Rwanda Frequently Asked Questions
1. Cancellation and Refunding Gorilla Permit
Like any purchased commodity, buyers usually expect to cancel the purchase or get a refund if the product isn’t consumed or doesn’t work to expectation. Gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that collects a good amount of excitement over a long period to build-up to the day, yet the gorilla permit is quite expensive. Therefore, assurance that you’ll get what you pay for or a refund is essential in planning a gorilla safari.
On this page, we dig into the Uganda wildlife authority’s refund and cancellation policies, the circumstances in which refunding is possible and why should you even consider cancelling or asking for a refund. But first, what does a gorilla permit mean to a gorilla trekking safari traveller and how much does it cost. READ MORE
2. Do I need a visa to enter Uganda and Rwanda?
You are required to purchase a tourist visa before you enter Uganda. However, citizens from the 33 countries are exempted from visa and can visit Uganda without a visa for up to 3 months. Tourist visas can be bought in advance at one of the Ugandan Embassies abroad see contacts for Ugandan Embassies worldwide.
In 2016, the Government of Uganda eased Visa processing for all visa-prone travellers by automating an Application Portal accessed at www.visas.immigration.go.ug. Any person intending to travel to Uganda must apply online and have a Travel Authorization/Visa Approval Letter before embarking on their travel to Uganda as there are no visas issued on arrival. Uganda tourist visa costs US$ 50 per person for up to 90 days stay in Uganda.
Tourists can also use the east African visa. This is a Joint Tourist Visa and it allows the traveller to travel to Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda ONLY. It can be used multiple times for tourism purposes. The visa prohibits employment and is issued only for tourism purposes. The visa is valid for 90 days and is not renewable upon expiry or upon exit from the block (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda). READ MORE
3. What to wear for Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda, Packing List
Wear Long Sleeved Shirts – Long Trousers
You need to wear long-sleeved shirt and Long trousers (can be either Khaki zip-up trousers or jeans) in fact if you can get waterproof trousers wear those. Both long trousers and long-sleeved shirts protect you from branches, nettles, thorns or anything else that can prick/scratch you.
Cotton undergarments are recommended, also the ladies should ensure that they wear comfortable bras since the hike can be tough.
Wear Waterproof Hiking Sturdy Boots
The hiking trails can be slippery especially when it rains therefore a pair of waterproof hiking boots is required especially for gorilla safaris. The shoes should be comfortable for you, in fact Rangers and Trekkers usually wear rubber boots or gumboots. Therefore, you can’t see any one wearing white snickers, sandals or any inappropriate footwear.
Hiking boots will give you good stability, balance, traction and support to your ankles, with these also wear good and thick socks. It is important to tuck your trousers into your socks, this sounds and may look unfashionable but it will protect you against fire ants. READ MORE
4. Gorilla Trekking Rules & Regulations
5. How Many Gorilla Families are in Bwindi And Volcanoes National Park
Interested in knowing about all the gorilla trekking groups in Uganda and Rwanda? Or want to know which is the best Uganda gorilla group to Trek? The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park population is divided into 50 gorilla families and 13 solitary individuals however, only 19 of families are habituated and can be accessed by visitors in 4 tracking regions i.e.; Buhoma, Ruhijja, Rushaga and Nkuringo.
Each group comprising of 10 to 40 members of varying ages headed by a silverback gorilla (the oldest male) in the group. Bwindi impenetrable forest also has 2 more families available for the gorilla habituation experience.
Only 8 gorilla trekking permits are available each day for each gorilla group. Gorilla families are given names depending on their formation history, group location and name of the dominant silverback.
Rwanda has 10 habituated gorilla groups in the Volcanoes national park. Gorilla families are divided into two in Rwanda. Those for research purposes and those open to tourists. The Shida and Beetsme group are research groups and have the highest number of individuals.
Oonly eight people can visit each gorilla group per day. This implies that only 80 gorilla trekking permits are available for booking in a particular day.
