As an ardent traveler, your plans can change at any moment and you might find yourself booking a last minute gorilla trekking safari to Uganda, Rwanda or DR Congo and wondering if you will be able to undertake the safari.
There is a lot about booking last-minute gorilla trekking safaris. We explain everything you need to know about booking your gorilla trekking experience, including what is possible and what is not possible.
Please note that when it comes to such safaris, we highly advise you take whatever advice one of our tourism consultants will give you. Planning a good last minute gorilla safari is not easy as it seems; but with proper guidance, everything will fall in place.
Where should you go?
Most of the last minute gorilla trekking safaris we have organized have been in Uganda. Uganda is very flexible that you can basically use any gorilla permit to trek mountain gorillas. This means you can actually visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in the last minute, book your gorilla permit and go on to trek with gorillas.
Booking a last minute gorilla safari in Rwanda is also possible; but Rwanda is not as flexible as Uganda. In Rwanda, once gorilla permits are purchased in your name, anyone else cannot use it for trekking gorillas, contrary to how it is in Uganda.
DR Congo requires advance booking for mountain gorilla trekking. Lowland gorilla permits can be purchased on ground if there is availability.
Which gorilla national park offers the best experience?
The best last minute gorilla tours are got from Bwindi impenetrable National Park in Uganda. Bwindi not only has over half the remaining population of mountain gorillas in the world, it also has four gorilla trekking sectors to choose from. Some sectors are busy where as some are less visited. Visiting the less visited sectors will always guarantee you a place.
The four sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include Buhoma Sector, Ruhija Sector, Rushaga Sector and Nkuringo Sector. Rushaga Sector has the most amount of mountain gorilla families. Planning your last minute gorilla trekking experience in this sector is highly recommended.
How to plan your safari?
When it comes to booking last minute gorilla safaris, your gorilla permit basically determines your accommodation. You will want to sleep near the park headquarters to avoid late arrivals on the day of trekking gorillas.
When planning for a last minute gorilla safari, we look out for the possibly available gorilla trekking spots first, then we purchase the required amount of gorilla permits and after book your accommodation facility.
Only book your flights once your last minute gorilla permit is confirmed.
Once this is setup, everything else becomes easy. However, without any available gorilla trekking spots, you will not be able to plan a last minute gorilla safari. Time is a factor here! Make it a point to confirm your safari as soon as you can.
Last minute gorilla permits
Getting gorilla permits on the last minute depends on the month you are traveling in. It becomes very hard to get a spot during the high season months of July, August, December, January & February but not complete impossible.
As mentioned above, your last minute gorilla permit will determine which accommodation facility you will stay in, the gorilla trekking sector you will trek gorillas from and the dates you book your flights for.
It is much easier to get last minute gorilla permits for Uganda, than Rwanda and DR Congo. Uganda gorilla permits cost USD 700 each. Rwanda gorilla permits cost USD 1500 each, whereas Congo gorilla permits cost USD 400 each.
Deals on gorilla trekking permits
The best place to get last minute gorilla permit deals is in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Depending on your luck, you can get a gorilla permit for as low as USD 500, and save the USD 200. We usually look out for such offers and extend them to our clients.
So when you book last minute gorilla safaris with us, we shall endeavor to look out for the best gorilla permit deals. Where we cannot get such deals, we shall definitely let you know. We also have gorilla permits that we often resale at a discounted price.
Just in case we have such offers at the last minute, we shall definitely offer them to you.
Last minute deals on accommodation
Not all accommodation facilities give out last minute deals here in Uganda. Only a few do occasionally. This implicates your safari won’t have as much discounts as it is in countries where accommodation facilities give out last minute deals on their services.
However, once in a while we team up with our partner lodges and come up with great offers on accommodation services. Booking your last minute gorilla trekking safaris with us will increase your chances of getting accommodation discounts.
Saving on accommodation is one of the best ways to make your gorilla trekking safari cheaper. It even gets better when you get discounts on gorilla permits.
Are the best lodges always available? This is where the real challenge is. Booking last minute gorilla safaris will make you miss out on popular accommodation facilities, especially in the high and peak season months. Such lodges are usually on high demand and are booked for way in advance. They get fully booked quickly.
