Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda: Gorilla trekking is decidedly the peak of every Uganda Safari experience. It is a bucket list item for all the adventurous travellers out there. Before you can see the mountain gorillas, you will need to have a gorilla tracking permit.

A gorilla trekking permit gives you access to the protected National Parks where mountain gorillas live.

In this article, we are going to explore all the questions surrounding the gorilla permits in Uganda – and the need for them. We shall also look at how you can get yourself a gorilla permit for your gorilla trekking experience.

Let’s go ahead and break down everything about gorilla permits.



A gorilla permit is a document/card that allows you to track and see mountain gorillas. A gorilla permit is a temporary licence to see the mountain gorillas – and is only valid for one day.

The same way you need a visa to legally enter another country is the same way you need a gorilla permit before you can track the endangered mountain gorillas.

There is a limited number of gorilla permits that can be issued out for each day. The permit helps to ensure that the tourism activity does not negatively impact the livelihood of these gorillas. Each habituated gorilla group can only be visited by 8 people who have already paid for their permits – and for only one hour.



Gorilla permits are sold and issued only by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). Gorilla permits are sold at a singular price and anyone offering them cheaper should be regarded as suspicious.

You can buy a gorilla permit from UWA by directly contacting them. The better way to get a gorilla permit is through your Ugandan Tour operator. Tour operators will not charge you more for a gorilla permit and yet will take the weight of the process off your shoulders.

The fact that gorilla permits are sold on a first come first served cash basis, the temptation to try getting a ‘lifetime deal’ is something you must resist. Such shady deals usually end up with you losing your money, having a disappointing trip or even incurring massive fines if you step out of the rules. Being careful is always a good thing.



Gorilla permits are priced based on the citizenship of the visitor. This means that there are different prices for Ugandans & East Africans, Foreign Non-residents (Visitors) and Foreign Residents (with working visa).

The prices of a gorilla permit are set by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and are similar for both buying individuals and tour operators.

Until the end of the 2019/20 financial year, the ticket is at $600 per person but will be later be increased to $700 effective July 2020. This was announced by the Uganda Wildlife Authority at a consultative meeting organized by the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO).

Here is a simplified list of prices for all citizenship types.

  • The cost of a Ugandan gorilla permit for Foreign Non-Residents is USD 600 up to June 30th 2020. Starting July 1 2020, a single Ugandan gorilla permit for foreign non-residents will cost USD 700.
  • The cost of a Ugandan gorilla permit for Foreign Residents (with working permits) is USD 500 up to June 30th 2020. Starting July 1st, a single Ugandan gorilla permit for foreign residents will cost  USD 600.
  • The cost of a Ugandan gorilla permit for East African Citizens is UGX 250,000.

The new tariffs will take effect on the indicated dates. Please note that these started dates are the gorilla trekking dates and not a payment or booking dates.



Mountain gorillas can be seen in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park  – both of Uganda.

Gorilla trekking permits in Uganda. Everything about gorilla permits

After acquiring your gorilla permit, it will specify which gorilla tracking zone (sector) you will go to. In Uganda, there are 4 gorilla tracking sectors in Bwindi and 1 tracking zone in Mgahinga.

Gorilla trekking takes place in the early morning, and therefore your overnight stay should be near your gorilla tracking zone. At 7:30 AM in the morning, you should be at the park offices for a short briefing, and then start your trek into the forest at 8:00 AM.

In Bwindi, you can track in either Ruhija, Buhoma, Nkuringo or Rushaga sectors. In Mgahinga, there is only one sector called Nyakagyezi. All these five sectors have different terrain and geography which makes some areas more difficult than others. As you book for your gorilla trekking safari, we ask how much difficulty you can handle on a hike such that we can book for you in the right sector.



Gorilla habituation, unlike trekking, is when you (visitor) join researchers that are trying to get a certain gorilla family used to human presence. You spend up to a maximum of four hours with the mountain gorillas, and at the end, you are rewarded with a certificate for taking in part in the gorilla habituation experience.

The gorillas being habituated are usually not acclimated to humans but are very safe to be around.

Gorilla habituation also requires a gorilla permit that is also issued and sold by UWA. The cost of a gorilla habituation permit is USD 1500. This allows you more than 3 hours of interacting with gorillas in their natural home. The habituation permit is also valid for one person, and only one day.

Foreign Residents can also do gorilla habituation for a discounted USD 1000.



In Rwanda, gorilla trekking permits are sold and issued by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). A single gorilla tracking permit in Rwanda costs USD 1500 for one hour with the gorillas.

As with Uganda, you can individually buy your gorilla permit or use the services of your tour operator.



  • Gorilla trekking is a strenuous activity. It is definitely not a walk in the park. You will need to pack right for your gorilla trekking adventure.
  • Having a Permit allows you to track but doesn’t guarantee you seeing the mountain gorillas. They are wild animals in the wild and can move freely as they please. Do note, that the chances of you seeing them as are good as 99%.
  • Gorilla trekking can be a bit tedious taking up to about 6 hours to track a particular family.
  • You can spend a maximum of 1 hour with one gorilla family
  • You must be 15 years and older to be allowed to track gorillas.
  • A maximum number of 8 people are allowed on one trek
  • Each group is assigned a Bwindi tour guide, two armed men and porters in case of extra luggage
  • At the end of the trek, you are granted a gorilla tracking certificate
  • Peak seasons are June to December and low seasons mostly January & February
  • It is advantageous to get this permit before you come for your trip to avoid the hustle of getting one from here. This is because they are limited and sold on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • The Gorilla permit is non-renewable and is only valid for a specific date and tracking region.


As you can already tell, getting gorilla permits is easy to do. That means gorilla trekking is also possible for you.

Since we do this every day as we plan and run gorilla safaris for our guests, we believe that we can very easily take the weight of planning to see Uganda’s gorilla as easy as possible. Just let us utilize our experience as you prepare for what we know to be a memorable experience. Just talk to us and we will only be very eager to help.

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