UWA curbs mountain gorilla trekking permit fraud : The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) this week launched a rigorous investigation among their staff in a way of responding to fraud allegations that rose up surrounding the sale of fake gorilla permits. As the investigation continues eleven staff members have been suspended as UWA continues to vow to hold any wrongdoers accountable.
Bashir Hang, UWA spokesperson says “…..internal controls and monitoring systems have revealed anomalies in the booking system, which have raised red flags regarding the legitimacy of certain transactions and the integrity of the booking process.”
And because of the anomalies UWA management took swift action, started investigations and got some suspects who have been suspended as of today.
Hangi mentions that, “thorough investigations are underway to establish the facts surrounding these allegations. We have not yet established the losses occasioned by this fraud and we hope that the investigations will establish that. We are committed to ensuring that appropriate actions are taken against any individuals found to be culpable.”
The alleged fraud is believed to have been committed this year between the period of Janurany and September; and it is suspected that UWA workers together with the tour operators have been involved.
The investigations are on-going as UWA remains commited to protecting Uganda’s wildlife and ensuring the authenticity and integrity of the gorilla permit booking system.
Mountain gorilla trekking is done all year round in Uganda at Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park. Mountain gorilla permits in Uganda cost 700 USD and are to be booked at least 3 months in advance from Uganda Wildlife Authority in person or online still from Uganda Wildlife Authority or through your preferred tour operator.
On a mountain gorilla safari you get to visit these huge creatures in their natural habitat either in Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park. The trip can be taken either by road or by air.
By road you travel to south western Uganda 9 hours to Kabale and from Kabale you travel about 30mins or 1 hour to either Bwindi National park or Mgahinga National Park where you will find these gorillas.
By air you fly from Entebbe/ Kajjansi to Kihihi where you connect by road either to either Bwindi National park or Mgahinga National Park. The trip is one hour to either park.
On the day of your mountain gorilla trekking experience, you will get up quite early, have a light breakfast and then head out to the park headquarters where you will have a briefing before you go for the mountain gorilla experience.
You will then be briefed on the dos and donts of the trek and the other things you need to know on the trek. You will then be assigned a trekking guide who will take you to the forest to see the gorillas.
The rules of the trekking include but are not limited to :- don’t trek while you are sick, don’t use flash photography, keep a distance of 7m from the gorillas, don’t touch the gorillas among other things.
You will enter the forest and trek for between 2 to 5 hourd before you find the gorillas. The time is dependent on where you are trekking and the nature of the terrain, whetehr they are soggy or passable, they dictate the time you will spend on the trek.
When you find the gorillas you will spend an hour with the gorillas observing them and just enjoying their company after observing them you will descend the forest and continue on with itinerary.
In the other things you can do on this trip you can mountain climb, have a nature walk, visit the surrounding communities among other things.