Strict SOPs on primate national parks as trekking reopens in Uganda


Strict SOPs on primate national parks as trekking reopens in Uganda. For those who were planning to visit Uganda for primate trekking and you are wondering whether trekking is now possible, the good news is that it is very possible.

All primate national parks are now open for trekking. However, there are very strict SOPs that have been put for tourists planning to visit major primate national parks such as Bwindi impenetrable national park, Mgahinga gorilla national park, Kibale forest national park.

Primate activities in all these parks are now open like gorilla trekking, gorilla habituation experience, chimpanzee tracking and habituation experience, golden monkey tracking, and many more activities.

Protecting the primates

There are more than 13 primate species in these national parks with Kibale forest national park as the leading primate park of all. However much there were Strict SOPs on primate national Parks before, new strict SOPs have been put in place to avoid the spread of the deadly Corona virus to these endangered species.

SOPs for gorilla and chimpanzee tracking in Uganda.

Below are some of the Strict SOPs on primate national parks set by the government through the Ministry of tourism, wildlife and antiquities, and the Uganda wildlife authority which all tourists planning to go for primate tracking must follow. These have been set to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus to the primates.

  • All visitors and staff should wash their hands or sanitize them at the staff briefing points. Their temperatures should also be taken.
  • Briefing and debriefing should be done in small groups of 8 people in their assigned gorilla family groups for tracking.
  • Anyone observed to be sick during briefing should not be allowed to take part in any primate tracking activity.
  • Everyone on the park grounds must wear a mask all the time.
  •  A maximum of 8 people should be allowed to trek a gorilla group per day
  • Tourists should keep a distance of 10 meters and above away from the gorillas and chimpanzees during this time of tracking.
  • The assigned guides should ensure that all tourists social distance for 2 meters between each person and another while tracking.
  • Tourists should carry light equipment to minimize the need for porters.
  • Due to side effects from wearing masks for long periods in high altitudes, all trekkers shall take breaks but there should be social distancing.
  • In case a tourist or accompanying member of the team experiences any health-related problem, UWA staff shall apply the established evacuation and first aid guidelines to move the affected individual from the field.

Things to do in Uganda primate national parks.

Golden monkey tracking and habituation

This activity takes place in Mgahinga gorilla national park with a permit costing USD100 and golden monkey habituation costing USD 140 per person. You can book these permits when you arrive at the park headquarters.

Gorilla trekking

This amazing activity takes place in two places in Uganda; Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. These are some of the locations where mountain gorillas still exist in their natural habitat in the whole world.

The parks are very thick with deep rain forests with a wide variety of tree species and thick vegetation cover which is food for the gorillas. Note that for anyone to go trekking, there is a need for a gorilla permit that permits you to trek. The gorilla permits cost USD 700 for foreign nonresidents, USD 600 for foreign residents, and 250000 for East African residents. This should be booked prior to your due date especially during the peak seasons.

Nature walks in Mgahinga national park

A hike through the forest gives the traveler a chance to obverse the natural beauty of the parks starting with the dense forest and all that inhabits the forest. For instance, the gorillas, golden monkeys, and birds. In addition, guides will help you walk through the forests to see different tree species, birds, primates, and much more life in the parks.

Batwa people encounter

The park is a huge significance of culture, in particular the indigenous group of the Batwa people (pygmies). This was their ancient home with a number of secrets that still remain unveiled. When the national parks came into existence, the Batwa forcefully left the forest, abandoning their low-impact nomadic lifestyles and forming newly developed societies.

A local encounter with the Batwa people will give you a chance to understand their local ways of living. Some of them may include wild honey collecting, hunting techniques, and fire-making to their unique traditional songs and dance. Discover the magic in the ancient Batwa’s home while enjoying your nature walks and learning about their cultural heritage.

Gorilla habituation

Gorilla habituation experience is one of the most amazing experiences. You will get a chance to spend about 4 hours with the habituated gorillas. Get a golden opportunity to immerse yourself in their world as they to go about their daily lives. Watch them feed and interact with each other under the watchful gaze of the mighty silverback. Trekking requires the help of guides and researchers who guide you during your trekking experience.

Is it possible to go for gorilla trekking and chimpanzee trekking?

It is now very possible to go for gorilla and chimpanzee trekking. The national parks are now open for those willing to travel to Uganda for any of these activities. You can trek Mountain gorillas in Mgahinga gorilla national park and Bwindi impenetrable national park.

Due to the Covid 19 outbreak, some travelers decided to postpone their gorilla trekking trips. However, Pamoja Tours and Travel is now open and ready to ensure that they accomplish their trips.

Refunds and cancellation policies for permits affected due to COVID-19.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority has given a chance to those who failed to go for gorilla or chimpanzee trekking activity due to lockdown caused by COVID-19. The policies are now more friendly. You can even be able to reschedule twice forward or backward for any dates you choose depending on the availability of the permits up to December 2022. It is also possible to reschedule without any extra fees for those who fully paid for their permits given that all primate trekking activities are now open in Uganda.

How to book for gorilla permits in Uganda now during covid-19?

Booking for permits is now very easy since it is an online activity. The procedures are the same, just contact Pamoja tours and Travel Company to help you with the permit booking process. Note that you should book permits early enough since they are on high demand during the peak seasons of the year.

Best time to see primates in Uganda.

The best time of the year for trekking is during the high season of the year. This is in the drier months of January, February, June, July, August, September, and mid-December. Most travelers like to plan and book during this season since there is usually less rainfall or no rainfall at all. This makes the park fairly dry and the forest trails easier to navigate with minimal gorilla trekking fitness required. January and February are usually fairly dry, with Uganda experiencing good conditions for trekking at a time of year. For the elderly and disabled persons intending to go trekking, a sedan chair can be available (on request). It also requires prior planning if you are traveling in the high seasons.

Gorilla and chimpanzee filming activities open in Uganda.

Filming for gorillas

Filming for mountain gorillas takes place in Bwindi and Mgahinga national park at a new price set by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The fee consists of 40% filming fees and 10% monitoring fees. For filming in Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks, every person on a given film crew should pay USD700 for a gorilla permit and then USD280 as 40% of the gorilla permit.

This fee gives you an opportunity to film the gorillas for 1 hour. For those who wish to film the gorillas up to 4 hours, you should pay USD1500 for the permits and USD600 as a 40% for the permit. Some of the new things to film are the baby gorillas from Buhoma and Rushaga sectors.

Filming for chimpanzees

This activity takes place in Kibale forest park, Kyambura gorge of Queen Elizabeth national park, Kalinzu forest and Budongo forest. For filming in Kibale and Kyambura gorge, each person will pay 40% of the actual chimpanzee permit for the monitoring fee.

Pamoja tours and travel company handles all the necessary film fixer services. Some of them include local fixers and drivers who are very professional. We can help you will all the relevant information you need. On top of that, we can take care of kit clearance services, processing accreditation and filming permits across all East African countries.

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