Gorilla trekking has remained the highlight of Uganda safaris for a number of decades now. Though Uganda has more to offer beyond gorilla trekking, people will always make plans and considerations based on the information they have on their disposal not actually what might be the best.
This is not in any way to Water down the gorilla trekking experience. It is still the one activity everyone should consider doing at least once in a lifetime. But your gorilla trekking experience will be more enriched if you consider the add-ons such as game drive, community tours, mountaineering, hikes; as well as putting in mind the following tips.
Travel In the Low Season
Gorilla trekking is a well known popular safari in Uganda. This also means that the permits that allow you to go gorilla trekking are relatively low compared to the demand. To avoid the hustle of finding the permits in the peak seasons of July, August, Early September, Late December, January and February; it is recommended you go gorilla trekking in the months of March, April, May and November.
It is always easier to bargain for a discount in the low seasons unlike in the peak seasons where most of the tour operators are expectant of more business thus very hard to get a good offer.
Go to the unpopular Sectors
Gorilla trekking enthusiast know very well there are five gorilla trekking in Uganda; Nyakagezi in Mgahinga gorilla national park, Buhoma, Nkuringo, Rushaga and Ruhija sectors of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
However much you can trek gorillas in all these sectors, there are some sectors which are more popular than others due to reasons that we will be discussing in another article. Buhoma and Rushaga sector are the most popular gorilla trekking sectors; anyone that opts for Nkuringo sector and Nyakagezi of Mgahinga gorilla national park is likely to have few people in their gorilla trekking group during the low season.
This will help you maximize your experience as a tourist. There are chances you will trek like a VIP if you opt for these sectors during the low season.
Book Accommodation in your trekking sector
One of the most common mistakes for first time gorilla trekkers is booking accommodation far away from your gorilla trekking sector. Gorilla trekking is a holiday adventure where you are only expected to wake up a few minutes to 7:00am.
When you book accommodation far away from your gorilla trekking sector; you instead have to wake up sometimes as early as 4:00am or 5:00am. To avoid all these holiday rest interruptions, it is recommended you book accommodation near your gorilla trekking sector.
Before you book accommodation, first confirm your gorilla trekking sector and book accommodation accordingly to avoid the inconveniences.
It should be noted, there are instances where accommodation in your gorilla trekking sector is fully booked. When this happens, you can opt to book accommodation in the nearby sector however much it will require you to wake up earlier than the people who booked accommodation in their gorilla trekking sectors.
Learn the gorilla permit booking craft
It is very common for tour operators to encourage you to book for at least six months in advance. This is highly recommended but what if you are uncomfortable with booking your permits six months in advance? Then you will have to learn the gorilla permit booking craft.
There are 12 months in the year; this means the year can be divided into four quarters. The first quarter is January to March; the second quarter is April to June, the third quarter is July to September and the last quarter is October to December.
Of these four quarters, the trickiest to secure gorilla trekking permits is the third quarter. It would be wise for anyone planning a gorilla trekking trip in the third quarter to book their permits at least six months in advance. In the In the first and fourth quarter, three months advance booking can suffice while in the second quarter even two months booking can suffice.
Opt for Self Drive or Hire a car with a driver
One of the easiest and best ways to save big during your gorilla safari is opting for self drive in Uganda or hire a car with a professional tour guide. You will have the services of a professional tour guide yet also remaining in charge of your itinerary.
You can book all the accommodation prior to your trip with the help of a self drive car hire tour agent or your tour guide. When you hire a car with a driver; regardless of the type of car you choose, you are likely to save more than 25% of what you will spend when you book your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda with a tour operator.