A little confused on how to purchase a Mountain Gorilla trekking permit for Bwindi’s southern sector??
Our team here at Karungi can help you secure one – after you arrive, an abandoned permit can often be found for a little cheaper than advertised – or in advance to secure your place … send us an email and we’ll assist in sorting it out for you, even if you are not staying here at Karungi with us. We know and understand how difficult it is to find information on traveling independently in Uganda.
Bwindi is home to half the population of the mountain gorillas .. it is an absolutely magical experience looking into the eyes of a mountain gorilla – it can move you to tears as you are sure you are looking into your soul. We are located in the southern sector of Bwindi, here there are 8 habituated families spread across 3 entrances, Rushaga (official), Nyabaremura (unofficial – permit purchased for Rushaga) and Nkuringo (official).
Permits can be purchased for Rushaga and Nkuringo.
Depending on your level of fitness, you will be able to request a slightly shorter or easier trek, if this is more your style, purchase a permit for Rushaga; Or if you are wanting to spend longer in the forest and experience the madness of the steep terrain, you can request this also and following your briefing in Rushaga, you will be transported to the Nyabaremura entrance; Nkuringo family has been closer to the gate these days, however the steep track down into the forest and up out of the forest when you are done, can be a little challenging 🙂
Uganda Wildlife Authority have
Families from Rushaga are : Nshongi (new baby in March 2017) /Mishaya / Bitukura (a newer group currently undergoing habituation)
Families to be found from Nyabaremura gate : Kahungye (a massive family!) / Busingye / Bwenza
Family from the Nkuringo Gate : Nkuringo
Costs to consider:
Permit – $600 USD
Porters – these are members of the local community who are not employed by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). They will be with you throughout the day, carry your pack, your camera, your water or simply be your support as you explore Bwindi. While not mandatory to employ a Porter, they do have the ability to make your journey much more enjoyable! While there are no set fees / prices for your porter, you are free to tip them as you see fit. Guidelines – a good tip tends to be around $15 USD / 55,000 UGX
A tip for the guides / rangers / trekkers is also customary
Guides – Uganda Wildlife Authority employees who has been trained as a guide to interact with guests, answer all your questions and to ensure they have an enjoyable experience through the forest. You will be accompanied by 1 during your trek
Rangers – Uganda Wildlife Authority employees, a ‘rank’ below the guides and will ensure you have a safe trekking experience, they will lead the way and bring up the rear of your trekking group
Trekkers – Uganda Wildlife Authority employees who are up and in the forest early each and every morning to find their gorilla family and direct your guide to their whereabouts, so you can rest assured of seeing them! You will find them with your gorilla family when you reach upon them, to spend you magical hour
What to bring
Rain jacket – waterproof shoes – waterproof pants – gaters while not necessary, really do make a difference – permit – passport – cash for tips to guides & porters (either Ugandan Shillings or US dollars will be accepted)
What does your day look like?
It’s an early morning rise for you, Karungi will get you started with a delicious breakfast, hot shower and send you out the door with a packed lunch. 7:15am a boda boda (small 100cc motorbike which is the most common form of public transport in the area) will collect you and take you to either Rushaga (15mins) or Nkuringo (30mins) for your 8am briefing. The early morning mist that settles in the valleys is absolutely stunningly breathtaking – and you may want to stop for a few happy snaps along the way!
A Uganda Wildlife Authority Guide will introduce you to Bwindi with a brief history, the do’s and don’t’s of your hour with these majestical creatures.