected Uganda Wildlife Authority to increase the Price of gorilla permits as it was done by Rwanda Development Board, the former instead scrapped the discounted Permits (with effect from 2018) that were offered in the low season (April, May and November).