6. Required Vaccinations for Travel
The recommended vaccinations for Uganda include: After the breakdown of the Covid19 pandemic, Covid vaccination was added of the list of vaccinations required for your travel to Uganda. Tetanus, diphtheria, polio, hepatitis A, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis B, meningitis and tuberculosis. The rabies vaccination is recommended if you’re going to have contact with wild or domestic animals or if you’re going to be in a remote location far from medical assistance. Vaccinations for yellow fever are recommended for all travellers (and for children aged nine months and older). It is mandatory that you present a Yellow Fever and Covid Vaccination cards and certificates upon arrival at the Airport.
There’s a high risk of malaria in Uganda. Consult your doctor about taking malaria prophylactics during your travels and do your best to prevent mosquito bites by wearing long trousers and shirts, using repellent and always sleeping under a mosquito net.
Rwanda is free of yellow fever, so no vaccination is required for those coming directly from Europe or North America. However, you may be asked to produce a vaccination certificate if you enter the country from elsewhere in the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America, a list that includes several neighboring or near-neighboring countries e.g. Burundi, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Make sure you are up-to-date on tetanus, polio and diphtheria shots. Also, worth consideration are vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, diphtheria, rabies, typhoid, cholera and tuberculosis.
7. What to wear for Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda, Packing List
Wear Long Sleeved Shirts – Long Trousers; You need to wear long-sleeved shirt and Long trousers (can be either Khaki zip-up trousers or jeans) in fact if you can get waterproof trousers wear those. Both long trousers and long-sleeved shirts protect you from branches, nettles, thorns or anything else that can prick/scratch you.
Cotton undergarments are recommended, also the ladies should ensure that they wear comfortable bras since the hike can be tough. READ MORE
8. Gorilla Trekking Rules & Regulations
9. Common mistakes to avoid when booking gorilla permits in Rwanda and Uganda
Booking gorilla permits starts the organization process of the memorable and incredible gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda and Uganda. The permit is the password you need to get guided access to the gorillas in their natural habitat. Besides the passport, a gorilla permit it is a vital travel document for the gorilla safari.
The logistical process of booking the permit can be daunting for many travelers because it involves back-and-forth communication and wire exchange of money. You can make many mistakes even when you employ a tour operator to take logistical heat.
10. Tips for the Guide/Driver, Park Rangers and Hotel staff
Sometimes hotel staff, Guides, Rangers, waiters and waitresses go out of their way to make sure that your time with them was perfect and memorable. Out of courtesy, you might decide to show your appreciation for the work done by giving them tip. The amount depends entirely on you. Tipping during gorilla trekking is not compulsory and should only be paid after a service is rendered and you are happy with it.
11. Gorilla Trekking Age Limit
The minimum age for gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga gorilla national park and Volcanoes National Park in Uganda and Rwanda respectively is 15 years and above. This is seriously enforced in both Uganda and Rwanda. There however some instances where a child below 15 years may trek gorillas. That said and done, all park authorities are very serious when it comes to age limit to the extent that passport details will be requested before a gorilla permit is issued. On the day of trekking gorillas, each tourist will also be requested to produce an original passport so as to make sure that all those that will trek gorillas are of the right age.
Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development board may allow a child below 15 years to trek gorillas. When the child is about to celebrate his or her 15th birth day, both Uganda and Rwanda gorilla authorities may extend sympathy to such a child and allow him or her to trek gorillas. The second instance where a child below 15 years may trek gorillas is when much as he/she is below the required age expresses maturity and is physically strong. If the above are assessed and the child qualifies, authorities may decide to give that child a chance to trek gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda.
12. Active African vacations Holidays prices are inclusive of:
- Accommodation and meals in the lodge on (preferred meal plan by client either BB, HB or FB)
- In cases where warm lunches are not provided, clients shall have packed lunch.
- A professional and experienced English/German speaking Guide.
- Transportation in 4*4 Vehicle with pop up roof.
- Fuel on the entire tour.
- All activities as indicated in the programs with exception of as “optional” listed activities.
- All Entrance fees and game drive fees.
- All relevant government taxes.
- Mineral Water while on the Tour.
- What is excluded in the price of my Uganda or Rwanda safari?
Active African Vacation Holidays prices do not include:
- Flight to Uganda and back home.
- Visa Fees, $50 per person per entrée into Uganda and Rwanda.
- Tips, souvenirs, any soft drinks and any personal purchases.
- Any Optional activities or those not included in the program.