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Are Gorilla Permits Refundable?

Mountain gorillas stay on high elevations of tropical forests of Virunga volcanoes straddling across Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. Gorilla permits are cards issued out by the government bodies

Are Gorilla Permits Refundable?

Are Gorilla Permits Refundable? Mountain gorillas stay on high elevations of tropical forests of Virunga volcanoes across Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. Gorilla permits are cards issued out by the government bodies in charge of tourism and act as a pass for mountain gorilla trekking, the permits are only sold to persons above the age of 15 years and above, and if the illness is detected on the day of trekking you will also not be allowed to trek mountain gorillas, these diseases include flu, cough, and diarrhea.

Gorilla permits refunds in Uganda

In Uganda mountain gorillas are found in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national park both located in southwestern Uganda. Gorilla permits to these national parks are issued out by the Uganda wildlife authority a government body in charge of tourism. The cost of gorilla permits in both Mgahinga and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is the same and each permit costs $700 for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents, and shs250,000 East African citizens. Gorilla habituation in the Rushaga sector is done at a fee of $1500 and all the permits are sold to persons above the age of 15.

Refunding of gorilla permits might take longer and if you booked your permit with a tour operator some might not be able to refund your money because a tour operator will have to see the same permit at a lower price to another person and refund you part of the money after selling the permit.

In rare cases where you trek mountain gorillas and fail to locate the gorilla family, the Uganda wildlife authority will refund 75% of the money. If a traveler cancels their trekking due to personal reasons the cancellation will be like;

0-8 days to the final day of gorilla trekking – no refund

9-45 days to the final day of gorilla trekking – 25% refund

46 – 0 days to the final day of gorilla trekking – 50% refund

91 days and above – 75% refund

50% of the money will only be refunded to people who have infectious diseases such as flu, cough, and diarrhea on the final day of trekking, this is because mountain gorillas are vulnerable to human diseases. During the briefing, the warden will check the trekkers and if any of them is sick or below the required age, they will not be allowed to trek mountain gorillas. you are advised to book your gorilla trekking permit in advance of 3-4 months to avoid inconvenience most especially when you are planning to travel in the high season.

Gorilla permit refunds in the Democratic Republic of Congo

DR Congo offers the best prices for gorilla trekking in Africa with gorilla permits costing as low as $450 in the high season and $200 in the low season. The cancellation policy is as below;

0-8 days to the final day of gorilla trekking – no refund

9-45 days to the final day of gorilla trekking – 25% refund

46 – 0 days to the final day of gorilla trekking – 50% refund

91 days and above – 75% refund

50% of the permit money will be refunded to tourists who have infectious diseases on the final day of trekking and these include flu, cough, and diarrhea. This is done to reduce the risk of the spread of these diseases to mountain gorillas because they are vulnerable. Gorilla trekking permits for DR Congo can be booked through a tour operator or the Virunga national park website.

Gorilla permit refunds in Rwanda

Rwanda offers the most luxurious gorilla trekking experience at the famous volcanoes national park located in the northwestern part of the country on the borders with Uganda and DR Congo. Gorilla trekking permits for Rwanda costs a fee of $1500 per person per trek.

Rwanda gorilla trekking permits are issued out by the Rwanda development board a government body in charge of tourism in Rwanda you can book your gorilla permit with the Rwanda Development Board pr through any trusted tour operator. 50% permit fees shall be refunded to a person who is found ill on the day of trekking because this is a threat to mountain gorillas.

In conclusion, mountain gorilla permits must be booked when you are sure that you will be traveling to African countries for the experience in order to not to make losses. You are allowed to deposit 30%-50% to secure yourself a gorilla permit in advance of 3-4 months before the actual gorilla trekking date because of high demand to avoid disappointments on the final date.

How to book a gorilla permit

A gorilla trekking permit is a document issued out by the government body in charge of tourism to allow you to spend a maximum of one hour with gorillas in their natural habitats. A gorilla permit can only be obtained from the Virunga national park website if you want to trek in Virunga national park, Rwanda development board for the case of volcanoes national park, and Uganda wildlife authority for Bwindi impenetrable forest national park or Mgahinga national park. You can as well obtain a gorilla permit through a registered tour operator.

The best way to book a gorilla permit is by using a tour operator because they are quick compared to government bodies in charge of tourism. Another advantage of booking a gorilla permit through a tour operator is that they guide you on the best families to trek and the different accommodation facilities and can do accommodation booking for you.

But if you want to book your gorilla trekking permit directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority, Virunga national park website, or Rwanda development board you can email them inquiring about the availability of dates you would like to trek gorillas if they are not available you should ask them to update you about the nearest dates.

When to book a gorilla permit

People intending to come to Africa to trek gorillas are advised to book gorilla trekking permits 3-4 months in advance and this favors mostly tourists who want to trek in the peak season or high season, in the drier months of December, January, February, June, July, August, and September. You need to book early to avoid disappointments. In case you delay booking you might have to trek in the low season when there is a lot of rainfall.

What is the cost of a gorilla permit?

In Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national park, a gorilla permit is at $700 for foreign nonresidents, $600 foreign residents, and shs250,000 East African residents. In DR Congo, a gorilla trekking permit is $450 in the high season and $200 in the low season. Lastly, Rwanda has the most expensive gorilla permit which costs $1500.

You should bear in mind that you cannot trek gorillas unless if you have a valid gorilla trekking permit. So, for you to book a gorilla permit you will have to present your passport number, date of birth, nationality, and name.

How many gorilla permits are available in Uganda?

Uganda boasts being home to the highest number of mountain gorillas; Bwindi impenetrable forest national park having over 20 habituated gorilla families and Mgahinga national park having only one habituated gorilla family. The fact that only 8 people are allowed to trek a single gorilla family when you do math its 8 tourists x 20 gorilla families = 168 gorilla permits available each day for sale in Uganda.

How many gorilla permits are in Rwanda?

in all countries that have mountain gorillas, it’s a must that only 8 people visit a single habituated gorilla family a day and for a maximum of only one hour. Rwanda has 10 habituated gorilla families that are open for trekking. This, therefore, implies that 80 permits are available for sale every day.

How many gorilla permits are in DR Congo?

Virunga national park issues out 64 gorilla permits every day since it has 8 habituated gorilla families that are available for trekking every day.

Gorilla trekking age limit in Uganda, DR Congo, and Rwanda

The gorilla trekking age limit or the minimum age for gorilla trekking is 15 years and the reason as too why children below 15 years are not allowed to trek is because sometimes gorillas can charge and a child below 15 years can not follow the dos and don’ts during the briefing session. The other reason is that the children are playful they can leave the group and also slow down the pace of the group while still searching for gorillas.