Mgahinga forms a portion of the Virunga Volcano conservation area, a system of gorilla movements are affected by the distribution of plant species on which they feed. The availability of bamboo shoots, a seasonally preferred gorilla food item, affects the movements of the tourist group across the Uganda-Congo border. This is a biological behaviour of a wild species, and cannot be controlled or predicted. We have reviewed our booking policies and the new policies are detailed below: –
- Six permits a day can be booked two months in advance.
- A deposit fee
A fee of US $ 50 per permit for non-resident and foreign resident visitors and US$20 for Ugandan citizens will be paid in Kisoro (or Kabale) office for the service of placing a booking on the booking sheets. This fee will be receipted separately and must be paid before a booking is put down. It is a deposit of the full permit fee, the balance will be paid in Kisoro on arrival.
- Deadline for Reporting to MGNP Office in Kisoro – before 5pm the day before tracking.
The deposit fee receipt MUST be presented to the Kisoro park office before 5 p.m. on the day before the tracking. Any visitor who does not turn up in Kisoro before 5p.m. on the day before the tracking, or do not have the Deposit fee receipt for the booking, the permit will be sold to another visitor.
- Tracking Permit fee will be paid in Kisoro
Rates for a permit differ based on the residence status of the visitor. The three categories are non-resident (pays full fee), foreign resident of Uganda (pays 75% – with proof of residency in Uganda), Uganda citizen (pays 20%). Reference can be made to the price list posted at point of sale to verify the correct fee. Visitor category will be verified at check-in prior to departure for the tracking.
The gorilla tracking permit will be issued in Kisoro the day before tracking upon full payment (i.e. payment of balance of the tracking fee).
- Refunds of the Deposit Fee
- a) If the gorillas are not in Uganda on the day of the tracking, the office at which the deposit fee was paid will make the refund. Remember that the Deposit fee is paid in advance and will only be refunded when the Kisoro office confirms that the gorillas are not in Uganda on that day.
- b) A permit will also be refunded if a visitor voluntarily withdraws due to illness. However, any person being turned back by Park Authority after failing to declare illness will not be allowed a refund.
- Advance Booking
Advance booking shall be made up to two months before the date of tracking and only permits for one month shall be sold (e.g. Tracking Permits for 1st November shall be booked on 1st of September). Advance bookings shall always be made on the first working day of the month.
- Permit Limits
Each Tour Company shall book up to only 20 permits for that particular month, while individuals may book up to only 2 permits for that month on the day the booking opens.
Permits not sold on the day the booking opens will be open for sale the following day with no limits on the number the tour operators would buy.
8 Mandatory booking fee
Gorilla booking will be accompanied by a mandatory booking fee for entrance into two other National Parks and at least one park, for Tour Operators and other individuals respectively. Tour Operators should prove that the itinerary using block-booked permits contains visits to these other National Parks.