A guide to filming gorillas in Uganda

Where can one film Gorillas in Uganda?

Gorillas in Uganda can be filmed in two national parks. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park, with most of the gorilla families located in Bwindi. Bwindi Has four sectors: Rushaga, Buhoma, Nkuirngo and Ruhija. Each Family is allowed only 8 visitors per day. In these families are those that are for normal trekking and those set apart for Habituation in the Rushaga sector. The Mgahinga Park only has one family, which is shared by both Uganda and Rwanda, so it’s not popular for filming.

How to obtain Gorilla filming permits step by step?

A Gorilla filming permit is obtained from the Uganda Wildlife Authority, which is applied for in writing. The film crew is required to write a detailed letter to the Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority and, in the letter, detail who you are, what you want to shoot, where the shoot will be featured, and who the crew members are. You will share this letter, and we will submit it to the relevant offices on your behalf. The process usually takes about a week or two to get the first feedback. A draft for the rates will be drawn and shared with the crew to confirm that what has been quoted is exactly what the team requested. You have the option to choose between the one-hour filming with the gorillas habituated for tourism or you choose the habituation experience that gives you up to 4 hours with the chimpanzees when you meet them. If the crew proves that the rates are all good and the dates as well, you are required to pay the stipulated sum, and then a contract will be drawn up for you. If you need assistance with this, please feel free to contact us

What documents do I need to secure permits to film in the National Park?

All you need is an introductory letter detailing what you want to shoot and passport copies of the crew. Pay 40% of the total activity rate and 50% if you are using a drone to the Uganda Wildlife Authority for filming.

How long does it take to process Gorilla filming permits

The process of organizing and applying for the Gorilla filming permit usually takes about 2 weeks at most to have the process done.

What is a Gorilla trekking permit?

A Gorilla trekking permit is a document that allows people access to spend time with the Gorillas in different sectors of the country. This permit comes in two types. The normal type and the Habituation type.

How much is a Gorilla trekking permit in Uganda

A normal gorilla permit costs 700 USD for foreigners, 600 for foreign residents, and 70 USD for East Africans.  The Habituation permit costs 1500usd. Please note that these prices are charged per person.

Where can I buy Gorilla permits?

Gorilla permits are authorized by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. This is the organization in charge of wildlife and national parks in the country. Our long-term working relationship enables us to get them on your behalf easily. Don’t hesitate to contact us for help acquiring Gorilla permits.

When is the best time to secure Gorilla permits?

When planning a shoot, securing your permits at least 4 months prior is best. This is major because Gorilla permits are given out on a daily basis and are limited to a specific number of people. Booking them in advance allows you to secure your spot to be able to film the Gorillas.

What is included in the gorilla permit

Gorilla permits include the park entrance fee, a ranger guide in the forest, and the tracking of the Gorillas.

What is excluded from the gorilla permit

It excludes transportation to the park and any sort of logistics and welfare.

What are the requirements to process media accreditation to film Gorillas?

The requirements for media accreditation in Uganda include the following; an Introductory letter addressed to The Secretary Media Council of Uganda, a Passport copy, a passport-size photograph, a certificate of good council, and filled-in Form G; you should have applied for a special pass. If you have all the above, share it with us, and we will follow up the process for you; our working relationship with the Media Council of Uganda over the past years enables us to expedite the process and have your application moving in the shortest time possible.  For help with media accreditation, please feel free to contact us.

What are the visa requirements in Uganda?

For anyone to enter Uganda, you must have a visa applied for a visa. Different visas are available for you to choose from, but as a tourist, the most suited ones for you are the Tourist visa and East African Visa. These can be applied for from the official website of the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control. The requirements for the visas are an introductory letter, passport copy, passport photograph, flight booking confirmation, and a letter from the host in Uganda, among others. The Tourist Visa and East African Visa fees are USD50 and USD100, respectively.

What are the Rules and regulations to follow when filming Gorillas in Uganda?

When filming Gorillas, the following rules have to be followed

    • Sick people are not allowed because Gorilla can catch human diseases
    • You are not allowed to spend more time than what you are allocated on your permit
    • Don’t litter in the park
    • Keep quiet when in the forest
    • Do not use flash photography
    • The minimum age allowed in the park is 12 years
    • Don’t mimic the vocalization of the chimps
    • Don’t chase Gorillas
    • Don’t eat close to Gorillas

What to wear when filming Gorillas?

When filming Gorillas, be keen to avoid bright colors as they irritate chimpanzees, making them react hostile. Make sure to put on hiking boots as the Gorillas are trekking in a Mountainous Terrain.

What is the best time to film Gorillas in Uganda?

Gorillas can be filmed at any time of the year, and you will have a 90 percent chance of seeing them all the time. The best times one can look out for are the months of December to February and the months of May to August.

Is it possible to film Gorillas in the park with a drone?

It is possible to film with a drone. However, you are required to have all the necessary documents and permission to allow this. In addition to this, you have to follow all the drone Flying regulations.

How do you get to the National Park?

You can get to the park either by road or by air. By road, drive from Entebbe airport and head to Bwindi and this will take approximately 8 to 9hours. If you choose to fly from Entebbe, you will land in Kisiro or kihihi airstrip and then drive to the park and this will take approximately 3 hours.

Where to stay when filming Gorillas in Uganda?

When Filming Gorillas, there are several accommodation options in the different sectors. These range from budget to Luxury and you can pick according to your preference. Some of the options include, Bakiga lodge, Gorilla Leisure Lodge, Rushaga havens lodge, Buhuma havens lodge, and so many more.

What is the process of equipment importation in Uganda

Uganda is not a member of the Carnet Free Systems Union, so Carnet’s are not valid. The only process for getting equipment into (and out of) Uganda cleared and with no restriction is;-
Through a Bonded Agent – A comprehensive list of equipment and value needs to be submitted to URA – through a bonded clearing agent – for the issuance of a Temporary Import Permit (TIP). A fee – equivalent to 10% percentage of the value of the equipment – is payable. This fee is non-refundable but will guarantee you safe entry and exit with your equipment. We work with trustworthy bonded agents who have done this for many years and guaranteed clearance for our clients on many occasions.  For any assistance with this, please feel free to reach out to us.

Why should you work with Africa Fixers?

Africa Fixers is a local fixer company in East Africa. We assist filming companies and production agencies in countries located listed on our website, including Uganda. Over the years, we have worked with various production companies on several projects, making us very experienced in this industry. We handle all fixer services required with our professional team of local fixers and driver guides. We have all relevant connections with other service providers and government agencies in Uganda to make sure that accreditation and filming permits for filming in Uganda are processed in the shortest time possible. Contact us for details and all relevant information you would like to know for successful filming in Uganda.