A safari to Rwanda to see mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park is every traveler’s dream. A gorilla permit is a must to have for visitors who wish to visit Volcanoes National Park for gorilla tracking. With 10 habituated gorilla families that are tracked every day, visitors who make it up to the park get a glimpse of these impressive creatures in the wild. Just as you get to Northwestern, Rwanda comes Volcanoes National Park with a dense tropical rain-forest and bamboo. A 160 sq km protected area, is worldly credited for its thrilling mountain gorilla trekking experiences and it is managed by the Rwandan Office for Tourism and National Parks.
In Rwanda, gorilla permits cost US$1500 per tourist and this cuts a cross all the visitors; 30% discount (US$1050) for gorilla permits and if a visitor intends to visit other national parks in Rwanda say Akagera or Nyungwe national park for a period of three days and beyond in the low season (from November to May); 15% discount ($1275) for conference visitors who stay before and after MICE events to do gorilla trekking; US$15000 for private gorilla tracking of an entire gorilla family with an exclusive personalized tour guide service; while US$30000 applies for three tourists for three constant days. Each trek, over 56 tourists can visit the Volcanoes National Park for gorilla trekking and a maximum of eight tourists are only allowed to track one gorilla group.
Gorilla trekking permits are highly demanded and in most cases visitors are advised to book for permits in advance to avoid any kind of disappointments, preferably you book a permit 6 months for the case peak season especially in the months of June to September and December to February and latest one to two months for the case of a low season which occurs in the months of October to November and March to May. You should note that gorilla permits are only obtainable from the Rwandan Office for Tourism and National Parks (ORPTPN) and this is either directly or via any authorized tour agent/tour operator. These permits are reserved with payment on the principle of first come first served. The availability of mountain gorilla permits for a particular date isn’t guaranteed.
There is much competition for the gorilla permits and this makes it a bit hard for visitors to access permits in Rwanda. For any delay in confirmation, visitors will most likely fail to get a permit on his or her preferred date. Once a visitor books and delivers payment details for the gorilla permit, the date won’t change and if it has to change means the cancellation cost may apply and this will be $100 for every gorilla permit date that will be changed.
Booking gorilla trekking permits directly from ORTPN:
In order for you to book a gorilla permit form out of Rwanda, means you have to contact ORTP’s reservation office by email (email@example.com) inquiring more on availability of the dates that you wish to go for your trek. For cases where the exact dates that the visitor prefers to go for the trek are not there or fully booked that person can request ORTPN to allow you know about the next possible dates. You will then give a reply expressing your intentions to reserve the gorilla permits as well as request the management to temporarily keep for you the permits as you make the payment. You will be advised to send a copy of the transaction voucher by email or fax to ORTPN. The transfer process in normal cases takes a period of less than three days and ORTPN can keep your tentative booking for almost seven days. You will also be required to ensure that you cover all the bank charges to avoid disappointments while obtaining your permit.
Booking gorilla permits via a tour and travel agent:
Many travelers have for long preferred this procedure as it has proved to be the fastest means to obtain gorilla permits across countries where gorilla trekking adventure take place. The tour agents normally charge a fee of about $25 to $60 for each gorilla permit but for those who purchase permits and add other services via them, they are not charged any cost. The procedure is a bit the same as that of ORTPN but the only difference is that it is a bit quicker than the ORTPN.
In conclusion, a gorilla permit is an important document for trekkers who intend to track mountain gorillas not just in Rwanda but across other two countries where tracking gorillas is the main activity. With your gorilla permit at hand, you get about 98% chances to track a gorilla group but this doesn’t guarantee you to see a gorilla in the wild. Grab your permit and have fun with mountain gorillas in Africa’s wilderness.