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Gorilla family, permit and trek questions

San Francisco...
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Gorilla family, permit and trek questions

After two weeks of research on gorilla treks, I think I finally have a bit of an understanding and am almost ready to contact a few tour guides. It is quite the puzzle put all the pieces of gorilla trekking together! I am down to these last questions, I hope someone can help me with.

Do we choose a gorilla group/family that we want to track? I thought so, but I read someone else saying you don’t know what gorilla group you have until the morning of the trek. If we choose a group in advance, do I just tell our tour operator what groups we prefer when we book permits, and they will check if that group is available?

If we book 4 people with a tour guide/group (instead of 2 people), will we likely get a slightly cheaper price per person?

Do gorilla groups stay in particular areas of the jungle? For example, if it is suggested we book certain lodging based on the location of our assigned gorilla group, is the gorilla group going to move 8 hours away from our lodging when we actually arrive one year from now?

Are there trails to explore in Bwindi that are outside of the gorilla area? Just wondering if we will have hiking opportunities while we are there (it’s such a journey to get to Bwindi), or if we should just leave the next day.

What other wildlife might we by lucky to see while on our gorilla trek?

If we book permits, guide and transportation (not lodging) with a tour group – what portion of that should I expect to pay for right now? All of it? Just the permit? And what portion do we pay when we arrive?

I read that when we purchase a permit through a tour guide, we should receive copies of the permit via e-mail. Is this copy enough security for us, should (for some reason) out tour operator go out of business? It’s a lot of money to fork up to a tour guide one before our trip, so I just want to make sure that when we pay for our permits, they are ours. And do we not receive the actual permits until the day-of the trek?

How far out can you book permits? Can we book 1 year in advance?

We really want Habinyanja, are our chance pretty good if we book a year out and have a 2 week window for our trip?

Sorry if I’m repeating any questions that have already been asked, but I couldn’t find clear answers. And I swear, I’ve been reading through the forum for the last two weeks. : ) Thanks!

Kampala
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1. Re: Gorilla family, permit and trek questions

Hi Moviechic8,

Hope this helps. My colleagues will throw more light on this topic

<<Do we choose a gorilla group/family that we want to track? If we choose a group in advance, do I just tell our tour operator what groups we prefer when we book permits, and they will check if that group is available?>>

-Sure, when you book in advance, the Tour operator can inform you about the gorilla permits available for certain gorilla groups.

<<If we book 4 people with a tour guide/group (instead of 2 people), will we likely get a slightly cheaper price per person?>>

-Very true. The bigger the group the cheaper the Tour since you will share transport costs.

<<Do gorilla groups stay in particular areas of the jungle? For example, if it is suggested we book certain lodging based on the location of our assigned gorilla group, is the gorilla group going to move 8 hours away from our lodging when we actually arrive one year from now?>>

-All habituated gorillas stay in a certain location.

It may not necessarily take you 8 hours to encounter with the gorillas. Some times it can be less depending on their location.

<<Are there trails to explore in Bwindi that are outside of the gorilla area? Just wondering if we will have hiking opportunities while we are there (it’s such a journey to get to Bwindi), or if we should just leave the next day.>>

-Yes there are trails to hike. The common ones are in Nkuringo and Buhoma.

<<What other wildlife might we by lucky to see while on our gorilla trek?>>

-Depending on where to trek the gorillas, you will see bird species. A lot of them are in Ruhija side.

<<If we book permits, guide and transportation (not lodging) with a tour group – what portion of that should I expect to pay for right now? All of it? Just the permit? And what portion do we pay when we arrive?>>

-Gorilla permits.

-Lodging should also be booked at least 2 months to your safari.

Some Safari companies may ask you to pay for guide and transportation on arrival.

<<I read that when we purchase a permit through a tour guide, we should receive copies of the permit via e-mail. Is this copy enough security for us, should (for some reason) out tour operator go out of business? It’s a lot of money to fork up to a tour guide one before our trip, so I just want to make sure that when we pay for our permits, they are ours. And do we not receive the actual permits until the day-of the trek?>>

-It is not a must to receive scanned copies of your gorilla permits bought through tour companies.

But it is advisable to ask for them.

<<How far out can you book permits? Can we book 1 year in advance?>>

-Good idea. I am sure you will get gorilla permits for your preferred gorilla family.

<<We really want Habinyanja, are our chance pretty good if we book a year out and have a 2 week window for our trip?>>

-Yes you can get habinyanja gorilla permits. Rushegura is also good in buhoma.

Kampala, Uganda
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2. Re: Gorilla family, permit and trek questions

Yes you can know the family/group you will be visiting that is if you book like in 1year in advance.

If you are buy the all package to from a tour operator you will defiantly get a discount but if you are buying gorilla permits only just forget about it.

We have the north of the park which is buhoma here you can find the following groups/family.

Reshegura

Habiyanja

Mubale

Lodges in the north side of the park.

