Is the money refundable when you cancel Gorilla Permits?
Guides to follow when cancelling Uganda gorilla permits
A gorilla permits is a major determinant when to plan your gorilla safari in Bwindi national park and Mgahinga national park.
Each gorilla permit has a set date and set region you will be visiting gorillas that just acquiring it doesn’t mean you can visit any time.
Gorilla trekking is some exhilarating tourism experience that has led mankind get so close to nature and appreciates its beauty and importance. The gorilla trekking is a no common expedition due to the fact that the gorillas are rare species of animals that are only found in Africa. The gorillas are found in the tropical rain forest of central west and east Africa. However not all of these natural habitats offer the gorilla trekking expedition, it is only carried out in three isolated places of Virunga volcanoes shared by Rwanda, Dr. Congo and Bwindi impenetrable forest in Uganda.
Due to the high demand of travelers to trek the gorillas in the wild, the Uganda wildlife authority put a gorilla permit to regulate and control the number of people visiting the gorilla habitats in Uganda. The gorilla permit is a pass that allows tourists into the forests to trek gorillas with a set date that without you cannot be allowed to take part in gorilla trekking. This was put up to control the pressure of travelers on encroaching on the fragile habitats of gorillas since lots of them are interested in visiting these huge apes. The gorilla permit in Uganda cost 700$ .
Though the price of the gorilla permit is still high, the travelers demand them highly. Uganda has 20 habituated gorilla families and 8 people are allowed to trek each family per day and thus making 160 gorilla permits available for each day of the month. Surprisingly in the peak months of travel, June-mid October and December- February, one can hardly find an available permits if one does not book earlier than six months.
The high demand of permits has led to many travelers booking gorilla permits in advance in essence 2 year- six months before the dates of the trips. With this world full mysteries, the future is unforeseeable and uncontrollable. There are lots of predicaments or issues that might happen to the traveler and end up cancelling his gorilla safari trip yet he has already paid the gorilla permit fees.
Many travelers get stuck and questions like “how do I get my money back that I spent on the gorilla permit?” roam in their minds. The good news is that the Uganda wildlife Authority, the body responsible for issuing out the gorilla permits has gorilla permit cancellation policies. They are as below:
In case you are intending to cancel your gorilla tracking permit, the Uganda Wildlife Authority retains the following percentages of the gorilla tracking fees depending on a number of days prior to the actual gorilla trekking experience. Some percentage of the money is retained by UWA because it has to cover the loss and inconveniences caused by the cancellation.
- If you cancel from 0 to 8 days to the gorilla tracking date, you shall not be refunded anything by UWA.
- When the client cancels from 9 to 45 days to the tracking date, UWA shall hold 75% of the tracking fee and refund only 25 % to him/her
- If you are wish to withdraw for a gorilla trekking experience from between 46 and 90 days to the scheduled tracking Date, you will be refunded 50% of the total tracking fee and UWA shall hold the remaining 50%.
- Cancellation from 91 days and above call for a 75% refund and UWA holds 25% of the gorilla permit fee paid.
- It should be noted that above only applies to clients who have paid the full amount of the gorilla permit fees. In case you just made a portion of the deposit, you will not be refunded any finances.
The above policies suit travelers who have not stepped on the gorilla trekking ground. There are cases where the tourist has made it to the gorilla trekking habitats but he does not see the gorillas and he solicits for a refund.
- At Mgahinga national park where there is only one gorilla family to track in Nyakagezi family and you don’t see it for some reasons like it has crossed to Rwanda or Dr. Congo side, you are entitled to receive a 100% refund.
- At Bwindi impenetrable national park if you don’t see the gorillas due to uncontrollable situations yet you have engaged in the trekking activity, you are refunded 75% and the claim has to be made at the Uganda wildlife Authority Headquarters in Kampala. But most of the times, you are advised to redo the gorilla trekking experience the following day for free of charge if you still have time on your trip.
The above cancellation policy only works with the Uganda wildlife Authority not for the Tour operators. The tour operators usually have their own terms and conditions since they not only handle booking the gorilla permits for the client but also other travel items like hotel booking and transport. The tour operators incur administrative fees when putting in place the tour package for the traveler therefore incase the client cancels, they will also have to retain a certain amount of fees from the one to be refunded to the client.
It is commendable for the traveler to ask for the terms and conditions of booking a trip with a tour operator before committing to and confirming of the gorilla safari trip. This gives a traveler an insight on how much is to be refunded in case he/she cancels out the gorilla safari trip. It also erases any doubt or misunderstanding that may arise on the funds to be refunded when the traveler cancels out the trip.
The gorilla cancellation policy should not be your worry when taking up a gorilla safari trip to Uganda, all you need to do is thorough plan for your trip by sorting out and accomplishing your must do obligation and responsibilities before booking a gorilla safari in Uganda. You would never want to miss a lifetime experience of meeting and greeting one of your closes relative the gorillas in the wild.