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Guide to Booking Gorilla permits in Uganda or Rwanda

Uganda is one small country 236,040  sqm2 big, one of the five countries that make up East Africa one of the only three countries harboring the few living Mt. Golliras.  So gifted with all kinds of resources including the newly discovered petroleum oil in Hoima District. But putting  the oil aside, Uganda is so rich in the Tourism resources of both flora and fauna which includes the many animal species found in the different National parks and the many game reserves around the country.

Among the diverse fauna are the primates ranging from monkeys, chimpanzees and the famous mountain Gorillas our closest clones in the wild. The parks known to be homes to primates are Bwindi Impenetrable, Mgahinga Gorilla National park for Mountain Gorillas, Kibale NP, QENP, Semliki NP and Murchison NP and the Uganda Wildlife Education Center for other primates especially the Chimpanzees.

Uganda is home to many species of primates namely the Mountain Gorillas, chimpazees, baboons, grey checked mangabeys, vervet Monkeys, Black & White colobus monkeys, red  colobus monkeys, I’hoest monkey, red tailed Monkeys, Blue Monkey, Bush Babies, Potos, and Gold Monkey.

These above mentioned creatures are a great asset as they contribute quite a big percentage of Uganda’s tourist arrivals and to the National growth through the forex earnings from the sale of Gorilla and Chimpanzee permits though the Gorillas are the most popular among the rest of the primates .

According to UWA Uganda these Gentle Giants are grouped into families with some  individuals roaming the Virunga volcanoes shared by Rwanda and DR Congo. The Parks have habituated gorilla and Chimp groups where habituation means getting these creatures used to people, these such groups with eight gorilla permits for each group and have names like the Nyakagyezi in Mgahinga, Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura and Nkuringo in Bwindi and the habituated Chimps in Kibale.

Primate tours are charged in form of permits for Gorillas, Chimpanzee tracking & habituation, and Golden Monkey tracking. These permits can be obtained from UWA headquarters in Kamwokya and can even be booked through tour operators like African Secrets Limited. Tourists are advised to book permits at least three months prior to their tours and not more than two years.

Primate tracking especially in Gorillas and Chimpanzees has rules and regulations that govern it, trackers should not have communicable diseases like flu and diarrhea, age limit for Chimps is 12 and 15 for Gorillas, leave a distance of 5m for the Gorillas and 8m for the Chimps, in case of nature’s call dig a hole of 30cm and bury afterwards, no flash cameras, cough or sneeze away from the Gorillas with a covered nose & mouth, no littering, avoid noise and sudden movements, remain in a group and with a guide, do not eat or smoke near the Chimps or Gorillas, do not provoke or scare the creatures, and lastly please observe all regulations.

Other things that a tourist should note are that Gorillas are viewed by only eight people per a day and for only an hour, chimps are viewed in groups of 6 people can be followed for a maximum of 12 hours .    

Tips on doing tours by your own are also shown here on the following page


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