Mountain gorilla families are located in various locations some live on higher altitudes while other prefer lower altitudes making some families hard to trek and others easy to trek. Gorilla family members also have different characters some are peaceful while others are not. One should keep in mind that mountain gorillas move so they have to be found, it is chance to find a gorilla family in less than an hour after the trek begins because some clients spend many hours in the wild looking for this great apes.
The gorilla allocation process is based on age, interests, physical abilities and so much more, mountain gorillas move in search of food all day and only rest during midday and forage again in the afternoon before building nests to sleep in the evening.
Uganda used to allocate gorilla permits according to tourists choice because there was a lot of information about a bout each gorilla family on the internet, tourists would read and pick interest in any group of their choice but this led to some gorilla families being most visited and others hardly visited and some tourists would not trek another family except their choice this had to change.
Uganda abolished the allocation of gorilla permits per family and introduced allocation per region; the permits are now allocated according to physical fitness, age and so many other reasons. Tourists can book permits from any sector of Bwindi national park either in Rushaga sector, Buhoma sector, Ruhija sector or Nkuringo sector.
Tourists have a choice of choosing which region to trek mountain gorillas from but not choosing a gorilla family, after choosing a region you can then be allocated to a gorilla family of your choice on the day of trekking according to your choice but age and physical fitness will also be considered.
Trackers always go to the forest to search where several mountain gorilla groups are located or where they slept the previous night and communicate the location of the given family to the headquarters. After getting information they will then allocate individuals to trek each family for example old people or people not physically fit will trek the nearest gorilla family.
It’s also important to note that children under the age of 15 years and sick tourists will not be allowed to trek mountain gorillas, gorillas are vulnerable to human diseases and when they are infected they can easily die in large numbers. Do not book permits or trek gorillas when you are sick. When booking permits also ask for availability of permits in the area you would want to trek from.
If you are trekking mountain gorillas in Bwindi national park, you should always book lodges from the area you have obtained a gorilla permit from, this is because Bwindi national park has got four sectors located in different positions you might end up driving for 2-3 hours to the start point early morning if you book a permit and a lodge in different sectors.
The price of gorilla permits differs in each country, Rwanda gorilla permits cost $1500 per person, Uganda charges $600 for gorilla trekking and $1500 for gorilla habituation while Congo gorilla permits cost $450 per person.