However, this shouldn’t discourage you from booking your gorilla safari on the last minute. You should be willing to settle with the best available facilities. We usually select the best accommodation facilities for all our trips. When popular lodges get fully booked, we look out for the best alternatives.
How reliable is it?
Reliability of last minute gorilla safaris depends on the season that you are traveling in. It can be very reliable for low season months of March, April, May, October and November. These months hardly get fully booked, and there is always availability. You can even book your gorilla safari the very day you arrive and everything will fall into place.
The challenge comes when you want to book your safaris for the high and peak seasons. During these months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February, gorilla permits and accommodation facilities get sold out quickly. Bookings are usually made in advance.
Scheduling your last minute gorilla trekking safaris for such months is very unreliable.
How good is the service?
The best service is usually guaranteed for the low season months. When you book your last minute gorilla safari in the high and peak season months, you might have to settle with average service. As mentioned above, most good accommodation facilities get booked out in advance, the best gorilla trekking sectors are usually full and the best tour guides always have a set schedule already.
However, the situation doesn’t stay like this always. Sometimes you get to chance the best facilities, sectors and guides when you book your safari during the busiest months, although such chances are minimal and unreliable.
Advantages of last-minute gorilla safaris
The best advantage of last minute gorilla safaris is you get to save a lot of money on your trip. There are usually a lot of discounts with such safaris. If you chance a discount on gorilla permits and accommodation, you will save a lot of money; that you can use to make your safari longer or top up on a visit to your next destination.
The other advantage is you get to bargain more. Advance bookings usually come with less bargain. Last minute trips give you a platform to bargain with your tour operator and ask for discounts where necessary.
However, all our gorilla trips are well priced, with lots of discounts; so there is no need to bargain for better prices. Your safari will always be affordable.
Disadvantages of last minute gorilla trekking safaris
Advance bookings give you a lot of time to organize and plan better, which is actually not the case with last minute gorilla safaris; especially if you are not flexible enough. There are no disadvantages of last minute gorilla trekking safaris if you are flexible enough and comfortable with the services and facilities we shall propose.
However, the most common disadvantage is ending up in average accommodation facilities. There other is trekking in a sector that you might not like. These two points can however be combated if your budget is open. Booking a last minute gorilla safari on a strict budget can be a nightmare at times.
Getting visas and meeting all the requirements
Securing your visa in advance definitely lets you plan better though it’s possible for tourists to get tourist visas on arrival, so long as they are visiting for strictly tourism purposes and not anything else. Other requirements may include filling a passenger locator form and presenting a yellow fever vaccination certificate.
Our travel company will guide you on all the necessities needed for your last minute swift arrival in one of the three gorilla trekking destinations. Where there are any complications, we shall swiftly handle them. For more information about last minute entry requirements, please contact us and we shall guide you through everything that is needed.
Interesting add-ons to your last minute safari
Besides primate trekking activities where permits are required, there are so many activities that don’t require permits and wildlife viewing is just one of them. The other include boat cruises, cultural encounters, nature walks, nocturnal walks, horseback riding, walking safaris and mountain hiking among many other more. All these safari activities can be added to your last minute gorilla trekking safari.
The only problem that remains is the fact that you might not be able to get the best lodges unless you have an open budget.
Can you book a luxury gorilla safari in the last minute?
Most luxury lodges hardly get full because of their price. So it is actually much easier to book a luxury gorilla safari lodge on the last minute that it is to book a mid-range or budget safari lodge. So yes, you can book a luxury gorilla safari lodge on the last minute, though you do not have to look at a particular option.
Most affordable luxury lodges actually get full compared to extremely expensive lodges like Bisate Lodge, Singita Kwitonda Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge and Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge.
If you want a comfortable stay on your last minute gorilla trekking safari, opt to stay in a luxury safari lodge and not an average one.
You ought to be contented with the safari organized for you
We have saved the best point for the last. Booking gorilla safaris on the last minute will not guarantee your stay at the desired accommodation facilities. You should at all costs trust the fact that our gorilla trekking company is going to get you the best alternative of a gorilla safari lodge that you will stay in comfortably, get you the best means of transportation and a quality safari guide.
If you can confide in us, we shall ensure we organize the best for you. We have organized a couple of last minute gorilla trekking safaris before. If you need reference, we are open to sending you a few of them.