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How/In what form are Ugandan gorilla permits issued?

Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
13 posts
1 review
How/In what form are Ugandan gorilla permits issued?

Hi, I'm asking about how gorilla permits are issued because I'm having difficulty with a company, Insight Safari Holidays, I booked a gorilla trek with. Before I paid the 60% deposit in mid January they were very quick to respond with answers to my questions, however now that they have money from me it takes them weeks to respond and their responses never have answers to my questions. This is sending up huge red flags so I wanted to ask if the below exchange is accurate:

My latest email to them on Monday of last week again asking for this information: "Please send the confirmed itinerary and a copy of the gorilla permit. I am still trying to plan other activities around this trip and it will be very helpful to have that information."

The response I received to that email: "Kindly note that gorilla permits are issued in form of electronic cards/tickets with all the information on the card. I will send you the itinerary asap. We are on a short holiday until Wednesday but all necessary reservations have been made there is nothing to worry about."

Is that really how gorilla permits are issued? I feel like there should be some way that they can send me proof that they have obtained a gorilla permit for me. Do you know if there is something they can send me? Are these red flags or am I worrying for no reason? I know everyone has a different idea about what "asap" means but it's been a week since they've been back from their short holiday and I still haven't received anything from them. And it's been over two months since I paid the deposit and still can't get them to send me the final itinerary. I emailed the Ugandan Wildlife Authority through their website last week to ask if they have a permit in my name but haven't heard back. I'm not sure what else to do.

Anyone else have these issues? I researched this company before I booked with them and they seemed to have pretty good reviews (and they are a member of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators) but now I'm questioning that and wondering if I need to stop payment on my deposit and cancel the trip since I can't get any confirmation from them. Any thoughts or ideas would be much appreciated! Thanks for your time!

10 replies to this topic
Edinburgh, United...
Destination Expert
for Uganda
Level Contributor
1,358 posts
1. Re: How/In what form are Ugandan gorilla permits issued?

We certainly get our permits electronically, they come as pdfs, so it should be relatively easy for them to forward on to you. I don't know the company personally, so can't vouch for them myself, but laid-back to the point of horizontal isn't atypical in Uganda. ASAP definitely has a different meaning in a lot of places in Africa.

So I might not panic yet, but I would hold out for having the permit sent to you. Why not give them a call tomorrow?

Alexandra- Extraordinary Africa

Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
13 posts
1 review
2. Re: How/In what form are Ugandan gorilla permits issued?

Thanks, Alexandra. I'm trying not to panic. Good to know that the permits come in pdf form! Good idea about trying to call them, I will try to figure out a way to do that. Thanks again!

London, United...
Level Contributor
156 posts
47 reviews
3. Re: How/In what form are Ugandan gorilla permits issued?

Hi, I'm actually having the same problem! I paid the permits but then I realized that the local TO doesn't even have all of our names. Can you even get the permits without names of all participants? I made my research on the TO before booking, but silence has made me inevitably a bit worried.

Norwich, United...
Level Contributor
430 posts
67 reviews
4. Re: How/In what form are Ugandan gorilla permits issued?

We have arranged permits via otur TO. We were asked for full passports details and payment.

If you have paid for the permits and the company doesn't have your details I would be chasing like mad on this Didianarana!

Permits are non-transferable and unique to each traveller.

Kampala
Level Contributor
2,210 posts
26 reviews
5. Re: How/In what form are Ugandan gorilla permits issued?

Now a days, Gorilla permits can be issued in the names of the company you have booked with your Gorilla Tour.

The Trekkers details are nolonger important except for Trekkers who received discounted gorilla permits for instance East African residents and East Africa foreign residents.

And yes Gorilla permits are issued and printed electronically on UWA cards a few days to the trekking date.

At the time of booking these Gorilla permits, UWA normally issues a receipt that contains the name of the company you have booked with, permit number, sector where to trek the gorillas and the trekking date. Still this receipt does not bear the Trekkers passport details.

London, United...
Level Contributor
156 posts
47 reviews
6. Re: How/In what form are Ugandan gorilla permits issued?

Thank you that makes me feel a bit better, though I hope to get a response soon!

Andrew I'm trying not to panic because I've spoken with past clients and because unfortunately I have always had this thing of local TO bring quite unresponsive after booking and then i always had positive experiences...but still!

7. Re: How/In what form are Ugandan gorilla permits issued?

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Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
13 posts
1 review
8. Re: How/In what form are Ugandan gorilla permits issued?

Thank you all for your help! I emailed the TO this morning and have already received a copy of the trekking receipt from them. It was very helpful hearing from you all so that I was now asking the right question about the receipt instead of asking for a copy of the permit.

Didianarana, good luck in getting your permits too! The receipt I received doesn't have my name printed on it, it has the tour company name so hopefully it's ok that your TO doesn't have everyone's names.

London, United...
Level Contributor
156 posts
47 reviews
9. Re: How/In what form are Ugandan gorilla permits issued?

Glad to hear that Aly! Thanks, I hope they respond to me soon, it's been a week since I first asked. Just for peace of mind, it's not great when an agent disappears after you booked.

Pensacola, Florida
Level Contributor
20 posts
7 reviews
10. Re: How/In what form are Ugandan gorilla permits issued?

I also was confused about asking for a copy of permit instead of the receipt. I have copy showing payment and just my name for 2 of us. Receipt clearly indicates dates, tour type and number of permits purchased.

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