Mahogany lodge

Gorilla forest camp

Buhoma lodge

Buhoma rest camp

Bwindi view bandas

Silver-back lodge

Bwindi lodge

Gorilla resort

Kitandara camp

Jungle view lodge

In western side of the park you can find

Oruzogo

Bitukura and they have Kyagurilo which is not yet to be visited.

Lodges in the western side of the park.

Ruhija gorilla lodge,

Gorilla mist lodge

Cock-land lodge

In the south we have the following gorilla group/family

Nkuringo

Mishaya

Kahunje

Nsongi group/family.

Accommodation in the southern sector of the park.

Clouds lodge

Gorilla safari lodge

Nkuringo safari lodge

Nsongi camp

Wagtail camp and some clients sleep in kisoro town.

Bwindi has 4 fantastic hiking trails that include River Ivi trail, Rushuru trail, water fall trail, Munyaga river trail and the Muzabajiro loop and you can also try the walking safari from buhoma to Nkuringo.

You real need to be lucky enough the forest elephant because they are very shy.

You need to pay for gorilla permits asp the rest you can pay on arrival and it depends on your terms with you tour operator and you should avoid cooperating with non auto members to avoid disappointment.

You get your copy after paying for them.

Isle of Man, United...
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3. Re: Gorilla family, permit and trek questions

I will try not to repeat much of the good stuff already written by UgandaSaf and Brovada .except to say Borvada has his East and West messed up. There are NO lodges in West Bwindi, he, means EAST. The Lodge list is also not complete, there are others such as Trekkers Tavern at Ruhija and for Cock-land I think he means Cuckoo Land. www.bwindicuckooland.com

You can buy your permits either through an agent or direct from UWA. the price is the same. It is for a specific group. It is in Rwanda that groups are allocated on the day. Gorilla families have a 'territory' so are usually in that territory but this is not guaranteed. They move for food supplies like any wild animal. Also if there has been a fight they may move some distance very quickly.

To clarify the 'discount'. Four people in one truck will obviously be cheaper per head than just two as more share the fixed cost of hire etc.,. There is NO discount at all for gorilla permits they are $500.

Bwindi is open for other activities than Gorilla Tracking. Birds, Butterflies, hiking or just sightseeing. Wildlife encounters on the walks can include the rare Ruwenzori Duiker, BushBuck and small ungulates. Also several species of Monkey, l'hoestes are quite commonly seen. You may bump into Gorillas of course (but you are not supposed to look!) Even chimps.

Elephants are quite rarely encountered and can be very dangerous. Best avoided.

When I visit Bwindi I usually stay a week and never get bored. Lots to do and see.

I have never bothered to ask for proof of Permits. I have used the same reliable ground agent for seven trips and have never felt the need.

Edited: 16 May 2012, 09:53
Kampala, Uganda
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4. Re: Gorilla family, permit and trek questions

All of the other details can be worked out with the tour company you will deal with am sure they want to make you as comfortable as possible.all questions have atleast been answered in that first reply,one year in advance will get you that group you want to trek.most companies require at least 40% payment of the agreed total cost of the trip and the balance on arrival.accommodations will be close to the group you will trek,it wont necessarily take 8 hours,it will most likely be less.cheers enjoy the pearl.

San Francisco...
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5. Re: Gorilla family, permit and trek questions

Thanks everyone! Thi really fills in the missing pieces to the pulzzle. I so appreciate the help!

Manchester
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6. Re: Gorilla family, permit and trek questions

I understand you like hiking and were asking about trails around Bwindi. I am currently volunteering in a hospital in Uganda and we went on a 5 day trek with Nkuringo Walking Safaris which also encompassed gorilla trekking and was excellent. We started in Buhoma and walked Buhoma to Nkuringo on the 1st day, gorilla trekking (Nkuringo group) on the 2nd day, Nkuringo to Rushaga on the third day, Rushaga to Kisoro which also involved some canoeing on the river on day 4 then walked up Mt. Sabyinyo volcano (3700m) on the 5th day. If you are wanting a different experience in Uganda I would definitely recommend it, I'm also sure the Safari group can organise more than walking though this is all we did. I've lived here 5 months and it was my best trip. Guides were great, food was great, some of the accommodation was budget but suited us perfectly. Enjoy your trip.

Manchester
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7. Re: Gorilla family, permit and trek questions

I understand you like hiking and were asking about trails around Bwindi. I am currently volunteering in a hospital in Uganda and we went on a 5 day trek with Nkuringo Walking Safaris which also encompassed gorilla trekking and was excellent. We started in Buhoma and walked Buhoma to Nkuringo on the 1st day, gorilla trekking (Nkuringo group) on the 2nd day, Nkuringo to Rushaga on the third day, Rushaga to Kisoro which also involved some canoeing on the river on day 4 then walked up Mt. Sabyinyo volcano (3700m) on the 5th day. If you are wanting a different experience in Uganda I would definitely recommend it, I'm also sure the Safari group can organise more than walking though this is all we did. I've lived here 5 months and it was my best trip. Guides were great, food was great, some of the accommodation was budget but suited us perfectly. Enjoy your trip.

8. Re: Gorilla family, permit and trek questions

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