Ugandan Gorilla Permits Will Be Bookable by 24 October 2023

Permits for gorilla tracking in Uganda will be fully bookable again by 24 October 2023, announced Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) at a stakeholder meeting today. The organisation is dealing with a case of internal fraud that is still under investigation. To deal with the problem, they had to turn off the old reservation system and are in the process of migrating the data to a new one.

It is important to add that an avalanche of inquiries is expected once reservations start again. They had to fire a number of staff members, their replacements are still getting used to the software, and the only way to get things done remains to physically visit the UWA headquarters in Kampala. The offices are likely to explode with tour operator representatives and it may take weeks for the situation to normalise.

The money collected for each gorilla permit (USD 700 at the moment) means that the temptation to game the system has always been high — both at the booking stage and in the national parks themselves. Beyond “fraud” UWA is not ready to officially disclose what took place, but the rumour mill has it that the same gorilla permit ID numbers kept reappearing among reservations, that some gorilla groups were visited multiple times per day (the limit is once, for the sake of animals’ physical and mental health) and that the maximum number of people per group (eight) was not respected. 

UWA guarantees that all previous gorilla permit deposits will be respected.

photo by Jiro Ose