Uganda Gorilla Photography Permits
Uganda Gorilla Photography Permits- When intending to visit Uganda for gorilla photographing, the number one rule to keep in mind is that flashless cameras are the only ones allowed for photographing gorillas or you can just turn off your flash while taking photos, this is because mountain gorillas get irritated by the flashlight, disrupt, frighten and may provoke an aggressive reaction which can easily make the gorilla charge at the person taking photos on the flashlight.
To avoid disappointments, tourists coming for gorilla photography are advised to carry more than one battery or charge their cameras fully when going for photography, it’s also a good idea to bring a waterproof camera bag as the weather in the thick rain tropical forests is unpredictable therefore it can rain at any time of the day even sometimes in the dry season.
When planning gorilla photography in Uganda, it’s advisable to carry 2 cameras as mountain gorillas are always moving around it might make it hard to change lenses. You should also move with a fixed focal lens, wide-angle lens, and zoom lens to get good photos.
There is no price for gorilla photography permits set up in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park but for unforgettable gorilla photography experience, tourists can book permits for gorilla habituation that allows trekkers to stay around mountain gorillas for four hours hence greater opportunities for taking photos, unlike gorilla trekking where you will be restricted to stay in the presence of mountain gorillas for only one hour.
Gorilla permits In Uganda
All gorilla permits are issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). Gorilla habituation permits on in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park Uganda cost $1500 per person per habituation experience, gorilla trekking permits cost $700 foreign non-residents, $600 foreign residents and shs250,000 East African Citizens and lastly, the gorilla filming permits cost $4200 per person per hour with a permit for gorilla trekking permit or 4 hours with a gorilla habituation permit. You are advised to book your permits 3-4 months in advance before traveling to the country in order to avoid disappointment.
During gorilla trekking, a maximum of 8 people are allowed to visit a mountain gorilla family and in the case of habituation, only 4 are allowed. Sick adults with infectious diseases such as flu, cough, diarrhea, and children under the age of 15 will not be allowed to trek or habituate mountain gorillas.
What equipment to bring for gorilla photography in Uganda?
After securing your Uganda gorilla photography permits, Africa adventure vacations suggests that you come along with your SLR camera and a range of lenses and batteries. Given how close you are to the mountain gorillas, you will find 70 – 200mm f2.8 very important. Although wider habitat shots from a 24-70 mm are also very effective, and detail shots at 300 or 400 mm give amazing ups, especially when shooting through foliage. Faster lenses will work because here for they allow wider aperture and have lower f –stop values, as you will sometimes be shooting in cloudy conditions and in the shadow of undergrowth and trees. They will as well give you a shallower depth of the field and therefore a more attractive blur to the surrounding.
When choosing lenses many people elect for long telephoto zooms when moving for a safari and these are the best tool for photography when you are on a safari. They can be a bit too much when visiting the endangered mountain gorillas. The reason for this is that you must be 7 meters away from mountain gorillas, which is relatively closer than you are likely to be to a leopard or a lion in the tree.
If somebody else was paying for it and carrying it I would prefer to go with 2 x canon 1dx bodies fitted with canon EOS battery grips, a medium telephoto i.e. Canon EF 24- 70 mm f / / 2.8 L II USM attached with a Canon EF 70 – 300mm f/4 – 5.6 L IS USM. But as these trips are based on reality, we went with none of these. It’s all well and good saying that this is the best but I shot completely on a canon 50D with Sigma 18 – 250 mm f/ 3.5 – 6.3, which is relatively cheaper and lighter
A decent quality digital SLR is the finest tool for the job in most wildlife photography and photographing gorillas is no exception. Those that are lucky enough to own a full frame SLR then its good due to higher performance in low light situations that you are likely to find yourself in. however that does not mean that a cropper sensor will not do a decent job for you, in fact for ,any people the performance would be more than suitable.
It is worth nothing that on a cropped sensor SLR your zoom lenses will be stretched relying on the size of the sensor. A 1.6x sensor for example will multiply the focal length of your lenses by the factor, this can be more important for the parts of your photography safari. E.g. a 200 mm lens on a 1.6x sense would be equal to a 320mm zoom (200 x 1.6 = 320) handy
Try spending more time on learning how to use your equipment and this will get you a lot further than just spending money on flashy equipment.
At Africa adventure vacations we are wildlife specialties, not led by commissions but rather by putting people in the right place at the right time. When you get in touch with us you will discover what makes our trips so different. Our mountain gorilla photography safaris can’t be replicated by other companies.
Other things to consider when planning a gorilla photography
While photographing mountain gorillas its better when you follow the rules and guidelines issued out by the park guides and rangers. You should always remember rules such as keeping a distance of 7 meters away from mountain gorillas, avoid direct eye contact for a long time and avoid standing taller than the gorilla when you get near them. For those doing gorilla trekking, you should always remember that you are given only one hour to take photos of gorillas as you learn about their behaviors. For tourists who want to spend more time with mountain gorillas, they can pay for gorilla habituation experience which can only be done in Uganda in Bwindi impenetrable national park at a fee of $1500 and they are allowed to observe gorillas for four hours.
Many gorillas are very gentle and easier to take pictures than any other large primates. They are not mobile like chimpanzees so they usually stay in one place for a while as they feed on the forest flows. Habituated mountain gorillas will allow you get closer to them because they are used to human presence than any other primates. Despite this, you will have to maintain a distance of 7 meters away from the nearest gorillas. This scan be very difficult to apply once in presence of these gorillas. They sometimes come close to you making it difficult to keep distance.
Don’t forget to go well prepared with raincoat and good hiking shoes to deal with difficult terrain. Remember you will be tracking these primates in thick dense rainforest. The dry season which is the best season is always on between December to February and June to September. These are the peak seasons to travel in east Africa and it’s always advised you book your permit in advance for proper planning and avoiding short notice or last minute disappointments.
Best time for gorilla photography
Mountain gorilla photography can be down at any them of the year but for better and clear pictures, you have to visit the parks in the dry season of June to September and December to February when the vegetation is not very thick given the fact that Bwindi Forest is a real thick jungle during the rainy season.